On Purpose

Because we usually go through the day on automatic pilot, its easy to lose track of the reason we do certain things. For example, today I got out of bed, like I do every day. Was this accidental or did I do it on purpose? What was the purpose? I decided to do the mental exercise of listing some of the things I did and the reason(s) behind them.

Action or Thought Purpose
Got out of bed Things to do that are more important than lying in bed.
Ate food Quench my hunger; give me energy; keep me healthy.
Read the Bible Feed my mind; calibrate my attitude.
Showered It’s healthful; to avoid offending others.
Went to a business meeting Make a sale.
Studied & took an online test Improve my mind.
Went to bed Recharge my batteries (sleeping feels good!)

I began to recognize that in each case, these purposes were not the total answer. Each was based on a more foundational purpose. For example, the “things more important than lying in bed” included making a living to help take care of my family. But, that still did not fully satisfy my mental exercise. There was an even deeper purpose at stake. Why should anyone consider caring for his family as a worthwhile purpose? Well, for moral reasons, of course. The next logical question was, “Where do morals come from?” It goes even deeper, but that’s enough for now.

I also thought back on how well I executed the tasks with respect to the intended purpose. Did eating quench my hunger and give me energy? Yes. Did it promote good health? Here I can do better. I humbly admit that I ate too much and did not eat a well-balanced meal.

What is the purpose guiding your life. Is it to be happy and/or to make others happy? Could it be that your purpose is to make a difference in the world? Maybe your purpose is simply to avoid doing harm to others? If so, are you missing an even larger purpose? Unless we are a cosmic accident, we were put here for a special purpose ordained by a creator. Could that creator be God? I hope you enjoy the quotes and are inspired to reflect on your purpose.

“Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.” — David Letterman

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” — Bible, Proverbs 20:5

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” — Benjamin Disraeli

“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

“Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” — Helen Keller

“Any ideas, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” — Napoleon Hill

“Unless a life is activated by sustained purpose it can become a depressingly haphazard affair.” — Richard Guggenheimer

“Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.” — T. T. Munger

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” — Bible, Proverbs 19:21

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” — Bible, Romans 8:28

By the way, for those of you who think you know me pretty well, try and guess my favorite quote on purpose.

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright August 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Phony Excuses

What is the difference between a reason and an excuse? A reason is objective, rational, and generally truthful – an excuse is subjective, emotional, and usually deceptive. A reason can transform into an excuse when its purpose is to shift blame, to reassign responsibility, and/or to justify giving up. Excuses are conveniently used in place of the truth usually because the truth is embarrassing.

“It is easier to find an excuse than to find a reason.” — Doug Brown

My father did not tolerate excuses. To this day I can still here him say, “That’s a phony excuse.” To him, all excuses were “phony excuses” as if the two words were inseparable.

“He who excuses himself, accuses himself.” — Gabriel Meurier

When the first excuse failed, I usually followed up with my back-up excuse. It took me years to learn that just made things worse. To my dad, a second phony excuse was like telling a second lie to cover up the first one.

“Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” — Aldous Huxley

As a result of his fatherly intolerance, I probably made fewer excuses than I might otherwise have. Although, I must admit that I also learned to invent better excuses.

How can someone break the excuse habit? First, eliminate “Yah, but …” from their vocabulary. “Yah but, he started it.” “Yah but, I was tired.” “Yah but, it’s not my fault.” Instead, begin with, “My weak excuse is.” Imagine starting an excuse with these words and keeping a straight face. The second solution was inspired by my friend Andre. He further suggests making excuses irrelevant by focusing on something more important.

“My dream is bigger than my excuses.” — Andre Maronian

There are also words used to disguise an excuse. Words like “hard” and “impossible” were once part of my bag of tricks.

“Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.” — Francois De La Rochefoucauld

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” — Edward R. Murrow

“Destiny: A tyrant’s authority for crime and a fool’s excuse for failure.” — Ambrose Bierce

That’s enough of my personal history. Here are some instructional quotes about excuses.

“I attribute my success to this — I never gave or took any excuse.” — Florence Nightingale

“Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far.” — Unknown

“One of the lamest excuses for doing something wrong is: ‘I was just doing my job.’ A hit man is just doing his job. A prostitute is just doing her job.” — Thomas Sowell

“Every vice has its excuse ready.” — Publilius Syrus

“If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.” — Yiddish Proverb

“For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future; but an excuse can last for life.” — Eric Hoffer

“The trick is not how much pain you feel but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live; excuses, excuses, excuses.” — Erica Jong

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” — Art Turock

“Don’t look for excuses to lose. Look for excuses to win.” — Chi Chi Rodriguez

“Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.” — Unknown

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” — George Washington Carver

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com