Stop The Excuses
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Based on some estimates nearly two-thirds of the people who go to the doctors’ office are hypochondriacs - they have an unwarranted, excessive anxiety about their health. If that statistic were true, it would still pale in comparison with all the people suffering from a far more debilitating condition. I call it Ability Excusitis, defined as an unwarranted, excessive anxiety about one’s abilities. Ability Excusitis is the disease responsible for all your failures in life. I repeat, this is responsible for ALL your failures. Learn how to cure this and it’s smooth sailing. Okay, not really, it’s never smooth sailing, but, there’d be significantly less resistance to your success.
Just like a hypochondriac believes that he is sick when he isn’t, so a person with Ability Excusiits believes that he is lacking in ability when he isn’t. Just like a hypochondriac might drive himself sick though his excessive worrying, so will a person affected with Ability Excusitis create the deficiency that he is worried about in the first place. It’s a classic case of a belief translating to reality, which in turn reinforces that belief.
There’s four main ways in which Excusitis rears its ugly head. Let’s review each one and go over things YOU can do to start curing your Ability Excusitis once and for all.
There are those who will always find a reason as to why they can’t do something. Health is usually at the top of the list. When faced with overwhelming evidence that their reasoning is faulty they’d rather sulk in a corner, than face their imperfections and learn to use them. That’s weak peoples’ thinking. Successful people always think in terms of ’how can I achieve this’, instead of ’this is why I can’t’.
I vividly remember of a story I read in Evan Osnos’s book Age of Ambition. He devotes several chapters to a blind Chinese lawyer named Chen Guangcheng. Chen, who was born in rural China, lost his eyesight when he was six months old. Growing up, he asked his brothers to read legal texts to him, because this is what interested him. This allowed him, despite his disability and deplorable living conditions, to later organize a class-action lawsuit against the Chinese authorities for their excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. He managed to create such a buzz that the authorities were forced to send him to jail for four years and three months. He is a great man who has plenty of excuses to give. He gives none. Neither should you.
Perhaps if this was 13th century Europe, one would be somewhat justified in using health as an excuse. It isn’t. We are blessed to live in a society that has all sorts of support systems to help us if things go awry.
Here are some ways you can cure your Health Excusitis:
1. Refuse to talk about your health. The more you talk about something bothering you, the worse it’s going to get. Chronically complaining will not win you anything, at most it will push people away.
2. Refuse to worry about your health. Exercise self-control.
3. Be genuinely thankful that you health is as good as it is.
4. Live fully. Don’t waste your time with worrying and coming up with excuses.
This is perhaps the most prevalent form of Ability Excusitis. It is also the one that fewest people will willingly admit to. They’d rather suffer in silence than admit that they lack intelligence. Things would be different if they only knew two basic rules.
We almost always underestimate our own brainpower. We almost always overestimate the other person’s brainpower.
Brainpower is not nearly as important as people tend to think. In fact, the thinking that directs your intelligence is much more important than how much intelligence you possess. If you approach a goal with a positive attitude and you have the ability to persist in your efforts, you will achieve orders of magnitude more than an intelligent, negative person who will give up at the first sign of trouble.
Even Warren Buffet says that if you have over 120 IQ, you should sell the excess.
Ask any successful person you know whether they think intelligence is the defining factor for anything in their life and I guarantee you nobody will say ’yes’.
Finally, even if you are still unconvinced that intelligence is not all that important, I invite you to join me on a mental exercise.
Imagine for a second that intelligence is everything. If that was the case, there are two options. Either you are born with a certain amount you can build on, or you are born with a certain amount that you can’t control.
If you can build on it, then worrying about your intelligence will achieve nothing - only utilizing what you do have, in order to achieve more, will help you.
Else, if you are born with a certain amount that you can’t add to, then there is still no use in worrying. Excuses will not help you either way.
We can’t do anything about the amount of ability we are born with, but we can all definitely control the way we use our ability.
Here are the ways to cure your Intelligence Excusitis:
1. Don’t underestimate your intelligence and don’t overestimate others’ intelligence.
2. Remember it’s not the amount of brains that matters, but the way you use them.
3. Always remind yourself that your attitudes are more important than your intelligence.
4. Look for the reasons to do things, instead of the reasons not to.
5. Use your mind for thinking. A lot of very intelligent people forget to use their mind to the best of their abilities. Rather, they use it as a storage for facts. We have computers for that, you need to learn to think instead.
Age excusitis doesn’t require a definition. We’ve all seen, or perhaps even experienced, some form of it. It manifests in two ways. One is
I’m too old and the other is
I’m too young. Sometimes even if we really wanted to do something we were still held back by these excuses. Enough of that.
Refuse to accept your age as a limitation. Always do the things you want to do. You are NEVER too old and you are almost never too young. Now, if you want to drive a car at 12, then yes, you are probably too young. But if you are past 15 you’re probably old enough to do absolutely anything your heart desires.
The only limitations are the ones we create. Nothing has the power to stop you if you don’t let it. Age is definitely no exception.
The cure for Age Excusitis is this:
1. Look at your age in a positive light. Don’t think you are too old or too young, rather think of yourself as
just the right age. Repeat it, think it, believe it, live it.
2. Think about how much productive time you have and all the things you could do with it.
3. Remember that most people seriously overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do in a year.
4. It’s too late, or too early, only when you let yourself believe it.
5. Always know that your best years are ahead of you.
Bad Luck Excusitis
The good old
I don’t have any luck excuse.
This fellow is just lucky, that’s all.
I’m doomed to fail.
If only the cards weren’t stacked against me.
There is a cause for everything. What you might consider random, is very obviously non-random, if looked at from a different perspective.
However, there is almost no point trying to convince you that luck is nonexistent. Just as with God, I can never disprove something, to those who believe it, when the sole basis of their belief is faith. Despite this, the parallels can be clearly seen, because most people have indeed made luck their God. They attribute everything that happens to them to Luck, good or bad. They say that’s just the way Luck is.
What I can do is tell you why you should start living as if EVERYTHING is you fault. I know, everything is quite a lot of stuff and it’s absurd that this would be the case. Of course, everything isn’t your fault. But you should still start living as if it were.
Here’s how that sort of thinking will improve your life:
1. It would force you to be more introspective. When looking for reasons you won’t blame luck anymore. This will free up your brainpower to think about ways to do better in the future, even if it was just luck.
2. You will become happier, because you will stop feeling as if the whole world is against you. It really isn’t.
3. You will learn to take responsibility for your actions - an incredibly necessary skill.
Special thanks goes to David Schwartz’s book The Magic of Thinking Bigfor inspiring me to think about Excusitis. It truly is one of the fundamental books you should read.
Share some excuses that you’ve been giving yourself down in the comments, or let me know what you think of these techniques.