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Morning Mindset with Paul G. Markel

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Jan 22, 2018

Professor Paul breaks down the difference between Excuses and Reasons, which are not the same thing, they are not interchangeable terms. Excuses are made by children, and are soft, based off of feelings. Reasons are solid, real and genuine. A great example of this is the “Green Belt Syndrome”, which Professor Paul covers in detail in this episode.

Episode Transcription


♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫


Welcome to Morning Mindset. A daily dose of practical wit and wisdom with a professional educator & trainer, Amazon best selling author, United States Marine, Television and Radio host, Paul G. Markel. Each episode will focus on positive and productive ways to strengthen your mindset, and help you improve your relationships, career goals, and overall well-being. Please welcome your host; Paul G. Markel.

*Professor Paul*

Hello and welcome back to Morning Mindset, thank you to everyone who is joining us for what is going to be our second week of Morning Mindset podcasts, and we truly appreciate all of you out there who have joined us and become part of this and I hope you enjoy the experience. Now today we’re going to talk about Excuses vs. Reasons. Excuses are Not Reasons, I know you’re like “Come on Paul, I know that. I’m a grown adult”, but do we… America is the Land of Excuses.

Americans live in a land of excuses. Often we are, we find ourselves falling into that trap where we offer ourselves excuses, and we want to deal with that today because, if we’re looking to progress in our careers, if we’re looking to advance & improve our relationships, whether they’re personal relationships, family relationships, business relationships, we need to be honest with ourselves and say “Ya know, am I offering a Reason. A genuine, legitimate reason, or is it just an excuse?”

Now quite often people will, I’ll give you a great example. I didn’t make it to work on time today, because I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep, but now I’m here. Is that a Reason, or is that an Excuse? I wasn’t to work on time today because I had a flat tire, I had to get out, it took me 30 minutes to change it, and now I’m here. Alright, a flat tire is a reason, you hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep is not really a reason. It’s an Excuse.

Do you accept excuses from your children? If you are a grown adult, if you are a mom or a dad, you have children, and your children fail to do their homework. They fail to do their chores, they fail to meet some type of an expectation. What do Children do? Children offer you excuses; I forgot, I was tired, I got distracted, and so on and so forth. That’s fine because they’re children, but how many people carry that into their adult life? You say “Paul, I know those people”, and I want you to not be one of them.

The biggest problem with excuses is not so much the excuses we offer to others, but it’s the excuses that we offer to ourselves. You come to a point in your life where you decide, I want to make a change or I should be making a change. Whether it’s a career change, whether it’s a lifestyle change, maybe you decided “You know what? When I was young, I was hard and fit and I was in good shape and all that”, and 10, 15 years have slipped on by, and now I’m soft. I’m not hard anymore.

Is that something that’s an eventuality? You know, as we age, when you become 30-40-50 years old, do you have to become soft, do you have to be a mushball? Or are you that way, just because you’ve offered yourself excuses? You want to make a change in your life, you want to make an improvement in your life, but it’s so easy to make excuses. That devil gets up on your shoulders and says “Hey, you’re doing okay, you’re doing alright. Why work harder?” Or the devil will say “You know you’ve tried to work harder, you’ve tried to do things better, but no one cared. No one recognized it, you didn’t get appreciated for that, so why should you even try”.

Do you accept excuses from other people? If you are a supervisor, if you’re a boss, if you’re a mom or a dad, will you accept excuses from other people? Maybe you do! Maybe that’s the easy way, that might be the quick fix. Alright, somebody shows up late, you’re a supervisor, one of your workers shows up late. You say “Hey, what’s up?”, “Oh, eh, I-uh, dadada…” and they give you some lame excuse. But you need to get the project going, you need to get the work day started, so you just accept it, say “Alright, just get over there and go to work.” That’s the quick fix, you accepted the excuse, they offered you the excuse, and you moved on. Now you say, “Okay great, that’ll never happen again.”

Will that never happen again? If you allow people to give you those excuses, and you accept those excuses, what are you doing? You’re essentially setting a pattern that it’s going to keep happening over and over again. Now I know it’s hard, I know it’s difficult, I know it requires discipline on your part to stop and say “Nope, let’s go ahead and nip this in the bud, right now.” If you don’t accept excuses from other people, why would you accept excuses from yourself? When it comes time to make a change, when it comes time to make an improvement, when it comes time to get stronger, faster, more educated, what have you. Stop allowing yourself to accept excuses.

Don’t accept excuses from yourself. That’s the worst person that you can accept excuses from. I’ll give you an example. When I was a, when I was a young man, I was a teenager, I was probably 18 years old, and I was feeling my oats and getting out on my own, and I decided that I wanted to further my martial arts education. So I started taking classes, and you know, it was a taekwondo school and you started out real low at white belt, and yellow belt and blue and so forth, and the mid-level, kind of between black belt & white belt, was green belt. I remember one of my instructors telling me, well the main instructor, talking to us about how he would lose people after they get their green belt. I thought “Hmm, that’s kind of weird. Because here I am, thinking “Wow, those guys who have black belts, those guys really are dedicated.” Ya know, they’re people I would look up to and I want to hit all those steps, ya know, get all the way up there.

But the way he explained it is, people start out, knowing nothing. You start out as a blank slate, you’re a white belt, you nothing about nothing [anything], you close your mouth & pay attention, you start to learn. Eventually, you get pretty good at it. You get way better at the martial art, than you ever thought you could be, and you get to this point where you’re a green belt, which is kind of about 9 months to a year, maybe a year and a half into the study, and you earn your green belt. Now you’re in a position where you say to yourself, “Wow, I know more now, than I ever thought I would know. I can kick and punch and jump and do things better than I ever thought I could.”

But it doesn’t get easier from there, it actually starts to get harder. The tests and the forms and the, ya know different maneuvers they ask you to execute, they’re not easy like they were in the white belt & yellow belt days. Now they become harder and harder, and so what many green belts would do, as it got harder they’d say “You know what? I’m already way better, way more skilled, than I ever thought I was gonna be. So I’m gonna Quit”, or “I don’t need to put myself through anymore of this hardship, any more of this difficult stuff, because I’m already really good, so I don’t need to learn anymore” or “What more is there for me to learn?” and they drop out.

They don’t progress and as I’ve gone throughout my life, I’ve seen that in different fields of endeavor, whether it was with firearms or whether it was in physical training or whatever. People got better than they ever thought they were gonna be because they were a beginner, and then it gets really hard or incrementally harder, so the little devil gets up on their shoulder and says “You know what? You’re already pretty good. Why are you torturing yourself, why are you trying to work harder, why are you making things more difficult? Wouldn’t it be easier just to rest where I am?” and that’s what excuses do, excuses say “Hey, I’m pretty good where I’m at right now. I mean I’m not starving to death, I’ve got a house and I’ve got something to drive back & forth to work, or “I’m actually farther ahead now than I ever thought I was gonna be, so I’m pretty good.”

Now there may be a Reason, that you’re not advancing, there may be a reason why you haven’t reached the next level. But Reasons are reasonable and genuine and true answers, Excuses are soft, and those are the things we offer ourselves. So the next time you are confronted by a situation where you need to make a choice, you need to ask yourself, am I allowing myself to accept excuses, or are these genuine reasons? That’s all part of the grow thing and, quite frankly folks, you know it, I know it, we all know it. If you’re a mom or a dad, you don’t accept excuses from your kids, or at least you shouldn’t. If you don’t accept excuses from your kids, you shouldn’t be making them for yourself either.

Excuses and Reasons are not the same thing, they’re not interchangeable. Alright thank you very much for joining us for today’s Morning Mindset, and I look forward to talking to you again, real soon.


♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫


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