The Difference Between a Reason and an Excuse

by Gary Ryan Blair

“There are a thousand excuses for every failure but never a good reason.”

Mark Twain

IF YOU’RE FEELING a little emotionally fragile, you may want to read this one later.

Or never.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I have a confession to make…

I’m pretty fed up with all the thumb suckers in this world…

I’m talking about the people who are constantly whining, complaining, rationalizing and justifying why their life is a succession of bad luck and unfinished endeavors.

I’m talking about the people who start projects but somehow never find a way to bring them to a finish…

I’m talking about the people with the highest intentions but who deliver the lowest of results

These people are more interested in arriving at success without every having to do the heavy lifting themselves.

They refuse to accept the reality that they must do their own pushups.

As creator of the 100 Day Challenge and someone who is constantly dealing with people who want to create positive change in their life (relationships, finances, career, health, appearance, attitude, lifestyle, etc.)…I hear way too many excuses.

As a rule, I have more people tell me why they can’t change than why they can.

And while I acknowledge that we all have challenges, hurdles and obstacles to navigate and negotiate along our path…in my humble opinion, most reasons (for not executing) are in fact, not reasons at all.

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They are nothing more than sad, pathetic and cheap excuses.


So, what is the difference between a Reason and an Excuse?

According to the dictionary…there’s absolutely no differentiation.

And that’s where the problem starts.

Both reason and excuse are defined as an explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

What do you say we put an end to that nonsense, right here…right now?

The fact is…there’s a HUGE difference between a reason and an excuse.

This one health related example perfectly illustrates the difference between the two.

A reason for not going for a run is, “I have a broken leg.”

An excuse is, “I don’t have the time.”

It’s sad, yet so very true…far too many people have developed an unequaled gift for making excuses in every imaginable way possible…so allow me to bottom line this one for you…

Excuses are personality defects…they are ugly character flaws; the dirty ring around the collar of your performance which carry the distinct whiff of mediocrity.

The tragedy of the average person is that they have become dependent on the deception, false belief, and unfortunately ease of use associated with making excuses.

I know of no enemy more insidious or vicious than excuses. It’s an enemy that poses a clear and present danger to your future.

Precisely because there is no textbook definition that presents a clear distinction between the two…we are left with one option:


Let’s get started.

The difference between reasons and excuses lies in the results of each…the actions that follow…the repercussions and consequences…as well as how an individual is affected by the events that cause each.

It’s what we do with each that determines the difference.

If you are the excuse making type…you have a strong tendency to view an excuse as the result of an uncontrollable event that you deem as an exoneration of your tasks, responsibilities or plans.

You see it as a legitimate justification for immunity of your sins…for revoking all that is expected of you.

A reason on the other hand is a stimulus that causes something to change or happen, giving you cause to reroute your actions and manage to stay in control of the results you wanted without turning it into an excuse.

Excuses and reasons on the surface share a similar strand of DNA…but what you do with each is what differentiates them.

Excuses are negative and irresponsible…while reasons are natural occurrences, and if acted upon they lead to responsible, results-driven behavior.

Here’s an excellent rule of thumb…every reason MUST have a resulting action.

Now that’s a point worthy of repeating…every reason must have a resulting action.

The main function of a reason is not to justify, but to explain.

Reason implies that fault is sincerely recognized and accepted….that you step up and take accountability for your actions.

An excuse exists to justify, blame or defend a fault…with the intent to absolve oneself of accountability.

An excuse will NEVER be followed by positive, goal-directed or solution-oriented behavior.

Excuses bring productivity to a screeching halt. They waste time and murder potential. They are tools of cowards, wimps and weaklings…weapons of destruction that undermine one’s reputation, credibility and future prospects. Do not associate with them. Ever.

One final thought and perhaps a warning…you can have results or excuses, not both.

Everything Counts!

Gary Ryan Blair

Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a radical approach to goal achievement that shows people how to accelerate their results, achieve 10X size goals and transform every area of their life and career — FAST.

Click here to take the free 5-part Achieve. Goals. Fast. email course!


Posted on July 18th, 2018 by Gary Ryan Blair

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