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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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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

Fake it till you make it. Period.

13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

14. Build a network.

Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

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    16. Stand up straight.

    No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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    17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

    These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

    18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

    You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

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      19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

      You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

      20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

      If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

      21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

      For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

      Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

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        22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

        As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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        23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

        Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

        24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

        If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

        Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

        25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

        I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

        Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

        The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

        26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

        When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

        For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

        Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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