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Are You the Problem? Excuses vs Explanations

We live in a world where it's increasingly common and acceptable to assume no blame for your own problems. This often becomes acutely evident in athletic situations—more and more commonly, athletes are quick to point the finger for their failures, poor performance or slow progress at anything and anyone but themselves. My coach doesn't work hard enough or believe in me, the training environment isn't just right, my equipment isn't the best, my dad didn't hug me enough as a kid, whatever...

There’s an important difference between excuses and explanations, and both athletes and coaches need to understand it. Everything happens for a reason—often that reason is something YOU did or didn't do—but not always, and you need to be able to distinguish the two from each other.

An excuse is a way to assign blame outside yourself regardless of the situation and protect yourself from any accountability or guilt; an explanation is a factual description of the causes of the problem in question, which may involve a mix of factors you may or may not be responsible for.
In other words, an excuse is a way to relieve yourself of responsibility and avoid making any necessary changes. An explanation is the opposite: it’s an evaluation of the situation and an understanding of what actually happened that provides you the information necessary to make the needed changes and avoid repeating the problem.
Remember that it's a near certainty that anyone you provide an excuse to is going to have a clear view of the facts and see right through it—you're not going to fool anyone. And then not only have you not convinced anyone of this fable you've cooked up, you've shown the world that you're more focused on looking good than being good, and soon enough, no one will take you seriously even if you change your approach in the future. You’ll just be the little boy who cried not my fault.
Never make excuses; be responsible for your own mindset, choices and behavior, and seek accurate explanations so you can use them to get better.

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