The “No Excuses” Mindset Sometimes Works For Me— But It’s Not Always The Answer

Navigating a world where feelings didn’t matter and a world where feelings increasingly did matter

Ryan Fan
Invisible Illness
Published in
11 min readMay 7, 2024

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Photo by mark tulin on Unsplash

When a student is not doing well in school and failing, it’s my fault as a special education teacher. When I don’t get an A or an A+ on an exam, it’s my fault for not studying hard enough as an evening law student. When I don’t run up to my standards as a marathon runner, it’s my fault for not preparing well enough, sleeping well enough, and training consistently enough. When I don’t meet my goals as a writer, it’s my fault for not managing my time well and trying hard enough.

There are no excuses. I don’t care that I was sick. I don’t care that I have too much going on in my life or personally. I don’t care that any other person would struggle in my situation. I don’t care that there are more important things in my life.

This might not be the healthiest mindset, and I am very aware of this. But I was raised, by my parents, by the primarily male spaces on my sports team to not make any excuses.

It has become my observation that “no excuses” is the dominant and unspoken truth in many male-dominated spaces. No one wants to hear why you couldn’t get the job done to achieve…

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Ryan Fan
Invisible Illness

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: https://bit.ly/39Cybb8