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Four excuses undermining your success

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With six months gone in the year you’ve probably encountered some stumbling blocks on the way to achieving your goals. Unless you overcome these obstacles you won’t experience the results you’re hoping for at the end of the year.

The major obstacle you have to overcome when trying to effect personal or professional transformation is wrong thinking. It’s easy to blame other people for our circumstances: My marriage would be great if my spouse wasn’t so difficult. I’d save money if my boss paid me more. Business would be good if the economy wasn’t so bad. Life would be better if I’d been born a different nationality.

Wherever you are in life right now is your own doing — good or bad. Life doesn’t give you what you want, it gives you who you are. If you’re not living the life you want to live, and aren’t getting the results you want to get, you have to change. It starts with changing your thinking.

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Here are some of the common excuses or limiting beliefs that hold people back from success.

Excuse Number 1: I can’t do it. It’s too hard. We often reduce our chances of success or completely disqualify ourselves before we begin because we don’t believe in ourselves. We believe other people might be able to achieve their goals, but not us.

For years people believed it was impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to break that record. His record lasted only 46 days. Running the mile under four minutes soon became commonplace. Even school children run faster times. What happened? A limiting belief was removed. Once someone had done it, other people believed they could do it too.

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31 year old Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs. When he was 10, Nick felt his life was worthless and tried drowning himself in the bath. Fortunately his suicide attempt failed and Nick gained a sense that God had put him on this earth for a purpose. At 17, Nick started speaking in schools to encourage fellow teenagers. He founded his own non-profit organisation, Life Without Limbs.

Nick is now an internationally renowned speaker, author, actor and musician, travelling the world encouraging people to live without putting limitations on themselves. He also has a degree in accounting and financial planning. Nick says, “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”

Excuse Number 2: I don’t know how to do it. I’ve been guilty of this. I delayed one of my professional goals for over a year and a half because I didn’t know how to move forward. Finally a friend who did know what to do in that area came alongside, helped me and showed me what to do. Whenever I hit an obstacle I asked for help and received useful pointers. Soon I was Googling information for myself and finding my own solutions. The inertia was broken and I started to make progress.

It may be true that in the beginning you don’t know what to do. But you can learn. You can ask someone who does know to help you. Nowadays with the vast amount of information available on the Internet, there really is no excuse. Start small, but start somewhere. Do something to build momentum.

In leadership expert Dr John Maxwell’s book ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’, Law Number 16 is the Law of the Big Mo: Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Dr Maxwell describes momentum as the great exaggerator. When you have no momentum even small problems are insurmountable. Wi t h momentum, problems seem to work themselves out.

Excuse Number 3: I don’t feel like it. I’m too tired. I’ll do it later. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” The only way to achieve anything of significance is with self-discipline. Human beings are creatures of habit and we’re very reluctant to leave our comfort zones. If you wait until you feel like it to make changes in your life, you’ll be waiting a very long time. Don’t wait until you’re in the right mood or conditions are perfect. Don’t put it off until later. Just do it.

Excuse Number 4: I’m afraid. This is the real excuse underlying all other excuses. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of what other people will do, say or think. You can never eliminate fear from your life, but you can choose not to be ruled by it. The fact is, people will talk, laugh and reject you. You will make mistakes and fail. But that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dreams.

As authors Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz demonstrate in their book, “Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win”, happy and successful people tend to spend less time planning and more time acting. They get out into the world, try new things, and make mistakes, and in doing so, they benefit from unexpected experiences and opportunities. Babineaux and Krumboltz, who are psychologists, career counsellors, and creators of the popular Stanford University course “Fail Fast, Fail Often”, encourage readers to follow their passion, act boldly, and leverage their strengths — even if they are terrified of failure.

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