Ridding the World and the Dictionary of Excuse
I want to write an impressive, at the very least coherent, post about how there is no such thing as excuses.
However, I can’t seem to get the framework just right. I know what I want to say but can’t even get my thoughts, much less the words, organized enough for a halfway decent outline. The intro I had written down seemed pompous and trite. As did the second one. The third was just lazy. The fourth attempt…so far so good.
That last paragraph might seem like I’m making excuses for why this post is going to be a big pile of shit.
But there are no excuses. That I know.
There exist only obstacles.
Yes, I’m going to argue semantics!
Because words matter.
Not just their definition or their use but the feelings and attitudes they evoke.
As a fitness advocate and personal trainer, I hear it all the reasons why people cant bring themselves to exercise regularly, eat right, or even sleep well.
Too much work, household duties, not enough free time, beer is good, pizza and beer is even better, the kids, always the kids.
After people list off the many reasons they always follow up with the same phrase:
“I know those are excuses but…”
Let’s take a look at that work, excuse. The noun is defined as a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.
Too much work, household duties, etc. are used as defenses and justifications to not change your life for the better, got it.
Instead of looking at those things as excuses and referring to them as such, what happens if we say:
“I know those are obstacles but…”
Oh, what does the dictionary think about an obstacle? A thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.
Speaking for myself, if I see my gaming addiction as an excuse, I’m allowing it a place of greater importance than my future goals, even my more immediate wants and needs.
However, if I see the latest content patch with all new features including kung fu grip as an obstacle…already there is the idea that it is something to be overcome. Already I see it as of lesser importance to everything else in my life.
Perhaps this explains why so many people continue smoking and drinking despite the health issues and 2 am text messages to the ex. We all know the dangers and risks associated, even those who continue to overdo those classical addictions.
“I like it,” is a remarkably simple phrase used to justify our favorite hobbies, distractions, and escapes. In fact, I continue to engage in a few hobbies, distractions, and escapes myself. My time scrolling through Instagram is proof enough of that. Yet, to live my best life and pursue my purpose to my utmost ability I have had to reframe all those things I enjoy and question how they slow me down or even prevent me from my goals.
As a result I look at those things keeping me from being a better athlete, better writer, better lover, better man and instead of justifying my current behavior, look instead to how I can overcome those current habits, shortcomings, gaps in education and experience, and act upon what I discover.
I’m now reading much more on writing, tracking calories and macros, and truly studying archetypes and behavior change. Soon I’ll be studying sales techniques and being much more habitual with the writing.
We are not fixed beings. We have it within our power to choose how we wish to be. Looking at our current lifestyles, rituals, habits, influences, careers, friendships, relationships, and environments as obstacles to be overcome is not an easy task. Then again, maybe more of those things are pillars of support for you and the life you are yearning to live and love.
For me, much of that stuff can be discarded and set aside. I’ve learned from my experiences limited though they are. I know how easily I can become emotionally attached to escapism on a TV or PC screen whether that be binging a tv or movie series, playing video games, discovering new music through YouTube videos, or catching up on 10 plus years of a favorite webcomic.
The rabbit hole of multiple hours and open tabs of Wikipedia may sometimes bear some fruit but even that eventually leads toward distraction.
As a result, I look at the screens as a gateway to distraction. I appreciate the serotonin boost but am no longer caught in its spell.
I’m more spellbound by my own goals.
If your goals don’t scare you at least a little bit, they’re not as big as you need them to be.
Our aspirations define us more than the car in the driveway or the dollars in the bank. The obstacles we overcome in pursuit of those goals define who we become.
I do what I can to dream big and plan for what I need to become. It isn’t easy but recognizing that there are no excuses has been empowering more than anything else I have done to move forward.
Figuring out those first few sentences wasn't easy. Perfection was out of my grasp and my attempts at using the warrior analogy were clumsy and heavy-handed. Another time I would have allowed myself to stress over the words needed, and I'll admit I had done so.
I allowed my early attempts to get in my way, giving them the power of excuses.
Then, I just decided to be honest with the few readers I may have and admit to my difficulty.
Consider this an ugly first draft. Very ugly. So very very ugly.
However, I believe I've made my point. The obstacle is the way.
Once we see anything that slows us down as an obstacle we can and we will overcome it.