If there’s anything in this world that I absolutely, completely, whole-heartedly 100% hate – it’s excused. I hate excuses so much that before writing this blog post, I literally was brainstorming topics that I could write about, and when I wrote down “People telling themselves excuses”, my body literally shook with disgust.
Let me tell you a story of why excuses are complete garbage
About 3 months ago, I gave a talk to the audience at church (just for disclosure, I’m not religious in any way, however, I do love some of the people that go to church and the discussions that take place.) I recently lost around 30 kgs, so I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from that experience.
In the talk, I mentioned how “not knowing how to lose weight” is not a valid reason as to why you haven’t done it. There are plenty of “how-to” guides available, whether they are on the internet, in a book, in a course, or from a personal trainer. You’ve just gotta be willing to look for them.
A lot of people at church resonated with my talk. Even though I didn’t mention anything to do with religion, people loved the authenticity that oozed from my voice and gave me props after it.
Except for one dude.
Keep in mind, this one dude and I have been friends for yonks. He’s about 55 years old, he’s the type of bloke who loves fishing, playing with his grandchildren, and listens to country music. He’s got a good sense of humor, and a great heart-warming smile. This old bloke and I are really good friends. Just to make it easier, we’ll call this bloke “Phil”.
Phil approached me about 15 minutes after giving the talk, when the whole congregation is outside in the hall chatting away, getting ready to go to their next classes. He came up to me, looked me dead in the eye, and said with a serious tone, “If you had to work a 50 hour week, you would understand how it feels like not having enough time to get to the gym!” Since I value our friendship, I made a joke saying, “Mate, with that handsome face of yours, you don’t even need to go to the gym.” He smirked, then walked away.
If someone else approached me and said the same thing, specifically someone that I don’t really have any relationship with, I would have ripped that dude a new one.
Do you know how petty that excuse sounded to me?
Let’s just take this from a purely objective standpoint. Let’s say he actually does work 50 hours a week. There’re 168 hours a week, so let’s take away 50 hours for work and 56 hours for sleep (assuming he’s getting 8 hours of sleep a night). Then let’s be generous and take away 5 hours a day for miscellaneous stuff, like cooking, eating, relaxing, traveling to and from work, etc.
That STILL leaves him with 27 hours a week that he can do whatever he wants with
Even if he was to exercises an hour a day, he would still have 20 hours a week to muck around with.
So even objectively, his argument is flawed
The thing that people don’t understand is that an excuse is LITERALLY just an unhelpful response to a neutral situation. Whether you are thousands of dollars in debt, work 50 hours a week, or have 3 children that you need to take care of – these are just neutral situations.
Your response to these situations is what matters the most
Even just before writing this article, my cousin posted on her Facebook complaining about the Real Estate crisis that’s going on in NZ at the moment. She linked an article about a kid who received a lump sum of money to use as a down payment on a house, and complaining about how not everyone is as lucky as that kid to have “rich parents”, saying “Wish we all had rich parents like this little turd?”
Once again, let’s look at this situation completely objectively. How does complaining about this kid improve her life? Does it help her make more money? Does it improve her financial status? Does the act of her complaining do ANY form of good at all?
Of course not, it doesn’t help to complain at all
There’s a beautiful quote from Viktor Frankl that I’d like to share with you.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This is coming from a Holocaust survivor. Someone who went through arguably some of the most horrific experiences, environments, and conditions that a human can go through.
So if a Holocaust survivor can have this type of attitude, then why can’t we?
Now you better believe that even though I hold this type of attitude towards other people, the number 1 person that I hold this belief system to the most is myself.
I make sure that I’m completely honest with myself.
If I don’t train today, I don’t make excuses and say that I was “sick” and “too tired” to train, I just accept the responsibility that I didn’t train and move forward.
Heck, even though I’m sick today, here’re just a few things that I was able to accomplish:
how to stop making excuses?
STEPS TO STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Read for 2 hours
Look for high-quality job offers on Upwork
Write up 3 proposals for 3 different jobs postings and record a video proposal to go along with it
Record and edit a YouTube video (it’s been processing for the past 1hour and 20 minutes because the video is roughly 35 minutes long)
Contact 2 of my students that I coach for League Of Legends
Spend time with my nephew watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Contact another client I’m working with to write up some more Yoga articles
Write up another article on Post Workout nutrition for a client that I’m ghostwriting for
Write up this article that I’m doing now.
I’ve got a lot accomplished today, and this couldn’t have been done if I said to myself “Aww Danyon you’re sick, you should stay in bed and rest!”
Now I’m not stupid, if I was sick enough to be bedridden then I’d be resting right now. But I’m not, so I’m going to make use of my time and get things done.
Just to wrap things up, I’d like to end with some actionable tips that you can use to stop telling yourself any petty excuses.
Surround yourself with more positive material
Even being around people who don’t tell themselves excuses will have an effect on the way you think. I personally watch people like Elliott Hulse, Big Brandon Carter, the RSD crew, and Stefan Pylarinos. Soaking in material from these types of people forces you to think like them. In particular, the book “No Excuses” by Brian Tracy is really good and deals directly with this topic.
Read the biographies of people that have suffered more than you
“Man’s Search for Meaning” is a great place to start. That’s Viktor Frankl’s book, and it talks about particular experiences that he had in the concentration camp and the life lessons that he took from being a Holocaust survivor. When you read stories of people who had it harder than you, it puts your problems into perspective and makes you think “Hmm, my life isn’t actually that hard in comparison to these people”.
Replace any negative thoughts you have with a positive one
Similar to a habit, if you’re going to take away a negative thought it needs to be replaced with a positive one. So anytime you catch yourself saying negative things to yourself, replace it with something like “I hold myself to the highest of standards” or “I won’t stand for anything that’s negative.”
To sum things up – Remember, excuses are just a destructive response to a particular situation. If you want better results in your life, change that destructive response to something a bit more conducive to your definition of success.