#WHF Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
We make excuses to let ourselves off the hook. We make these excuses both consciously and unconsciously. We make them for everything: deadlines, achievements and commitments. Excuses protect us from fear and from failure. They protect our sense of self and allow us to escape judgment from others and from ourselves. After all, it wasn’t our fault — right? Excuses put us in a different place. It’s not that we didn’t do it, we couldn’t do it because…well. Excuses allow us to live with the prospect that we have the potential and we have good intentions but something, whatever, got in the way of success.
We let ourselves off the hook for not getting the project done, the assignment completed or the obligation accomplished. It is much easier to make excuses when you are detached from people. It is easier to tell a “little fib”. when you don’t have to look the person in the eye and lie. After all, what is the harm in it? Some of us do this so much and so often it becomes a habit. We are not consciously making excuses. But, unconsciously, we are doing it to avoid success or failure. If you neither succeed nor fail, you are in the realm of possibilities and potentialities, and that is not so bad. We have a culture that supports you 100 percent.
We do this to make the intolerable, tolerable. Rationalization sets us up to look good in our own eyes and, we hope, better in the eyes of others. We have a fear that if we are honest, others will not accept us and that is not OK. It is really not OK if we cannot accept ourselves. Rationalization is a way we deal with emotional conflict, stress or anxiety by disguising our true motivations. Our thoughts, actions or feelings are in need of explanation, so we provide one. We create an explanation that is reassuring and self-serving, but also inaccurate. We intentionally or unconsciously make up something that is incorrect.
Excuses are part of the virtual world for many reasons. For one, the speed at which this world moves causes us to experience a considerable amount of stress. When we don’t manage that stress, it becomes overwhelming. We make excuses to make life easier. This becomes automatic. We are making up an excuse in our heads before we do or don’t do whatever it is. We want to be treated with respect by others and we don’t want to look bad. Anyone who lives online will tell you that they hear a plethora of excuses all the time! We made them to our parents and teachers and it worked.
In the virtual world where you don’t have to look anyone in the eye, it is just so easy to believe they will believe you. And even if they don’t, you can’t see them. You can convince yourself they bought it! It is much easier to blame others and think you are not to blame when you have anonymity. The problem is, when you make excuses, you don’t take charge and don’t get things done. In order to survive or thrive in the virtual workplace, you and only you have to produce results. No one is there watching you.
Procrastination is a natural byproduct of making excuses. We start with the best of intentions but somehow we manage to talk ourselves out of taking action. Doubts, fears and self-judgment creep in and procrastination follows. We make excuses like, “I don’t have time! What if I do it and it is not good enough? Why start if I can’t do it perfectly? I don’t have the energy right now! It is too much trouble!” And on and on…one excuse after another!
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