With any success you see in life, you’ll hear excuses as to what possibly could have propelled you toward it. Even those who give you the credit you deserve will tend to couple it with some sort of explanation. They will credit your ability to focus, your ability to learn quicker than others, and your natural ability to organize information into something of value. There will be few people properly enamored by your success without adding commentary as to what may have helped you along the way. This is not a bad thing, and you shouldn’t take these comments to heart. The comments and excuses people make surrounding your success are their attempts at understanding rather than criticizing.
This article will make arguments for why you should never argue with the excuses people make for your success, and perhaps motivate you agree with them. These arguments are founded on what matters most; your growth as a human being. In order to know whether or not it’s worth arguing with those who make excuses for your success, we should analyze the ways every action you take in the face of these events affects you. It’s also worth thinking about how your actions in these circumstances influence those around you.
Your Secrets: An Exposé
Excuses for your success will seldom encompass the whole recipe of what makes you successful. The excuses others come up with are efforts to understand how you got to your position, which are often lazy in their analysis. Once you hear a lazy excuse for your success, you’ll want to respond with the truth. Should you tell this person what was actually the case on the way toward success? Your experiences may differ from what they’ve labelled as the recipe to your success, and you’ll feel a desire to correct them.
Before you do, ask yourself this: Is it worth telling them the real recipe to your success? People who make excuses for our success are those who are interested in it. This interest is motivated by a myriad of things, but competition can be one of them. Making excuses for someone else’s success can open them up to spill the beans – if you will. Forcing someone to defend against falsehoods is a more effective way of getting them to divulge sensitive information than by merely asking.
Be careful of defending your work ethic against the excuses that others make. These excuses are likely to hurt nothing other than your pride, but defending them with truth can lower your competitive advantage. Agreeing with the excuses others make for your success serves to hurt your pride, but also plays to the advantages you possess. The more inaccurate these excuses are, the more you’ll benefit from them. These inaccuracies will keep people off your tail, if you value confidentiality, and will motivate competitors to follow misinformed steps in hopes of achieving the same level of success amidst the domain which you excel in.
Where Pride Gets You
If you defend yourself against the excuses others make for your success, you will be operating on pride alone. This pride will not only give up any secrets to your work, but can hurt you in unexpected ways as well. Say you were to adamantly defend over-simplified excuses for your success in giving a presentation at work. Perhaps others have been saying that you’re a naturally gifted speaker, and that it must have not been hard for you to go up there and nail the presentation. Defending the time you spent practicing for the big day will serve to show others that these statements rung a bell.
Those who feel the need to defend excuses for their success must at least feel threatened by their potential truth. They don’t have to believe them per se, but the possibility of these excuses being valid scares them enough to try defending them, and setting the record straight. Defending these excuses successfully will equate to disproving them, thereby eliminating that small possibility of them turning out to be right. People pick up on this fear when you defend yourself. They will thereby know what buttons they need to press to get a response, and a series of these buttons will expose a general framework to catching you off guard.
Keep people guessing at how you’ve achieved success in order to maintain your competitive advantage as well as to keep the framework to your downfall hidden. Their acts of making excuses for your success should be punishment enough, as they’ll be lost on their journey to understand and mimic what you do.
In the Competitive Realm
Some competitions that you take part in may be explicit in the way they crown winners and losers. Others however, can be competitions in which the winners are not crowned and the losers are not labelled. These competitions can stem from being in healthy competition with your workout buddy who you try to out-lift in the gym, to asking the better questions during a lecture at school.
Implicit competition is often times the realm in which people measure their skills. Most people do not participate in formal competitive activities such as sports or public debates, so they will be measuring the skills that mean most to them in secrecy against others performing that skill.
Some people reading this article right now may be writers in their own right and actively analyzing the level of skill with which this article is written, then comparing it to their own. Human beings are very competitive creatures, so this is to be expected. What underlying competitions don’t have – and what formal, structured competitions do have – is a sense of acknowledgement from others at the end.
The winners and losers will know who they are at the end of a chess tournament, but won’t at the end of a competitive group training session. Everyone may go home feeling like a winner, but you should learn a tell-tale sign of when you are winning in everyday, unstructured competitions.
Explanations of Your Success
The tell-tale sign of winning a competition, if there is no formal authority to crown winners, is the action of your competitors explaining away your success. In an effort to diminish your success, your competitors will have an instinctual need to explain it away towards uncontrollable factors. A psychological survival skill, is that of shifting one’s focus on controllable factors of attaining success to the uncontrollable factors which might’ve made them lose.
If for example, the person you’re playing video games with complains about the difference in the controllers you are using, it means they are shifting the cause of their failures towards uncontrollable factors. Failure to acknowledge your skill in dominating them in competition and explaining it away with uncontrollable factors should automatically give you a sense of victory.
Do Not Dispute Their Excuses for Losing
You should not defend yourself or your skills when your opponents make these excuses for themselves. Remember that these are purely psychological survival instincts on their part. You have already won the competition. Their mentality is not yet strong enough to accept full responsibility for a loss and is giving itself an out. Accepting full responsibility for a loss, and giving you credit for a win, would mean a painful venture on their part. They would have to analyze their performance and work hard to change the outcome.
Accept the excuses that your opponents make as signs of victory on your part and never try to dispute their claims. Let them bask in the possibility that uncontrollable factors may have preventing their victory that day, and always continue working hard towards victory and controlling all the factors in your success.
It may be painful to hear your hard work be explained away by flimsy excuses by your opponents. Do not take them seriously, they are merely coverups for their loss. Feel that sense of satisfaction, and let them save face.