Excuses vs. Reasons: How to Understand Your Brain and Get Back in Control

When you’re doing the IB, it might seem like your brain is your greatest asset. The powerful machine that let’s you get things done and get the grades you want. By now, you’ve probably raised that this isn’t always true. In fact, sometimes your brain is working against you. When you don’t get the grades you want or achieve what you need to, it might be because your brain is sabotaging you. But why does the brain undermine us like this?

The problem is our emotions. See, even if you want to do well in the IB, you might find yourself up late watching Better Call Saul (Lanterna recommended!) instead of studying. It’s fine to relax, but if chilling is stopping your success then you have a problemyour emotions have taken over.

Next come the excuses, or ‘reasons’. These are very useful because they allow you to say that you wanted success even when you didn’t get what you wanted – ‘oh but I tried’. Excuses are a tool to make you feel better, but they don’t help you achieve the grades you want, they won’t help you go to the college you want to and they will never get you the job or life you would like.

If you want to achieve something then all reasons are excuses.

This might sound harsh, but it is the only logical way to understand the situation. Reasons make us reject responsibility. If you want to achieve something then reasons and excuses don’t make sense. Both of them will stop you from getting what you want to.

Quite simply:

Results or Excuses in the international baccalaureate diploma

So how do you over come excuses or reasons (which really are the same thing)?

Well, start by asking if you really want to succeed. Do you really want those points? That college? That future? Do you truly want to be successful? I don’t just mean that you think success would be a nice thing – you must want success enough to put in the hours of work necessary to get there. If you don’t want to be successful then don’t stress. There’s no point worrying about it, just know that if you don’t really want success you’ll never get it. But if you want to do really well in the IB it’s totally possible.

So you want success. Then you must be willing to destroy excuses. TAKE NO PRISONERS. You must push through every excuse, and cling to the knowledge that excuses can only get in your way.

Let’s look at some excuses you might have made in the past:


  1. This subject is too difficult for me – I’m not good at maths / physics / English / chemistry. Well, take a look around: everything with a reward is difficult. Did you think they were going to give out 7s for things that were easy just because you’re special and talented? Of course, it’s going to be hard, but you can do hard things. You have that ability and so you can overcome the challenge and be successful.
  2. But I’m just not smart enough! What do you think school is for?! School is the place to learn to be smart! Everyone can do this! No one is asking you to walk on water. If you want to be smart, go to school and work hard every day, then you’ll be smart, and then you can succeed in your exams!
  3. But, but I don’t have time! We all have the same amount of time. Your teacher, your classmate who gets sevens, the people on the other side of the planet studying the IB like you. We all get 24 hours so give up wasting time, get up earlier, work more efficiently and make every minute count!
  4. Ok, but what if I fail?! You will at first! But you’ll get better over time. You’ll fail a little less and succeed a little more with every day. The IB is a game and the game is predictable, keep playing and you get better.


Reasons are just convincing excuses. But neither will help you succeed in the IB, or in the rest of your life. If you want to be successful you have to get rid of these false friends. They might make you feel better, but they will never help you succeed. So stop making excuses and start kicking ass!

the international baccalaureate diploma doesn't allow excuses

2019-01-16T10:47:22+00:00June 24th, 2015|Motivational, Procrastination|

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