No Room for Excuses by Ron White

Nearing extinction

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” You have heard it a million times. However, my guess is that you have never heard it from the mouth of the “rich.” Instead, this echo has most likely bounced to your ear, with its origins being an excuse. That’s right: an excuse. Excuses are what many use to pacify their guilt of not accomplishing what they are capable of.

I am not suggesting that wealth is success. My inference is that success is the progressive realization of predetermined worthwhile goals. It may be something as simple as raising a family.

What do these names have in common?

  • Richard Nixon
  • Gerald Ford
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Bill Clinton

They were all president of the United States, right? They were all the most powerful man in the world at one point. However, I am looking for something else.

Richard Nixon was born in the home his father built. He won an award from Harvard his senior year of high school. However, his family was unable to afford his leaving home for college. He instead attended Whittier College.

Gerald Ford was born as Leslie Lynch King Jr. In 1913, his mother left her abusive husband and took her son to live with her parents. She met Gerald R. Ford, whom she married and gave her child his name, Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. He was the only president to be adopted. Ford worked in his stepfather’s paint and varnish store growing up. He coached boxing during college to afford his tuition.

Jimmy Carter was the first member of his family ever to go to college and his father was a peanut farmer.

Ronald Reagan was the son of an alcoholic traveling shoe salesman. He worked his way into show business by broadcasting baseball games. At the age of 40, he was divorced and his career was at a dead end.

Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV. His father (a traveling salesmen) died in an automobile accident three months before he was born. His mother married Roger Clinton, and Bill took that name. Clinton grew up in a turbulent family. His stepfather was a gambler and alcoholic who regularly abused his wife and sometimes Clinton’s half brother Roger.

None of these men were born into wealth and prosperity, yet they each achieved the rank of the most powerful person in the world by working hard and not making excuses. These five presidents were born into normal families who struggled. Yet, they refused to use that as an excuse.

Life is too short to make excuses. Set your goals and pursue them. If you have been dealt a “worse” hand than another, it may indeed be a gift that teaches you the value of hard work. Your story will be richer and your success sweeter when you achieve your dreams. Maybe, one day, I will cast a vote for you as president of the United States!

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