We all have been here at one point, it’s so easy, TOO easy to find an excuse for why that person ‘made it’ and we can’t. Our ego anxiously runs all of the rungs of the metaphorical ladder of excuses to protect us, so we can comfortably sit back rest assured that we have a good reason why we never made it, and more commonly never even tried it.
The hardest problem is these excuses are most of the time even viable, they’re fully valid, but that still doesn’t solve the true root of the problem: you haven’t ‘made’ it, you haven’t lived the life you want to live…yet. One or many of these excuses may fit you, but my job is to try to get you to look at them from a different perspective in hopes it’ll spring you into action.
1. “Don’t have time”
This is probably the most clichéd excuse of ALL TIME, and I typically it hear from the least successful people that just happen to be so busy that they absolutely no time for anything new, where I see highly occupied successful people just somehow making time for new classes, new books, & new projects while still keeping up with their current workload. Successful people know how to use their time when they have 25 minutes at the doctors they don’t complain about the ‘ridiculous wait’ or get increasingly angry as they wait for an hour or more at the infamous DMV because they use this time wisely.
They have a book with them everywhere they go, no matter what making the most of their time wherever they may be, and also subsequently lowering their stress because the time sitting in the doctors or DMV isn’t “dead time” as Robert Greene would say meaning unused, wasted time, they use every minute for growth, for learning. Successful people also have priorities, and they all know when people say ‘they don’t have time’ what they truly mean is they don’t want to make time for that given activity, we all make time for what we MUST make time for, not what we merely hope to.
Limit your ‘dead time’, make a few swaps for mind-numbing wastes of time like television & social media (which after a month, you’ll feel the positive effects of as the addiction wanes) & make a list of priorities of what MUST be done and what merely can be done if you have extra time.
2. “Don’t Have Connections”
Does anyone have connections in the beginning? Well most of us don’t, but we have this precious little thing, it’s amazing, it’s beyond a miracle if we didn’t live in today’s time: the internet. I’ve made almost all of my connections via email & social media (using the positive aspects of social media).
I’ve been able to meet A-List actors, scientists, star athletes, and the like to help promote my businesses’, work on projects together, and simply seek advice from someone who’s been through what I’m currently facing before, by simply reaching out in the right way which many people have given advice on before (google it).
You don’t need to start with connections, you just need to uniquely find a way to add a twinge of value to offer them, approaching with sincere humility and a sense of authenticity that they can feel, this will open up doors you could never dream of.
3. “I’m not good at ____”
Pablo Picasso said, “I’m always doing that which I can’t do, in order that I may learn how to do it”. Once again, none of us are born with some mystical ability, even the Beethoven’s of the world practice for YEARS. Repetition, repetition, repetition! As Maria Popova says “I don’t think we have a proven route to success, but a good way to think about it is a serious excitement about the work, mixed with repetition every single day”. It will take time, it’s not sexy, but its true so if you can’t see yourself burning with excitement years from now & want a quick fix, consider a change.
4. “I don’t know my passion”
None of us do, we’re not born & instantly we start to paint, or sing, or solve mathematical formulas. Our parents consistently put things in front of us as we grow up, little puzzles, footballs, we finger paint, we take swimming lessons, we sign up for tee-ball and our parents talk to us asking what we enjoy, after some time they say if you don’t like it, you can stop, but they give us enough time to give it a fair judgment of whether we actually like it or not.
What’s the problem then? Because as we grow up, we put ourselves in these boxes, and never try anything new. “You should try a painting class” to which you reply “Oh, no, I’m a football player, football players don’t paint, therefore I don’t paint”. It sounds silly when you phrase it like that, but that’s what we do mentally, we frame ourselves within these identities and as we get older & older we get trapped deeper & deeper, it’s scary but true.
Don’t let yourself, or anyone else put a label on you, or mark you with an identity. Humans are ever-evolving & changing beings, that make the mistake that they’re a finished product.
5. “I don’t have money”
This is unquestionably the best problem you could possibly have, there will always be a person, company, or project, that has more money than you. Think about ‘start-up’ companies, if money was the secret ingredient, how could they possibly compete with conglomerates with billion-dollar budgets? It’s actually because of the lack of money that they compete because it forces them to be creative, to think in odd & quirky ways that scare the big traditional companies, so while they stick to their big budgets with their 1970’s ad platform, these small companies come in causing a big ‘disruption’ by trying things that have never been tried.
6. “I’m not creative”
Creativity is just like any muscle in the body, so we need to work it out every single day like we do our bodies, with increasing resistance like we increase the weights in the gym as we get better & progress. We all know the last few reps where your body is on the brink of failure is where the body gets the most results, so when we’re practicing creativity, for example, James Altucher’s 10 Idea Theme, it’s the last few ideas that make our brain sweat, and we feel like we can’t possibly do one more ‘rep’ of ideas, that we push through and our creativity muscle is stretched to a new level of growth. (*Google James’s Idea Theme Exercise)
7. “I’ll never make it”
Make what? I never thought I would make money with my businesses, or be able to pay my rent, or car payment, it just happened as a by-product. You can’t do something to ‘make it’ or you’ve already failed. Whether it be a group, a project, a book, or a business if you’re in it to make it, you’ll paradoxically never ‘make it’ because you’re not going into the project for the right reasons which are to share your unique idea or perspective on the area, whereas if you’re doing it to make it, you’re doing it to get approval from others, for the mass crowd, and this road inevitably leads to failure & constant heartache.
I learned this lesson the hard way, and I still face it when starting new projects, but a good test for me is to ask myself “If I never ‘made it’ and this stayed a small little gig would I still be interested in doing it” if it passes this test, you know you love the project for the project’s sake & you’re doing it for the right reasons.
8. Fear of Failure
I didn’t place this one in quotes because we don’t typically admit this, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of it because of the almighty ego doing its job to protect us in our soft shell, trying to avoid any discomfort, but Ryan Holiday wrote once “We know objectively that we learn from failure, yet we spend all of our time trying to avoid it…why?”
Well it hurts at first, and we only think short-term, but if we stop for a moment & think of the past failures which hurt us to our core at the moment, but months, even years later we can still remember how important of a catalyst of growth it was for us. I know this is easier said than done, but write Ryan’s quote on a notecard above and carry it around with you in your pocket, periodically reading it when you have a minute to ingrain this mindset into your way of thinking.
9. Actual Failure
This is another case where it’s so much easier for me to speak about it on the other side, not entangled in the messy tunnel-vision emotions we all face when failure smacks us right on the cheek, out in the cold, with no one to comfort us in sight. It’s gotten me in its grips many times, but here’s the thing! After failing countless times, and facing failure time after time, you develop a spiritual muscle for it, and the good thing is it gets easier & easier as you go, and we never TRULY fail unless we give up for good, we officially ‘throw in the towel’ and say ‘its over, I’ve been whipped, I’m done forever’ unless we say that, there’s still hope regardless if you can see it or not, you can still categorize it as a ‘setback’ the scheme of your whole life you have ahead of you, even if that project entirely failed, you’re not the project, you’re you, and the YOU didn’t “fail”. Lucky plays a huge part in success, so never quit, and keep giving yourself chances no matter what and one day you’ll succeed at something. You learn things each time you fail, and these key takeaways will increase your chances of success even more over time.
If you want a chance to win the lottery, keep buying lottery tickets, keep yourself in the game.
Anyone can make excuses, and the masses do without even spending time to see if there’s a solution to these problems they incessantly complain about day in, day out for the entirety of their lives wondering how these successful people ever ‘made it’ and futilely wishing that one day their luck will come around, making them a success as if they don’t have any part in whether they succeed or not, the only way luck will strike, is if you do first.