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Excuses, excuses, excuses.We all have them. We all use them.

They are a part of our every day lives, and are called upon when needed…

…But they can also be the death of opportunity.

The definition for the word “excuses” reads as follows:

“a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.”

Doesn’t make for very flattering reading does it?

Almost without exception, excuses are our way of letting ourselves off-the-hook, bowing out and giving up on a challenge. Perhaps even before we’ve started.

Excuses stop us achieving our dreams and hold us back from great adventures and even greater success.

But here’s the thing…

It turns out excuses also provide us with our clearest path to success.

A quick explainer…
Excuses highlight the path to success like nothing else. They home in on a target with ruthless accuracy and provide the best possible pointer to a successful outcome.

(Approx. 3 min read)

I recently read a great blog post by James Altucher entitled “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing With Excuses”. Don’t know James Altucher? Read his “About” page for a quick heads-up (hint: this guy has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt company).

In the post he hits upon a super insightful truth – your excuses lead the way to success.

In James’ words:

All my excuses turned out to be blessings in disguise. There’s always a gap between “What I have now” and “what I would like”.

The gap is all your excuses. All it takes to close the gap is to be creative and work your way through the excuses. I repeat: this is ALL IT TAKES.

Applying this to my own shortcomings has been a revelation.

Previously, I would approach a new business or creative challenge from the bottom up – build a plan of action by first considering a project’s foundations and then build up layers of complexity in order to arrive at an actionable task list. The problem with this approach though, is that sometimes the resulting task list becomes too overwhelming to manage effectively, leaving me feeling demoralised or completely unable to fulfil it. In these circumstances excuses come to the rescue and provide the perfect get-out clause to drop the idea completely and move on to something new.

A complete #FAIL, in other words.

a complete fail

Flipping it on its head and looking first for the excuses, then tackling those head-on, cuts straight to the meat of the challenge.

It goes something like this:


I want to achieve “A”.
What is stopping me from achieving it?


Well, it’s “B” that’s stopping me.
If it wasn’t for “B”, I’d already have this goal in the bag!


“B” is the real task here.
This is my new focus.

It’s beautifully simple, isn’t it?

Find a way around “B”. Or through “B”. Or discover the reason why “B” isn’t a problem after all. Make it your mission to defeat “B” and then look for the next excuse. Before long you’ll realise there’s nothing left in your way.

Typical excuses that stop you from starting a new venture:

Money Excuses

“I don’t have the money to start my business.”

Find the free resources you need. Borrow money. Attract investors. Reduce your scope and make it affordable. Find that creative workaround.

Experience Excuses

“I don’t have the right expertise or experience.”

Find the person or people who do and invite them to your project. Figure out how to attract the right talent and move straight along to the next challenge on the list.

Time Excuses

“I don’t have the free time needed to put the hours in.”

Get ruthless with your time management. There is ALWAYS time.

There’s a solution for every excuse.

Considering your excuses and overcoming them leads the way to success.


(Note – My excuse for not writing a new post for a while was that I was just way too busy… The solution: write one at 2:30am. Job done. Simple really.)

Got something to add? Agree/disagree with anything I said? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

(3D Grump Cat © Morgane Delcourt. Other images © AMC’s Breaking Bad)

Rick PalmerIs this your first time here? If so, thanks for stopping by! If you’re looking for my Tumblr blog, you can find that here. I’m a Digital Strategist, entrepreneur and Head of Digital Business at Advertising M&A, the specialist Mergers and Acquisitions consultancy exclusively for the advertising, digital, media and marketing services sectors. I am also the Founder and Editor-in-chief at advertising industry blog Inside MarComs, featuring Q&As with brilliant people in advertising and marketing, as well as Founder and Principal of Rick Palmer Consulting, offering my personal expertise to private clients. You can find out more about me by reading my biog or connecting with me on LinkedIn.

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Excuses, excuses, excuses
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Excuses, excuses, excuses
Excuses highlight the path to success like nothing else. They home in on a target with ruthless accuracy and provide the best possible pointer to a successful outcome.