I don’t think I know anyone who purposely doesn’t want to be successful. To achieve their ambitions. To have an incredible life. But how many people actually go after it? How many people really want it? How many people do you know who are so focused on their dreams that nothing distracts them? Not many, if any, I bet.
In the past I’ve used excuses without even realising it. They’d just become part of my vocabulary and, therefore, part of my life. I’ve always wanted to be really successful. My excuses were ensuring that I never would be.
Here’s some excuses I’ve used, and I’m sure you’ve used, in the past:
Excuse#1: “I don’t have enough time”
I didn’t have enough time because I was spending my time doing other stuff. Watching TV, scrolling through twitter, idly browsing Facebook. You know, all that really important stuff. Did these things actually make me happy or take me towards the life I truly wanted? No. They were just relaxing and pleasurable ways to procrastinate.
So, was my excuse valid? No. of course I had time. I was just spending it doing irrelevant stuff.
Excuse#2: “I don’t have enough money”
The real question here is: why don’t I have enough money? Because I didn’t save. Because I spent more than I earned. Because I was spending it on fast food and clothes and alcohol. Actually, I had enough money. I was just spending it on things that would bring me short term gain, rather than investing it for long term gain.
So was my excuse valid? No. I had enough money. I was just choosing to waste it.
Excuse#3: “It’s not realistic”
It’s not realistic to be a millionaire. It’s not realistic to invent the iPhone. It’s not realistic to create the Internet.
I hope you’re getting the idea. None of these things are “realistic”. At least not to most people. I used to think lots of things weren’t realistic. The idea of living my dream life, for example. I used to consider it, of course, but only as a dream. I never really thought about how I could create it. I was scared. “If I think about it, I’ll have to plan it. And if I plan it, I might actually have to do something!” Scary, right? Lots of people think like that, and the really scary thing is that so many people will settle. Because their dream life isn’t “realistic”. Will you fall into the same trap?
So, was my excuse valid? Of course not. Realistic is an opinion. If you need to change that opinion, change it.
Excuse#4: “I’m comfortable where I am”
Comfortable isn’t the same as happy. I’ve done and continued to do things that were easy and safe and boring because I was ‘comfortable’. This is an illusion. How could I have been comfortable if I was bored? The reason I kept doing these things was because I was certain of the outcome, which is not the same as being comfortable and definitely not the same as being happy. I was comfortable in the fact that I knew what the outcome would be. But I wasn’t stimulated. Or motivated. Or having fun.
So, was my excuse valid? Not really. I was, in a way, comfortable. But was I growing? Was I moving forwards? Was I happy? No.
Excuse#5: “I can’t do it”
Had I even tried? Did I hate the thought of failure? Wasn’t the real problem that I wouldn’t try, rather than couldn’t?
I was living in permanent fear that I might fail. That I might not be good enough. It might even be worse than giving up because I was resigning myself to an outcome before I even tried. That’s crazy. It makes no sense. I didn’t even bother to explore why I thought I couldn’t do it, or why I wouldn’t at least try.
So, was my excuse valid? No. I was just letting fear run my life instead of taking control and doing what I really wanted.
These excuses felt wrong because they were stopping me from achieving, or even from starting, things that were extremely important to me. I don’t think I could be a painter. Or a sculptor. But that’s cool, because I don’t care. I appreciate paintings and sculptures, but there’s no way I’d ever paint or sculpt for work or pleasure.
The reason I wasn’t happy was because being successful, in the way that I wanted to be successful, was something I’d never achieve if I kept using these excuses. I only truly stopped using excuses once I discovered and admitted who I really was and what I actually wanted. After that, I knew I could do it. That it was realistic. That I deserved it. And that it was ok for me to go and get it.
I’ll leave you with some fun and thought provoking questions:
What’s the benefit of using an excuse?
When you stop using excuses and start making progress, what would that be like?
Would you allow your children to make excuses?
Featured photo credit: Neal Fowler via flickr.com