Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.
Celebrating 25 years in business! CPD Member - The CPD Certification Service ilm Recognised Provider

Reason Vs Excuse

Reason vs Excuse

Reason vs Excuse

Here is an important rule of thumb: Clear thought is good. Confused thought is bad.

The first step to wisdom is to have an accurate conception of things. Unfortunately, there is a series of "similar but opposite things" - dichotomies - that confuse the mind.

Dichotomies confuse the mind because their two branches seem to be intermingled.

Examples of such dichotomies are:

  • Reason vs Excuse
  • Determined vs Stubborn
  • Fact vs Opinion
  • Insult vs Criticism

It is important to distinguish between a "reason" and an "excuse".

It's good to be determined but not stubborn.

Learn to separate facts from opinions.

It is important to distinguish between a criticism and an insult.

Don't take valid criticism as a personal insult, and don't insult people and then pretend that it was merely "constructive criticism".

So what is the difference between these dichotomies?

Reason vs Excuse

Reason: A reason for not doing something.

If someone offers an explanation for why he can't do something, then, in order for it to be judged as a reason, it should be: logical, factual, verifiable, a one-off event, unavoidable, and commensurate.

Excuse: If someone offers an explanation why he can't do something, then, if it is judged to be false (a lie), illogical, un-verifiable, multiple use of the same old story, inconsistent, avoidable, foreseeable, disproportionate. Example: I can't come into work today because my hamster is sick.

Determined vs Stubborn

Determined: Determined means committed to the goal: no matter what temporary defeats you suffer, you keep adapting the plan and trying again.

Stubborn: Stubborn means committed to the one PLAN: no matter what temporary defeats you suffer, you keep doing the same thing over and over and refuse to change or adapt the plan.

Fact vs Opinion

Fact: A fact is information provided by direct sense perception (what you directly see, touch, hear, taste or smell) ie the redness of a tomato.

And/or the information that has been tested and verified by objective and independent experimentation and scientific investigation. ie the Earth has the shape of an oblate spheroid.

Opinion: Information that is gained by any other means: ie gut feel; majority vote, subjective feeling, revelations or wishful thinking.

Example: Modern art is not real art.

Don't get facts and opinions mixed up!

Insult vs Criticism

Insult: An insult is a feedback message that is: vague, subjective, opinionated. And does not suggest a specific corrective action.

Example: You are an idiot.

Insults are of no value to you or your organisation.

Criticism: A criticism is the opposite.

A criticism is a feedback message that is: Specific, factual, objective and does suggest a corrective action.
Example: You are twenty minutes late for the meeting. That is five times you been late this month alone. You need to be on time for meetings.

Criticism is of the highest value to you and your organisation.

Don't get criticism and insults mixed up!

The art of distinguishing between two similar concepts.

See how many dichotomies you can identify and define the distinguishing characteristics that make one good, and the other bad.

Here are some more dichotomies for you to ponder:

A false statement and a lie

A lady once said to me "Either you accept what I say as being true, or you are calling me a liar!"

What is wrong with this false dichotomy?

Critical thinker and Cynic

Do you know people who believe they are critical thinkers, but actually they are only miserable cynics?

If you do know some cynics, then what is it that defines them as cynics, not as critics?

Don't get critics and cynics mixed up!

Understanding and Agreement

Have you ever made an agreement based on a misunderstanding?

Never make agreements based on misunderstandings. So, what is the difference?

The first step to wisdom is to have accurate conceptions of things:

Clear thought is good. Confused thought is bad.

Summary

Dichotomies are similar but opposite things; that are confusing to the mind, because their meanings seem to be intermingled.

There are many dichotomies, see if you can find them. Then separate them out and distinguish between them. Finally never get them mixed up again!

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager Leadership and Management Training Course Logo

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager

As the team leader or manager, you know that, on the technical level, you are very good. In your role as an effective and inspirational leader-manager, you recognise that there may be some gaps. Now you are searching for a method to help you to improve your skills as a team-leader and manager - click here to find out more!

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People

  • 6 Step method to handle difficult people
    6 step method to handle difficult people On occasion, you have to handle difficult people. But there are two major contexts in which that can occur: When you are the one who is taking the initiative to speak first. When the other person is the one who is taking the initiative...
    Read Article >
  • How to Deal with Conflict Situations
    Conflict is inevitable when dealing with people who do not think or act the way you believe to be correct. Learning how to handle conflict situations is important.
    Read Article >
  • Dispute Resolution
    People disagree. But, whatever the cause of a disagreement, a manager must learn how to handle it professionally, before it escalates into conflict and interferes with the business. Here are five common strategies for resolving disputes.
    Read Article >
  • Dealing With Conflicts of Interest Within a Team
    All employees should be working together to achieve the organisation's ultimate aim. Any conflicts of interest within teams must be resolved quickly. So what is the best method for dealing with conflicts within a team?
    Read Article >
  • How to Deal With Difficult Employees
    Whether difficult employees disagree with our current plan, or their behaviour is challenging, they should be treated according to the principles of reason. We examine the steps that should be taken when dealing with difficult people.
    Read Article >

Looking for Conflict Management Training?

If you're looking to develop your Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People Skills, you may find this Conflict Management Training Course beneficial:

Open Training Course Pricing and Availability

5 December
Online - Teams
£475 +VAT
8 December
Birmingham Jurys Inn
£475 +VAT
12 December
London - Central
£475 +VAT
23 January
Online - Teams
£475 +VAT
More dates and locations available
Save £50 on this course

Next Open Course Starts in 4 days, Online - Teams, places available Book Now >