Quote of the week!

Excuse will always be there for you. Opportunity will not

Excuse vs. Opportunity: A Creative’s Perspective

In the realm of creativity, where imagination intertwines with reality, the words of American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar echo with profound resonance:

“Excuse will always be there for you. Opportunity will not.”

~Zig Ziglar


This statement succinctly captures a universal truth about the human experience, particularly within the artistic community. It serves as a stark reminder that the windows of opportunity are fleeting, while excuses remain perpetually accessible.

The Dichotomy of Excuse and Opportunity

Excuses are the comforting whispers that provide temporary solace from the fear of failure or the burden of effort. They are the justifications for inaction, the rationalizations for procrastination. Excuses can take myriad forms: lack of time, insufficient resources, fear of criticism, or even the quest for perfection. They are always within reach, ready to shield us from the discomfort of stepping out of our comfort zones.

In contrast, opportunities are the fleeting moments that present the chance for growth, discovery, and success. They are the doors that open briefly, inviting us to venture into the unknown and embrace the potential for transformation. Unlike excuses, opportunities do not linger indefinitely. They are transient and often require swift, decisive action.

The Artist’s Struggle

For artists and creative individuals, the battle between excuses and opportunities is particularly poignant. Creativity demands vulnerability, a willingness to expose one’s inner world to external scrutiny. It involves taking risks, experimenting with new ideas, and facing the possibility of failure. The allure of excuses can be powerful in this context. The fear of not being good enough, of not living up to one’s own expectations or those of others, can lead to a cycle of hesitation and inaction.

Consider the painter who hesitates to put brush to canvas, fearing that the resulting work will not match the vision in their mind. Or the writer who delays starting their novel, convinced that they need more research, more inspiration, more time. These excuses provide a shield against the discomfort of potential failure but also prevent the artist from seizing the opportunity to create, to learn, to grow.

The Impermanence of Opportunity

Opportunities in the creative world are often time-sensitive. A gallery seeking new artists may have a submission deadline. A literary contest might accept entries for a limited period. Collaboration offers from fellow creatives might not wait for the perfect moment. The window of opportunity is narrow, and those who hesitate risk missing out.

Successful artists understand this impermanence. They recognize that the perfect moment rarely arrives, and waiting for it can mean missing out on significant opportunities. Instead, they embrace the imperfect moment, leveraging it to propel themselves forward. They understand that progress, not perfection, is the key to creative success.

Embracing Action

To truly honor the essence of Zig Ziglar’s quote, artists and creatives must cultivate a mindset that prioritizes action over excuses. This involves a conscious decision to recognize and confront the excuses that arise, understanding that they are barriers to growth and achievement. It means embracing opportunities with all their uncertainties, trusting that the process of engaging with them will lead to personal and artistic development.

The musician who accepts an invitation to perform at a small, local venue might discover a passionate audience that inspires future work. The filmmaker who submits their short film to a festival, despite feeling it is not perfect, might receive valuable feedback and connections that open doors to larger projects. These are the tangible results of choosing opportunity over excuse.


In the vibrant world of creativity, the choice between excuses and opportunities is a daily battle. Zig Ziglar’s quote serves as a powerful reminder that while excuses are always within reach, opportunities are fleeting and must be seized with courage and determination. For artists and creatives, embracing this mindset can mean the difference between a life of unfulfilled potential and one rich with creative achievement and personal growth. It is a call to action, urging us to step beyond our fears and excuses and to grasp the opportunities that come our way, however imperfect they may seem.

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Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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