Lifestyle Choices: Saying Goodbye To Excuses
There seems to be an inundation of people on Facebook lately who have a myriad of excuses why things aren’t working out for them. Either they can’t catch a break at work or there are too many things to do or they don’t get any support at home or…..well, you get the point. Truth be told there is always an excuse why you can’t accomplish something. There is always a roadblock or hindrance that could potentially keep someone from getting something done.
For the most part I tend to ignore all of the whining and moaning but it seems lately there is more of it than normal so I felt compelled to say a few words about this matter.
My dad had a rather colorful way of describing those who always have an excuse; he liked to say, “Excuses are like A__H____; everybody has one.” You will have to fill in the blanks on that one since I’m not sure I’m allowed to say that word.
GLASS HALF-EMPTY OR GLASS HALF-FULL
I know, you are wondering what the glass has to do with the subject of excuses. Well, I think quite a bit. Those who always see the glass half-empty are always seeing the darker side of life and never seem to see the joy and unlimited possibilities in life. They can instantly see the possible downfalls of an action; they seem to have an innate ability to see problems where none exist. It is as though by sheer force of will they can turn a glass of water into a typhoon and it seems to happen time and time again.
On the other hand, there are those people who greet each and every day with a positive outlook and by their positive outlook they seem to surround themselves with good vibes; an invisible force field is around them blocking out negative thoughts and by extension negative actions. It really is an amazing thing to witness and I have witnessed it time and time again. Hell, I have lived it!
YES, I HAVE LIVED IT!
When I was being controlled by my cravings for alcohol my life was about as dark as it could be. My whole existence was centered around feeding the beast within me and the more I drank the worse it got. My life was going down the toilet and I could not for a moment muster up any positive vibes. I played the “if only” game….you know the one! If only people would leave me alone and quit nagging me. If only I could catch a break and get a decent job. If only people would recognize my talents and treat me with the respect I deserve.
Somehow, in my warped little mind, all of my problems were the fault of someone else and because I had all of those problems I had decided that things were always going to be rotten in my life, that there was no sense in trying because I would just be stopped by all the forces that were against me.
What a bunch of horse dung! The plain and simple truth was that I was my biggest enemy and the only person preventing me from living a happy life was me. I WAS THE PROBLEM!!!! Imagine my shock to learn that sobering fact. I had been raised to believe that a man could accomplish great things if he was determined enough but somehow I had lost sight of that; I had become blinded by negativity and stopped believing in myself. I started making…..excuses!
I MAY BE NAÏVE BUT……
History is filled with stories of famous people who started out with nothing but refused to stop chasing their dream. It would have been so easy for any one of them to make excuses or accept the excuses that were in front of them and stop trying to better themselves. Instead they pushed the excuses aside and found a way to make it happen.
I have known people who are an inspiration to me because of their refusal to quit the fight. I know single mothers and fathers who will not roll over and die simply because things are tough. I know people with physical ailments who push forward each and every day with a smile on their face. They not only refuse to acknowledge the excuse that so conveniently awaits them but in fact embrace their handicap as an opportunity. I know people who have been beaten down by abuse or economic hardships and continually rise back up to fight the good fight; they blame no one for they know the waste of time that blame is. Instead they keep looking for ways to better their position in life. If it takes working two or three jobs, so be it. If it takes going to counseling, so be it. If it takes sacrifices that many could not fathom, so be it.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOME PEOPLE?
Where is the drive to better themselves? Where is the determination to move forward? For years as a teacher I saw kids who were seemingly incapable or unwilling to take whatever steps were necessary to do better. The ability to find an excuse and accept that excuse seemed to be an inherent trait as if it were part of their DNA. Show them a roadblock and they could not see past it. It was as if they were programmed to roll over and play dead at the first sign of impediment. Where does that come from?
Conversely I have had students who, when presented with a problem, automatically dissected the problem and found a solution. There was no thought of giving up; there was nothing before them but finding a way to make it work. They looked at a problem and considered it a challenge rather than the end of the road. Where does that come from?
Is this nurture or nature? Are some people just born with the ability to rise above while others are born with the willingness to quit, or is this some character trait that is instilled over time in the environment in which they are raised? Whatever it is I find it profoundly sad.
THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER SO SHUCK IT!
We were born with the capabilities of moving personal mountains. We each have talents and abilities that are miraculous in their nature. We have bodies and minds that are a wonder to behold. In short we have all the tools to accomplish anything. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
We have friends and loved ones for support. We have an entire world of experiences just waiting for us to participate in. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
We are not some primordial slime washed up on the beach nor are we a primate just looking for the best banana to eat. We have evolved into a fully functioning being that can solve problems and reason at the highest level. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
I have no patience with excuse-makers. I do have compassion, empathy and understanding for them but I have zero patience. Just as I had to be willing to overcome alcoholism so to do those who would crumble at the first site of a problem have to be willing to persevere.
There are some who are close to me who seem to be stuck in neutral and always have an excuse. I want to grab them by the shoulders and scream….MAKE IT HAPPEN! Don’t roll over like some whipped dog and accept a fate that is self-fulfilling. Get the hell up and do something to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
As you may be able to tell this is a subject I feel strongly about. I will never give advice about a subject if I have not experienced it myself. I understand the feeling of being beaten down. I understand wanting to just give up. I understand accepting defeat and being convinced that things will never be better.
And I understand the effort and willingness it takes to break those mental handcuffs and be free of fear, self-doubt and a defeatist attitude. I wish the best for all of you reading this. I wish that someday, somehow, you will MAKE IT HAPPEN!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
To order my new Lifestyle Choices book on Kindles go to:
For more of my series on Lifestyle Choices see the following:
And a great read on this subject by my friend Dana:
- Lifestyle Choices: A Matter Of Priorities
What is important in your life? That was the question this writer had to answer in order to live happily!