You have a flash of brilliance. A creative idea for a webseries, a bold career action to take, an important phone call to make, a scholarship opportunity. You inch your way closer and closer to the plate. Just as you are about to step up to it, something happens. Doubt flickers across your gaze. Second guessing happens. And then…the biggest dream killer known to man pays you a visit.
It’s called The Perfect Excuse.
Well I WAS going to sign up for that writing class to finally finish the film I’ve been talking about about for the last two years BUT…it’s just too expensive right now.
I WANTED to start that new exercise program BUT my best friend just broke up with her boyfriend and she really needed me to be there for her by eating the tub of ice cream.
Oh I THOUGHT ABOUT asking for an audition for that project because the director cast me in something else BUT I didn’t want to bother him or seem pushy, so I just didn’t.
One excuse at a time we put our lives on hold. We settle for less than what is in our heart. And then we make it ok with more excuses.
It wasn’t that important to me.
I can live with out it.
I probably couldn’t handle it.
It would’ve been too hard.
It’s better this way.
It’s bs. You know it and I know it. And yet we continue to find ways to create and accept the perfect excuse.
I’ll tell you why.
We are DESIGNED to do this. Every single human being on the planet, no matter how unfathomably successful they may be, is hard wired to make the perfect excuse.
I learned this from my first business mentor, and I’ll sum it up for you the best way that I can.
Our subconscious mind is there to help us survive. Back in the day, survival meant things like – watch out for that saber toothed tiger! It triggered our instincts, a fight or flight response to life or death situations.
These days, in our cushy modern world of convenience, we are are rarely (if ever) in a truly life or death situation. Yet the function of the subconscious has remained the same. The imminent danger no longer exists. So what has become the threat?
Success. Leaving the comfort zone. Changing things.
When you begin to get close to something that you truly want – a big audition, an important meeting, introducing yourself at a networking event, finishing your screenplay, it requires you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. It pushes you outside of your comfort zone. When that happens, the subconscious LITERALLY thinks you are GOING TO DIE. No joke.
“Dude, what are you doing? What the effing eff are you DOING? This is NOT cool, this is NOT ok, someone could really get hurt here. Let’s put the brakes on right now.”
And the subconscious mind is so crafty, so cunning, so truly manipulative, that it has us all figured out. No matter what goal or desire it is that may inspired you to step outside your comfort zone, the subconscious mind can match it with the perfect excuse.
It’s too expensive.
It’s not the right time.
But my family needs me.
What if I look stupid?
I’m going to wait until I (fill in the blank).
Once I get (fill in the blank) then I’ll go for what I actually want.
I could go on and on.
But here’s the thing. None of it matters. Even the perfect excuse is just an excuse.
Ready to ditch yours?
Here’s an incredibly powerful exercise I learned from one of my mentors. It’s deceptively simple, so don’t be fooled.
List a goal that you want. Something you TRULY want and are willing to do the work for, no matter what.
Take out a piece of paper. On one side write:
HOW I Can
On the other side write:
WHY I Can’t
Now write down all the possibilities that you can come up with for the “HOW I can” side of the paper. List everything that comes to mind. Do not censor yourself.
Every time you find yourself making an excuse about what you listed on the “How I can” side, flip the paper over, write down the excuse, then immediately CROSS IT OUT.
Once you have your entire “How I can” list complete, here’s the trick to making this work:
Take action on EVERY SINGLE IDEA you wrote down until you have either: gotten what you want, or gone through the whole list.
Most people will not complete the exercise. They will give up long before they complete the list.
What about you? When your head hits the pillow at night don’t you want to know you’ve done every single thing in your power to have what you want? Or would you rather go to sleep at night knowing that you sided with your excuse?
The choice is ALWAYS up to you.
Leave a comment. How do you overcome your excuses?
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