The Power of No More Excuses
Ever tried giving up on excuses? It's surprisingly liberating.
We all make excuses. It's a normal part of life - the train got delayed, sorry I'm late. But sometimes we know that the excuse is a pathetic one. The train was delayed, sure, but it's always delayed on a Monday morning. You could have taken an earlier train.
It's easy to use excuses as a way out. Particularly when we don't feel inspired about something. Such as showing up early to work on a Monday morning. But even if you don't like neither the job, nor the salary, you chose that job. Maybe you had no other offers, but you accepted that one. And by doing so you agreed to show up on time and do the work you're meant to be doing. You don't have to do your best, but for you to feel good about yourself, you must do your best.
Sulking with something for not being what you wanted it to be isn't going to help. So long as you are doing something, do your best with it, even if you're looking for better work and will one day find it.
Basically, you can't blame a job, or a situation, for not being what you wanted them to be. It's not their fault for not being your ideal dream. You have to work with what they are until you figure out a way to find something better.
Blaming Other People for Your Emotions
Have you ever blamed other people for how you are feeling? They did wrong, you're the victim and your feelings are therefore justified. But if there are no excuses, then you have to take responsibility for your emotions. If they did wrong, why are you feeling bad? Their mistakes have nothing to do with you. You'll only feel bad if you actually believe that what they did is a reflection of who you are.
I realized this about two years ago when I was moping about something, convinced I was the victim and therefore my upset was justified. I felt like shit. So I was giving my power to another person. A person that, on top of it, was truly trying their best, it's just they're very different form me, so I still felt completely bulldozed.
As it dawned on me that I couldn't blame them, as they really were trying their best, I realized that I was using them as an excuse for feeling bad. Poor me. In my emotional state, I couldn't be happy, nor get shit done. And that, in short, is a sum up of my childhood. Poor me. Bad shit happened and it broke my confidence. But as an adult, I have the possibility to rebuild that confidence. As an adult, I have to make a choice to believe in myself.
Ever heard a child say "he started it?" Ever told that child they should stop it? The same goes for anything in our adult life. Instead, what we do most of the time, is let ourselves be dictated by events. We let other people tell us how we should feel and then we act on those feelings, usually with disastrous consequences.
There Are No Excuses
Well, that's strictly not true. You can't help if the train you are on really does get delayed and there was no way of you knowing. Things happen. However, if you have taken it upon you to do something, then do it. If something goes wrong, don't use it as an excuse, simply state a fact.
Most of us know what we are capable of. Planning to start studying an hour before the test starts, isn't a great idea. Not only will there be little time, chances are also that something will happen that hour to distract you. If you started a week before the test, then chances are that even if a UFO lands in your garden, you'll have time before the test to finish your studying.
In life, things will always go wrong. That's why we either do our very best to counteract that by doing things ahead of time, setting extra cash aside for emergencies and prioritizing what's important. There's always an excuse why you didn't take time to compliment someone, or why you didn't go on more date nights with your wife, or why you're late with your assignment. Shit happens. You can either use that as an excuse to fail, or you can decide you're in charge. You can decide you're gonna get what you want out of a situation no matter what.
Breaking Bad Habits
I've used excuses without being aware of it my whole life. Just like my fears have dictated what I do, or what I don't do. Fears are, in a way, just another form of excuses.
People say they don't walk up and talk to others at parties, because they are shy. What they really mean is that they fear being rejected by the people they walk up to. And if it becomes a habit not walking up to others, they'll soon stop questioning why they aren't doing it. Potentially when they see some really hot person, or someone that strikes them as truly interesting, they'll feel a twinge, an urge to walk up to them, yet will immediately dismiss it.
Our fears are excuses. I'm scared, therefore I cannot do that. But, as the story goes, happiness is outside our comfort zone. Because happiness is being free to do what you wish to do. And once you overcome your fear you usually realize how ridiculous it was to have it in the first place.
Fears should protect you. Standing at the edge of a mountain should scare you, because if you fall you'd kill yourself. Your fear of talking to people at parties probably spring from some form of rejection in childhood and then your brain decided that it would be best not to talk to people, to protect you. Better not speaking than becoming rejected. Belonging with others and living in a community is a survival instinct. So, of course, you became scared. The problem is that, while you at age six was probably better off not talking about whatever it was that made you get rejected, you're now much better off talking. There's much more to you than that one thing that got you rejected. That was just a fluke.
Basically, we live with a lot of misguided fear. Fear that turns us into self-fulfilling prophecies. By not walking up to people at parties, we often feel rejected even though we are not.
When you have no excuses as a policy, misguided fear can no longer rule your life. The only fear you should have is the kind that actually saves your life.
When you decide there are no excuses, you decide you're in charge. It's a very liberating feeling. When your brain tries to tell you that you can't have fun, because you have little money, you make a decision you're in charge and go do something fun that costs no money. Suddenly, you're no longer a victim to circumstance. You no longer have an excuse for being miserable.
It's a constant job catching your own excuses - my boss is bad so I'll do a bad job to show them, my friend said something nasty so now I feel terrible...there are so many things to blame for why you act as you do and feel as you do. But really, it's up to you how you feel and how you act. It's a choice.
Look out for when you think A happened, therefore B... No. A happened. Then I had a choice to do B, C, D. You're not a victim to circumstance. You have a choice.
We think that if we stop blaming others, they'll get away with things. The bad boss needs to be punished for being bad, so why do a good job? Because your job is about you, not your boss. You can tell your boss they're being terrible, on the other hand, and start looking around for another job.
Giving up on excuses and therefore giving up on blame, will liberate you to live the life of your dreams.