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No More Excuses

On 22, Jul 2012 | No Comments | In Productivity | By Daniel Kao

I hate excuses. Especially when people use excuses to excuse themselves from responsibility. It’s much more effective to work through whatever inadequacies you may think you have than to be crippled by an excuse for the rest of your life.

People like giving excuses cause it’s easier than learning how to overcome inadequacy. We find it easier to complain than to gain.

So today, released onto the very pages of this blog, is a big, fat, red pill. This post will contain some of the most common excuses that I hear, and how to overcome them. You’ve been warned. After reading this, do not ever use these excuses ever again.


“I suck with names” – I used to say this one all the time myself, telling people I met up front that I probably wasn’t going to remember their name. Then I realized how stupid that statement was, because I was essentially giving up the possibility of learning someone’s name by saying that. Remembering people’s names, even if you’ve only met them once, isn’t even that difficult, but most people just give up.

  • Be motivated to remember people’s names. The main reason why we don’t remember names is because we don’t care enough. If I were to tell you that you would get $100 for remembering my name, I bet you wouldn’t forget my name even if you tried.
  • Use the person’s name. It becomes easier to remember someone’s name if you say it verbally yourself.
  • Ask the person about their name. This is especially helpful if you meet someone who has a name you may not be used to. Asking them the history / meaning / spelling of their name are all ways to help you remember their name.
  • Link the face to the name. Faces are always easier to remember than names. Therefore, it helps to visualize people’s faces while trying to remember their name.


“I suck at time management / I’m too busy” – The reason why most of us have problems managing our time is because we’re used to other people managing our time for us. So when we don’t have somebody to tell us what to do, we often end up wasting a lot of time. Time management has a direct relationship with what activities you do and your motivation for doing them.

  • Learn to do things because you love to do them, not because you’re forced to. In terms of education and schoolwork, view your education as an opportunity to learn and invest into yourself, even if you may not enjoy the particular subject at hand.
  • Stay focused on the purpose behind everything you do. Looking at the bigger picture will help you stay motivated on a day to day basis, and keep you from burying your face too closely in the details.
  • Try different time management strategies. Most of us probably keep some sort of todo list somewhere, but if that isn’t enough for you, there are also tools such as Evernote and the GTD method using Evernote. The Pomodoro Technique is another strategies that a couple of my friends swear by.


“I’m not ready” – Then get ready. Whenever I hear something like this, it usually means much more than not being ready. People who use this excuse often are not even in the process of getting ready, and it actually reveals a lack of effort or determination to get ready.

  • Figure out what it means to be ready. It is always helpful to have a goal that you want to achieve. Having clear, defined goals is always the first step to scoring. It’s hard to score a goal you can’t see.
  • Take active steps to get ready. Take intentional actions in order to achieve the goal in the aforementioned step.


“I’m too lazy” – A lack of motivation will always discourage you from doing something. Strangely enough, the people who say that they are too lazy to do things are the ones that complain that they are bored. Either way, this excuse reveals a lack of motivation.

  • Decide objectively whether the action at hand is worth your time. Consider many points of view. Sometimes these actions are things that we know we should do, but we just lack the motivation to do them. Hopefully assessing the value of an action is enough to get you to stop being lazy.
  • Find motivation and accountability. If you want to do something, but often struggle with actually doing it, finding a community that you can run (metaphorically or physically) with is often the best motivation and accountability you can find. It is even more effective when the community you find is already doing the things you want to do.


“Not my fault” – Okay. Things that happen sometimes will not be your fault. But using this excuse with someone else is often pushing full responsibility onto someone else, which hopefully will turn out fine. But if you care at all, it would be smart to communicate what you know and help clear things up instead of taking the three word escape pod.

  • There is no such thing as over-communication (which is much different than repetition, aka “nagging”). If something is unclear, it is always better to verbalize what you are thinking instead of operating off of assumptions.
  • Talk directly to the person in question. Gossiping about a problem only creates false assumptions and unnecessary antagonism. If you have a problem with someone, communicate with them.


“I don’t have enough money” – Poor you. People are always complaining that they don’t have enough resources to accomplish what they want to do. But it’s stupid to complain about what you don’t have when you aren’t even utilizing what you do have.

  • Spend consciously. This is not necessarily being stingy with your money, this is about being aware of where your money is going and being sure that you are spending efficiently on what you actually need / truly care about. Prioritize the things you buy.
  • Educate yourself on how to manage your finances and be conscious with your spending. I recommend “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi.


“I’m too tired / didn’t get enough sleep” – I’ve heard this often, especially because I’ve been surrounded by overachieving Asians most of my life. This is usually a indication of poor time management or poor priority management.

  • If you wouldn’t wake up early for it, you shouldn’t stay up late for it. If you find yourself wasting time online instead of going to sleep at night, and then feeling extremely tired the next morning, it would probably be smart to consider whether your night surfing is worth your time.
  • If you’re just actually too busy, take time to reconsider the things you invest your time in, and revisit the “I’m too busy” excuse above.


“YOLO” – This is actually an excellent excuse to go on adventures.

What are other excuses you need to stop using? Let’s hear about them in the comments.

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