9 Common Excuses That Will Keep You From Being Successful
#2: “I don’t have the necessary skills.”
If there’s one thing I learned from building my business and working as a life coach, it’s that people often stand in their own way when trying to reach their goals.
Telling yourself an excuse is easier than tackling the obstacle and getting your hands dirty like a 1950s coal digger. But self-deception makes success impossible — you can’t start a fire by claiming the wood is too wet. If you hit the same walls and excuses again and again, you need a little bluntness to wake up to reality. One painful realization can unlock huge potential.
Let this article be the proverbial wrecking ball in your house of cards.
“I Don’t Have the Time.”
Time issues aren’t about time, they’re about priorities.
You, me, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and your smelly neighbor Joe Nevershower all have the same 24 hours per day. The difference lies in how we use them.
I’ve met single mums who built their side-hustle between changing diapers and unemployed guys who couldn’t make time to wash the dishes. Billionaire author J.K. Rowling took turns pushing a stroller and hammering away at her keyboard while being borderline-homeless broke. Elon Musk manages to slip in interviews, read, and record EDM songs with his girlfriend while running five companies.
Stop saying you don’t have time for the gym, your side hustle, or working on yourself. Instead, ask what your allocation says about your priorities.
“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”
— Jean De La Bruyere
“I Don’t Have the Necessary Skills.”
This excuse is as old as time. “My mum didn’t teach me how to cook so I can’t.” Well, your mum didn’t tell you how to go to town on your lover either, but somehow, you managed to wake up the neighbors at 3 am.
You live in the digital age. The entirety of humanity’s knowledge is a few clicks away. YouTube tutorials explain almost everything useful and useless, from setting up a website to touching a wall with an apple. Places like udemy offer video courses for cheap. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology uploaded all its lectures from Aerospace Engineering to Urban Studies for free. In short: the barriers to acquiring skills are lower than ever before.
If you want to learn something, you’ll find a way.
“It’s Impossible Because of [Insert Random External Condition.]”
One of the most important distinctions in life is between what you can control and what you can’t.
Your genetics, your country’s legislation, and the social or financial conditions you’re born into — they’re all outside of your control.
Your work ethic, attitude, and persistence are completely up to you.
When the pandemic hit and gyms closed, most people used the excuse to give up their workouts and traded sweaty sessions for comfy couches. But the ones dedicated enough bought weights and bands to keep up their regimen. At one point, I even resorted to stacking water bottles in bags, desperate for something to lift.
Focus on what’s in your control and you’ll be surprised about how little external circumstances matter.
“The Time Isn’t Right.”
The perfect moment doesn’t exist.
But every time you stay idle waiting for a better opportunity, you’re missing one that would’ve been good enough.
Hitting the gym when you’re tired and having a mediocre workout is better than having none at all.
Starting your business when you don’t know everything yet is better than wasting another year on mental masturbation.
Approaching the hot girl or guy even though you’re wearing sweatpants is better than walking past without saying hello.
Get rid of the romanticized idea of the “perfect moment.” Unless a car hit you and you’re bleeding to death, go for it. Don’t miss the good opportunities waiting for perfect ones.
“Others will laugh at me.”
There’s this huge misconception that when people laugh at you, your life is over.
I’ve been ridiculed, spat at, and I don’t even want to know the stories some of my exes told after we broke up. Yet, nothing happened. My face wasn’t broadcasted on national TV with a bright red caption saying “loser of the century.” I didn’t lose all my friends. People still love my content on Instagram despite others calling me cringe.
Look at any successful person who has ever lived — they all faced rejection, ridicule, and in rare cases, the catholic church tried to burn them at the stake. Yet, they kept going.
Will some asshat at the gym make fun of you? Maybe.
Will a coworker gossip about you trying to escape your 9 to 5? Probably.
Will a friend laugh about your efforts to shed your old behaviors and become a better person? In all likelihood, yes.
But the essential question is this:
What’s more important to you — creating the life you dream of or what someone else thinks about you?
Go after what matters and be willing to pay the price.
“It’s Too Hard.”
Life is hard, but at least you get to choose.
Working out is hard, being overweight is hard.
Putting in extra hours is hard, being broke is hard.
Swimming against the tide is hard, being a loser surrounded by other losers is hard.
I’ve been working on my business almost non-stop for the last two years. Many times, I’ve pushed myself to the brink of giving up. But I never have because I know that the harder it is right now, the easier it will be down the line.
“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”
— Jerzy Gregorek
“I Don’t Have Enough Money To Do It.”
Money is a tool and it’s surprising how many things you can build without it.
I’ve created an online writing and coaching business without a significant investment. Funny enough, the only part I spent money on — a YouTube channel I bought filming gear for — flopped harder than the latest Terminator movie. I could’ve saved myself the expenses if I just stuck to the basics.
You can get in shape without a high-end gym and a personal trainer.
You can start a side-hustle without investing thousands in equipment and advertising.
You can become a much better version of yourself without spending your hard-earned cash on gimmicky courses.
Learn to do the basics well first, then think about spending money to supercharge your success.
“It’s Too Scary.”
Fear is normal — the key is to act despite it.
Before I started my business, I was enrolled in a prestigious master’s program that would’ve opened many doors in the corporate world. Opting out and making the jump was scary — but big changes always are.
Growth and success require you to leave your comfort zone, so whether you want to level up your dating game, move countries, or explore a new career path, you’ll always feel a little scared.
Don’t let that hold you back. If the jitters get too much, an exercise like Tim Ferriss’ Fear Setting can help you take the leap. In the end, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do much more than the ones you did.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
— Dale Carnegie
“Only a Few Special People Can Make It Anyway.”
There is only a handful of Mark Zuckerberg’s in this world, but there are millions of moderately successful people who live an amazing life. You can be one of them.
People love to attribute success to something special — a secret sauce, a magic pill, a life-changing piece of information not everybody has. Lacking it is an easy excuse to hide behind. You’ll be surprised how much is possible if you roll up your sleeves and put in some good old elbow grease for a few years.
Flip the script. Instead of wondering “Why me?”, ask yourself “Why not me?” Then, get to work.
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