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Why People Make Up Excuses

Written by: Rachael Burgess, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Rachael Burgess

Humans have a tendency to make excuses, which frustrate and confuse others. It’s not always bad though, as making excuses is a common thing, though it’s crucial to understand why people do this. Throughout this article, we'll look at why people make up excuses and how they can affect their lives. Let’s also explore the underlying motives and the psychology behind it.

two women arguing, woman in blue gesture hand no excuses

The nature of excuses

Excuses prevent people from taking responsibility for their actions or inaction. Explanations are often fabricated to justify failures, avoid consequences, or shift blame. Although excuses come in different forms, they all have the same purpose: to get out of owning up to your actions. It's because excuses let people externalize blame and shift responsibility to other people. When they are no longer in control, it can provide a sense of comfort and security. Excuses can also protect people from guilt and embarrassment, allowing them to avoid feelings of guilt. For instance, if someone fails a test, they may make excuses such as "I didn't have enough time to study" to avoid feeling guilty about not studying even though they had plenty of time.

Why we use “The Excuse Book”

Fear of failure and rejection

It's easy to make excuses to protect yourself when you fall short of expectations or face criticism. It's a way to keep people's self-esteem up and avoid feeling ashamed or inadequate by giving them a seemingly valid reason. And when people try to maintain positive relationships and avoid potential conflicts, they can make excuses too. It keeps their self-image intact and their relationships intact, without having to deal with the consequences of their mistakes.

Controlled by external forces

People with no sense of control think they're victims. They attribute their successes or failures to external factors such as luck, fate, or other people's actions. It's easy to make excuses with this mindset since individuals can blame external forces instead of taking responsibility for their choices.

Preserving self-esteem

A positive self-image is a fundamental human need, and making excuses can help you do that. Whenever we face unfavorable outcomes or mistakes, we create excuses to protect our egos. Their failures are attributed to external factors or uncontrollable circumstances, so they don't feel bad about themselves.

Breaking the cycle of excuse-making

Even though making excuses can help temporarily, it doesn't help you grow. To break the excuse-making habit, you have to be self-aware, accountable, and committed. Here are some steps you can take to break the cycle:

  • Acknowledgment: Recognize the pattern of making excuses and its negative impact on personal growth.

  • Ownership: Accept responsibility for your actions and consequences without shifting blame onto others.

  • Growth Mindset: Embrace a growth mindset that values learning from mistakes and failures as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  • Self-Reflection: Engage in self-reflection to identify underlying fears, insecurities, or limiting beliefs that contribute to excuse-making.

  • Alternative Strategies: Replace excuses with proactive problem-solving approaches and effective communication to address challenges or setbacks.

By breaking free from the habit of excuse-making, individuals can foster personal accountability, enhance relationships, and achieve greater success in various aspects of their lives.


People make excuses for a variety of reasons. Fear of failure, external control, and preserving self-esteem are all common causes. Despite offering temporary relief, excuses stop you from growing and being accountable. The best way to break the cycle of excuse-making is to acknowledge the damaging effects of excuse-making and take proactive steps to break it. In my experience, excuses are nothing more than our egos and negative thoughts holding us back. Change will happen if you really want it. Excuses don't fit into a better life. If you wanted to start that new business, go for that dream job, or learn something new, then don’t let excuses hold you back! Because if you really want something, you won't whine about it. It has to be a factual reason, not an excuse.

Remember, embracing accountability and adopting a growth mindset is essential for personal development and success. Let go of excuses, take ownership of your actions, and improve, always.

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Rachael Burgess Brainz Magazine

Rachael Burgess, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rachael Burgess has been an inspiring entrepreneur for more than 20 years. At the age of 24, she has been serving more than 10,000 customers with her successful cake business, Rachael's DesignaCake. In Australia, she was a consistent small business champion state winner in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Rachael Burgess is not an ordinary entrepreneur. She struggled with dyslexia and became independent at the age of 18. She has faced grief, a 6-year divorce settlement, toxic family members, being a single mom of 4, and even more. But that doesn't stop her from pursuing her passion of helping others who may have gone through the same experiences or even worse. Now, she is a passionate Business and Spiritual coach.



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