Everyone has a dream. Whether it is to go on a vacation around the world or start a new career or buy that dream home, we all know what we’d love to do.
However when we look at how many people are actually living their dreams, it is quite sad that so few are fortunate enough to do the things they’d love to. And what’s even sadder is the majority of people have settled for the life they know and have bought into their excuses as to why they cannot be living their dreams.
When I had a corporate job, for many years I knew that I did not want to have a management or engineering career. It wasn’t something I enjoyed but I did not know what else I could do. I knew I wanted to be doing work that made a difference to others in a positive way.
For quite a few years, I bought into my excuses for why I couldn’t do the things I really wanted to. The interesting thing was that those excuses sounded like totally valid reasons why I shouldn’t even attempt to do something different. The longer I kept doing what I was doing, the unhappier I became which affected how I interacted with others especially in social situations.
Thankfully I eventually found the courage to make the change I needed to make and start the journey to doing something different which has led me to do what I am doing now. While there have been many challenges along the way, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything because I have learned some valuable lessons along the way.
It takes courage to change something when there are no valid reasons for changing it. Here are some of the excuses that I have used in the past to not pursue what I wanted, which also may be preventing your from living your dreams.
- I’m too young (or too old). It’s never about being too young or old. It’s about the results you can produce or the value you can add to other people’s lives. Take for example teenagers who have sailed around solo the world — they didn’t buy into the excuse that they were too young!
- I’m not ready. The reality is that the majority of the time, we are not 100% ready to do something. There is always something that can be improved and done better. But the key is to get started. One motto I subscribe to whenever I’m doing something for the first time is to “do it afraid.”
- I don’t want to let others down. Other people’s opinions have crushed so many dreams. What others think of you is none of your business. You will never please everyone and by saying you don’t want to let others down, you are saying that you don’t have the confidence or belief in yourself that you can succeed in what you want to do.
- It’s going to be hard. Anyone who has achieved any noteworthy success will confirm that it does take hard work. The key is to be doing work that you totally love o that it doesn’t feel like work because you are enjoying it so much.
- I don’t know what to do. When we attempt to do something that is unfamiliar, the chances are high that we won’t really know what to do initially. This is where having mentors or coaches can help us through the process especially if they have achieved what we want to achieve.
- I don’t have enough… Not having the resources whether it is time, money, experience, knowledge, support, etc., is one of main reasons why people stay where they are and not even attempt to do something different. The feeling of being stuck keeps perpetuating and self doubt, worry and even anxiety shows up.
- I’m afraid. Fear disguises itself in many forms. It shows up in the language people use, their habit patterns and in their behaviours. The truth is if something is important to us, we will find a way to come up with or solution or find a way for it to work.
- Things are not that bad right now. “Everything’s fine.” Have you ever heard someone say that? What they are really saying is that they are okay settling for something that is not quite the way they want it and they are not willing to take the risk to go after something that would be even better. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, however that excuse may be playing out in different areas of their lives resulting in them not experiencing life like they really want to.
- This is the way I am. Just because we think we have a certain identity, it doesn’t mean we cannot change it. We are evolving beings meaning we are constantly in the process of change and growth. We can always choose to change how we think, feel and act.
- Now’s not a good time to take risks. There is some truth to this as there are factors beyond our control that has an impact on our results. However, not everything we want to do in life is determined by external circumstances. I once heard that it never a good time to do anything so we might as well get comfortable taking risks anytime we want to. The key thing is to allow yourself to take risks but not put yourself at risk.
Have any of these excuses been holding your back? Recognising or becoming aware of the excuses that may be holding you back from living your dreams is the first step. Now that you know some of these excuses, you can either take action towards realising your dreams or you can use your excuses to stay where you are. It’s your choice. Which one do you choose?
Question: What have been some of the excuses that may have held you back previously and what have you done to overcome them?
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