No Excuses

[June 1, 2022]  Don’t make excuses.  No excuses.  If you have an obligation, have given your word, or there is an expectation you are to do something, there is no excuse for failing at the goal.  Those that make excuses have failed twice, first not getting done what they were supposed to get done, and second, they are telling us that they were not ready when they should have been ready.

“The dog ate my homework.” – Anonymous school kid

It doesn’t make a difference if I believe your excuse.  It doesn’t matter if your dog really did eat your homework.  It’s irrelevant if you don’t have the time (a matter of priorities) or if you forgot (a sign of naïveté).  I believe you.  It’s just that I don’t care about your excuses for not doing what you need to do.  And, please don’t blame someone else or something else.  I can see those obstacles because I have the same ones.

The Boy Scouts have it right, ‘be prepared.’  That means having a vision of what you want to accomplish and planning accordingly.  Have a backup plan too (a sign of experience and maturity).  Ever see people who are always early to a meeting?  They consider the little obstacles in life that get in their way to the meeting and figure out that by departing early to the meeting, they can still be held up by an obstacle and yet arrive on time.  That is a skill we should all consider.

Making excuses helps keep you stuck in the same old ways.  Excuses give us reasons to explain to ourselves that we aren’t good enough.  Ouch!  We all have wishes and dreams.  We all have good ‘intent’ to get the job done.  However, the reality is that making excuses puts you in the way of your goals; excuses are an easy out.

Excuses keep us in limbo, not getting what we want or becoming who we could be.  It takes a lot of work, proper planning, hard work, being honest to yourself (and others), and the guts not to let the obstacles in life get in your way.  That’s how you can reject those excuses that are holding you back.

Take ownership of your own life.  Never make excuses.  Others can see why you failed.  Stop whining about it.  Complaining only shows you are inadequate.  Grit your teeth and move out.  Oh, and never ever ever accept failure or defeat.


Please purchase my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “No Excuses

  1. Colleen Ramirez

    This is exactly what makes it worthwhile to study leadership. There may be a very small number of us who know that ‘no excuses’ is the right thing but others have to have it pounded into them. I’m one of the latter. But I KNOW that giving excuses is a public display of failure.

  2. Eye Cat

    Classic: “The dog ate my homework.” – Anonymous school kid. Sounds like people who work for me. Give ’em a trophy for finishing last. We wouldn’t want to hurt their inny bitty feelin’s, would we.

    1. Newbie in Seattle

      Eye Cat, I didn’t get what you were saying on my first read, but I read it a second time and nearly spit my coffee out my nose. Good one!

  3. Pumpkin Spice

    No excuses. I agree. But talking to young people today and trying to tell them about this idea is like arguing with a pig (and we know what happens then).

  4. Wild Bill

    Be prepared. There’s a lot to this slogan that is simply overlooked.

    1. Max Foster

      Yes, and that is why the Boy Scouts spend years teaching the boys how to be prepared for any situation and the details on how to overcome those very problems. This is why the BSA was so successful and because they had men teach boys the right way. Now, the Boy Scout organization (now just called Scouts) has drifted away from several of their core values and tenets and allowed the removal of God and allowing girls in (with lower standards of advancement). That’s a shame. Another great organization destroyed by Political Correctness.

  5. Valkerie

    Another excellent article by General Satterfield. Hey, sir, thanks! I’ll be putting this one out for my buddies to read when I go back to work next week. Like I tell them, “There are no excuses for failure.”

  6. Army Captain

    This is basically my motto when I was a Lieutenant. It doesn’t always work however, so be aware of the downside to thinking this way. Often, there is legit excuses for not getting the mission accomplished. The enemy always has a vote.

    1. Dern McCabe

      Yes, good point Army Captain. I think the idea here refers mostly to common everyday, civilian interaction with our family and friends. Perhaps marginally less so at the workplace or certainly not in the military where chaos is a fact of everyday events.

  7. Joe Omerrod

    Hey Harry, read the Daily Favorites in Gen. Satterfield’s blog today. The article, “How it became taboo to tell your kid ‘good job’.” Says a lot about this. It’s about how academics who know nothing about children are creating an ideology on how to raise kids.
    And see this website’s three part series on Children learning leadership.

    1. Harry Donner

      Thanks Joe, will do. Yep, lots of nutty stuff out there that we should largely ignore.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        It’s always best to get another opinion. Yep, and we get it here with Gen. Satterfield in his excellent blog. I’m a regular reader.

      2. KenFBrown

        This is just the very reason I keep coming back to this website. You can get other info without the normal craziness of Twitter (or should I say stupidity).

        1. Dead Pool Guy

          You’re spot on with your comment Ken. Too many folks believe one size fits all and that a workable solution works every time. We know, being older, that this is what experience teaches. Thanks.

    2. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Joe, good to remind folks about the DAILY FAVORITES part of this website and there are other tabs that we can go to for more info on a range of topics. One of them is the book that Gen. Satterfield wrote and we should all purchase. ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq,’ a classic. And, leave a review on Amazon if you would for him. That helps establish the book as something that is read regularly by the public.

  8. Harry Donner

    I tell my kid that and it’s like talking to a rock. 👀

    1. Marx and Groucho

      Or wrestling with a pig. Oink Oink … I love to get dirty. And that is exactly the result.

      1. Audrey

        Good one, Marx and Groucho. Thanks for making me laugh a bit.


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