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“I’m only human, that’s why I messed up”

October 18, 2010

Worst. Defense. Ever.

As a law and debate guy, I enjoy getting into pointless debates. Usually about semantics. And I know most of the dirty debate tricks in the book. All you gotta do it prove that your opponent’s source is not credible. Or that even the person himself is not knowledgeable and not credible. Use logic they cant unsee.

But there’s one tactic that’s seemingly impossible to counter, because it’s true. I call it “pulling the human card.”

We all know the saying, “To err is human.” This is true. But I can guarantee that the person who said that said it to cover other people’s mistakes. Not his own.

Look at it this way. A criminal kills a guy. He regrets it after that and says its his biggest mistake ever. After all, hes only human! Then the jury sobs at his story and he goes free. Right? Wrong!

You know what the judge will say? Well, if I were the judge, I’d say: “Ha! I’m human too! So I’m gonna ‘mistakenly’ imprison you for life! Whoops! And my gavel is soo heavy I must bang it! Court is adjourned.”

Yes. We’re all human. But never use that to your own benefit.

What are some human traits that no one can get away with? Well, lets see. There’s the sexual desires. Imagine a man tells his wife, “I only slept with that girl because my human urges told me to. I’m only human, give me a break.”

Wanna know where he goes? To the courtroom to settle a divorce.

Forgetfulness. Ever told a teacher you forgot your homework? Ever told a boss you forgot the deadline was today? Did your teacher/boss care? If so, tell me what teacher/job you have and I’ll be your newest classmate/coworker!

No. Doesn’t work that way.

What else? Well, humans like to sleep. Try sleeping at work and see if your boss cares how human you are. Hint: he probably doesn’t.

You’re probably like, “So we are supposed to be perfect?” No! Not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that being human is not an excuse for being mediocre. Heres a scenario.

John borrowed fifty dollars from Jason. John forgot about the money. A month later, Jason asks John why he hasn’t paid him back. John goes, “Oh! I forgot. I’m only human, ya know.” Does Jason care? Hmm, how about this: if you owed income taxes but forgot about it, will the government just be like, “Oh, that’s okay! Just pay it whenever you want!” No. The government will tell the bank to eat your house.

But lets say John says, “Sorry Jason, I forgot. Can I pay you back later this week?” And Jason, seeing that John’s admitted that it’s his fault without any excuses, says, “Hey, no worries. We all forget. Pay me back when you can.”

See the difference? When you don’t make excuses to cover up your faults, people are more willing to accommodate to you. Heres a real life example.

One time I missed a physics quiz. I had physics at 9am. It was also Ramadan time. So I woke up at 4:30am for breakfast and sometimes went back to sleep. Well, on this occassion, I went back to sleep after breakfast and found that I had woken up at 8. There was no way I could have made it to physics on time. So later that day, I walked into office hours, and I told the professor what had happened.

“Hey Prof, I missed the quiz today because I slept in.”

He said, “You slept in?”

I replied, “Yeah… no excuse for that…”

And he replied, “You know what, I’ve done that before. Let’s just drop it. Your quiz score will be based off of your other four quizzes.”

Just like that I got scot-free.

You’re probably like, “Whaaat? So you’re saying if I admit my faults the world will bend backwards for me?”

No. If your boss always hears the same thing, “Sorry boss, I slept in.” What’s he gonna do? Probably replace you with a guy who never sleeps in. It’s true that the truth will set you free. But people want results, not reasons. If you make one flub but are honest about it, people understand. If you continually prove yourself to be unreliable, no one will respect you. You’d just be unreliable.

Want a quick tip for success? Keep this tip in mind.

“When you could have prevented it, blame yourself. When you couldn’t do it without someone else’s help, credit others.”

If something goes wrong, blame yourself. If something goes right, credit others. Great leaders of the world never toot their own horn when they have an accomplishment. They honor their generals, wives, parents, or whatever. They never say, “Ha! I’m great because I’m amazing!”

But when something goes wrong, they don’t say, “Hey! General! You suck!” They take the blame and say they didn’t train the General enough, or whatever it may be.

So don’t blame your faults on the fact that you’re human. Yeah, humans have faults. But do you think for a moment Hitler caused the deaths of millions of innocent people just because he was human? “Eh, it was just a mistake. My bad. I’m only human, y’know, give me a break, geez. It was only a million people.”

To err is human, indeed. But humans also have the potential to do whatever they want. So are you using your human potential to get ahead or stay behind?

It’s up to you. Those using the potential of the human mind to get ahead, say aye!

To your success,


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