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If not now, when?

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It is human nature to justify ourselves. We make excuses for our failures, for our poor behaviours, for our bad habits, for hurting others, for being selfish and for our mistakes. Half the time we fail to just be tough enough to admit we were foolish, selfish, cruel, lazy, petty or stubborn.

Instead, we create excuses.

The thing about creating excuses is that it deflects our focus from the actual problem and hinders progress. For instance, if we make a mistake at work and choose to blame our colleagues or subordinates, more time and energy will be spent discussing who is to blame instead of moving forward and coming up with a solution to counter the damage done by the mistake.

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I believe; in matters involving more than one person, it hardly happens that only one person is entirely to blame for the failure of the team at large. Most of the time there is something everyone else involved would have done to improve the situation or avoid a catastrophic incident from taking place.

And what’s worse is making excuses and blaming others for mistakes made opens up an opportunity for the same scenario to re-occur. This is because when we throw blame at others we fail to recognise where we got it wrong or what we could have done to get it right. This is why it is important to have an open and progressive mind when things go wrong or when we reckon someone else has done wrong or made a mistake.

Patterns of behaviour usually do not begin at a full blown rate; they are like a leaking roof that eventually collapses. Let us take the Cashgaters for example, if we were to ask any of them at some point if they could steal millions of Kwacha from the national coffers, they would have been appalled with the prospect and severely offended that you would ask them such a question.

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But it took tiny little steps, tiny little steps that were gradually justified. They blamed the system. They blamed poverty. They blamed chance. They blamed the friend who tempted them. They blamed poor pay. They blamed the economy. They justified their actions and blamed anyone and anything else but themselves.

Somewhere along the way this blame game created blind spots of their own wrongs, it ate away at their conscience and held their sub-conscience at ransom. Months down the line stealing became routine. The same thing they couldn’t have possibly imagined doing some months and years back.

Trust me this happens to the best of us and the rest us; we allow ourselves to slowly get swallowed up in patterns of behaviour that we initially would not imagine ourselves engaging in. We see people we look up to engage in less than honourable activities and we fail to wrap our heads around how they got that far.

We look in the mirror sometimes and see a reflection we cannot recognise; because we have allowed ourselves to justify and make excuses for a lot of things that have not served the purpose of nurturing our true self and building our potential.

This is not the mentality we should keep cultivating year in and year out; we need to stop making excuses. We need to acquaint ourselves to project progress and stay on track. Change is never easy, but it counts enough, and we are determined enough, we can achieve.

Every year we have celebrated milestones like birthdays because time does count. We have expected bonuses and promotions because we have completed a certain cycle. We have moved into the new academic years because we have completed a year. We graduated with degrees, master’s degrees, PhDs because the years counted. Now let us not get too carried away with the memes that have taken the digital world by storm.

Time counts and the years amount to something which makes it essential to make a difference each and every day. But this is not what we allow ourselves to believe; instead we make excuses thinking time will wait for us. We are busy feeding our minds the self justified messages telling us we do not need too much, or better, or to pull up our sock, or cut those old habits. Let us not convince ourselves of the mediocre and offhanded. If not now then when?

I rest my case.

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