“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is ‘out there' —as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ~Byron Katie
You can do just about anything you set your mind to. And just about is plenty good for accomplishing more in life than you have time to accomplish.
Yes, there are some things in life that we won't ever be able to achieve. I will never be a professional ballet dancer no matter how diligently I train. You may not get the specific job you want because the employer won't hire you. You may go after something with every confidence that you can achieve it, and then something unexpected prevents you. Of course severe physical or emotional illness can hinder you. But these are the exceptions. The rule is that there are millions of things you can accomplish.
When I coach clients, they often revert to the fallback position of over-examining their emotions. Emotions are important and have their place, but they are a smokescreen to taking action. I try to refocus the client on action. Positive action always makes you feel better. Even one tiny forward movement can be enough to turn around your entire outlook.
Here are some common feeling-charged thoughts that try to divert you from action:
- It's hard. I can't do it.
- I'm too lazy. I just don't have the motivation.
- I don't really need to be doing this thing. I'm fine the way I am.
- I'm feeling down right now. I can't do anything when I feel this way.
- I can't afford to do that.
- Something bad might happen. People won't like me anymore. I'll make them mad.
- I failed at this before, so clearly I'm not capable.
- I don't deserve this. I'm just not good enough.
I wish I could tell you that these thoughts had enough truth in them to merit inertia. But that's not the case. There are millions of goals and desires for which you have the ability, intelligence, resources, and stamina (mental, physical and emotional) to accomplish.
It may not be easy.
It may not always be fun.
You might fail the first time and have to start again.
But most of the time, with the proper research, training, planning, preparation, and consistency, you can do what you set out to do if you really want to do it.
That's the key: you have to want it enough to turn your back on comfortable excuses and scary feelings. You have to admit that they don't really have the power to stop you.
When you are standing naked in The Land of No Excuses, it can be intimidating. Invisible eyes are on you saying, “Ok, now you actually have to do something.” But it can be exhilarating too. Maybe you no longer have excuses not to do something — but now you have a good reason to do anything. The world is your oyster.
My friend and client Stephanie has lost 140 pounds in the last year after a lifetime of obesity. She's launched her own business and is trying many new things that weight previously prevented her from attempting.
Leo, my friend and partner for The Habit Course, has built his entire business and blog around taking action. He's become pro at creating good habits and dropping bad ones. Look at what he's accomplished.
The beautiful Diana picked up and moved to Italy to follow her dream of owning and running a bed and breakfast. In spite of a period of severe anxiety, she figured out how small actions could keep her moving forward. She used her anxiety to focus her creativity rather than being victimized by it. She is now living her dream.
Author, speaker, and master coach Steve Chandler awakened to the truth of his own abilities during a workshop with the amazing Byron Katie. He overcame a victim mentality, reinforced by alcohol abuse, to become one of the most sought-after speakers and coaches in the country.
If you are reading this and thinking, “Yes but . . . ,” I invite you to dismiss those two words from your vocabulary. Of course you have difficulties, special circumstances, limitations. We all do. But don't underestimate yourself. There are plenty of things, millions of things, you can do, so focus on them.
There are unlimited resources to help you do what you want to do. You can Google just about anything and find out how to do it for free. There are books, courses, workshops, mentors, teachers and coaches available to help you. This post isn't about giving you the resources — you know where to find them.
This post is a reminder of the truth. Don't underestimate yourself. You can do just about anything you really want to do. Most excuses don't hold water.
You are now standing naked in The Land of No Excuses. It's time for action. What are you going to do next?
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a tweet and a like!