This is an excerpt from the book I am writing called, “Living Your Purposeful Life”.
Have you ever taken a moment and sat back and thought about your excuses? Start by looking at something you really want and then ask yourself, why don’t I have that today? For example, I would like to lose 20 lbs. and the first excuse that comes to mind is that I do not have enough time to spend hours in the gym to get in shape, because I spend too much time commuting to and from work. How many of you have a similar excuse?
Excuses are the reasons that justify why we are where we are today. They give us a reason to stay where we are because we make the reasons outside of us, beyond our control, and it is so much easier not to do something because we can not control the things holding us back.
Take my weight loss. Yes, exercising more would make it easier for me to lose weight, but there are other things that I can do to lose the weight. I could eat better and less. Eating better and less have nothing to do with finding time to exercise or my commute to and from work. Even as I think about eating better and less, I can hear the excuses in my mind, like how can I eat better if I go out to lunch every day? Well, bring a lunch. But, I like getting out of the office, it gives me a break from what is going on. Boy, the excuses can keep coming if you are not careful. What is clear to me is that losing weight is clearly in my control and I can do it, I just need to choose to do it.
Several years ago, I did change how I framed time. I used to always say, I do not have time, but I started to say, I have not made time to do bla. It was a simple shift from outside my control to within my control. It is my choice, plain and simple. At first, I felt bad about saying that I have not made time for bla, but after a while, it made me realize that I made the choice not to do it. Eventually, it would make me evaluate what I was doing instead and then I could make a better choice at what I was doing with my time.
Let’s take a look at some bigger excuses. Why are you doing the job you are currently doing? Are you getting something like, because I love it, or are you getting, because nobody else will hire me. Which one sounds like an excuse to you? If nobody else will hire you, why won’t they hire you? Do you not have experience? Are you getting the experience from this job? Do you need more training? How can you get this training? Really break down your excuses that are outside of your control and see if they are really outside your control.
If you can not get the job you wanted because you did not finish high school, or university, not finishing were your choices and you can not change the past, but you can make a better choice today. What do you need to do to finish high school, or university? Or, can you find another way to get to where you want to go without finishing high school, or university? Sometimes there is another path that you have not considered.
Maybe you need to start your own company? Nobody checks your credentials, if you own the company, they only check your results, and if you produce results, nobody cares if you are a high school dropout or a PhD from Stanford.
Phew, start my own company? How could you say that? Yea, I know that brings up a lot of excuses on a whole other level. For me, what if I fail and can not support my family? Supporting my family is very important for me, but it is also an excuse. In this age of the Internet, there are ways that you can start a business without a lot of risk. For me, writing this book is a step in that direction. Something that I enjoy doing and I feel I am good at it. It is a challenge for me and each week, I wonder if people will hate me, but I put those excuses behind me and keep pushing forward.
Step one, identify your excuses and own them. You are not going to change them overnight. Start with something simple, time. Try saying, I have not made the time to do bla, instead of I do not have the time to do bla. Let me know how that makes you feel. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but keep with it. After you say, I have not made the time to do bla. Ask yourself, how can I make the time? You may not get an answer right away, but ask yourself a few times. When I wanted to start writing, I was uncertain how I would find the time, but I kept asking and each Saturday and Sunday morning, I sit down and I write. Small steps and soon to be a book.
You can do it. Start by owning your excuses and look how things will slowly start to change. Things do not have to change all at once, but that is not to say that they can not. They just do not have to. Be curious and enjoy the process.