Stanford professor Bernard Roth on Success: Stop giving reasons for everything.
I believe this.
According to Roth, we'd be happier and more successful if we stopped giving reasons for everything.
In the book, he uses a personal example: Earlier in his career, he was consistently late for a particular board meeting. Each time he showed up tardy, he would explain that he got stuck in horrendous traffic.
Eventually, he realized that the real reason for his lateness was that he didn't see the meeting as a high priority in his life. So he wouldn't hesitate to answer a few more emails and make some last-minute phone calls before he left.
Once he came to that realization, however, he would make a point of leaving 10 minutes earlier — and he always made it there on time.
Here's another example: Roth once spoke with a professor in one of his workshops who claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family, but he was too busy at work.
Yet when Roth pressed him for details about his daily activity, it became obvious that the professor wasted a lot of time at work and then socialized with colleagues afterward.
He ended up looking "macho" by going home later than everyone else and attracting sympathy for not being able to spend more time with his family.
"Clearly," Roth writes, "he had made a choice, and being too busy at work was, of course, bulls--- as a reason. This was immediately obvious to everyone in the workshop, yet it took me a full half hour to get a glimmer of recognition out of him."
The problem, Roth says, is that our justifications are often lies to ourselves.
"Reasons are often just excuses," he writes. "We use them to hide our shortcomings from ourselves. When we stop using reasons to justify ourselves, we increase our chances of changing behavior, gaining a realistic self-image, and living a more satisfying and productive life."
One caveat: Roth says you should never tell someone else that their excuses are ridiculous. Instead, use this technique introspectively — let other people work on their own behavior.
Reasons are just excuses.
Stop giving reasons.
or just be honest
Even in being honest you don't have to give reasons for everything.