I teach; therefore, I know excuses. Daily, I notice several facts:
- We all have major challenges.
- We have habitual ways of relating to our problems.
- The scale of a problem does not determine one’s response to it. One student oversleeps or runs out of gas money and gives up, while another travels to Sudan for his father’s funeral and only misses a week and a half of classes.
- Communication solves almost everything.
Will your current challenge become an excuse to fail? An excuse to blame? A hurtle to leap? A detour to take? “A road less traveled”?
And if you are unable to keep an appointment, will you properly communicate with those who reserve their valuable time for you?
In at least 90% of my classes’ absences, students simply go AWOL. I have pointed out that if they were my employees, they’d be fired. If they were my children, they’d be grounded. Have I mentioned that I teach adults?
If you’re not showing up, someone has a right to know–in advance whenever possible–whether you are alive, whether you need some kind of support, and how you plan to catch up with what you had expected to be doing. You might be surprised at how much others care about your challenges when you communicate and make plans to solve your problem.
Henry B. Eyring said, “[A mentor told me] ‘When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.’ I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.”
Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011