What is one of your biggest pet peeves? I know what mine is. I love to get things accomplished and it bothers me when everyone around me has a complaint that hinders progress on projects. Take work for example, our company is a good company to work for and yet communication is not our biggest asset. The upper echelons feel that they are on the corporate level and that the staff has no need to know things. Ok, that’s true on some things BUT when a manager has left and no one knows who they are supposed to discuss issues with, it can get a little embarrassing. Then there’s the issue of additional staff being hired and not knowing who can be called for coverage. These are just a few issues that all of us at work deal with and yet we get lots of excuses and no solutions.
I know one thing I deal with all the time is trying to recruit volunteers for various projects whether it’s through non profit organizations or in my own personal life. It’s amazing how fast people will volunteer once money or something in it for them flashes in their face. Don’t believe me? Try asking folks to volunteer for something. Anything. See how many takers you get. Then try again with something to entice folks to do it, like money or opportunities and they will jump much faster on that bandwagon.
I love the musical group Scorpions. They have a song from the 80’s called “Wind of Change”. Some of the lyrics are “The future’s in the air, you can feel it everywhere.” They don’t make excuses, they say it as a matter of fact. In truth, everything around us changes daily. We can make every excuse in the world but we all age a day, every decision that we make has consequences both good and bad. Every time we don’t do something out of fear, we lose an opportunity. Every relationship that we don’t tell that person how we feel is tempered with reactions. Every second of every day is wrought with opportunities and excuses. At work, we are often given projects. A deposition may need to be done, a report may need to be updated, a set of meetings need to be scheduled, payments may need to be processed, medical records may need to be updated, etc.. The list goes on and on. We have the choice to either get these things accomplished or to let it take a back seat. Sometimes, those decisions can be life or death. Sometimes, it can mean making or losing money or even precious time. Whatever the outcome, there’s always reasons to put things off.
I watch places that I care for go through the same issues. No one wants to take responsibility for anything. I get it. What I don’t get is why we get some comfortable in our little bubbles that we can’t understand why our bubbles have to burst at some point. I think we can all be guilty of this. I watch people in my job, at home, school, church and other volunteering groups all complain. No one wants to step up. I was always raised to do what I could for others. In the last twenty years, I’ve watched as technology has become more of a crutch for society than we all care to admit. Old school is dependable but the younger generations veer to technology like a flock. Why? It saves time, it’s fun, and it makes life easier. When it works, it’s great, when it doesn’t, it’s a nightmare.
My point is simple. Instead of complaining about what we have and what we don’t, wouldn’t it be more constructive to find ways to create those opportunities and projects rather than constantly gripe about what we don’t have? It really got me to thinking about ways to stop making excuses and start coming up with solutions. Here are some helpful tips that are helping me make some changes in my life. I hope they help you as well.
One of my excuses for things I didn’t feel I had time to do was that I didn’t have enough time to take on various tasks. Two questions come to mind with this thought. The first was, did I really not have the time to squeeze in things that I knew were important to me or did I just not want to do it and wasn’t being honest with myself or anyone else? Once I established which of the two questions was valid, it gave me the opportunity to start taking ownership of my decision. There are days where I still struggle with this. It’s an ongoing lesson but it does bear reminding myself that honesty with yourself is crucial. No one but you lives your life. It’s okay to say no to things as long as you are comfortable with your decision.
I love how people tell me it’s too late to change things. The truth is that it may or may not be too late. It depends on the situation. There’s a lot of things in this world that it’s never too late to do. Don’t assume that it’s too late. If you really want to incite changes within yourself, make the effort to do something about it. Life isn’t easy. It’s really hard. It’s even harder when you convince yourself that things are too difficult to achieve. How do you know something is too hard? Is it because you failed at it when you first tried? Look, not everything is going to be a simple accomplishment. That’s what practice is for. You can’t pick up an instrument that you’ve never played and expect to be an expert musician in one setting. There’s only a very small amount of the population that possesses that ability. If you aren’t one of them, that’s actually very normal. What’s important is that you don’t beat yourself up over the things that are challenging. Let it fuel you to push for more than you ever dreamed possible.
Procrastination is rarely anyone’s friend. If you think about it, putting something off isn’t always a smart thing. There are always exception to this rule. I’ve put off writing for weeks because I was waiting on inspiration to hit me. Fortunately, I was able to remind myself why I love to write. It’s because it’s an escape for me. This has allowed a way to connect with others who may understand the inner turmoil that I deal with. When I gave up music, it was something I was relieved with until I began to regret it. You want to know the real truth? I got scared. I was so afraid of not making it in the world of music that I let the fear take over and I convinced myself that I wanted to get inspired with the right opportunity. The problem was that I kept searching for the right opportunity and didn’t give myself a chance to explore what I loved. My folks used to say that No Decision becomes a decision and that’s the danger of waiting for the right inspiration. What happens if the inspiration never comes? Do you stop doing what you love or do you change tactics? It’s a question that only you can answer for yourself.
Another problem is the lack of money. This is one of the number one problems people face in making excuses. When I ask people about traveling, I always get told that they can’t afford to travel. Some of my friends refuse to do things socially because they can’t afford it. I’ve often heard that if you want something bad enough, you won’t let money be the reason you can’t do things. Planning becomes an essential part of making your dreams a reality. After all, if we fail to plan, then we plan to fail. We are our own worst enemy and as cliché as that is, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Money does make things possible but so does our attitudes. If you really want something, work towards making it a reality. Quit convincing yourself that you can’t do things.
Some other excuses that I’ve heard and even said are things like “I’m too tired, or too old, or too young”. While it may be true in some areas, often times, it is merely a way to put off something. When we give ourselves reasons that we can’t do something, we begin to believe it ourselves. If you want to add a deck onto your house and keep putting it off, ask yourself why. If you want to go on a trip and can’t afford it, how long would it take you to squirrel away the extra money? There’s all kind of apps and programs to help save for things. Research everything. Ask questions. Plan. The only one holding you back is you. Dare to dream about what you want and then go after it. And no, I don’t mean do anything illegal or harmful but start looking at your life like it’s a new book that you are writing a chapter on day by day and you will be amazed at how the story progresses.