Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Reason and an Excuse

"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."
--George Washington Carver

I'm not a very good tennis player.  If you watched me play for a while you might become confused as to whether I'm actually playing tennis, golfing, playing baseball, or a combination of the three. However, during the summer, I do have fun and get to spend time with my family while playing (or attempting to play) tennis.  

There are always at least two perspectives from which we can look at every circumstance and opportunity in our lives.  To everything there is a reason and an excuse.  The human mind is extremely capable, and can think of either depending on what you want to do.

My mother is a former U.S. Army sergeant (an E-5, known by friends as The Enforcer).  In the army she was trained to say, "No excuse drill sergeant!"  As sweet a lady as she is, she's always expected the same from her children: no excuses.  

It's easy to blame circumstances and other people for our failures and shortcomings, but we hurt ourselves when we do so.  It's easy to excuse ourselves from trying, but we often don't realize what we're missing out on.  Only when we are willing to take responsibility for our own actions and faults, regardless of the circumstances, do we empower ourselves to make progress.

82 comments:

  1. So true, Bethany! I believe people are capable of doing anything if they put their mind in the right place.. Great post, enjoy your day!

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    1. The Bible does say all things are possible to those who believe! Have a great day as well.

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  2. Great post, Bethany. A positive attitude brings about positive results.

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  3. Love your photo, Bethany.
    Very true the quote and your words too.
    Have a nice week. :)

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  4. This makes me think of the quote: "If you are not willing to try no one can help you. If you are willing to try, no one can stop you!"

    Tennis can be fun. The rest of my family is very good at it and I myself have taken at least five years of classes...I still play horribly. :) Keep trying!

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    1. Great quote, Kelpie! 5 years of classes takes dedication! :)

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  5. There is so much truth here, Bethany. I think sometimes we fail to try something because in our mind we have already failed. Great post! xo Diana

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    1. You're right. I notice that sometimes even in my chess games; if I think the situation is hopeless, I usually miss the right move or solution.

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  6. you go, girl! your mother must be a powerful force. :)

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  7. That is so true - your mother taught you right. There are so many people who blame others or circumstances or whatever when they fail. While sometimes this may be the case, very often it really is not. I think you are right when you say we're missing out when we always find excuses. Great post!

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  8. Very true, and it is easy to find an excuse or to blame anyone but ourselves for faults. Have a lovely day!

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  9. How did you get so smart at such a young age? :-}

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    1. Good company, good parents, a good God, plenty of chocolate and peanut butter, and abstinence from eating okra. ;)

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  10. Well said Bethany!:) My mother was like yours. She always told me that I could do anything if I tried. She would not except excuses if she thought I hadn't tried my best, but at the same time she was encouraging and filled me with confidence. That's a good picture of you "trying" to play tennis Bethany.:)

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    1. Sounds like you had the kind of mother to have! Thanks Breathtaking!

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  11. I second Ian's words. I think the answer may be good parents.

    I was taught that with hard work, persistent and a good education anything is possible and that primarily, we alone are responsible for the outcome.

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  12. Very true the quote and your words too.
    Beautiful picture that you are play tennis.

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  13. It is better to try and fail than to not try at all. That's my motto. Keep playing tennis - as long as you're having fun, that's all that matters.

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  14. Wonderful post, Bethany, and such an important reminder. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Happy Monday to you!

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  15. Great thoughts Bethany, very true. Thanks for sharing, hope you are having a great day.

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  16. What a thought-provoking post, Bethany! I agree.

    Some schools believe that getting angry at someone else, when we fail at something, is an invitation for trouble; for, the person we get angry at might be an enlightened person and we may not know it. It takes practice not to get angry and I am in the Kindergarten as far as that area goes.

    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

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    1. Anger should definitely be avoided--at least in most circumstances. Self control is a good virtue to have. Have a beautiful day as well!

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  17. Very true, and good for your Mom! I think parents who always make excuses for their kids do them such a disservice! I like your photo too!

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  18. Who is a player, you think too much. And the player just carriers on.

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    1. I think over-thinking must come as a side-effect of years of chess playing. In chess if I don't think over every possible thing that could go wrong, ponder what tactics my opponent has up his sleeve, and look at the situation from every angle, I'm soon in big trouble. Sometimes though, I may take it too far in other aspects of life. Once in a while I even catch myself over-thinking the problems of over-thinking! ;)

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  19. What an important reminder and encouragement! And I love the way you opened this post. I love to play tennis, too, and what you said made me smile because I too have the look of playing baseball sometimes when I am playing tennis, haha. I always hit the ball far too hard and it goes out into the parking lot (embarrassing).

    Great post, Bethany!!

    Have a wonderful day :)
    ~Jazzmin

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    1. It's comforting to hear I'm not alone--though it sounds like you have some serious muscles! ;)

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  20. A great post Bethany! Reminding us all to press on in life!

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  21. That is very true Bethany! I used to play tennis, but not so much anymore.

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  22. My parents always say this to me and my brother, but when they make up excuses, the rules don't apply to them! It's so nice to play tennis! I'm not taking an gym courses at my school, but next year I may end up signing up for it (I've really wanted to do it after some time of not play it).

    xoxo Morning

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  23. I am so glad that you your mom has raised you to not give excuses, but to do your best the first time. My maternal grandmother had a saying that is etched in my deepest roots..."If something is worth doing, then it is worth doing right the first time." It was great to have a post from you, friend.

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    1. That is a good way to look at it. Nevertheless, I make plenty of mistakes...way too many! Someone once said, "If at first you don't succeed, try again." And I try to do that. Always is so much better to get it right the first time though!

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  24. Bethany, I love your wise, witty and wonderful posts! What truth!

    Your mom sounds like a neat lady.

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  25. Good thoughts Bethany! I tend to be a person who is embarrassed to do new things/things I now I'm bad at. There are times when it pays off though. :)

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    1. True. Nearly all of us are bad at doing something when we first start; it takes practice to get better. Now I just need to muster enough courage to give ice-skating a try this winter...I have a feeling I'm going to be quite the sight!

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  26. great post, Bethany.
    you are a very wise and insightful young lady!

    thanks always for your visits and thoughtful comments.

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    1. Thank you, Margie! I enjoy reading your poetry.

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  27. Well said friend! I love stopping by here to hear the messages that you share! Happy week to you!! Nicole xo

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  28. Great post and good words to live by! -Thanks-

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  29. Your mother is very encouraging and wise.

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  30. At times I think my kids think I'm a drill sergeant as well! Especially when it comes to chores!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  31. i am always trying new things, always learning!!! i don't want to get to the finish line with a long bucket list!!! a really cute picture of you :)

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    1. Thanks Debbie! Yes, there are so many things to do and learn before we get there!

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  32. Great picture, I can't wait for summer! Very inspiring post. :)

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    1. Thanks Jill! I'm looking forward to it as well!

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  33. Beth, I love being inspired by you. You are such a great writer. Liuba x

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    1. Aw, thanks Liuba! Love to see your posts as well!

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  34. I can definitely relate to not being terribly skilled at sports--though I've tried badminton far more often than tennis (badminton is often the sport of choice in this region).
    It's good to learn the lesson early on to not waste time and energy blaming outside circumstances--many people spend their whole lives not realizing that they best choice they can make is to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

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  35. I hang back a bit at trying new things...I am not sure if it fear of failure..or fear of embarrassment ! Great post.

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  36. Great advice. It's easy not to follow it, but it's good.

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  37. Bethany, I like to look at your blog and read what you write. I regret that I have little time for it.
    Yours :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Life can be busy sometimes!

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  38. Hi Bethany, When I first starting reading this post it reminded me of a story I heard on the Evening News this past week. (Now you KNOW I'm and OLD guy.) Well, there was this picture of a dress ... the picture went viral on the web ... people who looked at it couldn't agree ... was the dress white and gold ... or blue and black? People saw it one way or the other but simply could not all agree which it was. They figured out later it might all depend on the illumination when you looked at it and how your individual brain perceived it. To carry that over to your post ... we need to be careful about what we think is truth. And, only when we know the truth, will we know that what you said, at the end of your post, is exactly right ... "Only when we are willing to take responsibility for our own actions and faults, regardless of the circumstances, do we empower ourselves to make progress." Always enjoying your posts! John

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    1. Right on--and good illustration! I saw that picture as well, and found it confusing since the first time I looked at it, it would be white and gold, and the next time blue and black. Truth can be hard to find, and there is a lot of falsehood that pretends to be truth. But as Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." He is the way, the truth, and the life, and He will help us find truth in our own lives.

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  39. Very wise words! I am glad you try to play tennis even if you don't feel like you are very good. It's always the effort that matters. And, as you say, the determination!

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    1. I had a friend who always used to quote her sister-in-law, "Determination gets you there!" It's not everything, but it does count for something.

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  40. Such a cute picture of you, Bethany! And as always, your words ring true. I admit to having given up on tennis but I will play badminton if there's an opportunity. Truthfully, our days are full of adventures that include lots of activities that I'm not very good at, so I guess you could say I pick my battles :)

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