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Excuses, excuses. No excuses!

How to Purge the Excuse-Manufacturing Machine Right Out of Your Life

accountability Sep 23, 2020

Avoiding a cruel fate

Last week one of my writing students came up with a creative way to avoid a fate she feared would suck her down. In the 8-week online course Tiffany Kim is currently enrolled in, under certain circumstances students can request an extension. She badly wants to stick to the program and graduate successfully, so she wanted to make sure she wouldn't give herself that kind of out.

The solution she came up with was so smart and funny, I asked her if I could publish it on the blog. My thanks to Tiffany for being such a good sport.

Watch out! Excuses Overdosing on Steroids

Published with permission from Tiffany J. Kim

I am a master at self-sabotage, so I decided to have some fun and turn this darned thing right on its head. I'm going to promise myself right here and now that I'm going to do the work and graduate on time. In order to do that, though, I'm going to purge the excuse-manufacturing machine from my life.

The best way to break something is to let it run. Turn the crank to maximum power until it runs itself out, and shudders to a halt.

Without further ado then, here are the most outlandish reasons and excuses I could come up with in one sitting.

1. I found out that I was exchanged at birth and my biological mother (who lives in a country without Internet and telecommunication technology) wanted to see me so we had a family reunion and I got so drunk on happiness and vodka that I forgot all about the class until now, which is about six weeks after graduation, but please, I need an extension because I would like to finish. Really!

2. I signed up for a clinical trial and I now am unable to type because it warped my sense of touch and everything under my fingers feels like cotton, so I couldn't type anything, much less figure out where any of the home row keys were. It must also have affected my mind because that feels like cotton, too, and I can't even remember where this submission form is, so someone else had to put this in for me.

3. I am being chased by the Mafia because I robbed a bank in my former life and they wanted the money I had, so I had to flee the country and change my name and find a computer that wouldn't be able to track me.

4. I was abducted by aliens and gee! I can't even remember what time it is, much less what day. Creative writing class? What creative writing class? Did I ever enroll?

5. I was taken prisoner by a gang of criminals who held me hostage and harvested my kidney, so now I'm recuperating from the “surgery.”

6. There was an explosion of subatomic particles from the Sun that hit my house in just the right way so the Grid completely collapsed (yes, really! But just in my house, nowhere else, that's why you didn't hear about it on the news). So anyway, the Grid collapsed, I had no access to electricity, no way to reach out for help, so Edison hasn't been able to come assess the problem till now.

7. I was hanging out at the park and I ended up being spotted by a talent scout and he said I'd make an amazing star in a movie, so I ended up getting swept up into the arms of Hollywood so that's why I can't finish the course on time. But don't worry! I'm going to make millions on this movie, so I'll be able to pay for it a billion times over and take all the time I need.

8. I went on a hunger strike because I wanted to protest my town's decision to use our taxpayer dollars to build a teleportation device. Then, because I didn't have food, I was taken to the hospital and force-fed on my favorites (ice cream and pizza), but it took me so long to regain my health that I couldn't graduate on time.

So, yeah, definitely not planning to ask for an extension.

Now it's your turn

See how it's done? And see how fun it can be? Tiffany has pioneered the way for the rest of us. Now it's your turn to purge that excuse-manufacturing machine right out of your life.

P.S. If you do this liberating exercise and you'd like to share it with me, go to my Contact page and email it my way.