An excuse describes something that happened to prevent you from accomplishing a task. completing a process, or achieving an objective.
An explanation provides the reason that I did not accomplish a task, complete a process, or achieve that objective.
Knowing the difference between the two is essential to two other things: Goals and Fixes.
What task you are trying to accomplish, what process you are attempting to complete, or what overall objective you wish to achieve.
What you do to make sure you accomplish that task, complete that process, and achieve that goal.
Nothing complicated about the above, aside from our very human tendency to do the following:
1) “I gotta get to work on time.”: Fail to clearly describe the goal.
2) “I ran out of gas”: Provide only an excuse when you fail to reach your goal.
3) “I dunno …”: Ignore or provide only a partial explanation for your failure.
4) “I gotta do better tomorrow”: Do the same thing tomorrow and expect different results.
Try this instead:
The Goal: ” I will systematically drop those things which would prevent me from arriving at work on time or early, and reduce those which I cannot eliminate.”
The Excuse: “I ran out of gas”
The Explanation: “I forgot to check the gas level in the car before I took off.”
The Fix: “Until I make it second nature, I will keep a 3×5 card on my dashboard reminding me to check the gas first.”