If you are the organizer of a party, one of your responsibilities is to set the ground rules with respect to things such as attire, gifts, food, etc. It permits your guests to plan more comfortably if they know the ground rules and the expectations when they get an invitation that specifies any of the following: Black Tie; Casual Dress; No Gifts; Gag Gifts Only; Make a Contribution to Your Favorite Charity In Lieu of a Gift; Cocktail Reception; Buffet Dinner, etc.
Ground rules are important and allow individuals and groups to function more effectively in line with certain expectations. They should be considered, however, to be situation specific. Unless a guest is provided with the specifics of a particular situation, s/he may not be certain whether to eat beforehand or whether they will get a full meal or whether they will look out of place if they are dressed formally or casually. The same situation specific quality should hold true when you set your own ground rules for behaving. If your behavior is based on all encompassing principles it can result in “the too excuse”. “The too excuse” takes place when you establish an all-purpose ground rule that you indiscriminately use to get out of situations and avoid personal growth.
If you approach challenges with automatically stating that you are too old, too young, too emotional, too sick, too dignified, too damaged, too inexperienced, or too anything else, you are using some form of “the too excuse”. Is it possible that you are too ____ (fill in the blank) to take on a particular challenge? Of course! The critical factor to recognize, however, is that type of thinking should apply only after an honest assessment of the specific situation rather than being used as an all-encompassing ground rule for avoiding almost anything new or challenging.
It is legitimate and reasonable to determine that the benefits of learning a foreign language or learning to ski are not worth the time or expense or emotional stress that may be required – and being honest about it is emotionally healthy. It acknowledges that you have the potential but not the desire to experience that particular learning. It is situation specific, however, and does not limit you from making a different decision when you are faced with the possibility of experiencing something new in the future. By contrast, the all-encompassing “too excuse” sets the ground rules that only permit you to stay stuck because of you have defined yourself by a condition rather than recognizing it as a behavioral choice. Staying stuck is incompatible with personal growth.
As usual, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and opinions – and possibly some examples of overcoming “the too excuse”.