Hello Everyone! This post is about excuses. Earlier this week I hosted a discussion about one of my favorite Inspirational/Self Help books ‘Excuses Be Gone’ by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I am a big fan of Dr. Dyer’s. His books have really helped me a great deal. I read this book when it was first released and wanted to read it again, recognizing that excuses are still playing way too large a role in the way I live my life. Sharing material like this with others is always great and I really enjoyed our discussion. Why have I posted the photo of this tiny frog at the top of this post? This photo is one of the Top 10 favorite nature photos I have ever taken. But I would not have it if I had listened to the excuses my mind gave me for not doing what it took to make it happen. This little guy was located by the lake in my community but the clump of long leaves/plants he was sitting on had about 6″ of marshy water at its base. I took what photos I could staying dry but saw I would need my macro lens and my tripod in order to make it happen. Part of me said no it is too much of a pain to go back and get the tripod just be happy with what you had so far. Then when I did bring down the tripod I hesitated to step into that water. I have to think this photo was meant to be because by some miracle I did not get any mosquito or bug bites at all! When I really think about it many of my most treasured images are the result of pushing myself to get out and drive some place on a day I didn’t really feel like it or of course from forcing myself to believe that I really could learn to be a good photographer in the first place! There was indeed a time when I did not think I was capable of getting out of ‘auto’ mode on a camera or of having the patience to use a tripod etc.
Dr. Dyer lists the 18 most common excuses people give for not making the changes they want to make in their lives, be it losing weight, pursuing a new career, improving or starting a relationship with someone etc. He proceeds to dismantle them all of course. Here are the 18 excuses-which ones do you use the most?
1. It will be difficult.
2. It’s going to be risky.
3. It will take a long time.
4. There will be family drama.
5. I don’t deserve it.
6. It’s not my nature.
7. I can’t afford it
8. No one will help me.
9. It has never happened before.
10. I’m not strong enough.
11. I’m not smart enough.
12. I’m too old (or not old enough)
13. The rules won’t let me.
14. It’s too big.
15. I don’t have the energy.
16. It’s my personal family history.
17. I’m too busy.
18. I’m too scared.
Out of these I have to say one that I have used the most, often subconsciously is ‘It’s not in my nature’. I have been somewhat introverted most of my life. While I have made significant improvements in the last few years (in fact when I mention this to people they tell me “What? you are not shy at all you seem outgoing to me!”) it is still something I have not yet been able to completely shake. It is also difficult to let go of parts of yourself simply because even though you don’t like them you are used to being that way and on some level are comfortable with them.
One excuse not listed here that I think is effecting a lot of people is “things are tough right now”, “the economy is bad” etc. The media seems to delight in telling us bad news. I really feel that this has gotten worse and worse. I can go to any major news site and it seems like 80-90% of the stories are negative. There are a lot of good things happening and people who are succeeding in life yet they are not the ones given much attention. Yes I know it is in fact harder now then it has been during other times to succeed in some areas. But why shouldn’t you or I be one of the people who is still doing well? The media is depressing people so much that I have little doubt many are not making the efforts they might have because they feel it is no use. I have to admit I have allowed myself to fall victim to this to a degree myself. I am now making a conscious effort to not watch television news and to only spend a short time each day glancing at the headlines. We all need to focus on what we can control and we certainly cannot control a lot of what is going on in this world. We can control how we treat and respond to others. We can change the false negative thoughts that cause us to not take action in our lives.
One excuse on the list that really holds no water is ‘No one will help me’. I think a lot of us fear asking for help because others will see us as weak or we feel the problem is too private. Often times we tend to shrink back from our friends when we most need them and this is a big mistake. EVERYONE has weaknesses and worries. And most people enjoy helping others even if all they can offer is advice and to listen.
I will close this post by simply suggesting that you become more mindful of the excuses your brain gives you for not becoming the person you truly want to be. Ask yourself if they really are legitimate-usually they are not. In many ways ultimately we all create our own reality.