post written by: Angel Chernoff

25 Excuses You Must Drop to Be Happy


25 Excuses You Must Drop to Be Happy

by Sumitha

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
―George Washington

Ever feel like something is holding you back from happiness?

You aren’t sure why, but every so often you find yourself saying “no” when you really want to say “yes.”  You turn down critical opportunities that you know you should be grabbing with both arms.  You pretend not to notice how your most cherished dreams are languishing on the sidelines.

Over the years, perhaps without your conscious knowledge, you have adopted some serious self-limiting beliefs that have secretly sabotaged your best efforts of personal growth.  If you pay close attention to your self-talk, these beliefs will reveal themselves in the form of excuses.  What you need to do is catch yourself in the act and replace these excuses with positive alternatives.

Here are 25 ideas to get you started:

1.  “It’s too late for me.”

As you grow up, you see people achieve things like getting a degree, building a career, making money, getting married, having kids and so on.  This sets the expectation in your mind that you too need to achieve certain things by a certain age.  And if you move at a slower pace than others, this limiting belief holds you back from going after what you really want right NOW.

Alternative:  “Now is a perfect time to start.” – Get over the baseless, default beliefs that certain things have to be done by a certain age.  The simple fact is that life is a series of events based on your own actions at any given moment.  You can have those events happen in your life in any order or sequence you like.  Age has nothing to do with it.

2.  “I don’t have time.”

Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day as you.  How is it that some people have found a way to make a difference during these same 24 hours?

Alternative:  “I need to properly manage my time.” – Become conscious of the way you use your time.  Get ruthless about cutting out time-wasting activities.  Schedule, prioritize and delegate as necessary.  Focus on the quality of the things you do, instead of the quantity.

3.  “I’m too plain and boring.”

Boring vs. interesting is a matter of choice and opinion.  Each of us is given a stage, a scene and a few props.  What makes a difference in the story of your life is how you choose to interpret and play your role.

Alternative:  “I’m in charge of writing my own story.” – Choose to stop being boring.  Figure out what ‘interesting’ means to you, and every time you feel that you are too boring, do one thing that will move you towards your definition of interesting.

4.  “I don’t deserve it.”

There are two versions of this.  The first makes you think that you are not worthy of something beautiful like love, respect, success and so on.  The second makes you feel that you are unfairly targeted by life’s difficulties.  Either way, this excuse ties you up and holds you down.

Alternative:  “I have plenty of good options in front of me.” – When you catch yourself wondering “why me?”, ask “why not me?”  Remember, in the grand scheme of things, you are just the same as anyone else; neither nature, nor God, displays favoritism or unfairness.  So learn to accept both the good and the bad that falls on your plate with grace.  (Read The Power of Now.)

5.  “I’m responsible for X,Y or Z, so taking care of myself in not a priority.”

This one is very common with parents, especially parents of little kids – I should know, I’m the queen of making this excuse!  But unless you take good care of yourself, unless you approach life on a full tank, you are not doing anyone any favors.

Alternative:  “I am a priority.” – Make time for yourself, to sleep, eat right, exercise, and replenish.  It’s not selfishness, it’s just an elevated level of caring.  When you are at your best, you can give the best to others.  (Note: If you are a parent, be sure to stop by afineparent.com where we discuss this topic in detail.)

6.  “Nobody understands me.”

Everyone has their own life to worry about; everybody is busy.  At the end of the day, nobody has the time or energy to figure anyone else out.  If it really matters to you that someone understands you better, simply communicate and make it easy for them to do so.

Alternative:  “I need to communicate clearly and act accordingly.” – Quit playing games.  Say what you need to say and do what you must.  (And realize that it is not necessary that everyone understands and agrees with you all the time.)

7.  “Nobody cares about what I care about.”

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone behind a good cause took on this attitude?  We’d never have any charitable organizations, fuel-efficient cars, health breakthroughs, peace efforts, literacy drives…!

Alternative:  “I care about this because it’s important.” – Take a stand.  If you care about something, even something personal, then become a champion of the cause and help others understand why you care so much.

8.  “I’m not smart enough.”

It starts off innocently, you try to do something and either get stuck or fail, and you think, “I’m so stupid.”  Over years of repeated use though, sadly, this statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Alternative:  “It’s time to practice.” – When you catch yourself talking down to your own intelligence, stop.  Identify the one thing that makes you feel unintelligent and invest some time and energy into learning how to improve in this area.  Build up that confidence!  Start with something small, figure out how to perfect the next small step.  The more you learn, and the more setbacks you overcome, the more confident you will become.

9.  “My parents are responsible for the way I turned out.”

There ought to be an expiration date on this one.  Yes, your parents are responsible for helping you start the story of your life.  As you grow though, it is your responsibility to take things into your hands and write out the rest of your story with your own decisions and actions

Alternative:  “I am now in full control of my own life.” – Make a conscious choice to let your past make you better, not bitter.  You can’t go back and change how you were raised.  You can, however, start now and change how the rest of your life transpires.

10.  “I don’t have enough discipline and drive.”

Can you remember why you think this way?  Chances are, you forced yourself to do something that you weren’t excited about and then you failed.  Then, over a period of time you started to believe that you simply don’t have what it takes to stay disciplined.

Alternative:  “I just need to figure out how to motivate myself through this.” – Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t like, try to trick yourself, and automate as much of the required discipline as you possibly can by implementing habits that support your desired end result.  Research has consistently shown that willpower is a limited and exhaustible resource for everyone, not just you.  Those that are successful at staying disciplined are the ones who find ways to replace the brute force method with more creative, subtle routines and habits.

11.  “I’m not cut out for long-term relationships.”

This is an excuse a lot of people harbor.  Maybe you are scared of making yourself vulnerable or losing control over your life.  Maybe you’re worried about your ability to stay loyal and faithful.  Or maybe you’re paranoid about betrayal.  Here’s the thing, everybody has these fears to a certain extent.  So ask yourself, “Instead of facing these fears head on and overcoming them, am I turning them into excuses I’m doing nothing about?”

Alternative:  “I have relationship fears I need to face.” – Accept that you are scared and worried, realize that pretty much everyone else is as well, and then choose to stand strong and address your fears instead of running away from them.  Just like anything in life, even with love and relationships, some of us need to put in more practice and effort than others.  (Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

12.  “Now is not the right time.”

You are busy, right?  You just got that promotion and you don’t want to take your eyes off your career right now?  Or maybe you just got out of a bad relationship?  Love, and life in general, has a way of happening when it happens – it does not check with you first to see if it’s convenient or if you are ready for a new opportunity.  Take it or lose it.

Alternative:  “Now is as good as it gets.” – Imagine you are old… really old, and getting ready to pass on.  Will you be OK with the fact that you passed on the opportunities you have right now.  Remember, any new opportunity that makes you grow and stretch yourself will never feel completely comfortable at first, so it will never feel like the right time to act.

13.  “It’s too much work.”

Love, fulfilled dreams and small victories – they are all such beautiful things that add so much joy, happiness and vibrancy to our lives.  Why should these things be easy?  Why should they just fall into your lap?  Why should you expect easy returns without any hard work?

Alternative:  “I’m ready to DO the work.” – Remember, anything worth having is worth working hard for.  Put in the effort and you will reap the rewards over the long-term.

14.  “What if this person turns out like <someone who has hurt me before>?”

No two people are exactly alike.  Besides, you’ve changed and grown since your last relationship.  Just because someone you once knew was toxic, doesn’t mean someone you just met is too.

Alternative:  “I will not judge someone based on the behavior of someone else.” – Be aware and conscious, but keep an open mind.  If you catch yourself punishing people in your present for the things people in your past did or didn’t do, stop yourself.  If you catch your new partner or friend repeating the same mistakes, gently steer them in the right direction.  Stay present, and let your best judgment of the current reality guide you.

15.  “I’m doing <something I hate> so I don’t hurt <someone I care about>.”

Relationships are meant to empower you, not victimize you.  Don’t use them as an excuse to keep doing something that continuously makes you suffer (or keeps you from doing something that you really should be doing).

Alternative:  “It’s time to apologize, come clean and negotiate.” – Remember, with this excuse you are actually cheapening your relationship and dishonoring your loved one.  If you really don’t like doing something, find a way to work it out.  If you absolutely can’t, then figure out if this relationship is right for you.  Long-term suffering and victimhood are never part of a healthy relationship.

16.  “My <partner/friend/family member> always brings out the worst in me.”

Seriously?  You are going to dump all the blame on someone else?  Here’s a reality check:  You and only you are the owner of your attitude and actions.  Don’t use your relationships as an excuse to be weak or negative.

Alternative:  “I am bringing out the worst in me.” – Own up to it; your behavior is your responsibility.  No one can bring out the worst in you unless you let them.  Choose differently.

17.  “I’m so unlucky.”

Emerson said it aptly: “Shallow men believe in luck.  Strong men believe in cause and effect.”  Which one would you rather be, shallow or strong?

Alternative:  “I am going to create my own luck.” – Choose to be the creator of your destiny.  Yes, misfortunes happen, but don’t use it as an excuse to not try something new, or to wither in the face of a failure.  Luck is something that’s created over time based on action and dedication.  So get up and get going, regardless of how lady luck seems to be treating you in the short-term.

18.  “I’m just waiting for my big break” or “I’m still not ready.”

These are two excuses that cover the same basic issues – fear of starting, lethargy of putting things in motion and the trepidation of striking out.  Sure, big breaks help, but don’t count on them; if you do, you might wait forever.  Planning and learning is certainly important, but if the plans and knowledge stay locked up in your head forever, it will do no one any good.

Alternative:  “I’m as ready now as I’ll ever be.” – Just start; everything else will fall in place.  Besides, getting started is a great way to be at the right place at the right time, so you can catch that big break.  Waiting around doesn’t give you the input necessary to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  You have to begin and then build upon each step you take.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)

19.  “Everything has already been done… I’ll never be an original, so why even try.”

True, there’s almost nothing you can do that hasn’t already been done before, with a few rare exceptions.  What you can do, however, is to take something unoriginal and breathe your uniqueness and individuality into it, thereby creating something brand new.  Are you willing to do that?

Alternative:  “Through my unique lens, I can add tremendous value.” – Just choose to be yourself and give things your best shot; the rest will take care of itself.  This was actually one of the biggest excuses holding me back when I wanted to start afineparent.com to chronicle my struggles to become a better parent.  There are so many parenting sites out there already; do we really need another one?  But I am into personal development, and I noticed that there aren’t any sites specifically focusing on personal development for parents.  It’s something I would have loved to read, so I decided to go for it.  Well, guess what?  The site is not even up yet and over 500 parents have already signed up!  Just goes to show that you have to pick something that matters to you and put yourself into it, and it will eventually work out.

20.  “I’m a failure.”

If someone claims to have never failed, then he or she is either the luckiest person on earth or has settled on a safe, risk-free life that allows them to do nothing exciting or productive at all.  And since no one can be lucky all the time, the odds are high that it is the latter.  Would you like to be that person who gave up on their life?

Alternative:  “I’m prepared to fail forward and learn as I go.” – Failure is OK.  Face it; it’s just another fear.  You’ve already overcome this fear once by getting started.  Will you let a few setbacks take that away from you?  Yes, it’s scary to start over from time to time, but that’s what living is all about – trial and error, change and growth.

21.  “I’m too scared.”

Well, congratulations!  You are a perfectly normal human being.  Being scared is a fact of life.  Even the bravest people in the world are scared.  What separates the brave ones from the wimps is that they don’t let their fears turn into excuses.

Alternative:  “This fear I’m feeling means I’m human.” – Embrace the fact that as long as you choose to live a full life, fear will be a constant companion who keeps you safe from making dangerous mistakes.  You just have to let it know that you will not obsess over the little warnings it sends.  Instead, you will evaluate a situation and take calculated risks as you step forward.

22.  “I’ll never be able to get it perfect, so why try?”

There’s something to be said for perfection – of exquisitely detailed, thorough work.  That said, if perfection is keeping you from finishing, or even starting something, it’s time to give it some serious thought.  Too much of a good thing can indeed be bad for you.

Alternative:  “Perfect is the enemy of good.” – Shift the limelight of your perfectionist attitude from the end product to the process.  Get started and set a constraint on when you will put your work out there for the world to see.  Keep your perfectionist tendencies laser-focused on doing the right work, instead of doing all the work perfectly right.

23.  “I’ll never be as good as <someone else>, so why bother?”

How do you know that?  Seriously, no matter how good the <someone else> is, unless you try, how will you know for sure?  And why are you comparing your results to someone else’s?  Why not focus on beating your own best records?

Alternative:  “I’m am only in competition with myself.” – Quit comparing yourself to others.  The only comparison that makes any sense is whether you are better today than you were yesterday; everything else is a waste of thought.  (Read Awaken the Giant Within.)

24.  “My <parents/spouse/kids> will not support me.”

If you don’t have the support of those closest to you, you should thank your lucky stars because you have been given the unique opportunity to test your ideas out (and possibly fail) safely with a smaller audience that you can trust.  Will you make the best of this opportunity, or will you use it as an excuse to justify your fears?

Alternative:  “How can I win them over?” – Take it as a personal challenge.  What can you do to convince your <parents/spouse/kids>?  Listen to every word of opposition, learn, refine and evolve.  Choose to make the most of this opportunity.

25.  “I can’t.”

In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”  And this is a good thing too.  It means you are in control.

Alternative:  “I can and I am, starting now.” – Remember that it’s all in the mind.  If Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Beethoven, Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa, Michael Phelps and countless others through the course of history could do it, why can’t you?  The answer is:  You can if you are willing to put forth the time and effort to grow beyond the barriers that stand in front of you.

What Now?

So, you read the whole list, probably nodding all the way through and maybe even smacking your forehead a few times.  What now?

You already know that the best way to make progress is to start – to take a small step right now.  So, go ahead and pick one excuse that is holding you back and commit to dropping it, starting from… Right. Freaking. Now.

So which excuse above do you struggle with the most?  Which excuse did you pick?  No, seriously, which one?  Leave a comment below and share your insights.

Author Bio:  Sumitha is the creator of afineparent.com, a personal development blog for parents.  If you are a parent and you’ve ever wondered how to build patience, self-discipline, leadership, positivity, and so much more into a happy, healthy family life, Sumitha and a small group of fine parents are waiting for you to join them.  Click here to see how.

Photo by: Briana Raucci

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59 Comments

  • This is a great article! Some of these I already try to make a conscious effort to avoid, and for others I have learned a new way to combat excuses that I know are shortcomings of mine. Thank you!

    I would just add, though, for #16, that sometimes relationships (friends/family/etc.) can be poisonous, and can actually make you a worse person. But in that case, it may just be best to sever ties with that person so you can avoid that negativity.

  • The excuse that gets me every time is: “That’s not how my life is.” This is me basically telling myself that the dreams I want to pursue are out of my reach. I’ve only recently realized that I do this, and this post was a great reminder for me. It also brings up some other smaller issues I need to work on.

    Regards.

  • Loved this article. It reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Ayn Rand - “Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”

    I used rationalize why I wasn’t doing what I needed to do to fulfill my goals. Now I have this quote taped above my desk and it keeps me in check. Some of the points from this article would sit well beside it.

  • In this busy life happiness is somewhere lost, but yes indeed this post helps. These are all the negative thoughts that surround our busy minds all too often.

    My Mantra: positive attitude towards situations help a lot.

    Whenever I feel bad, I rejuvenate myself with the activities and thoughts that inspire me. We have every moment to live, we shouldn’t miss them in unnecessary misery.

  • @Lee:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    About #16, you are right, some relationships are toxic… if you stay and let it turn you into a worse person, then you are making an excuse. On the other hand, as you suggested, if you deal with it head on, or sever ties, you are actually taking responsibility! You are choosing differently!

  • @JeffRay:

    Thanks for sharing. I think that’s true for a lot of us. I recently came across a quote that sums it up best and really resonated with me — “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Good luck in turning those dreams into a reality!

  • @JJ:

    Thanks so much for sharing that quote! It’s so well said. I need to post it some place that I can read it often as well… it’s so easy to fall into the trap of rationalizing without even realizing that you are doing it unless you have some reminders to shake you out of it.

  • @Nancy:

    Thanks such a great mantra to live by! I’ve been making a conscious attempt lately to create the habit of dealing with situations with a positive attitude and what a difference it makes!

  • This article is a great reminder for me to stay on the right track. In the spirit of honest self-assessment in the path of becoming a better person, I’d like to share some of the points that I am/had been working on.

    As parent, #5 is a challenge for me. I know that when I put my well-being as a priority I could give back a lot more to other people, but sometimes the “urgency” of taking care of my toddler just keep adding up and I end up neglecting myself. I’m getting better at this, but a reminder now and then helps a lot.

    The issue that keeps coming up in my life is a combo of #6 and #7 - the feeling that no one understands me. Which is not true. I know that I can’t share everything with everyone around me, but for each issue I have there’s a person that I can discuss it with. And for the odd thoughts, I always have my diary. It’s not so much that I want people to understand my issues, it’s more of feeling annoyed that some people just don’t realize how different other people are from them and they don’t treat them accordingly.

    Anyway, I realize that I’m doing that exact same thing by expecting other people to focus on my issues, and not let them be whatever they are. For this, I need a constant reminder! lol (And this is also closely linked to #16
    when I blame people for making me feel annoyed about them - I just have to take responsibility for my own reactions)

    Last but not least, #19, #22 and #23: I don’t have to be perfect to pursue my dreams. I don’t have to be doing a “totally original breakthrough” or achieve something better than anyone else on this planet, or do it the exactly perfect way I think it has to be. I only need to do it, with all my heart. I only need to focus on the doing, and start enjoying it because it’s my passion. This is the secret to a happy life, I think.

    Thanks for a great article, I hope this inspires other readers as much as it inspired me ^^

  • It is great to read these types of articles nowadays for positive motivation. They are a great source of inspiration. Keep it up!

  • #9, #14, #16 are big ones for me.

    I’m just starting to win over #9. This was a big thing for me. Now I’m realizing that even while I was young, I still have power to change who I was to become someone different and better from my parents.

    As someone else here said, some family ties are just plain toxic/really do bring you down emotionally just because of who they are. I have that case - I just need to move the heck out!

  • Just what I needed this morning. Thank you.

    #5 and #12 have definitely been holding me back. In both of my marriages I was with emotionally distant and emotionally immature men who just couldn’t get it together to truly be an active parent. My first husband was a big irresponsible kid and with two you g children, I was forced into the “single married mother” role. If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done became my way of life.

    My current husband really set me up to believe he was completely different. He saw himself as an involved, nurturing family but the years showed he was nothing but the other side of the same coin. Once again, if I didn’t take care of the day to day life details, it wouldn’t get done. Once again I was the single married mother.

    I was overerwhelmed and it was never time for me. I put myself in the role of the uber nuturer and 24 hour concierge to everyone else’s need (on top of my children, I am solely responsible for the care of my 83 year old mother suffering from dementia).

    I have put myself on hold too long. My husband left and it was a blessing. I am no longer held hostage to his moods and I am no longer forever waiting for him to fully be the partner he claimed to want to be.

    I have to relearn to consider my dreams as important and valid. I’m returning to school. I’m writing again. It’s not easy, it’s scary and overwhelming at times but I’m taking lots of deep breaths and moving forward.

  • Stunning, really, how many of these I’ve learned but lost in the course of 60 years. Got my work ahead for my next 20 or 30 years!

  • Thank you soo much for this beautiful reminder to STOP thinking (by making excuses) and START doing! Excuses indeed pull us down and prevent us from doing our best…nearly every point mentioned here resonates in some way..especially #21…I’m scared to do so many things…afraid..to even give,something new,a try for fear of failure!so,yes,I intend to push these excuses far away and start doing what I need to do…NOW! Thank you, once again…:-)

  • Just a couple of things to add to this excellent post:

    1. Busy: what people are when doing things they “have to do” or “must do.” But what if that busy became what you want to do and love to do. No one said it can’t be that way.

    2. I am responsible for others. Yes, and for yourself. If you are a great parent, your kids will be too. If you exercize and stay healthy, they probably will too. If you do not take care of yourself, they will not either when they are parents. Is that what you want?

    3. I think #15 is missing something. It could be about your job, doing something you hate to please someone else. I know far too many people who have jobs in fields they don’t like, but have been doing for so long they will not change.

    4. I love the alternate thinking outlined here. Great Work!!

  • 9, 16, 21

    We are in control of our own actions, and we can not blame others for what we decide to do. We cannot accomplish anything without first overcoming negative thoughts and fears, and replacing them with confidence in ourselves.

  • @Manuela:

    Thanks so much for your kind words and sharing a bit about your personal development journey!

    I agree — being a parent is hard work, definitely a lot harder than I originally thought it would be :) I knew that my workload would increase for sure, but I didn’t nearly understand the increase in emotional and psychological aspects of it. Regulating my own emotions so I can deal with my daughter’s, eating and sleeping well so I can have the necessary patience and energy, reading about the mountain of knowledge that is there and finding a way to implement it in the real world — it all adds up to a great journey, but sometimes leaves me with little time for myself unless I make a conscious effort!

    Also, you’ve piqued my interest with the rest of your comment :) What are the dreams that you are pursuing — I would LOVE to hear about them if you don’t mind sharing!

  • @Flora:

    Thanks for your kind words! My work is not complete until I can motivate you to pick at least one excuse to start dropping out of your life starting today. I hope you have picked one :)

  • @Drew:

    I’m sorry to hear that :( By realizing that you have the power to change and by choosing to be a better person, you have chosen a very powerful life, one that can be a source of inspiration to many, many others around you! I wish you luck and strength in your journey!

  • Great post Sumitha and nice flow.
    Number #25 actually jumped off the page at me.
    I teach my 10 year old granddaughter to substitute “I can’t” with - I am unable to - and she loves it. I also check her physiology when on accession she says I can’t and there is an amazing shift in her breathing.
    Peace.

  • @Sandra Hamlett:

    Thanks for your kind words and sharing a piece of your life!

    I’m so sorry to hear that things didn’t pan out as expected, but I’m so inspired to see that you have chosen to take charge by going back to school and writing again! I’m sure it is rough with raising kids, take care of your mother, and and pursuing your dreams at the same time. Hang in there! It’s these trials that will make the story of your life an exquisite one!

  • You’re right. No time like NOW and that goes for everything!!!!

  • @Lotus:

    Thanks for your kind words! If you have a few minutes to spare, I’d love for you to share some of the lessons learnt over the course of those 60 years, and your plans for the next 30 :)

  • @Jyotika:

    Love your spirit! So much energy, so much enthusiasm :) With that attitude, you don’t have to fear failure ever! Sure, you will have a few setbacks, but if you tackle it with the same spirit as your comment, you will charge right through them!

  • I have partnered with a company recently and sell products from the Dead Sea. One of the most important things I have to do is speak in public. It seems that each time I have to “break the fear barrier ” so to speak. #21 is an excellent example for me to live by. Thank you Marc and Angel.

  • “Now is not the right time.” been holding off writing a couple of letters. I’m ready to do the work! Thank you :)

  • @David Rapp:

    Excellent points!

    1. To play the devil’s advocate, I think what you point out about being busy could end up being an excuse too - for instance “I’m so busy doing something that I love (example, building a business) that I don’t have time for other things I must do (example, spending time with family)”. The key I guess is to maintain the balance, and be wise stewards of time. What say?

    2. & 3. Totally agree.

    4. Thanks for your kind words :)

  • @Farren:

    Amen to that!

    Wishing you the best in overcoming 9, 16 and 21. If you tackle them with the same conviction as your comment, I am sure you will find it rather easy to get past them. Good luck!

  • @Cecil:

    It’s so nice to see you here! That’s such a great tip…. “I can’t ” has such a ring of finality, whereas “I am unable to…” with the possible addition of “… at this moment” could help put you in a problem solving mode and get you started looking for solutions! This is certainly something I will try with myself and my own daughter - Thanks for sharing!

  • Good post, thanks for sharing!

    It is true that whining and complaining will never get us moving forward and instead will just keep us stuck at the place we are. Best to just accept whatever life is bringing us and then move forward with the things that we can control in our lives!

  • @Evita:

    It’s so refreshing to hear about someone writing letters in this day and age of emails… I’ve not written one in ages, and kind of miss that calm, and slow life where everything didn’t happen in the blink of an eye! Good luck getting those letters done today.

  • @Martin Poldma:

    Thanks for your kind words! You’re right, the key to a truly happy life is acceptance — just that one thing can make a huge difference in how content and happy you can be with your life.

    BTW, have you picked an excuse to eliminate from you life? :)

  • I just realized that both in the article itself, and some of the replies to the comments here, I’ve been pushing you to pick an excuse to eliminate from your life today, but haven’t publicly committed to one myself!

    Time to remedy that — the ones I will work on are #21 and #22. I’ve been wanting to interview a few people who’ve really impressed me over the years and talk to them about how they apply their expertise in their corresponding fields to their everyday parenting challenges. But a fear of starting something that I’ve never done before and a worry that my non-native accent will make it far from perfect is holding me back. I commit to contacting at least one person on my list before the end of this week (and that should get the ball rolling on reaching out to others). *Deep sigh*

  • Love being inspired by this. From many responses
    It seems as tho this group is often a 20 something demographic, understandable. As someone over 60 and blessed with a pretty wonderful life, albeit with typical hurdles and challenges wanted add a bit of sage advice, advice I would have found difficult to believe when in my 20s.
    All of us often feel that our parents are the toxic source of our problematic issues in life, and we choose to rebel against their ways, restrictions or advice.
    As decades pass, and we become parents and try to carve our own path, and realize we created walls of resentment against them you will see thing through another lens. That hopefully of forgiveness, understanding generational differences, and a know that often due to their own upbringing and life course they were doing the best they could.
    Some of my peer did not accept this until the last decade or days of their elders lives……and sadly they missed the love and healing and bonding of a relationship with their parents. Meditate on “Grace”.

  • For me it’s #14….
    Almost a year ago, I left a very abusive mentally and physically relationship that was utterly destroying me. I stayed off and on (broke up 4 times) for so long that there are many psychological issues that I am struggling with now. One of the biggest problems is that I’m finding it very hard to date again without finding faults in the other person almost immediately. It’s called self sabatoging….I’m going to hurt you, before you can hurt me! I know after or even sometimes while I’m doing it to the other, but can’t seem to stop myself. It’s a sick game in my mind od distrust of men and knocking them down as though I’m feeling better to get even. Help me….I don’t want to feel this way anymore!!!!

  • Love, love this from No. 4 - definitely going to post it where I can see it all the time!!

    “Remember, in the grand scheme of things, you are just the same as anyone else; neither nature, nor God, displays favoritism or unfairness. So learn to accept both the good and the bad that
    falls on your plate with grace.”

    Also liked the question from No. 12 - “Imagine you are old… really old, and getting ready to pass on. Will you be OK with the fact that you passed on the opportunities you have right now. ” Actually made me decide to do something that I’ve been wavering on :)

    Thank you.

  • @Geneva:

    Thanks so much for the sage advice. I have so much more to learn!

    I can see what you are saying… I can understand some of my parents actions a lot better now that I am a parent myself. That said, I do think for some people forgiveness and grace may not be an option, and severing the ties is the only possible solution to keep the past from contaminating the present. Ultimately, each of us has to decide our own course, and as long as we take responsibility and do it intentionally, I don’ think there is a right or a wrong way to do it.

  • @Terri:

    I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through… You inspire me though, because you are aware of the situation, which is like winning half the battle. And you are looking consciously for ways to win the rest of the battle — it is now just a matter of time.

    I’ve personally found that if I try NOT to do something, I end up doing it more. There are studies that show that this is the case with most people (google “wegner white bear experiment”). What works for me is to accept my shortcomings, be aware of the urge to act in a way but not take action, try to be with the discomfort, forgive myself when I do have a setback and repeat the mistake and then start the whole thing again trying to be more aware the next time…. Eventually, the urge just fades into insignificance, and I can just be.

    Good luck in finding a solution that works best for you. Don’t give up until you do!

  • @Nancy:

    I’m so glad you liked it. And, thanks so much for stopping by to share it.

    Also, congratulations on deciding to take action on something you’ve been wavering on. Not only did decide, you’ve publicly committed to it… now you have no choice but to get it done :) Good luck!

  • Once again another great one, Marc and Angel and Sumitha..

    #1, #14, #21 are all ones I struggle with at times.

    I long ago learned a little fear is a good thing- am now retired from a 20 year career of fighting (boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts) but fear of being emotionally hurt or failing had hindered my relationships and made it easier to stay in a job I wasn’t passionate about rather then risk a change.

    I’ve learned to trust and love again after a 13 year marriage ended in divorce and a subsequent relationship crashed and burned, and am planning on proposing to the love of my life in September.

    I am on the brink making a career change, getting into Personal Training after 20 years in the Collection Industry- overcoming the self-doubt and the fear that “it’s too late for me”. It’s time to start doing something I love, even if it doesn’t pay huge financial dividends, helping others will be more rewarding than any of the bonus checks I’ve cashed.

    Reading posts from this site is always uplifting, enjoyable, and nearly always has me nodding along and I appreciate everything you guys do! Keep on keeping on, you are inspirational and help many people every day I’m sure!

  • “Perfect is the enemy of good.” I’ve never heard that concept communicated using that quote before; it’s a good one. The quest for perfection—an unattainable goal, by the way—is the biggest obstacle I fight.

    I’m self-aware enough to realize that when I let the quest for perfection rule the roost, I’m really just creating a convenient safety net. If I don’t put my work out there 100% because I’m still “fine-tuning,” I can’t legitimately fail.

  • Number 3 with the statement: “I’m in charge of writing my own story” resonates with me. It seems so many people are so busy blaming others for the quality of their lives instead of taking ownership of their own destinies!

    For me, I make a to-do list every week that ties in directly with my personal goals. By being able to move my life forward by tackling my goals head-on in this manner does create a very nice, future-focused life!

    Interesting post!

    Chris

  • @Chris:

    Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing a little bit about your journey!

    I am so excited to hear about the wonderful things you are venturing into… it’s so inspiring! Good luck!

  • @Wendie:

    I struggle with perfectionism too…. For instance, I almost didn’t send this article to Angel to be published here, because I just couldn’t seem to get it right. But like you said, I realized that I was just using my perfectionism as a safety net, so I went ahead and sent it anyway. Angel was a great help in getting it in shape for publication and I learnt so much about writing effectively from this experience… the next time I write an article, it will be the better for it. These days, rather than focus on creating a perfect product (an effective article in this case), I am focusing my perfectionism on the process (”learn” to write effective articles) and its really helped me get stuff out the door while finding an outlet for my natural tendencies :) Good luck with your efforts to tame yours.

  • Well done. Thank you.

  • Could you write this article again, only this time, dump a big bucket of freezing water on my head while I’m reading it? Because that’s just the sort of wake-up I need. ;-)

  • @Christopher Quinn:

    Wow, that’s a very disciplined approach you follow! Thanks for sharing.

    You are right… it is so much easier to blame others rather than taking ownership that sadly many of us fall into this trap at one time or the other without even realizing it. Catching yourself in the act and modifying your thought is key.

  • Gosh, these could keep me going for a lifetime! Thanks M&A!

    Martin

  • Sumitha: on the Devil’s Advocate side….spending time with your family should not be listed under something you “must do,” its what you “love to do.”

  • @David Rapp:

    You’re right. I should probably rephrase it as “I’m so busy doing something that I love (example, building a business) that I don’t have time for other things I must do (example, chores around the house)”. :)

  • Hey Sumitha!

    I love this! Now that I think about it, I often catch myself thinking a lot of these thoughts at one point or another.

    #18 and #19 have definitely been on my mind lately. I find that it’s really easy to doubt yourself when things aren’t going the way you want. It’s easy to just say “I guess I’m not ready” or “what can I possibly do that would actually mean something?”

    But you’re absolutely right in that all of these excuses in my head are holding me back. “I’m as ready now as I’ll ever be.” It’s time to start taking action. Today.

  • This, among the many amazing posts you guys do, has officially pushed me onto the path of healing. #14 spoke to me loud and clear…a 10+ year friendship run sour had tarnished my view of creating new friendships. I used to be a “social butterfly” and after what toxicity I experienced with her (I was convinced to be her ONLY friend, I was never allowed to have friends aside from her) I turned into a mute with other girls. I immediately think girls will hurt me the way she did or get weird like she did. Thankfully I have an amazing boyfriend who has amazing friends, but this is what I needed- something to push me OUT of that fear and funk and get back out there and making MY OWN set of girlfriends again.

    Thank you for such an honest and on-point inspiring and motivational post!

  • “Learn to accept both the good and the bad that falls on your plate with grace”. Nice quote.

  • Samantha Pollard
    August 6th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    This is an absolutely wonderful, mind opening article! Thank you so much for this. As with all things, it came at a time most needed.

    The one thing that I will work on is #2. I used to be the Queen of “I don’t have time to eat, I don’t have time to exercise, I don’t have time to pamper myself… now I’m working on making sure I have time to take care of me properly and all the things that are important in my life done in a timely manner. I loved the quote of focusing on quality instead of quantity.

    Thanks so much for this must share with my friends!

  • This is mind-boggling, what an awesome piece of work. I totally subscribe to what your words here.

  • #14 really hits home with me right now because I just spent a few hours last week barfing into a LiveJournal about why I maintain a low-level fear of one of my colleagues. I’m currently struggling with whether it would be helpful to actually explain it to him, to apologize for my past awkwardness, or whether simply sucking up and pushing through to what I *want* to be around him is enough.

  • This really helped me… I’m not scared to all the things that happened in the past - I’m growing. Today I start a great inning of my life…

    Loved #’s 1, 4, 6, 8, 17

  • #1 hit me right away. Not so much for what it is, but for what it was. I’m 71 and I had been saying this for a few years. I finally got tired of it, dropped everything, and left the US for South America.

    Best decision I ever made.

    I’ll start looking at all the others right away!

  • “Learn to accept both the good and the bad that falls on your plate with grace”. Nice quote.

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