Excuses vs. Explanations

There’s a difference between excuses and explanations.  It’s a fine one, often ignored in anger or washed away in obfuscation, but it’s there.

An excuse involves something that could have been accounted for with commonsense prior proper planning.  It’s a post hoc rationalization for laziness or sloppiness.  Excuses tend to piss people off, and rightfully so.

Explanations, on the other hand, involve circumstances that no reasonable amount of foresight or planning could have helped.  Explanations are rooted in the unavoidable, in the reality that humans have great but still limited control over our environments and the workings of cause and effect around us.  No good can come from finding fault with a person offering a legitimate explanation.

A good leader therefore punishes excuses, accepts explanations, and knows the difference between the two.  A person who doesn’t see a distinction is a tyrant.


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