I found it easier to get rich than I did to make excuses. – Jim Rohn
I’m too old, It’s too late, I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have time, I don’t have education, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t have the resources, I don’t know the right people, I’m tired, I can’t…
Sounds familiar? You are not the only one. It is a fact that we all love to use excuses. However, excuses aren’t going to take us far.
The sad reality is that if we get stuck in a life full of excuses we will never discover our true greatness and accomplish our wildest dreams.
Our level of accomplishment in our life can is tightly related to how much excuses we are using in our day-to-day life. A life full of excuses is a life full of regrets. (Click to Tweet)
Why we use excuses
There are two main reasons why we use excuses.
Because they allow us to avoid facing our fears
Most people find it more comfortable to use excuses rather than to try to do something and exposing themselves to possible failures. They think “if I don’t try, at least I won’t fail”. Sometimes, it is simply better not to try and just lying to yourself; “well if I had really tried I could have succeeded”. That is easier that trying and failing isn’t it?
It keeps your ego in a safe environment and it makes you feel good about yourself. However, is it how you want to live your life? Not trying and not failing? Using excuses to stay in your comfort zone? That may be comfortable in a short term but in the long term it will be costly.
Because they are the results of limiting beliefs
Excuses are often the results of limiting beliefs we hold. Many people sincerely believe that they are not good enough or that they are too old to do something. However, more than often, these beliefs are just beliefs, they are certainly not reality.
Finding someone who was in a similar situation and who managed to achieved what we wanted to achieve can sometimes be effective at challenging our limiting beliefs.
Start changing your belief system by challenging your limiting beliefs and your excuses will disappear. (See article Step 2: Identify Your Limiting Beliefs – How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs)
6 excuses you must drop now
Among the infinite number of excuses we like to use in our daily life, some are particularly standing out. They are the following:
1. I’m not good enough
It is probably one of the biggest excuses or limiting beliefs. I’m not good enough is a great excuse not to try anything, to procrastinate or to do things in the last moment to make sure that the quality of your work is not as good as it could be.
At least, if you fail, you know that you didn’t really try your best right? It satisfies your ego. Then, you can say to yourself: “it may not be that I’m not good enough, but simply that I haven’t really tried my best.” Imagine how damaging it would be to your ego if you did try your best and failed. Then, you would really not be good enough, wouldn’t you?
Well, that’s a risk that you must take, if you want to get rid of your “not good enough” belief and stop using it as an excuse.
Generally speaking, it is through an iterative process of trial and error that you will become better at whatever you are doing. If you feel like you are not good enough, it is likely that you are not trying and not failing enough.
Are you failing enough?
2. I’m too old
The I’m-too-old excuse is also a very common one. (See Are You Using Your Age As an Excuse?)
Feeling too old is also largely a belief. How often have you heard people in their 40s or even in their 30s saying they are too old to do something. Remember that if you are in your 40s you likely have 30 or more years to live. In fact, the amount of things you can accomplish in 30 years once you set up your mind is just incredible. How many foreign languages could you learn in 30 years if you really want to? In how many areas could you start from scratch and become an expert?
Did you know that some studies show that people who have a positive view about aging live on average 7.5 longer that people having a negative view of aging!
So, are you really stuck in your current career because you are too old to do something else? Is this excuse you keep telling to yourself really really true?
Is it really impossible to learn that foreign language you always wanted to study?
What do you think?
3. I don’t have time
Unfortunately, we can’t get more than 24 hours in a day! I really wish we could. You may need 8 hours of sleep per day while other people will sleep only 4 hours a day. Unfair? Probably! However, does it mean that you can make the I-don’t-have-enough-time excuse your favorite motto and stop pursuing all your dreams and exciting projects? (See Reclaim Your Time – You Are the Master of Your Time)
Well, you may or may not be able to reduce the amount of sleep you need everyday, but you can certainly increase your productivity, can’t you?
Do you plan your day in advance for maximum productivity? Are you tackling your most important task first thing in the morning, or are you procrastinating by doing less important tasks? Are you avoiding making that important call by doing task with very little impact?
It is easier to make yourself busy, but being busy is not being productive. The noun “productive” comes from the verb “produce”. So here is a question you should ask yourself everyday: “what did I produce today?”
Time management is probably the number one skill everyone should master. If you don’t have time how can you do what really matters to you?
Planning your day, week and month in advance, focusing single-mindedly on a task until your complete it, and developing the habit of self-discipline is probably where you want to start. As Brian Tracy says: “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
How much self-discipline do you have?
4. I don’t have the right education
Getting the right education is certainly vital. Fortunately, nowadays there are countless ways to study at a reasonable price. We can have a full-time work and study after work or during the weekend, and books have never been so cheap and widely available. In addition to that, more and more world-class universities offer free courses online on website like Coursera or Open2Study.
If you are lucky enough to have access to Internet or to have a library close to where you live, you have no excuse not to study! As Jim Rohn used to say “Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book”. For me choosing between a meal and a book is a no-brainer. What about you?
Are you really stuck because you didn’t go to the right school or didn’t have the right education? Is it absolutely impossible for you to catch up?
What can you do today to start getting the education you need?
5. I don’t know the right people
So, you don’t know anyone in your field and feel stuck. First of all, I don’t buy into the idea that we must know the “right people” to achieve our goals. Secondly, I do believe it is possible to connect with the right people if it is indeed necessary.
The key is always to take as much action as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of the leaders in your area. Are they more likely to help someone just because he has a strong interest in a particular field? Probably not?
However, if you’ve already taken a lot of actions, openly share your exciting goals and show strong determination to reach your goals, they will be more likely to help you.
If you can find a way to help them first it is even better.
Do you really need to know the right people?
Is it really impossible for you to reach out to these people?
6. I don’t know how to do it
Richard Branson said “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”. That is probably the secret to success. We, as human beings, are the most creative animals on earth! Our mind is designed to solve complex problems and to achieve goals. There is no need to know how to do things before getting started. Actually, it is very unlikely that successful people ever waited to know how to do something before actually taking action.
Unfortunately, there is no point in life where you are going to be 100% ready to do something. Deep diving and learning by doing is the fastest way to grow and to develop our skills. It also significantly boosts our confidence in our ability to get things done and creates a virtuous cycle.
You don’t know how to do it? Great news! You should be thrilled to get started right now. You’re going to learn so much. Just do it!
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