“Don’t say you don’t have enough time or enough money to change the world. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Gandhi, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Jesus Christ.” ― Shannon L. Alder
If you are like me, you have been bothered by excuses at some point of your life or another.
It seems that when things are going great, those pesky excuses come creeping back.
You make great progress and then you hit a wall of excuses and resistance.
Do you ever wonder about the deeper nature of excuses that we make?
Here are some effective way to inspire yourself to get beyond excuses:
1. Excuses or Results: The Choice
“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” – Don Wilder
To live an excuses free life, we have to ask the question if we want excuses or if we sincerely desire results.
When you feel conflicted about generating results, often you may make excuses.
This is the time that we need to ask if the results we are seeking align with our higher purpose and goals.
Often we create a sense and feeling of resistance when goals misalign with purpose, thus paving the road to excuses.
“Lie to yourself if you want, but you’re not fooling me. Your excuses tell me that you didn’t really want it.” ― Steve Maraboli
2. Becoming Aware of the Type Of Excuses in Your Life
“Kick the crutch out from under your excuses” ― Lorii Myers, Make It Happen
There are many levels of excuses.
Some people make excuses and turn it into a habit.
Their excuses trickle from one part of their life to another.
When we make it a habit to put everything off for later or make excuses, we are living crisis to crisis.
We are dealing with crisis as it happens because we are never ahead in the game.
Occasional And Selective Excuses
This happens when you make excuses in some parts of your life and not in others.
It is always best to ask the hard questions and get into real reasons that you might be making the excuses.
For example, if you are a blogger and you want to make e-books and put out video courses. But, you never get around to doing what you would like to do.
You may justify it as being a lack of time but is that the real reason?
When you go deeper, you may uncover other reasons.
Reasons such as:
- Lack of self-belief
- Lack of self-trust
- Inability to deal with criticism or feedback
- Fear of failure
- Not knowing how to move forward
“If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.” – Yiddish Proverb
Excuses for not Taking The Big Leap: Ninja excuses
These are the subtle excuses that keep you in your zone of comfort and do not allow you to take the BIG leap.
The best way to uncover these excuses is to see of you are justifying the comfort zone that you have achieved.
You are fine where you are and do not want to jump into the next level of success or excellence.
According to Gay Hendricks, the author of the book, The Big Leap, these excuses are common even in high achievers.
People usually have a thermostat of success that they put in place for their life.
Getting more success than specified by the thermostat causes the internal meter to panic. We generate subtle excuses when the thermostat is off and cause self-sabotage.
How else could you explain lottery winners who end up bankrupt after making a fortune?
They were well off to begin with but the lottery pushes them past their thermostat for success.
“Once your excuses are gone, you will simply have to settle for being awesome!” ― Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book
3. Developing Willpower And Focus
“Excuses fall silent behind self-control, focus, and direction.” ― Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book
The best way to get through excuses is to have focus and direction as Lorii Myers points out in her book, No Excuses.
I believe that when you are doing too many tasks at the same time, it is easy for some of them to fall through the cracks.
The solution is to develop self-control to focus on a few high priority tasks and projects.
When you are entering the realm of excuses, ask if your focus is diffuse and if your will power is weak.
Research has shown that will power is exhaustible. It is best to do the tasks that you are making excuses on when you have the greatest willpower.
For some that may be the morning and for some it may be the evening.
You may be experiencing excuses because you are leaving the less pleasant tasks for later on.
When you leave the difficult tasks for later, you have little will power and direction available as a resource.
What are you focusing on today?
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” -Florence Nightingale
4. Taking Responsibility
“And oftentimes excusing of a fault Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse. ”- William Shakespeare
Sometimes, we allow excuses to go free because we are feeling shy of taking complete responsibility for our lives.
When you live by the idea that you are willing to step in and do what it takes to get beyond excuses, you usually do.
Do not wait for others to step in and solve problems.
Take responsibility for your life and begin by calling out those excuses.
5. The Way Forward: Is It Too Complicated?
“It’s called an ‘accomplishment’, not an ‘intent-ishment’. You’ve got to BE it to SEE it. NO MORE EXCUSES – Decide what you want, create a plan, and get your ass out there!” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
Do you have the steps forward clearly outlined?
This is the stage when many people resort to excuses.
Sometimes, you have the best intentions to complete a task or a project but you do not know how to move forward.
These are the “how,” the “when” and the “what” questions.
When a barrage of choices confront you, it causes analysis paralysis.
In the absence of a clear path forward, many people just rationalize away their inaction.
You may be collecting more data.
You may be doing some more research or trying to get some ideas on how to move forward.
You justify not taking immediate forward motion because you feel like you are not ready.
The easiest solution:
You need to have a forward motion plan that is so easy to implement that it becomes a no-brainer.
This is similar to “scripting the critical moves” idea by Dan and Chip Heath in their book, Switch. The need to be simple and implementable for forward progress.
Remember that at this stage of uncertainty, having to do too many thinking and maneuvering steps will lead to excuses.
Uncertainty+ lack of clear forward direction +complicated choices= Great chance of Excuses
“Uncomplicate it. Don’t make excuses. Some of life’s biggest heartaches come from missed opportunities and lame excuses. Don’t miss out on what could be the best chapter in your life because you’re too busy rereading the last one.” ― Kandi Steiner, Song Chaser
6. Excuses and Connections
“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ― John Wooden
Excuses are particularly harmful to our relationships and connections.
When we make excuses, what do the other people in our life think about us?
- We are unreliable.
- We cannot be trusted.
- We are not responsible.
- We are flaky.
- We should not be taken seriously.
I think that it is a big price to pay to sustain those excuses.
The bottom-line with relationships is that, if we say something, we should follow through.
7. The One Question
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
There is one question that I ask myself to bust through the fog of excuses when they tie me down.
This is the similar question that Steve Jobs asked in his Stanford commencement and many books have addressed.
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”- Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement
The question is: When my time on this planet comes to a close, will I regret not going for my dreams and goals?
Will I regret all the excuses that I am making today on that day?
Will I still make those excuses if I live pretending today was the last day of my life?
I know that when that question comes up, the answer is clear.
Ditch the excuses and go for it.
8. Are You Afraid Of Blame, Fear Or Shame?
“No one will ever blame you for trying to get it right.” ― Lorii Myers, Make It Happen
We make the most creative excuses when we have hidden guilt, shame and fear embedded deep inside.
You may be afraid of getting blamed for taking initiative and doing the work.
It is a lot safer to make excuses and assign the blame to time, age, intelligence and other factors.
Fear is one of the major reasons that people make excuses.
The problem is that the mind generates a lot of the fear and guilt as a defense mechanism.
It is your mind telling you to be safer and more cautious because you may make mistakes.
“We turned into each other’s best excuse for not doing the things we were afraid of.” ― Tracy Guzeman, The Gravity of Birds
Remember that fear and guilt and feeling blamed are conditional responses.
You may have trained yourself to fear the uncertain and avoid blame. But your true nature is one of limitless courage and radiance.
Choose to not attach too much meaning to the fear, blame and other difficult emotions.
You will deal better with going through excuses when you unhook your attention from these difficult states.
The next time you are making excuses because you are afraid, ask if that state is your true nature. Are you anticipating defeat and the worst-case scenario and making excuses?
“Let the fires of truth burn away your false life and your excuses, fears, blaming, doubts and illusions of insignificance.”― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
9. The Power Of Engagement And Action
“And do you know why we have not the power to attain this Stoic ideal? It is because we refuse to believe in our power. Nay, of a surety, there is something else which plays a part: it is because we are in love with our vices; we uphold them and prefer to make excuses for them rather than shake them off. We mortals have been endowed with sufficient strength by nature, if only we use this strength, if only we concentrate our powers and rouse them all to help us or at least not to hinder us. The reason is unwillingness, the excuse, inability.” ― Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
There is nothing that goes through the fog of excuses better than taking consistent action.
Transform taking action into a habit on the things that you have been putting off.
Consider the reason why taking action is a problem for you.
You may have problem taking action on your excuses because:
1. You think that the problems are bigger than they really are.
2. You approach a huge task or problem and get overwhelmed.
3. You are uncertain about the results of that action.
4. You remain indecisive because deciding means committing.
5. Constant Action= Constant Change. Are you comfortable with change?
6. You are taking on too much at one time. Why not work on it in small steps? If you want to learn photography, instead of finding an hour and failing, try finding 10 minutes and learning just 1 tip.
7. Remind yourself of the need to take action. Yes, you may forget to take action!
“Do it today! It will spare you the effort of finding excuses tomorrow.” ― Steve Maraboli
Small steps + Consistency + Habit +Intention + No Excuses Mindset = Great Action And Success
“Don’t make excuses — make good.” -Elbert Hubbard
Now over to you!
Did the post resonate with you?
What are some of the ways that you get beyond excuses?
Please let me know in the comments below!
Dennis Seymour says
Wonderful post Harish.
I actually only recently figured out how important the “small steps” are.
I’ve been having trouble recently balancing pregnancy, work, writing, etc. I made excuses here and there. Building new habits, throwing out old bad ones. It was all hard. I went through most of the points you mentioned in the recent couple of weeks so it hits the spot 😀
Thanks a lot for your comment, Dennis!
I am glad that you could relate to the post. I still have to remind myself to take the small steps everyday. Because they do not show huge results, small steps can be discouraging sometimes. But as you know, if we stick to them, the benefits are huge in the long run. Moreover, I would rather move a few steps forward than not to move at all.
Thanks for sharing your recent life situation. I think balancing different things is very challenging and I am still learning how to effectively manage everything. I think that focus, direction and small steps have really helped.
Have a great day!
PS: I visited your blog and love it! Great job you are doing there!
This post is great. You picked a popular topic and I like the fact that you went deeper talking about excuses. We make a lot of excuses just because we feel we can’t do them or maybe because like you have mentioned, that we are scared of rejection and failure. I agree with the points of overcoming excuses. Thanks for sharing
Thanks a lot for your comment, Ikechi! And you are most welcome.
Yes, I agree that this is a popular topic. We do make a lot of excuses when we do not want to do things or think that we are unable to do them and even feel fear of rejection. There are so many layers and stages to the excuses that it is always an interesting topic to write about. I find that as I write about my experiences and understanding about excuses, it helps me to identify them and resolve them better in my own life. A win-win situation!
Have a wonderful weekend,
Yvonne I. Wilson says
Awesome post Harish! Excuses is another word for procrastination which is the formula for failure. The quotes are brilliant! Here is the one that stood out the most – “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ― John Wood
The point is, who wants excuses, no one! I think there was a time I used to make a lot of excuses mainly out of fear but then gradually I began to grow and mature in the faith so I am learning more and more each day to organize myself and my work in such a way that I make good instead of making excuses. Have a great weekend!
Thanks a lot for your comment, Yvonne!
I totally agree that excuses is another word for procrastination and a formula for failure. Well said! I really like the quotes on excuses too…some of them make me want to take action and get rid of any excuses that I am possibly making. I thing good quotes have a great power to do just that. Make us think and then take action.
I agree that no one wants excuses! They bring us down and they disappoint others too. I like what you said about organization in your work. I think the key to having an excuses free life is having great structures of organization and habitual actions. In fact the action habit itself is a great excuses remover. Another thing that excuses fall apart under is true willingness to engage with the problem and desire resolution or solutions. Where there is intention to move forward, there are less excuses.
Thanks and have a great weekend!
Ravi Chahar says
You has raised the perfect point here.
There are many people in the world who avoid to do something by giving some excuses. For people who don’t try to get success will provide excuses.
If you want to boost up and want to reach to your goal then stop giving any excuses and reach at the top.
You have mentioned some great points here which are worthy to focus on.
People need to get motivated and I am sure they will get it by reading this article.
Thanks for writing this article.
Hope you are enjoying your week ahead.:)
Thanks a lot for your comment!
I agree that there are many people who avoid doing things and give excuses for them. The real reasons for the avoidance is usually something else like fear or lack of worth or hesitation of the unknown. Excuses are also a great way to avoid becoming successful as you put it. Sometimes excuses become habitual and the people making them do no not realize that they have a way out. They have a new way of doing something different and still achieve what they want. But they have made excuses for a long time and it seems almost natural.
Excuses is a topic of great interest to me because it seems a lot of people make them at some point or another. I have and still make excuses sometimes but I have become better at detecting them and attempting to get past them instead of feeling powerless. Awareness and the willingness to change are the key to getting past excuses in my opinion.
I loved this article so much, and I think it is something even people are relatively high-achieving, ambitious, etc..can relate to. We are so good at making excuses and arguing for our limitations. We particularly love the latter. I have always found it fascinating how we can want so many things in our lives, not like what is happening now,etc.. and yet, we keep ourselves stuck in these situations. You would think we would do whatever it takes, but we don’t. Us humans are pretty fascinating in that way. The stew of internal ‘muck’ that self-sabotages us is quite a mix of factors. I really loved two of your points in particular. The first about taking responsibility is key–if we don’t do that, we’ll never get far because it is never a challenge to place the blame somewhere else for why our life is a certain way. And I like the other point about uncomplicating matters. This is something I have discussed on my blog in various contexts because it is so important. Looking at the big picture can feel overwhelming and most of us respond to that by doing absolutely nothing. If we can just focus better on the moment and the immediate steps we can take now to move towards what we want, it feels much more doable. This is good from a law of attraction perspective as well because once we start feeling better by taking a step, our energy begins to shift and we set the wheels in motion on an energetic level where we will then receive all sorts of assistance in helping us get there.
Thanks a lot for your comment!
I agree totally that even high achievers and ambitious people can relate to excuses. They have to confront and deal with a set of excuses of their own. I think that at every level and stage of success and life, excuses confront us. Like you said that humans are especially tuned to argue for their limitations. I think that is a wonderful point. One thing that I am reminded is of the psychology research that shows conclusively that the negative is stronger and more sticky than the positive. The research of “Bad is stronger than the good,” recommends 3 to 5 more positive interactions to 1 negative one for a balance. People often overlook the power of negativity. They have a lifetime of negative thinking and those directly feed into the excuses and attempting to make a change.
I agree that placing the blame on someone or something else is the easy way out, and the easy solution. It is much more difficult to stand up and take responsibility. Initially it seems like the world is falling apart, but in the long run radical responsibility for one’s life is really the only good option. The burden of regret is too great to bear. The idea of what could have been if only…is too much to come to peace with.
You made a good point about the law of attraction and shifting energies. And yes when confronted with a huge picture, overwhelm and analysis paralysis result and those as we all know feel awful. Even a tiny step and some small rewards make us feel so much better. When we feel a little better, we can literally feel the presence of hope and enthusiasm knocking on the door. I remember the Dalai Lama once saying that it is very important to hold a sense of hope, even if it is very small. Overwhelm, negativity and excuses feel bad and it gets very challenging to see even a tiny glimmer of hope. But there is always a choice, even though many people do not want to believe that. One’s emotional state, response and feelings are somewhat in their control. And to begin there would be a great start. Small steps is where it all begins. Like Mother Teresa used to say: “We cannot do great things in our life, only small things with great love.”
Thanks for a great comment!
Lux Ganzon says
I need to remember these things especially when I’m too “tired” to exercise.
Thanks a lot for your comment, Lux!
I totally understand what you mean. I go through the same thing sometimes. I remind myself that exercising makes me feel a lot better. When I focus on how exercise makes me feel, I am feel more enthusiastic to exercise and make less excuses.
Also, making the exercise habitual has helped me to do exercise at the same time in the day and during the week. Of course, sometimes being very tired is the body’s way of wanting more rest. In those situations, I shrink the workout to a much more doable one or skip it altogether. Even if I can exercise for 5 minutes, I believe that it is better than not at all.
Thanks for visiting!
Ryan Biddulph says
#2 is OH So key, and it’s why I meditate. Super post! I sit regularly to see my excuses. I couldn’t post daily, publish eBooks or do about 20 other things I do regularly now. Currently I’m ramping up my eBook release sked; I’ve 7 eBooks out in 4 months and want to increase my productivity. Not from a place of force but from a place of power. Doing so requires deeper digging, unearthing, and rooting out of ideas like I need to be on social for more than 5 or 10 minutes daily. Spread your awareness and you’ll spot theme mind viruses, which you’ll release by moving in the direction of your excuses. Once you ID an excuse, move towards it, and it’ll die a quick death. Happens every time. Most just aren’t aware of their excuses and remain bound. Tweeting from Fiji.
Thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog! I agree that #2 is very key in getting through excuses. Sitting regularly to see excuses is such a great practice. Wow, I did not know that you were publishing so much content. Very inspiring! 7 e-books in 4 months is really amazing. I have been busy at work on a book and also a course but they are not completely done yet. I like what you mention about the difference between a position of power and not from forcing something. I totally agree…when the personal power flows through you, it is a completely different feeling. It feels like obstacles do not matter and there is a feeling of focus and a feeling of flow. But coming from a position of force, it feels as if weights have been tied to the feet and going forward feels just that…forced and difficult.
Yes, awareness of excuses is indeed the first step and when we engage with the reasons that we make excuses, they simple fall apart. It does involve the willingness and engagement with the excuses and the desire to get through them. Many simply do not see the merit in this but I agree that this is a very liberating experience!
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a greet week,
Mustafa Gaziani says
Amazing stuff on excuses.
You’ve shared such an inspiring quotes of well known authors.
The first one quote of Don wilder is really awesome.
You’ve mentioned too many excuses that often people do. This article has lot of interesting thing to learn. If you have passion to do it then there would be no excuse to do it.
Great article once again.
Thanks a lot for your comment and thanks for visiting!
I agree that the quote by Wilder is very inspiring. I think that quotes allow us to see the deeper reasons and meaning of life in a very concise manner. I agree that if one has the passion to go forward and the willingness to engage, excuses should simply fall apart. Often, people lack the will and motivation to engage and move forward in some aspect of life and remain stuck. I have seen that an enthusiastic and hopeful attitude always works wonders in getting past excuses. Of course, it is important to take ownership and become aware of the excuses in the first place. And then take small and consistent steps forward to conquer them.
Thanks and have a great week,
Harleena Singh says
Sorry for coming in late this time, just been overwhelming lately, though glad to be here now 🙂
Ah…excuses! Don’t we ALL make them, some time or the other, and we have our own justified reasons attached with all of them! You are right about the various ways we can overcome them, though firstly we need to know why we make such excuses.
I feel reasons could be many, just as you mentioned in your post so well. It could be fear, procrastination, overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, lack of self-belief, and so many others. However, if a person knows the reasons, he or she also knows what needs to be done to overcome them, isn’t it? If you make efforts, you can easily overcome those excuses and come out strong, provided you have a strong will-power to get over the hurdle.
I loved ALL your quotes…I guess you already know how much I love them and must have them on all of my posts too as they add so much more value. Your formulas are apt as well, especially the last one – Small steps + Consistency + Habit +Intention + No Excuses Mindset = Great Action And Success – taking small steps is the key I would say, and yes, be consistent till it becomes a habit and remain positive. Once you do all of these the LOA WILL work in your favor and you’d fight right through the excuse making zone.
I know it works for me, and being a mom, homemaker, blogger, and writer, I need to multi-task and do a lot, and making excuses would be the easiest thing for me to getaway. But if you are consistent, committed, and determined, you don’t let the excuses come close to you, till they are genuine ones or those that cannot be avoided.
Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
No problem at all! Thanks a lot for your comment. Yes, I agree that we all make excuses at some time or another. And we also have our own justifications and reasons that we rationalize them with. Well said! I like what you said about making a great effort to overcome excuses. I think that is absolutely right. Often, people do not make enough effort and choose to remain stuck in their places of excuses. I think what you said about will power is also oh-so true! Having a strong will is the required first step towards an excuses free life.
I am glad you enjoyed the quotes. I love quotes also and just like you, I love to use quotes to embellish my writing whenever possible. I think that they can provide great value to any post. I love what you said about being consistent, committed, and determined. I think that is a wonderful trio to bust through excuses.
Thanks a lot for your awesome comment!
Have a great week,
Great tips indeed. All tips are really important and helpful to concentrate easily and effective in our daily activities.
Thanks for the informative post.
You are most welcome.
Thanks a lot for your comment and thanks for stopping by.
I am very glad that you found the post useful.
Come back soon,
Ammar Zeb says
It was an amazing experience to be first time on your blog. Your writing skills are amazing and you are doing a great job helping the newbie bloggers.
I wanna say, no one is perfect in this world and one just needs to be a bit smart to have success in their life.
Thanks for sharing, keep writing 🙂
Thanks a lot for your comment, Ammar!
I greatly appreciate the kind words. Your words made me very happy!! I totally agree with you that no one is perfect in life and we all need to develop some street smarts to become successful. Part of that is to learn from past mistakes and make life better and better instead of getting crushed by them.
Thanks again and come back soon ok!