By David Joel Miller.
These excuses will keep things from ever getting better.
Things in your life are not right. You know your life could be better but you talk yourself out of doing anything. Are you making excuses that allow things to stay the same? Are you cheating yourself out of the fulfilling life you could have? Here are some of the common ways people alibi their inaction and keep themselves stuck. How many of these thinking errors do you practice?
Things are not that bad.
Do you tell yourself that things are not THAT bad? That they could be worse. Clearly, the opposite of the best thing for you is not-that-bad things that could be better but you allow to stay unchanged.
I don’t know where to start.
That is a sneaky excuse. It tries to make you think there is something else you need to know before you can start on anything. You always start where you are. You start at the beginning and keep going. Taking a trip to a strange place? Get a map, talk to a travel guide or someone who has been there. Ask questions.
Same thing for life. Don’t know how to begin? Seek out someone who can help you. A counselor or therapist a friend or mentor. The trip to recovery land begins when you decide to leave where you are.
You need to be born with talent.
Talents are like seeds. When you were born you were given a whole lot of seeds stored away in your brain. The ones you plant and nurture will grow. You will never know how much talent you have unless you practice a skill to develop it to its fullest. Some people discover, in their retirement years, they had talents they never knew they had. What could they have done with those talents is they had nurtured them sooner?
I will never be as good as so and so.
Probably not. But then you will probably never be as bad as some other people. Comparing yourself to others is an exercise in mental avoidance. (You thought I was going to use another word didn’t you?)
There is no point in comparing yourself to others. You will never be them. But then Benjamin Franklin was no Michelangelo either. Shakespeare was no Chaucer. No one is ever anyone else. You need to be you and do the best you can. You will never know just how good you could be if you don’t try.
Things are just fine the way they are.
If you really believe that try just sitting where you are for the rest of your life. Will that work? No. You need to get up and move around. You need to work and laugh and play. Life is about the journey. If you do nothing things are not likely to stay fine. They are likely to get worse. Keep making you and your life better and see where you end up.
I will do it someday.
There are seven days in the week and none of them are Someday. Someday never comes. It is always today. Do not wait till you can spend full-time working on your dream. That day may never come. Life is all those things you experience while waiting for Someday to arrive.
It is no big deal.
It should be. This is your life. You should matter. Start by making your life matter to you. Everything is a big deal when you can’t do it anymore.
Things might get worse.
They might. But then do nothing and I can pretty much guarantee they will get worse. Things keep going in the direction they are going unless something like gravity or time bends them. Your actions can be the force that changes the trajectory of your life.
I will probably fail.
Telling yourself you will fail does not protect you from failure. Want to fail big? Do nothing. Not studying is the best way to fail a test. Do not turn in your assignment and you get a zero. Do it and you will get at least some points. In life doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.
Not sure what the risks are? Don’t let your mind try to protect you by inventing humongous possible consequences. Talk with experts, coaches, and mentors and see what the real situation is.
I might have to give something up.
You will eventually have to give everything up. You will never know what you could have had if you had gone for it. Most people have a whole lot of things, physical and habit wise that are cluttering up your life. To make room for anything new we always end up having to get something out of our lives. Pick the things you want to jettison before you run out of room, and nothing better can ever enter your life.
Change is hard.
Staying the same can be hard also. Yes, change is hard sometimes, especially that first step. But once you step out you will find that the movement gets easier the farther you go. Anything worth doing talks effort and the most valuable things sometimes take the most effort.
Do things over and over till they become automatic habits and they become easy. The alphabet and writing were hard in the early grades, for most of us, it is easy now. Skills are all hard in the beginning but you would be surprised how quickly you can learn a new skill.
I don’t have the time for that.
You don’t have time to not do new, valuable things to improve your life. You only have so much time and then time runs out. Spend that time budget of yours wisely before all your time is gone and you regret never having done those things that might have made your life worth living.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books