“No SIR, that is not an excuse, SIR.” The Marine looked straight ahead, his face turning red. His superior was not pleased with the fact that he had offered an excuse for being late. As his teacher, I thought the excuse was plausible. He’d hurt his ankle on his fifteen mile, 5:00 a.m. run, and had to go to the infirmary to get it wrapped. However, he was late to class, and his superior was reinforcing their commitment to a “no excuses” mentality.
This occurred the summer that I taught a group of Marines at Camp Pendleton in San Diego California, after graduating from college. The teaching position was to help those Marines that needed their GED to stay in the Corps. I’m not sure they do this anymore, but at the time I told most of the guys had been given a choice of jail or boot camp, and I think some of those guys temporarily wished they had chosen jail for the first few months. These were the troubled kids that were used to mouthing off, and now they couldn’t even claim a sprained ankle as an excluse for being late. By the end if that summer, however, these trouble makers were proud of themselves, and most told me that they were doing things they never thought possible. They transitioned from boys to men in just a few short months, and I think “no excuses” had something to do with it.
Their commitment changed my behavior as well. The time I was late to class because I rode a one-speed bicycle each day for several miles (and over significant hills) provided my first chance to exhibit my no excuses commitment. After blowing a tire on the last hill and having to push my bike the last half-mile. I’m sure they wished I would shower or something, but I walked straight to the front of the class with my hair sopping wet. I stood in front of them and said “I’m late, and I offer no excuses. I won’t be late again.” And I wasn’t, because I left earlier and padded my time in case another tire blew. Better yet, I arranged for a truck full of Marines that passed me every morning (and grunted their encouragement as I went up the hills on my one-speed) to pick me up at the half-way point. They’d load me and my bike on the bike of their truck and I’d make it to class in plenty of time.
We make excuses when we:
Just listen to these definitions for the word excuse:
I believe that a huge element of improving and changing your life begins with a rule of no excuses. Take responsibility for where you are, for where you want to go, and for getting there. Many of you have seen the video below, but watch it again. Here’s a guy who, like the Marines I encountered, accepts no excuses for doing what he wants to do.
Follow our No Excuses week on:
No excuses leads to courageous lives like the one you’re about to watch. Let’s all take one step closer to having this kind courage to change by offering no excuses for one week![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbEKUeMnibw[/youtube]