President Obama and the end of excuses
Armstrong Williams | 5/31/2013, 12:38 p.m.
It is inevitable that we all make excuses. The biggest problem with excuses is that we use them to pass the blame to anyone but ourselves.
"It wasn't me."
"I didn't see the stop sign."
"I didn't grow up with a father."
On and on and on.
The differences between people who succeed and those who fail is that losers look for excuses and winners look for reasons. I know some are wondering what the difference is. Looking for reasons for failure means you look at how something went wrong and, most importantly, what you yourself did wrong. You then learn from that mistake and try not to repeat it the next time. Then you project that idea out to others.
What are the unsuccessful people doing over and over that I can avoid? What are the prosperous people doing that I can emulate? It seems so simple, but over and over again I hear excuses coming from many in the Black community.
"I can't succeed because of a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow."
"The system is keeping me down."
"Selling drugs is the only way I can pay for my family."
On and on and on.
I may be hard on the president, mainly because we differ greatly on political ideology, but I must give him all due respect for the commencement speech he gave at Morehouse College. He laid it bare and told the students of the historically Black all-male school that there are no more excuses.
Many of the graduates came from broken homes, neighborhoods and communities. They had every deck stacked against them and every excuse to fall into a cycle of crime, prison and absentee fatherhood; yet they did not.
They made a choice to work harder, to be their best self. They were determined to become winners.
And standing before them was a perfect example of why we have no real reason we cannot succeed--the president himself. A man who those embracing victimhood said could never exist: a Black president.
Simply put, President Barack Obama represents the end of excuses and victimization culture.
I thought the following passage of the president's speech this weekend was telling.
"We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a Black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is there's no longer any room for excuses."
He noted that in today's global market place, we are competing against millions in China and India who came from less, are facing greater odds and are scrambling for fewer opportunities than anyone born in the U.S. They overcame, as did previous generations of African-Americans.
He also quoted the following fraternal creed: "Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness."