(This is part two of the series on living an epic life. You can find part one here.)
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. – George Washington Carver
In the last post, I told you that you can live an epic life. Nothing in life says we cannot. Find me the book on life that says it’s impossible.
I can imagine some of you thinking when you read the last post, “That’s great and motivating but I have a mortgage, kids to feed, I’m not so smart, I don’t have experience, and I don’t even know where to begin.”
Excuses, excuses, excuses.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. – Benjamin Franklin
When you have an excuse, what you are doing is immediately telling your brain to stop being unrealistic and go back to being realistic without even trying.
The path full of excuses leads to an average life.
Let’s go over some excuses.
I don’t know how to start.
Is your Google broken? Whenever I need anything, Google is the first place I look. If I can’t find it, I try another keyword.
The library is another great resource. There has to be a book on how to do anything you want. If you haven’t been the library since college, try looking on Amazon.com.
Look to people you know. Ask around. Search on Twitter. Find blogs in your area of interest. Contact the owner and ask them how they got started.
Saying you don’t know how to start is a weak excuse because there are so many resources available.
I’m not that smart.
Smart can be defined in a couple ways. Book smart and street smart. I assume if your excuse is that you’re not smart enough, you think you need to be a Jeopardy champion.
Is everyone who is living an epic life is super smart? No.
Does IQ automatically determine your future success? No.
You might not be book smart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it up in other areas.
Being “not smart” probably helps because some of the most famous companies started from unrealistic visions. Index the whole internet? Sell books online? Overnight shipping?
These ideas that turned out to be Google, Amazon, and FedEx, which have changed the world.
JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter at a time when wizardry for children just wasn’t in style. Twelve publishers rejected her and even the one that accepted her told her to keep her day job. Those twelve other “smart people” must have kicked themselves after it became a runaway success.
The “smart people” believed certain ideas would fail, when in fact their predictions were so wrong.
You don’t have to be smart to do great things in life. As you can see, sometimes it’s actually better to not be so smart.
I don’t have the time.
Time to seem to be one of the bigger excuses. Time never stopped others who have gone to live epic lives.
Those who alway say they don’t have enough time, spend more time coming up with excuses than solutions.
We all have 24 hours in a day. That will never change. It just depends on you how you plan on spending those hours.
If you don’t have the time, make time. Wake up earlier. Sleep later. Work during your lunch break. Cut out watching television or social media.
Chris Brogan just wrote a whole post about finding time to write a book. He’s written books while running a company, speaking around the country, blogging daily, and taking care of his family.
This is what he suggests if you have kids. These could also be applied to finding time for anything else.
- While they watch TV, you write at the table. If you have time for TV, you have time to write a book. Can’t concentrate? Headphones.
- Wake up 40 minutes earlier. Use 20 to get less groggy. Use 20 to start some writing.
- Stay up 40 minutes later. Use 30 to write and 10 to calm your brain back down.
- Use “idle time” like waiting room time to write. Don’t want to whip out the laptop? Then use something else to capture more work (remember that note cards aren’t a book).
- Quit one “used to be useful” activity. We all have them. Are you still at book club? Unless it’s your life saver, stop. Ditto volunteering. Volunteer to write a book. Then volunteer.
Find things that kill your productivity and eliminate them. How much time do you spend on the unimportant everyday? I cut way back on how much television I watch. That right there freed up so much time.
For myself, eliminating what I shouldn’t be doing helped just as much as knowing what I should be doing.
Find ways to create more time in your day. Remember doing something unimportant for hours doesn’t make it important.
I need money so I can quit my miserable job.
You may not need as much money as you think to quit your job and travel for a year or start you own online business. Of course if you have mouths to feed, you have to think of them.
That’s why I really stress that if you’re young, you should be taking more risks. That’s what I would have told my younger self.
No matter what situation you are in, you can have more money by cutting back on your spending.
Do you need a home phone line? Cable? Gym membership? Magazine subscriptions? Expensive cell phone plan?
You could cut back on eating out and stop impulse buying. Seriously, how much stuff do you have at home that you bought and don’t use anymore? Don’t be ashamed because I’m in the same category.
Sell your crap! Sell it on Craigslist. Have a garage sale. Sell it on Ebay. One person’s trash is another man’s treasure is the old saying.
If you do have to continue working for the income, then find the time to work on your side projects in your free time. Entrepreneurs have created businesses while working a full time job.
You wouldn’t be the first to try that.
I know your job might suck but you have to make a choice to stay or go. Up till late last year, I hated my job with a passion. Guess what? I’m still at the same job but my outlook is different.
It’s still not for me but I have a mortgage that has to be paid. I could have sold my house but decided I’d rather keep it. So I’ve accepted my choice and am working on blogging and building a business online when I’m not working.
I’m 10x happier than I was last year, even though I’m still at the same job. It started with the one sentence that changed my life.
I don’t have much experience.
Who really has all the experience they need when starting out? When have you started anything new in life and was a pro already?
The successful ones learn as they go. They will fail but learning while doing it gives them more experience than just reading about it.
When you had your first kiss, did you have much experience? No! It was your first kiss.
Take a look at any field and everyone had to start at the beginning like we would have to.
Instead of trying to learn everything before you start, just start so you can learn everything.
I might fail.
It is a mistake to suppose that people succeed through success; they often succeed through failures. ~Author Unknown
The fear of failure stops so many everyday from doing things they dream of.
Just remember there is no success in life without failure. Without failure, you will not have success.
Failure is a part of life. The ones who live an epic life, learn from their failures. They think, “Ok, how can I do this better next time?” The ones who don’t say to themselves “See, I knew it wasn’t going to work.”
You don’t have to deal with failure alone. Maybe you have a mastermind group you can get advice from (learn more about how to setup a group). You may have a mentor. Get some career or life coaching. Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Failing is not the end of the world. Look at failure as feedback.
Your identity is not defined in your failures, but instead how you respond after those failures.
Excuses arise for things we want to do.
You will usually create excuses when it’s something you actually want to do but think of reasons to not do it.
- Lose weight? Excuses.
- Write a book? Excuses.
- Make money online? Excuses.
- Start a business around your passion? Excuses.
I think you get the point.
If it was something you had no interest in doing, you would just say you weren’t interested instead of creating excuses.
The ones who live an epic life think of solutions instead of excuses when they are passionate about something. Be that person.
What other excuses would you add to these six?
What do you do to get past the excuses and into action?
Please take a moment to share it to help others get past these bad excuses.