Pakistan: The Role of Excuses in Our Lives

This article was last updated on June 18, 2022

Why isn’t Pakistan as successful as India, or most of the other countries? We all know the answer because we have been making it from our childhood. The nation was faced with formidable problems, the British gave us a raw deal, and the Indians tried every trick possible at the time of partition to make us fail. But why are we personally not as successful as the person we idealize and admire? We know the answer there as well. This other person had much more advantages in his childhood that we had: his father was rich who could afford to send him to the best possible school and later to a university in the United States; his parents were educated while mine were not.
 
These are ploys used by our mind not to deliver. If used constantly, these excuses may become part of our personality and a chronic evasion of responsibility. If used extensively, you would appreciate that they may prevent you from understanding your own problems and thus could act as a hurdle to a healthy change in personality.
 
We all use excuses to a degree in our lives. But we should know when it becomes a problem. If you tell your parents that you cannot go to school because you are not feeling well when actually the reason for your avoiding school is a nasty guy constantly ridiculing you, you should know that you have a problem. If you avoid going to social gatherings because you feel that people make fun of you for the way you dress, or the way you speak, then the excuse may eventually be quite destructive.
 
The problem can be gauged by the frequency; coming up with an excuse once in a blue moon is not going to hurt but if it is frequent or constant, then one definitely has a problem.
 
Chronic excuse making may also be a sign of a sensitive soul who feels that a single failure may destroy her personality. Resultantly, such a person avoids situations where there is a slight chance of a failure and she is obviously never at fault.
 
The problem with such an approach is that you are basically handicapping yourself. It is like approaching a person from the opposite sex whom you like to befriend. You cannot succeed unless you try; and if you do not make even an attempt with excuses, you may eventually see your best friend getting away with your potential heart-throb. This short-selling yourself is a pity. Instead of maximizing your potential, you are minimizing even what you have.
 
The excuses sometimes can have a double pay-off. For instance, you may complain of a severe headache before an examination or prior to your interview. Now if you do well, everybody will praise you, including yourself; and of course you have a ready-made excuse if you fail.
 
Some are in the habit of attributing their failures to others; in other words, they are never at fault. Such folks are mistrustful of others and are sensitive to criticism. They have a low self-esteem.
 
We are obviously not talking here of genuine excuses but of ploys to avoid unpleasant situations or to explain our failures. If you desire to overcome them, then one of the first things that you need to do is to acknowledge your habit of making excuses.
 
Once you acknowledge that you have this problem, the next step is to work on your weaknesses. You may try to strengthen those skills for which you have been making excuses. If it is an area where you cannot do much, then you should take responsibility for your weaknesses. We cannot excel in everything in this world. Some can speak well; others can write nicely; some can act beautifully; others can paint. But no one can do all.
 
While I was seven or eight years old, I once went to a friend’s place and saw four chawanis (25 paisa coins) lying on his dining table. I put them in my pocket and started playing with him. The friend’s mother came to both of us and told us about the missing coins. She asked us to pull-out our pockets. The coins fell on the floor; and my excuse was that somebody must have put them in my pocket. Flimsy excuse but we all should recognize if we are coming up with a flimsy excuse simply to cover our weaknesses, or to avoid a disagreeable situation, or it is not really an excuse but a genuine inability.

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