You should only argue for the limitations you want to keep.
This statement is the main reason I am writing this post. It cause me to reflect on the idea of planning our success and making excuses. How you handle both doesn’t just determine your level of success, but also your character. That’s what makes it hard.
Planning Your Success
How do you plan for success? we all should know by now that success, however we define it, isn’t something that is accomplished in one bright moment. Rather, it is the culmination of many small efforts and failures put together until we have mastery of what we dreamed of from the beginning. Keeping that in mind, take a moment and look at (or think about) your schedule. What gets the most attention during the course of the day? That’s what you value. If what you see (time on Facebook) doesn’t align with what you say (small time reading), then you don’t really value what you say. Remember that it’s our actions that matter; not our words. Essentially, success will always evade you until you value the steps, sacrifices, and smaller goals it takes to get there. You can’t value these things enough for them to make a difference unless you choose them over other and make time for them.
A personal example of failure:
I want to write a book (really, I do). I often think about what to write it about and come up with topics, a working title, and approaches. If you were to look at my calendar for the past month; how often do you think you would see writing time scheduled? If you answered zero you would be (embarrassingly for me) right! So how can I expect to move forward or actually believe that it is something I really want to do? Right again. I can’t. So starting now, I am scheduling writing time in my calendar.
A personal example of success:
I need to stay in shape so I can remain healthy. I value exercising, but have no time to accomplish doing it. Out came the calendar. If you look, you will see an appointment at 4AM every morning for me to exercise. How successful have I been? I am there every morning. I have to be. It is scheduled and I ignore any excuses that may come up because they are less important than my goal and the only way I can continue to be successful.
The main problem with excuses that we rarely realize is that they limit the amount of success we allow ourselves to have. There will always be a reason we cannot do something. There will always be a limit to the amount of success we can have; unless we ignore it, accept responsibility, and hold ourselves accountable for succeeding. There are three things we all need to realize about excuses that really highlight just how bad they are for our success.
- They Are Everywhere: The worst thing about excuses is that they are easy to find. If we are looking to avoid something we can always find an excuse. We can even find a good one that sounds valid if we try hard enough.
- They Make Us Victims: If we buy into the excuses we make for our shortcomings rather than just working to fix them, we lose control of our life. We are always the victim of circumstance rather than the author of our success.
- They Make Us Feel Better: We all like to feel good, but unfortunately the road to success is not always comfortable. Nobody likes to hear that they fell short of a goal or that they didn’t quite do a good job. Excuses provide that cushion so that we can avoid being responsible for the outcome we are experiencing. The problem is that if we do not take responsibility for creating our own success it will never materialize.
Life doesn’t owe anyone anything. In fact, often times it can leave us scratching our heads and asking about fairness. That is why we need to go get what we want. Not just once, but every day because it is the small consistent steps that lead to large successes.
Start now, drop the excuses, and schedule what you value. Not tomorrow or Monday or next week, but now. A coach I once had taught me a good lesson. You can have whatever you want in life if you are willing to go after it instead of waiting for it to come to you.
So let me ask. What limitations are you arguing for and why?