Do You Make Excuses or Seize Opportunites?

by Joe Plemon on October 29, 2010

The man turned down a dinner invitation from the president of an international organization

Coker Tires is the world’s largest supplier of vintage tires, but it wasn’t always that way.

Career coach Dan Miller tells the story of how this company, which started as a traditional service center in Chattanooga in 1958, saw their business gradually erode as the big-box retailers began dominating the competition. In 1974 the owner’s son Corky took over the division of the company that produced vintage tires. At that time, only 5% of the company revenues came from the sale of vintage tires, but today the vintage division makes up 95% of the total business. Coker Tire distributes in 40 countries and has made period tires and wheels for countless movies including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

When life knocks on your door, do you find opportunity or make excuses?

Do you allow your mind to soar into possibility thinking or do you get bogged down in the immediate and mundane?

A Refused Dinner Invitaion

I recently read of a man who turned down a dinner invitation from the president of an international organization. His excuse? “I just don’t have time…I recently purchased some investment property and I need to go look it over.” Lame? You bet. Especially when he later realized the opportunities that he passed up:

His excuse became even more lame when he later learned that his missed opportunity would not be offered again. If this story has a ring of familiarity to it, perhaps it is because you recognize this man from the parable of the wedding banquet (Luke 14:15-24). “That guy really blew it” you are thinking. You are right, of course, but the story demands introspection…is it possible that you are that man?

Opportunity or Excuses

Sometimes opportunity will be loud with much fanfare. Other times it will be subtle and shadowed. But the lesson is clear: he who approaches life looking for opportunities will find them. The excuse makers, on the other hand, will be so self absorbed in their excuses that they wouldn’t recognize opportunity if it was a flashing beacon in a dark room.

My guess is that if Corky Coker was invited to that special dinner, he would have shown up early, eager for whatever opportunities were to avail themselves.

I therefore leave you with a challenge: listen to yourself. When you hear excuses coming from your mouth, stop whatever you are doing and re-assess what you are saying. You could be passing up the opportunity of a lifetime.

Readers: Do you consider yourself more of an opportunity seeker or an excuse maker?  What opportunities have you seized?  When have your excuses caused you to miss out on an opportunity?

photo credit: redgoober4life

Note: this post is a modified re-post from my own site.  

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cedric D'Hue March 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Hi Joe, good post and great challenge. May I suggest that we should listen to wise counsel from others as well? Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. ”



joeplemon March 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Good word! My challenge was to listen to yourself to see if you are making excuses, but sometimes we need that counsel from outside ourselves to give us greater objectivity. And, like the proverb says, listen to that advice.

As always, Cedric, I appreciate your thoughts.


Everyday Tips October 29, 2010 at 7:15 am

I try not to be an excuse maker, but I am sure I am at times.

Here is a small life example of where I had the opportunity to make an excuse, and it is probably going to sound pretty pathetic…. Last night, my daughter was at her volleyball tournament, but she could not play. (She was still supporting the team.) The team needed line judges, but I was not comfortable doing it because people get so mad over the wrong call. However, I looked at the stands, and I was the only one whose child wasn’t playing and I thought I needed to do it. These parents drove all this way and they deserve to watch their kids play instead of being caught up with rules and watching the entire game so closely. I don’t need to sit and stare at my kid on the bench, so I line judged the 2 matches. (I did tell the parents ahead of time they were not allowed to get mad at me or boo! :)) It is a small example, but it would have been really easy for me to avoid the task. But it went fine and all was good, and the parents and coaches truly appreciated it. I don’t think any great benefit will fall upon myself or my daughter (well, maybe some goodwill), but it felt like the right thing to do, even though making an excuse would have been the easier thing to do.

As I get older, I am trying to be more open minded toward opportunity. I used to always feel like I needed to spend every minute with the family, but the kids are getting older and I need to ‘get back out there’.

Very interesting post, and sorry if my comment was kinda boring!


joeplemon October 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

Not pathetic or boring at all. I am convinced that the “big things” in this life are actually a compilation of small things. Nothing really needs to come from the opportunity you seized to fill in as a line judge. Except that you stepped out of your comfort zone and did a nice thing for the coaches and other parents (and were a good role model for your daughter). Those “little things” are what make us who we are. Last night you grew a bit.

You should write about this in your blog. It fits into the “everyday thoughts” aspect.


Money Reasons October 31, 2010 at 3:03 am

Much like Everyday Tips, when I was younger, I missed opportunities because I either didn’t believe the opportunity was real. Now, I’m starting to believe that it’s possible and the only limitations that exist are self-imposed by me…

Great stories to back up your premise! 🙂


Helen@Custom Printed Balloons August 10, 2011 at 12:23 am

We need to think many times before we plan to do something. Opportunities come in least time we expected. That’s why we need to consider every angle of our life to look for opportunities.


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