No More Excuses

“One unable to dance blames the unevenness of the floor.”Malay proverb

At any given time, I am individually mentoring a dozen or more individuals. It’s not something I seek to do. It seems to be the natural result of (a) knowing a lot of ambitious people and (b) being happy to offer advice whenever asked.

Most of the time, most of my protégés make good progress. But sooner or later, everyone gets stuck. In the past few days, I’ve met with three people whose forward motion (in terms of Life Goals) has been stalled or stopped entirely.So I’ve been asking a lot of questions. And there does seem to be a common problem with all three people. They are all making excuses.

There is an old saying: “He who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” That phrase echoed in my mind as I consulted with my protégés.

MMF: “So why don’t you think you have made any progress?”

PROTÉGÉ: “Well, there’s such and such personal problem. And there’s such and such business difficulty. And blah, blah, blah.”

MMF: “That does sound challenging. Are you following your goals and keeping to your daily task sheets?”

PROTÉGÉ: “Well, that’s not going too well either.”

MMF: “How so?”

PROTÉGÉ: “Well, I just don’t think it works for me. For me, I need blah, blah, blah.”

MMF: “Why don’t you ignore that and start the program from scratch? Give it another go?”

PROTÉGÉ: “Well, you have to understand. First, there is blah, blah, blah. Then, there is yackety, yackety. Then, there is such and such and so and so.”

Are you making the progress you want? Moving forward at the pace you set for yourself? If not, do this today:

1. Take out a sheet of paper and write down your current Life Goals. You should have four of them.

2. Underneath or next to each one, list the three main reasons you have for not accomplishing it.

3. Take a long hard look at those reasons. Then kiss them goodbye.

4. Promise yourself you will never use them as excuses again.

That means you will never mention them to your boss, your co-workers, your spouse, or your confessor. You won’t talk about them when you are scared, tired, weary, or drunk. You won’t ever again allow them a place in your speech. Nor will you provide them a berth in your thinking.

If you are going to fail, do so properly — without excuses.

If you are going to succeed, you have to leave those excuses behind you.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]