Excuses work well when you use them as a veil to hide your shortcomings. But are they helping you, or are they holding you back from a better life?
Most of us reach a point in our lives when we ask ourselves – is this really it? We hit a wall and can’t seem to move forward, and get any closer to reaching the initial goals we set out for ourselves.
Did you plan to start a business? Build a community garden? Star in a theatrical drama? Write a novel? Run a marathon? Find true love? Get promoted? Invent a groundbreaking technology? Be on the board of an NGO? Practice yoga? Travel the world?
Whatever it may have been that was *and likely still is* your passion and inspiration to keep moving forward in your life has become blurry, and seems more out of reach. When you get to this point in your life, it is easy to just give in and passively let it go on as it has been, leading you further away from your true hopes and dreams.
Yet, what you should do is ask yourself, what is holding me back? What are the barriers keeping me from where I want to be?
While it’s impossible to control much of our broader situation – for example, the economy, or your boss’s lack of leadership skills – it is possible to control how we respond to these situations.
Our responses and reactions to what surround us whether social, economic or environmental is completely up to us, and depends on our perspective of the situation. We have the power to turn a situation into something extraordinary, which could lead us closer to our goals!
The problem with excuses
Yet, many people rely on something to take the blame for not being where they planned, or dreamed to be, in their lives. What if everything you used to justify not reaching your goal – for the day, month year or your life – wasn’t true? What if all the barriers and challenges impeding your progress were, in fact, just excuses?
Excuses are essentially a way to explain away a problem – shift the responsibility to someone else and allow yourself to rationalize not doing something.
6 telltale excuses that get you nowhere
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. -Benjamin Franklin
Many people rely on excuses to explain why they aren’t where they wanted to be in their lives, or why they haven’t reached a particular goal or dream. Excuses are common, and provide you little room to move forward in your life. The following are six telltale excuses that many people use to justify not getting what they want from life. [Read: 11 tips to fall in love with yourself and be a much better YOU]
#1 I don’t know how.
If you make the excuse that you cannot start something, or achieve a goal because you don’t know every single detail and variable, you will end up wasting a lot of time and energy.
A lot of very successful people admit to not knowing exactly what they were getting into, until they had already started. If you want to do something and aren’t sure you know how, then start learning!
Do your research, find people that are already actively doing what you want to, and start building your knowledge base. Take online courses, expand your skillset, and involve yourself in a new community of people.
Not knowing how to do something is not a valid excuse. We control what we know, and are ignorant to, so if there’s something you need to understand more clearly, educate yourself!
#2 I’m too busy.
This is an age-old excuse for many people when they don’t accomplish something they planned, or dreamed of. In the world today, it is difficult to find a person that is not busy. Life is demanding and you need to be able to manage your time in order to do the things that are most important to you.
If a goal of yours is truly meaningful, you should find the time to work towards it. Download a time-management app, learn to prioritize your schedule, shed time-wasting activities and get down to stuff that really matters! Whatever it is that you need to do to reach your goal, you can find the time for it!
#3 I don’t have enough money.
This is an easy excuse to make for almost anything. “Sorry I can’t come out tonight, I don’t get paid until next week”. “I won’t be able to join your wedding, as it’s not in my budget”. Or “I can’t start a business, I have no savings!” Making excuses about money is an easy out.
You are in control of your financial situation. No matter what the number on your paycheck is, you determine where it goes. While some expenses are absolutely necessary *loans, rent, etc.* you’d be surprised how much money is filtered away on rather meaningless things.
Five-dollar coffees, a new dress, phone upgrades. It all adds up. If there is something that is more pressing and will lead you towards fulfilling your life’s goals, perhaps it might be better to brew your own coffee, wear the same dress twice and work with the gadget you already own. My point being – there is always money somewhere, but you have to work at creating a strict budget for yourself, and following it. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life!]
#4 It has to be perfect.
When people don’t do something, they make the excuse that they are worried about the quality of their work – that it has to be perfect. Yet, worrying over the quality results in a lack of actual productivity, and again hinders progress towards your goals.
Perfectionism is a great excuse – if I can’t do it perfectly then I won’t do it at all. But it is also a big waste of creativity and skill. It’s better to start working towards something, and focusing on quality and effectiveness instead of perfection.
#5 I will do it later.
How many times have you said that to yourself? You plan to look into that course in the fall, or research business plans after you’re done working on your current project. You open a million tabs on your browser and lose track of what you were researching for in the first place.
Procrastination is a mighty beast that keeps the best of us from getting where we want to be. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses for not doing something that is important to you and your life goals. If it’s got to be done, put it in your planner, and make it happen. Don’t wait for the “right” time.
#6 I might fail.
The fear of failure is the trademark excuse for not trying something new, or working through a challenge. It’s a fact that if you don’t start something, you don’t have to worry about failing. But if you don’t start something at all, you miss out on the opportunity to succeed.
Failure is bound to happen, and it’s also healthy because it allows you to regroup, refocus and fuel a new determination to overcome an obstacle and meet a goal. If you’re holding back because you only want to succeed and never fail, every single time, then you are doing and learning less. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and be happy instantly]
Stop making excuses
We can often put ourselves down so low, and make so many excuses for not succeeding that we stop putting in the effort because we’ve convinced ourselves there’s no point.
Instead of posing excuses as the problem, or seeing barriers as incapable forces withholding you from your dreams, think of them instead as exciting challenges to be conquered.
If you’re feeling stuck, and negative about the opportunities present in your life and career, you’re viewing challenges as excuses to give up. You must shift your perspective, and instead see challenges as opportunities.