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Push Off Flaws, Be Less Productive: How To Stop Making Excuses

The self-serving bias

It encourages you to claim your successes and to deflect your failures.

When something good happens, you take the credit, but when something bad happens, you blame it on something out of your control.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Push Off Flaws, Be Less Productive: How To Stop Making Excuses

Push Off Flaws, Be Less Productive: How To Stop Making Excuses

https://blog.trello.com/stop-making-excuses-less-productive

blog.trello.com

4

Key Ideas

Excuse-making

It's a defense mechanism you use in the battle between your positive self-identity and the common challenges of everyday life.

This habit comes down to an inherent need to protect your ego.

The self-serving bias

It encourages you to claim your successes and to deflect your failures.

When something good happens, you take the credit, but when something bad happens, you blame it on something out of your control.

Common types of excuses

  • Lies: This is one of the worst types of excuses—a straight-up lie.
  • Self-handicapping excuses: Such as “I don’t have the skills to do that”, or “That’s not my job.”
  • Blame-shifting excuses: Instead of putting the blame on your lack of abilities, you accuse external factors for your missteps or lack of performance.

Hold yourself accountable

... in the face of easy excuses:
  • Figure out exactly why you are making them. 
  • Build better brain habits. Excuse-making is a subconscious process, and breaking a habit requires conscious effort.
  • Set realistic expectations so you can structure your time and energy to complete tasks without feeling the need to make excuses.
  • Track your progress.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. 

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When you are comparing yourself to others, you are probably only seeing part of the whole picture.

If you are making an excuse not to try something new, because you are comparing yourself to others who are experts in the field, remember that they were also inexperienced at some stage.

Stop fearing the unknown

The unknown can be scary, but it may not be a negative thing. Many good things can come from taking a step into the unknown.

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Defining excuses

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events, and circumstances. 

They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone taking action or simpl...

The Fear Trap

We make excuses for the following key reasons:

  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Embarrassment
  • Fear of Success
  • Fear of Change
  • Fear of Uncertainty
  • Fear of Responsibility
  • Fear of Making Mistakes
  • Perceived lack of confidence or resources
To successfully eliminate excuses we must first consider removing all traces of fear. Fear paralyzes us and prevents forward movement in all areas of our lives.
'There’s just not enough time'
This excuse means a lack of desire, focus, discipline, and direction.
It suggests the wrong priorities or time management problems. It could also indicate laziness or procrastination.

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Ask "Is This True?"

An excuse is often masking the real, but hidden reason you're avoiding doing something.

If you catch yourself making an excuse, ask yourself if it is true, to discover what lies behind the ex...

Reflect On Your Excuses

At the end of each day, take a few minutes to look back on the excuses made that day, and try to figure out why you made them. 

Look for better ways to approach them.

Find People To Call You Out

Surround yourself with people who will hold you responsible for your excuses. 

Find someone who will check in on you each day to ensure you met your goals.

Excuses Breed More Failure

When you are disappointed, you have two choices on how to respond:  You can find out how you could have done it differently, or you can tell yourself that you were not at fault.

Personal Responsibility Breeds Success

Making excuses allows you to externalize your failures and blame something else. It also demotivates you when you feel the outcomes in your life are out of your control.

Taking up responsibility does the opposite: It leads to introspection where you can analyze what you could have done differently. It will motivate you to work better and harder.

How To Stop Making Excuses

It all comes down to the stories you tell yourself when you feel overwhelmed or fail.

If you work too much and don’t have time for fun, do you tell yourself that people demand too much from you? Or, do you tell yourself you don’t prioritize your own time well enough?

In one story you are in control, and the other you are not. Focus on the story you can control.

“Change” means changing your identity
“Change” means changing your identity

It’s one thing to say, “I want to start going to the gym weekly.” It’s another to say, “It’s time to change and become the type of person who goes to the gym weekly.”

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There is no such a thing as a "gym person"

There are just people who go to the gym.

Similarly, there’s no such thing as a “productive person.” There are just people who do productive things fairly often.

Keep your “self” out of your decisions

Think of your life as a long sequence of actions and decisions.

Just ask yourself, “Is this a good thing to do?” If the answer is Yes, go do it.

Types Of People Who Blame
  • People who can always find something else to blame.
  • People who blame themselves for everything, even when they’ve had nothing to do with an unfortunate outcome.
  • People who blam...
Why People Blame Themselves

This isn’t just false modesty or fishing for reassurance; some people do believe that they cause every bad thing all or most of the time.

Blaming yourself when something goes wrong might, relates to a general tendency to make internal attributions for failure in which you see yourself as inept, foolish, or irresponsible. That tendency might motivate you to attribute your successes to external factors, such as fate, chance or luck, as well. 

Blame And Consequence

Theoretically, anyone who intentionally practices an immoral act is culpable regardless of the consequences. But in most cases, people sign up for what is called “moral luck”.

Moral luck is the belief that you should hold someone to blame only if the action causes harm to others, not for their intent, and according to it, those whose actions bring harm are more culpable.

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Destination Goals

While we set our personal goals, we make the common mistake of setting a 'destination goal', focusing on the end result,  without considering the hardships and daily challenges.

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Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

How to figure out a Life Direction? Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What energizes me?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • When do I feel the happiest?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What kind of places or people inspire me to strive for more?
Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

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Failure Is Inevitable

Most of us fail in our endeavors at some point in our lives, whether it's a New Year's resolution or a health goal you are working on. These setbacks make us human, not a failure.

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Schedule Your Habits

Schedule your habits by giving them a specific space in your daily waking hours. You can put it in your calendar, or link it to your current behavior patterns. 

Create a system around your existing life to incorporate the new habit.

Stick to Your Schedule

Even doing something small towards your goal can help build a daily routine.

Example: Instead of skipping the morning jog entirely due to lack of time, one can jog for a few minutes.

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What causes bad habits

Most of the time, bad habits are simply a way of dealing with stress and boredom.

Everything from biting your nails to overspending on a shopping spree to drinking every weekend to ...

"Benefits" of bad habits

All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life because they provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.

And because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit.

How to break a bad habit
  • Choose a substitute for your bad habit
  • Cut out as many triggers as possible. 
  • Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and avoid negative self-talk.
  • Plan for failure and find things that can help you bounce back when you make a mistake.