Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
George Washington Carver
During the 2008 academic school year, there were five students in the State of Alabama that scored a perfect 2,400 on the SAT test. Lauren Faraino was one of them. In all fairness, I should mention that she took the test twice, something many students do. She didn’t fail the first time; in fact, her score was excellent. But she thought she could do better, so she took it again. That time she did remarkably: a perfect score.
There were roughly 44,000 senior students taking the test that year. Being one of only five with a perfect score is quite the accomplishment.
But that isn’t the real story. You see, Lauren was born with arthrogryposis, a disease that limits the use of the extremities. In her case, it was her upper extremities that were affected: she has no use of her arms. She had gone through school using her foot to hold a pen or pencil and write. I find it remarkable that she was able to function in school despite this significant handicap.
When Lauren took the SAT, she didn’t receive any special consideration based on her condition. SAT tests are timed, and she took the test just like all the other students. She was not given additional time or any other special assistance.
The lesson here is that Lauren was born with all the excuses she would ever need for failing to accomplish a given task. All she had to do was say, “I can’t do this because I don’t have use of my arms.” Who would have challenged her?
But she didn’t hide behind her problem. In fact, she accepted her condition as a matter of fact and was completely determined to work around it.
What do most people in life do? When they come up against an obstacle, they offer an excuse and quit trying. At one time or another, I think we’ve all been guilty of making excuses rather than accepting the fact that everyone has some kind of challenge.
The next time you consider giving up, think about Lauren. Everyone acknowledges that she’s had a very difficult time — everyone except Lauren.
What could you accomplish if you adopted Lauren’s attitude?
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right.
Copyright © 2017 John Chancellor