The End of Excuses: Just do it!
Stop the blaming game and start the change
If you have read my previous books, then you will know that I am convinced that life is either black or white. You can either change or stay the way you are. You can decide for or against something. You can take responsibility or become a victim of external circumstances. Believing so little in gray areas is an inevitable side effect of my own personal development process. The more you think and act like a Changemaker the less you will have a desire to deal with the usual back and forth. Instead, you will immediately take a liking to the feeling of satisfaction, which you will inevitably experience the more you commit yourself.
It is one decision. Will you take it?
The path that lies before us starts with such a decision. Especially when the external circumstances are hard, the road is rocky and risk is high; you are standing at a fundamental crossroads. Do you flee into passiveness and look for excuses and reasons why you really can´t change anything, or do you muster up your courage and become a Changemaker who actively changes himself as well as his surroundings? Who takes responsibility, even when destiny doesn´t bode so well at the moment. Who commits to his goals and dreams, even though the road is full of obstacles. Who makes courageous decisions, even though the stakes are high. As I´m writing these lines, I am well aware of how innocent these statements sound when they are written. But don´t be deceived, because the practical impact could not be any greater. The decision, whether you are someone who hesitates or someone who commits, will set the course for your future, professionally as well as personally.
We live in a world of excuses
The obvious choice is the presumed easier one. You decide to take the path of least resistance, and do what everyone else does. You get way too comfortable in your comfort zone and come to terms with the fact that the circumstances are hard and the future outlook is grim. And just to make sure, you also talk yourself into believing that nothing works anyhow, without a title, money or the permission of others. Then this attitude is dressed up in various excuses, which you use to convince yourself that staying in your comfort zone is the right thing to do.
If you go through life with open eyes, you will soon realize just how colorful the variations of excuses can be. Sometimes they are worded in a very open way, sometimes they are concealed, and, then again, very subtle. And you will observe, again, that people will display a passionate creativity when it comes to finding an excuse to prevent an implementation. A mentor of mine from back when I worked in retail said to me many years ago, “Grzeskowitz, remember one thing, you will be able to apply it your entire life. Those who don´t want to do something will look for excuses and reasons why it just won´t work. And those who really want something will always find a solution.“ And right he was. I have the privilege to be working on different changes with people, organizations and companies every day. The topics are very different; but one thing always remains the same: The way of the excuses.
The big dilemma with this is that most people don´t even notice anymore when they are using excuses. They´ve told themselves these things so many times that they start accepting them as a deep and unwavering truth at some point. And it happens so fast. Even I catch myself, at times, wanting to reach for a classic excuse during an idea, an argument or an upcoming change. Thankfully, I also practice the ability of critical thinking, so I usually notice it when it happens. And then I make a conscious choice to take full responsibility.
So at this point, I´d like to invite you to take an honest look into the mirror and check how many times you fall into the mental trap of saying, “We´ve always done it this way, why should I change anything?“ instead of taking responsibility. And believe me, excuses are lurking everywhere. Most of the time they sound so harmless and familiar that we don´t even notice them anymore.
The ten most common excuses that you keep encountering in daily life
- I don’t have any money.
- I’m too young/old/small/big/etc.
- This is happening way too fast/slow for me.
- I don’t have time.
- We’ve never done it this way.
- I lack the talent.
- I´m aware of this/I know this/I know how to do this already.
- Yes, but…
- It’s not that easy.
- This will never work.
Heard those before? Maybe even used them yourself? No worries, we all use one or the other excuse on a regular basis. It’s far more important that you become aware of what kind of an impact they have on you, because the bottom line is excuses are used so that you do not have to take action, make decisions and continue keeping up the status quo. They encourage you to keep waiting for the right moment. That special instance, when everything is just right. But that moment will never come because something is always amiss.
Stop wait for the perfect moment. Instead go out and create it.
So, before you make an important decision, you need to be absolutely clear about one thing: The perfect moment does not exist. You will always be acting in a state where you aren’t perfectly prepared and you lack knowledge, ability or information. And that´s the tragic thing about hesitation. We are just waiting for those perfect circumstances that only exist in theory, and that we will never attain anyway. The results: Waiting. Pushing things off. Finding excuses. And the more comfortable you make your own comfort zone, the harder it becomes to get the results you want. And this is tragic. Just as former German president Gustav Heinemann stated over seventy years ago, “Those who are not willing to change things will also lose what they tried to keep in the end.“
Saying goodbye to this hesitating wait-and-see attitude and ringing in the end of excuses is therefore a very important step. But it´s far from enough. You need an alternative to your former behavior patterns, a Changemaker mindset that focuses on recognizing chances, seizing opportunities and implementing changes. It might take a little bit of time until you can free yourself from the old patterns and conditioning, but it is worth it. And the training is pretty simple. Replace the old reflex with a new one. Where you used to hesitate, doubt and reach for a good old excuse, stop for a moment and think or say very consciously: “Just do it!“
This is the mentality of a Changemaker: He does not try to find excuses but instead goes out and finds solutions. So who are you? A Changemaker or a Champion of excuses?
Let the change begin!