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10 Common Excuses In Your Head That Are Dragging You Down

10 Common Excuses In Your Head That Are Dragging You Down

“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
― Benjamin Franklin

I used to be my own worst enemy and making excuses was part of my everyday routine.  It wasn’t until I learned to take full responsibility for my life that my outlook, and results, started to change. When I finally realized that what I was experiencing in my life was a product of my choices I became emotionally empowered to make changes – but a change had to first start internally before I could experience any external results.

I believe that the habit of “making excuses” was, at least in part, motivated from a disempowering story that I had in my head about how life was supposed to be, and what I was capable of doing.  The stories that we believe have the power to define us – they become our reality.  If we create an empowering story about life, and what we will do with it, it will become our reality.  However, if we cannot change our story, and if a negative narrative consumes us, it will drag us down and create a reality that we don’t want.

Our negative stories don’t inspire us, they don’t help us to reach our potential or break through our fears. They keep us safe, but it isn’t a good safe.  It is a safe that is unsettling because we aren’t living what we could otherwise live if we’d take risks.

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This article will list 10 “common excuses” that we tell ourselves that drag us down – 10 “narratives” or “stories” that we need to change if we are going to live the life that we are truly proud of.

1. I have no qualifications, so I can’t earn a decent income.

If you believe this it’s likely that you’ve been conditioned to think that your schooling controls your income.  This just isn’t the case.  Look around – you will find many examples of people who built great businesses without much school.  Sure there are the famous examples (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson), but there are many more much closer to home. Take 10 entrepreneurs out for lunch, you’ll likely find that several of them either don’t have education, or have built a business in an area outside of their schooling.  You can get the knowledge you need to succeed.

2. I’m too old to start.

Really?  Do you really believe that, or is that just an excuse you’re telling yourself so that you don’t have to face the risk of failure.  There is no such thing as too old. Ever heard of a guy named Harlan Sanders?  Most people know him as the “Colonel”.  He didn’t start KFC until 66.  Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, he was 43 when he began drawing his characters and his partner Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four.  Andrea Bocelli didn’t do opera until the age of 34.  Phyllis Diller became a comedian at the age of 37. You are not too old.  If you want it bad enough you’ll find a way to start.

3. I’m worried that everyone will laugh at me.

Being liked by everyone is both impossible and overrated.  If you want everyone to like you then just do nothing.  That way you’ll never possibly offend anyone.  It is better to risk failure than to never try.  Many (most) great people have failed, and every entrepreneur will fail at some point.  It is part of the feedback mechanism.  It is the way you learn to change your actions.  You only ultimately fail if you quit.

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4. I’m too busy.

So is everyone else.  I know it is tough.  I know that it can be tiring, working long hours at your job and trying to get that book written, or that business started, but the reality is that there is someone else, who has gone before you, that was under the exact same circumstances (perhaps even more difficult circumstances) as you and they don’t make this excuse.  They find a way to get it done, even a little at a time.

5. I’m waiting for the right time.

The right time was probably several years ago.  The second best time is right now.  There is nothing else.  A couple years from now will be no different.  There will always be resistance and things that get in your way.  So you make a decision right now to live, to make a change, to build whatever it is that is in your heart.  Right now is the best time there ever was.

We never live; we are always in the expectation of living

Voltaire

6. It’s too difficult.

Everything worth having is difficult – but there is a way to conquer any mountain, it is to take one step at a time. One foot in front of the other, over and over, until the mountain is conquered.  Chunk it.  Break your big, scary, difficult goals down into small bite sized chunks and complete a chunk every single day until the goal is complete.  That is the only way to do difficult things.

7. They made it because they’re different.

That is a story that you are telling yourself to guard against the unsettling reality that you’re probably not doing all that is in your power to succeed.  If you really want something bad enough you’ll find a way to do it.  You won’t settle on an excuse that you know deep down just isn’t true.  Our world is full of rags to riches stories – people who had nothing to begin with, but who wouldn’t allow excuses to define their reality.  Howard Schultz (Starbucks) lived in low income housing. Oprah Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi.  Ralph Lauren was once a clerk at a Brooks Brothers store.  No matter what your circumstances are you can change them.

8. I’ve already put a lot of time in a different path

Is it the path that you want to be on?  If not, then who cares?  First of all, it is a sunk cost, so it shouldn’t factor into your future decision making. I know this one from first hand experience, I went to school for nearly a decade and spend over a hundred thousand dollars to become a lawyer.  But I didn’t want to be a lawyer, so I couldn’t let my “time on a different path” define the future I wanted to created.  If you don’t want to be on the path you are on then change it.

9. I don’t know where to start.

None of us know where to start when we begin.  So what do you do?  You find someone who knows (someone who has experience in your field), you figure out what they did, and then you take the same action.  At least to start, and over time you develop your own unique voice.  If you can’t find anyone who will give you the time of day, go to the Internet, a couple search engine queries and you’ll be able to find an article about someone who did something similar to what you want to do.  Read their story, and take similar action.  Once you’ve done 5 things, then find another 5, then another 5, then keep taking action until you get what you want.

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10. It’s all about who you know, and I don’t know anyone.

This is a common excuse that isn’t serving you, and it isn’t true.  Leonardo Del Vecchio, the owner of the world’s largest sunglass manufacturer, with brands like Oakley and Ray Ban, was born into an orphanage.   Do you think he relied on his “family connections” to get going?  Legendary financial trader George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and arrived in London as a penniless college student. Larry Ellison, one of the richest men in the world was raised by a single mother in Brooklyn. It wasn’t his connections that helped him.  Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo, was an immigrant from Taiwan who didn’t even know english when he came to the US.

Start today.  Eliminate those excuses that you are carrying in your head.  They aren’t serving you.  They aren’t empowering you.  They aren’t helping you live the life you want. They don’t need to define you.

More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Published on June 19, 2019

Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back

Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back
Pause for a moment and think about how you would describe success.

If your description is dominated by money or status, then your image of success is faulty.

For example, there are countless people who have these assets but don’t feel successful. Some of these people have enormous amounts of disposable income, but work so many hours during the day that they have no life beyond their work.

Would you regard these people as successful?

At first glance, I likely wouldn’t.

And, then there are the endless celebrities who go from fame to failure (think bankruptcy, addictions and worse).

Are they successful?

Probably not.

In truth, success is about happiness and fulfillment in life.

But, there is more than one definition of success. Just look at the above example of the person who worked too hard to spend their money. If they’re happy with their life, then we shouldn’t criticize their version of success.

So how about you? Do you have a clear definition of what success looks like for you?

If you don’t, you’ll be constantly chasing someone else’s idea of success, and could find yourself totally unfulfilled and miserable.

The good news is that over the next few minutes, I’m going to give you the tools you need to build a crystal clear picture of YOUR SUCCESS.

Positive Thinking

With the right attitude, anything can seem possible.

For instance, if you’re fed up with your job, but do nothing to change it, then you’ll likely be stuck there for years to come. But, if you see the job as a stepping stone to something bigger and better, then not only will you enjoy your work more, but you’ll have something positive to aim towards (e.g., a promotion or new job).

The example above demonstrates a little-known factor of success… suffering!

Yes, suffering may be a negative thing that most people go out of their way to avoid; but successful people use suffering as a springboard to big achievements. Mindset really does separate the losers from the winners.

Another thing you can do, is to gradually build up your positivity and confidence by tracking your progress towards your goals. And, each time you accomplish something – however small – be sure to celebrate it!

This is a great way to propel you towards success.

The Purpose of a Purpose

What is your purpose in life?

These are questions I suggest you spend some time thinking about. To help you find the answers, consider the following:

If you just seek a career, all you will find is a career.

But, if you seek a purpose, you’ll find something much more than a career – you’ll find your calling. And when you’ve found this, and you begin following it, you’ll be firmly in the middle of the happiness, satisfaction and success zone.

This is backed by science, with research showing that people who have a purpose and meaning in life have an increase in:[1]
  • Overall well-being
  • Mental and physical health
  • Resiliency
  • Self-esteem

But, don’t mistake seeking happiness and success as your purpose. These things are a natural result of following your purpose – but shouldn’t be your focal point.

Austrian Neurologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said it well:

“It is the very pursuit of happiness, that thwarts happiness.”

What about YOUR purpose?

If you’re struggling to identify it, look for the things in your life that you’re good at, enthuse you, and provide a benefit to the world.

Becoming a Better You

Are your beliefs holding you back?

If yes, here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to break out of your mind trap:

  1. Boost Your Confidence: you can do this by overcoming challenges that come your way. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, face this challenge head-on by agreeing to do regular presentations for your company, or by joining a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. Speak in public often enough, and your fear of it will plunge like a river going over a waterfall.
  2. Develop Healthy Habits: I’m talking about positive habits that will serve you day in, day out. Habits such as lifelong learning, eating well, and waking up early. When these things are automatic for you, you’ll reap incredible benefits from them. Take eating well, for example. You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. And you’ll have way more energy to make things happen in your life.
  3. Invoke the Magic of Goal Setting: Without goals, you’ll drift through life like a plastic bottle in the sea. But with goals, you’ll be like a 100m sprinter running towards the finishing line. Goals really are powerful tools. They’ll direct your focus and energy, and will allow you to track your progress in life. I recommend the SMART goal-setting method (find out about this here).

And, always remember… don’t compare yourself to others; only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

Each step you take forward is making you a better version of you.

Success Is Self-Love

I encourage you to take the tips I’ve shared in this article and put them into action in your life. Ideally, starting right now!

Firstly, transform your mindset by facing up to challenges and overcoming them. Then spend time to discover your purpose. And, once you’ve found it – start following it.

Becoming a better version of you will take some time, but will be worth the wait. Not only will you reach into untapped potential in your life, but you’ll also develop respect and love for yourself along the way.

So don’t let your beliefs hold you back anymore. BREAK FREE from them and start enjoying a happy, healthy and successful life.

Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

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