Pet Peeve #8: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

January 1st, 2008.

In the course of a conversation, I am a particularly tolerant individual. I can listen to bad analogies, propaganda, religious hysteria, pointless stories, straw man arguments, faulty thinking and outright bullshit all with the greatest of ease. However, there is one thing I absolutely refuse to listen to under any circumstance and that is an excuse. I simply cannot abide by excuses.

Back when I was still firmly entrenched in the work force, it was not uncommon for me to keep an employee who consistently failed to meet his deadlines on the payroll for years as long as he made minor improvements to his overall work performance. On the other hand, I was also known for firing people on the spot if they made an excuse for failing to meet a single deadline.

As far as I’m concerned, there are only two appropriate things to say when you’ve failed at a task.

1. I’m sorry. I’ll fix it right away.
2. I’m sorry. I’ll try not to let it happen again.

Anything else falls under the category as an ‘excuse’ and will likely enrage me. I don’t care about the traffic jam that contributed towards your lateness. I’m not interested in the faulty computer system that ruined your productivity. Someone who may or may not have gotten in your way and sabotaged your work is completely irrelevant to me. Thunder storms and broken watches and unreasonable spouses are none of my concern. I will not listen to your excuses. I refuse.

The reason I have such a strong aversion to excuse making has nothing to do with my inability to sympathize with my fellow man. I am perfectly capable of showing compassion when it’s warranted. So if your kid dies, I’ll give you a hug. Maybe I’ll even send flowers. Depends on how cute he was.

Excuses drive me mad simply because I can’t stand to listen to you people insult yourselves. That’s exactly what you’re doing when you make excuses, too; make no mistake about it. Every time you whine about your lack of time or resources or what the fuck ever, what you are really saying is, “I’m not organized enough or smart enough or creative enough or ambitious enough or determined enough to accomplish my goals.”

And I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that.

Human beings, as a whole, are an amazing race of creatures. Each one of us is direct descendant of someone who invented electricity. Or discovered another continent. Or cured polio. We’re responsible for modern agriculture, space travel, cellular telephones. When the ancient Egyptians were building the great pyramids using nothing more than primitive ropes and a pulley system, no one told the Pharaoh that they couldn’t go to work because it was too hot outside! Hell, our ancestors were capable of tracking prey through thick jungles and killing it using nothing more than sharpened sticks and rocks and you’re telling me you couldn’t start your diet today because your kid had a pizza party scheduled?

Fuck you. I don’t believe you. You’re better than that. You’re capable of more. Don’t sell yourself short with excuses. Human beings used to be warriors. It’s high time we start behaving as such again.

With that said, I would have posted this updated earlier, but I was just so busy with Christmas and the New Year and all that jazz. You all know how it is.

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