Stop Making These 15 Excuses That Are Holding You Back

We all make harmless excuses to get out of things we’re not in the mood for.

We say things like: “Honey, I’m too tired.” “I have a doctor’s appointment.” “I have a spinning class.”

Those things are excuses for: You’re not in the mood, you’re perfectly healthy and want to get out of something, and by ‘spinning class’, you mean watching an episode of House of Cards.

Not a big deal. Those excuses are not bad, but we also make other excuses, that mess up our life.

We say things like: “I would start a business, but I can’t get $100K of starting capital.”

For years, I’ve made up all kinds of excuses for the things that I wanted to do. The truth is that I was just scared. And because of that, you never start.

But it’s also an easy way to fool yourself that you are not the problem, it’s something or someone else. We do anything to say: “I’m not the problem.”

In his new book called #AskGaryVeeGary Vaynerchuk writes:

It’s stunning how many remarkable reasons and circumstances people can come up with to explain why they haven’t met with success.— @garyvee

He’s right; we’re extremely creative with making up excuses. Here are 15 excuses that I’ve made in the past, and how I destroyed them.

  1. I don’t have timeThis is the mother of all excuses. We all have the same 1440 minutes every day. How is it that some people get stuff done and others don’t? It’s simple: they don’t waste their time. “I don’t have time,” can NEVER be your excuse. If you can’t do something, give the real reason: “I don’t like it.” “I prefer to watch TV.
  2. I don’t have money — This is a real reason. But do you know the beauty of it? Not having money is an opportunity. And yet, so many people see it as an obstacle. Not having enough money is good: You have nothing to lose. Go out, try things, and be creative. Make shit happen.
  3. I’m too tiredUnless you’re ill, this is a shitty excuse. One of my friends told me a few months ago that he’s too tired to play football with his 5-year-old son. I gave him hell. That’s what friends are for, right? At least he got off his lazy ass and started playing football. The sacrifice? He’s watching less The Walking Dead now, but he says it’s worth it.
  4. live in a small city — I grew up in a small city, and I believed this: “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” It’s just a myth. This is what I believe now: If you can make it anywhere, you can make it anywhere. Plus, you don’t need to move. You have the internet.
  5. I live in a shitty country — Your country might rank low on the ‘happiness’ rankings, or maybe it’s not the wealthiest country in the world. So what? Macro-economics do not affect you as an individual whatsoever. Also, you don’t need to go to Silicon Valley to start a tech company. Do you think that investors are waiting for you with a bag of money at SFO?
  6. My parents don’t help meBe thankful for the help you get, no matter how little. Some people don’t have parents at all.
  7. My spouse doesn’t support me — She’s your spouse, right? That’s already the support you need at least you’re not alone. If he or she doesn’t believe in you, prove them wrong.
  8. I have children — This is the only excuse I can’t make myself, but I’ve heard many people use children as an excuse. They say that children are the reason to play it safe and give up on their dreams. There’s no such thing as playing it safe. You have to do the opposite if you want to give them a good future.
  9. have to workSo? We all have jobs. Does that mean you can’t make your art on the side? Or start your business in the evenings and weekends?
  10. I don’t have previous experience You don’t even want to work for dinosaurs that look at ‘previous experience’It’s not the 90s anymore. Experience is worth nothing, skills and execution are everything. I know 19-year-olds with more marketing skills than ad-men in their 50s.
  11. I’m uselessYou are if you keep saying that. You become what you think. So don’t think that you’re useless.
  12. I don’t have the looksLooks are overrated. Humor and character are more important.
  13. I don’t have the right degree (or not a degree at all)People shouldn’t care about your degrees. And if they do, you don’t want to work for them.
  14. I’m a minority — Me too, join the club.
  15. I’m overweight — I used to be. But then I started running every day and lost weight.

Making excuses is a habit. A nasty one because it obstructs your life. And the worst thing is that you do it to yourself.

Benjamin Franklin put it best:

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

(click to tweet)

No one wants to be no good. Think about it: Are the excuses you make even real reasons not to do something?

Probably not. I guarantee that someone has been in your shoes, and I also guarantee that they made shit happen, so why can’t you?


(image by Peter Mooney)

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for this list. One big thing for me at the moment is the lack of experience. I never had a job because of illness and recently I’ve been thinking about finding a remote working job. But what do I say if they ask about previous professional experience? It is a concern for me. I guess honesty is the best policy and if they turn me down based on that, I know I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway.

    1. Thanks for reading Gemma. Don’t say, just show them. I’m a BIG believer of providing value up front. I don’t believe in traditional interviews. Try to find a creative way to demonstrate your skills before you even go to the interview. In that way, you can focus on skills and value instead of experience. In my ebook 6 Steps To Finding Your Dream Job, I give a few examples of how you can do that. You can download it free, let me know if you have questions after reading it.

  2. Hey Darius, really enjoyed this one. I’ve found myself making a lot of these excuses.

    Also found that excuses evolve over time. So it doesn’t help to just tell yourself “This is a BS excuse” you have to keep on doing reality checks to realize what new excuses you are using.

  3. Hey Darius Thank you for this article.

    I used to making excuses for my studies were my kids. I always told my friends that because of my kids so I don’t have time to study. But as your said don’t have time can never be my excuse. Just don’t waste of time. so I found out I still have plenty of times left after I played with my children. After they sleep I make my time to study, before they wake up I make my time to study. and on my way to my work I also have time to study….Because I believe if I want to achieve something then I have to find a way and take actions. Don’t make excuses is the best way to achieve my goals.

    Thank you for sharing your useful thoughts and these advises really encourage me to do more things in my life.

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