We have all heard the saying: excuses are like assholes, everyone has one.
I have come to see excuses as the soft let down of the truth. We do not want to face the reality of why we did not go to yoga every day this week or why we aren’t pursuing our music career or why we stopped writing that book. So instead, we naturally blame outside forces – convoluting a large web of excuses and storylines that perfectly explain why we could not follow-through or even start a task or dream.
Most of the time we believe this crafted narrative and it serves its purpose – we feel better about ourselves, we do not feel like failures, we do not face the fact that perhaps we never even wanted to do the things we promised ourselves we would do in the first place.
If you can get to the bottom of why you are making the excuse in the first place, you can then act off the facade, save yourself a lot of time and energy, and move towards accomplishment.
For example, if you have been telling people and yourself that you are going to start writing your book for the past six months but all you have realistically done is come up with the name and a loose premise for the storyline, then something is going on here.
You say things like, “My commute home is so long that it really eats a chunk out of my day. By the time I get home to write, I am exhausted.”
“I really want to write this book so I have been throwing around ideas in my head for the past few months and researching character development.”
These two excuses boil down to the two main excuses that I have seen run people’s lives to the core. The first excuse is the JUSTIFIABLE EXCUSE and the second excuse is the FEAR EXCUSE.
Let’s break these down…
THE JUSTIFIABLE EXCUSE
The Justifiable Excuse sounds perfect on paper. Let’s take the commute example from above. Working an 8+ hour day and then waiting through a long commute to get home is exhausting. Throw in your social commitments, your relationship if you are in one, and perhaps even kids and your timeline is getting limited.
It sounds perfectly justifiable. But it isn’t. The Justifiable Excuse is so good at its job that it makes you feel better.
“It’s not my fault I can’t get around to writing my book! Its all my life commitments that I cannot neglect – work, family, etc! I have no time! It’s not my fault.”
And yes, this looks to be true given the scenario but the simple fact is this: YOU ARE GIVING EXCUSES TO NOT LIVE YOUR DREAM.
There is always time to do whatever you want to do. If you cut TV and social media time each week, you would probably have enough time to start writing your book – as an example. Even if you can only get 2-3 hours done a week, you are still moving forward with your book.
Now you have to ask yourself this: Do you want to write your book? Truly, truly, truly.
DO YOU WANT TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THAT DREAM?
And I am here to tell you this: It is perfectly OK if you don’t! In fact, if you don’t want to write your book and come to terms with that, you free up so much mental space where you once placed your excuses.
Now that you can let go of that idea and your excuses, you give yourself the space and time to pursue something you really want to make time for.
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THE FEAR EXCUSE
The fear excuse masks itself in productivity. As per the example above, you are brainstorming, researching, mood-boarding, and dreaming of the moment you finish. However, lost in all that brainstorming and thinking and ideation is the part where you sit down and start writing. The action!
The Fear Excuse has so many parts: fear of failure, fear of being vulnerable, fear of disappointing yourself. So, you give yourself all the feel-good aspects of starting something you love by indulging in the thinking and dreaming side without ever having step foot into the danger zone: the work, the potential failure, the outside opinion of others.
So you make excuses about how you are trying to get it “just right” because you are a perfectionist.
I am here to say: Just do it. Start. Now. Right now.
In the accurate words of Sheryl Sandberg: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.
Done always wins, but mostly because perfect doesn’t exist.
The good news about The Fear Excuse is that it usually means you are in the right field of work, you do genuinely want to do the thing you keep brainstorming about, and you just need a little push. A leap of faith.
I hope this post is it for you – because nothing feels better than actually starting your dreams.
Between the two, which do you resonate with the most: The Justifiable Excuse or The Fear Excuse?
Either allow yourself to say, “I don’t want to do this!” or “I am starting today!”
With either of those statements, you release yourself of the excuse’s bondage and open up the channels for the right energy to flow through.
Break up with excuses, recognize the truth in the situation, and then act accordingly – and only in the interest of your truest dreams.
What excuse are you getting rid of today?
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Photography by Arielle Levy