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The 3 Main Sources of All Your Excuses and How to Beat Them

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Making excuses comes from a fundamental lack of concern regarding our responsibility. It’s just like when you used to excuse yourself from the family dinner table, you were saying that you didn’t want to be obligated to do something, namely, eat your vegetables or visit with Aunt Lucy.

Excusing ourselves from the table of real life responsibilities, however, places an unnecessary burden on others and ultimately comes back to limit our own potential. When we abdicate responsibility over a long enough stretch of time we eventually short-circuit our ability to be successful.

But by understanding the root causes of our excuses and how to eliminate them, we can empower ourselves to reach our potential. Although there are a million excuses out there, the causes of each ultimately fall into three major categories. Fortunately, each has a solution.

Here are the 3 main sources of your excuses:

Source #1: Laziness

We humans really crave our comfort. Think of how many times you have come up with some reason to avoid going to the gym. Sure, once you start to develop your endurance and gain some momentum you begin to get motivated. But until then it’s easy to find excuses to not go. It’s far easier to sit at home on the couch and watch Netflix.

When we avoid things that we don’t really want to do and choose an easier option, it comes down to not seeing the value in it. We just don’t see how it’s worth it to expend the time and energy to endure the pain when an easier option exists.

We are conditioned in life to take the most comfortable route possible. Unless we see the value we just won’t commit. If we don’t see the urgency we can expect excuses to entire our lives.

This was the case for me in the past regarding planning for my future financial independence. I don’t know why, but at the time I never felt any urgency in this area. And, of course, I now regret those excuses. If only I had seen a greater value in it.

“Excuses sound best to the people makin’ them up” – Tyrese Gibson

Solution:

In order to see the value of something, we have to begin to focus on both the benefits and the consequences.  This covers the two opposite ends of the same spectrum.

In my retirement planning example, my focus on benefits might have helped me see that I would gain several things by not excusing myself from that responsibility. The first might have been that I would have a higher self-esteem for doing what I should have been doing anyway. Another might have been the ability to save up for a few nice trips when I’m done working. These are things that could have genuinely benefited me and that I could have seen the value of.

And by evaluating the possible consequences for making the excuses I might have come square-faced to the fact that I might have trouble retiring or not be able to afford some of the things that might be necessary as I begin aging more.

To beat the excuse of laziness we have to find urgency through a proper understanding of both the benefits and consequences of that which we are trying to excuse ourselves from.

Source #2: Fear

For many of us, our lives are dominated by fear. This is because we don’t see that there is anything higher than ourselves. We are self-focused.

In this kind of a state, if we are called to take on a risk whether that be financial, emotional, or even physical, we tend to throw up roadblocks in the way as excuses. In our minds, we are all there is so nothing could be so worth our harm.

But such a position brings a complete halt to our growth. We have to push through a little risk or our lives will remain stagnant. Although we might not ever entirely conquer our fear there is a way to gain the upper-hand on it and prevent it from fueling our excuses.

Solution:

Have you ever noticed how soldiers march forward in the face of impending harm with seemingly little concern for themselves? Where are their excuses to not push forward? They are overshadowed by something much bigger than them—purpose.

To overcome our fear and the excuses that go along with it we have to find a purpose that is greater than us. This takes the attention off of ourselves and onto something worth fighting for. When we have purpose in the true sense we become secondary to its fulfillment. To truly help us, this purpose can’t be about our own advancement—it must be about the service of others.

When we become other-focused in this way our values change. When we see others as more important than ourselves that is love. Who wouldn’t die for those they love?  Purpose will always eradicate the excuses that fear tries to bring us.

“Ninety-nine of the failures come from people who have  a habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver

Source #3: Pride

We sometimes abdicate taking responsibility for doing things because we are concerned about how our image might be affected. This is ego rearing its ugly head. This particular source of excuses comes down to how we view ourselves and how we want others to see us.

When we face the possibility that our association with something might put us in a less-than-favorable light we often avoid it. The ego is very protective of itself. It believes it is nearly perfect and it desires to keep it that way. So it seeks to excuse itself from anything that might threaten it’s image.

Did you ever have a fear of public speaking? There are surveys that report how some people would rather die than give a speech. Doesn’t that seem a little irrational? Other than falling off the stage there just isn’t any chance that a person is going to experience real harm speaking.

What people are really “afraid” of is looking bad in the eyes of others. They are experiencing the powerfully-limiting effect of pride and make excuses to avoid challenging the ego.

Solution:

To be free from the excuses that pride brings we have to eliminate the ego. This can be easier said than done. Our egos have been with us our whole lives, after all. But here is one trick that has helped me. Rather than make excuses to not do things like public speaking, try repeating this phrase to yourself: “Be real, not right.”

The least that we should expect of ourselves and others is to be authentic. But to allow ourselves to get to that point we have to be willing to be less than perfect—and that is what being real is all about. You will find that life is way more fun and people will enjoy you more as well. Remember, when your pride becomes a source of your excuses make the decision to be real, not right.

How many of your excuses come from these 3 sources? Comment below!

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Life

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost

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A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.

Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Why Problems Overwhelm Us

As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?

Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.

How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.

Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.

Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie

How to Take Action in the Face of Problems

Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”

In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”

To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:

1. First, I acknowledged the feeling

Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”

Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.

2. Next, I prepared for the worst

We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.

In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.

The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Lastly, I examined the situation

Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.

I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.

Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.

The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.

Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.

Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.

How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!

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8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing

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You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.

Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.

With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.

Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.

2. Stay Physically Active

As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.

You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman

3. Get Sufficient Sleep

Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.

Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.

4. Develop a New Hobby

Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.

Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.

5. Eat Healthy

Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.

Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.

6. Laugh Your Heart Out

Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.

And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?

7. Try Relaxation Techniques

‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.

Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.

“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy

8. Count Your Blessings

We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.

You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.

There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.

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How You Can Use the Power of Gratitude to Your Advantage

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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)

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