And the number 1 way to turn it around
If you think your life sucks, it probably does. But if you think it’s primarily due to any external factor, you’re wrong.
Across the board, there is one consistent, yawning, drowning reason that keeps us from achieving things, and it’s:
You Make Excuses
Instead of finding solutions.
In fact, many of you are making an excuse right NOW as you’re reading this!
- or I don’t make excuses — I have ADHD!”
- or “it’s not my fault — I have health issues!”
- or “I was raised to believe — ”
- or “I’m not as smart”
- or “I didn’t have rich parents” (news flash: many successful people didn’t, either)
Or maybe they sound more like:
- “I do work hard on my business — this is just the ‘research phase!’” (lol gtfo here with that and come back when you’re ready to join the real world)
- or “I need to make a plan first”
- or “I need more information”
- or “I don’t know what I want to do” (no shit — see below)
- or “my market is hard”
- or “nobody will help me”
- or “I’m doing everything right!” (lol, clearly not.)
Or perhaps my (least) favorite,
- “I know! I just need to get motivated!” (Look, bud. “Motivation” is bullshit. Successful people didn’t have more sparkle juice for breakfast — they just wanted it more than you do, and were willing to endure more setbacks to get it.)
We all have something we come back to. (My own favorite excuse that I use? Nothing is “quite right” enough — I’m critical, I hang back, I reject. And it’s probably interesting to note that the exception here is my relationship. The only reason I find “relationships” so easy is because I eliminate all of the judgment and “checklists” and only look for 3 things. And now that I’ve found them, all I worry about is committing each and every day.)
Anyway, to anyone thinking any of these or anything else — and we all have something we go back to — these are all examples of shit that the sort of people you admire overcame.
The one most important thing to be successful is: perseverance
Psychologist Angela Duckworth calls it “grit.”
Mega pro-basketball trainer Tim Grover calls it “relentlessness.”
Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “hustle,” sure — but he also calls it “patience,” i.e., hustling over the long haul, not just sometimes.
Will Smith calls it “being willing to die on the treadmill.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, calls it “working like a mule.”
Some call it “creating possibilities” — “by looking beyond what you think is available, and… focusing on what you can offer.” i.e., finding workarounds.
One CEO (and founder!) of a billion-dollar publicly-traded company chalks his success to only two things: (1) never run out of money. And after that? (2) When it gets hard — “and it will get hard!” he emphasizes — don’t stop. (Just for context: his company was in the red for ten years before they saw a profit.)
I read a shit-ton of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, and one of the biggest commonalities I’ve noticed across all of these amazing people? When they experienced remarkable setbacks — situations where most people would fold — they kept going.
Some of them lost their entire inventory. Or they got fucked over by a partner. Or a vendor. They lost their right-hand product person. They went bankrupt. They were revolutionizing the champagne industry in the 19th Century and struggled to figure out how to get bottles around Europe without them a.) going bad or b.) breaking. Whatever.
The difference with successful people isn’t that they never experienced setbacks — it’s that they didn’t stop.
And those who don’t see the success are all the ones who did.
Why Do We Make Excuses?
Any number of reasons… maybe it’s because “inertia” — a body at rest will stay at rest. Or because “self esteem.” Because it’s socially acceptable.
But at the end of the day, it’s really because:
- You either don’t actually know what you want
- Or you don’t want it badly enough
People who know exactly what they want — and want it with a blinding desire — don’t make excuses.
How To Stop Making Excuses
1.) Take ownership of your own life
Nobody is here to rescue you, Charles. Nothing outside of you matters as much as your reaction to it, and countless people have achieved more with less. Use what you have — and know that your biggest asset is your mind.
2.) Decide — specifically — what you want
“Build a business” is not specific. Fuck off with that shit. Be specific. And it’s not about “having a plan,” but it is understanding the difference between “get in shape” and “lose 20 pounds.” “Build a business” is not the specific goal — “sell x amount of x product to x people” is. Then you build the business around that, to support it.
3.) Want it badly enough
Want it enough that you’re willing to make sacrifices (lifestyle, relationships, other opportunities, credit, etc.) and you’re willing to push through when your shit sandwich is more shit than sandwich.
Too many people think “work ethic” or “trying” means “only when it’s easy,” but trying when it’s not easy is the entire point. The universe doesn’t hand out special awards for people who can carry on in clear skies and sunshine. The universe favors those who are out there sloughing in rain and snow and hurricanes. (Metaphorically speaking. Unless it’s not for you…?)
The only thing holding you back from what you want is you. And the excuses you make — like what you incorrectly assign to other things.
You are not a victim of your own life
If you think the world is out to get you, it’s because you’ve victimize yourself and it rushes in to fill that energy void, receiving your negative energy with negative energy. You see negative because negative is what you put out.
You will never achieve what you want if you spend your life as a victim — if you do the same mediocre, hapless thing but expect great things to happen.
If you never get what you want, that is no one’s fault but your own. You are the only one who is standing in the way.
Life doesn’t owe you anything
If you want something you have to work hard for it — not make excuses as to why you don’t have it, or whine and complain.
One of my good friends is a dude now in his mid-30’s whose primary goal in life is to find his wife. He’s tall, has a fantastic job, dresses well, owns his own place, and — most importantly — has a heart of gold. In other words, has tons of the shit most people look for on paper. But the dude can’t find a partner.
But he also refuses to do anything differently. I’ve known him for over five years and he still goes to the same bars and uses the same sites. I hired aninterpersonal coach to help me with sales after a few months of running my business — a woman whose primary business is actually dating coaching: helping people find their spouse. I referred him to her, but he never called. He makes enough money — he just doesn’t want to try.
I have another friend who — same thing — also wants to find a husband. And again, she thinks she’s trying — she puts in effort for dates, she “puts love out there” right away, and when each one doesn’t work, she always asks me: “what am I doing wrong??” But the problem is that she doesn’t actually want to be doing anything wrong. She doesn’t actually want to change. She doesn’t actually want to hear the answers. What she actually wants is to keep going into these relationships doing exactly what she’s always done and for that to magically work. And I’m not saying it won’t work out for her because I’m sure it will, but it might help the process along a little bit if she actually tried a bit, too, rather than only thinking she was.
People will say you have to “work you ass off” and “work really hard” to get what you want. And yeah, that certainly helps. But so many people aren’t trying at all! They think they’re trying but they’re off in left field, doing things that don’t work and too consumed with making excuses to ask questions and experiment — and take responsibility for the outcome.
Commit to your own life
Don’t pretend your life is someone else’s job — or at the hands of the universe. Quit making it about anything that isn’t “you.”
If you want your life to get better then start, living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and don’t stop until you get there, and keep going even once you do.
(Pro tip: you can also reach me through that link.)