If you want to instantly create a better life for yourself, stop making excuses…
I heard that on Mike Mandel’s Brain Software podcast yesterday.
And it’s something that I have been thinking about and focused on quite a bit recently.
Before I get into the meat of this article, I have to express my hesitation. Because I believe this could be one of the most powerful, most impactful messages that I ever give you.
And yet, it’s far too common when I think that, it’s also one of the least well-received articles I put out.
What I’m about to tell you is not sexy. It’s not the kind of thing that stimulates the lizard brain. It’s not a topic that creates an instant bestseller. And it won’t make you happy, healthy, and rich overnight.
But it will set you on a different path, with a dramatically different destination. It will take you on a brand-new journey that will be more empowered, more fulfilling, and lead you in the direction of your goals much faster.
So even if your gut reaction is to reject or ignore what I’m about to tell you, I strongly encourage you to think twice, and really try on the idea of embracing this message and applying it in every moment of your life.
Excuses are poison to your success…
What is an excuse? An excuse is when you blame something outside of yourself for a negative result you are experiencing and use that blame as a reason to shut down.
People make excuses all the time.
The market is terrible. I don’t have the opportunities other people have. I’m not gifted, or talented, or attractive, or skilled enough — or whatever enough — to get what I want.
Or, someone else blew this. I didn’t get the help I needed. My partner didn’t pull their weight. Someone else dropped the ball.
These and a thousand other reasons are then tied to not taking the necessary action. Either I didn’t take the necessary action to prevent the problem in the first place. Or I’m not going to take the necessary action because the obstacle is too large.
An excuse shuts us down.
An excuse prevents us from moving forward.
An excuse gives us an out, so we don’t have to do the hard work.
An excuse is what we use so that we do not have to respond to the situation.
But here’s a dirty little secret about excuses…
And this is a big part of what makes them so alluring.
Excuses are based in reality. The world is full of negative factors that will make it harder to get what you want from life.
Maybe the market is terrible. Maybe you don’t have the opportunities other people have. Maybe you’re not gifted, or talented, or attractive, or skilled, or whatever.
Maybe someone else did blow it. Maybe you didn’t get the help he needed. Maybe your partner didn’t pull their weight. Maybe someone else dropped the ball.
The question is are you going to let that stop you?
Assume all of that is true. What do you have to do to overcome it? What do you have to do to offset the negative influence of these variables?
What extra work are you willing to do? What extra effort will you put in? How will you approach the difficult things in life in such a way that they will not hold you down?
What specific next actions will you take?
How will you take responsibility for getting what you want in light of all the obstacles that might stand in your way?
The opposite of excuses is responsibility…
I like to think of responsibility in a slightly different way.
It is response-ability.
To take responsibility for an outcome or situation does not mean you are at fault or blame. It means that you claim your ability to respond to the situation in the best way you know how, to move you towards the outcome you desire.
Let’s isolate this with one example.
I wrote a promotion that launched in early 2018. It was a financial promotion. As I was writing it, the market had basically been going up since early 2009. And so my promotion basically said that the market was going to keep climbing higher and higher.
Right as we launched it, the market tanked.
It is since recovered, of course. But the timing of the message couldn’t have been worse. I believe that was a huge negative factor that impacted the success of the promotion.
I had to bite my tongue on blaming the market and using it as an excuse.
In the end, we would eventually abandon that promotion. In hindsight, maybe we should of killed it after the first test. But the process we followed was one of taking responsibility, and choosing to take next actions that we believed were the best response in a situation like this.
We tested a few different messages. We waited for the market to show signs of recovery. We tested again. We tried a few things to get it to work.
In the end, that message was a failure.
In the end, we decided the best next response was to move on to creating another message, another promotion, another campaign.
But only after we chose to take responsibility for the fact that the promotion did not work. And to respond to it not working with the process of marketing testing that can often turn losing promotions into winners, and make winners even more profitable.
Here’s the thing…
The world is full of influences — both negative and positive — that are outside of your control…
They are outside of your control.
You cannot control them.
But you can control yourself, and how you respond to them.
If you make excuses, know that you are choosing not to respond to things. Know that you are choosing inaction in the face of obstacles.
The obstacle is probably real. But it’s often something that you can overcome. And it’s always something that you can use to fuel yourself in your quest for success.
There is no problem in acknowledging obstacles and challenges and negative influences.
The problem comes when you use those as an excuse to shut down. To not do anything. To choose to give your power over to the obstacle.
Instead, embrace the obstacle as real. And choose your response, to keep your power.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,