- Thoughts for inspired living

September 21, 2020

Reasons Don’t Excuse

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:13 am

Nas mato jnWGWSWTVqU unsplashThe Grasshopper had this to say over the weekend: “I can offer a reason for it, but not an excuse.”

Let’s face it, we are, by conditioning, “excuse machines.”

We learned at the knee of other excusers that if we find a good enough reason, we are not responsible for our behavior.

I think of the lyrics from an old Doobie Brothers song: WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES: “No wise man has the power to reason away what seems to be.”

I also think of the Werner Erhard EST exercise he used to demonstrate how we generate an inexhaustible amount of reasons. He would simply ask someone at his seminars to pick between two flavors of ice cream – chocolate and vanilla. When they picked, he asked them why they picked that flavor. When they answered, he would say that’s the wrong answer and again asked them, “Why?” They came up with another reason and he would again say it was the wrong answer and had them come up with yet another. This went on ad nauseam until he asked them if they would like to know the real answer. The group responded with a resounding “YES!”

Let’s say the person picked vanilla. He would tell them the correct answer was, “You picked vanilla because you picked vanilla.”

The purpose of the exercise was twofold to my eyes. 1. It was a lesson in reality by owning up to the fact that you made a choice. 2. That you could come up with countless reasons for the choice that you made.

We have learned that reasons excuse us from the consequences of our actions. Although that strategy doesn’t work, it doesn’t keep us from continually trying to excuse our behavior.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post called The Biggest Mistake.” The germane quote from that post that fits here is, “The biggest mistake is not learning from a mistake.”

That post ended with this line: “‘My Bad’ needs to be taken off life support and put back into our vocabulary. Once we utter those words, we’re more likely to learn our lesson.”

And here’s the last line of this post: Acknowledging our actions is the only excuse that works.

All the best,


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