The best way to learn from any failure is to do an autopsy of the event and try to figure out why we failed. It is usually not too difficult to quickly come up with a list of reasons. This can sometimes even be the easy part. The next part is usually where our biases want to creep in, but it can be one of the most instrumental parts of the process. When we look at someone else failing we usually believe their reasons are actually just excuses. Meanwhile we think our excuses are just reasons.
Here are the most basic definitions of the two words
- Reason: A cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.
- Excuse: An attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.
Many times people use the words reason and excuse interchangeably. This is natural to do since both words can be used to justify events. Here is our view of what these two words should mean if you want to become your future best self <INSERT ARTICLE ON YOUR IDEAL 50 YEAR OLD SELF VISION EXERCISE FOR DECIDING VALUES>
- Reason: A cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event that takes responsibility and leaves open room for action.
- Example: The reason the 8 ball missed the intended pocket is that the cue ball did not hit it at the right angle. It was a difficult shot and I do not have sufficient practice to consistently make it. I will practice this shot more often to prevent a miss in the future.
- Excuse: An attempt to deflect blame for an action or event.
- Example: The reason the 8 ball missed the intended pocket is that the cue ball did not hit it at the right angle. I just didn’t luck out.
The difference here is monumental. When we gave a Reason for our miss, we identified the actual root cause and we were able to prescribe a solution to the issue. When we used an Excuse, we shut off all chances to learn and grow from the event. If it was all just luck, whats the point in changing anything?
I wanted to point out that it is actually irrelevant if we decided to practice more for the shot or not. It would be completely OK to decide that we need to practice more to improve, but we decided that billiards is just not an important enough value <INSERT VALUES ARTICLE> to cut out our time from other values. We would just accept that we will continue getting suboptimal results and we would be happy with it <INSERT ARTICLE ON HAPPINESS AND REGRET>.
<INSERT REASON OR EXCUSE PART 2>