No Excuses

I am a huge advocate of the phrase, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.” If you know me well enough, you’ve heard me say this at least once.

Do you remember those self-assessments that you may have taken when you were younger, which asked, “Would you get up at 5 in the morning for the fill-in-the-blank activity?” If you answered no, you were said not to care for it enough. If you answered yes, you had found something you loved. When I thought the question through, I came to the conclusion that I loved my sport, but was burned out of playing my musical instrument. It is by no means a perfect test, but I think it gets at an important point.

What you would get up for really goes a long way to defining something you deeply care about, and by extension, this feeds into who you are.

Would I have been the same person I am today if I hadn’t played so much of my favorite sport? Would actors and writers and mathematicians be the same if they (in general) didn’t love at least some part of what they do? Nope. In the “6 Fresh Ways to Find Your Passion” article on The Muse, Corrina Gordon-Barnes describes tuning into your “metaphorical metal detector” and pinpointing what exactly you like about certain activities or passions – you may actually love the hard work and focus involved in swimming, for example, more than the main techniques involved or even the water itself. What’s more, Gordon-Barnes suggests looking for your figurative “umbrella” – what combination of skills and passions spans you?

Of course, these passions are bound to change at some point in your life; case in point, I’m playing much less of my sport at the moment… and I’m still not done accepting that. Read about this concept in my post on Change. What’s more, think about what you would do if you “had a billion dollars, [… and] money [was] no concern,” as Deena Varshavskaya poses in this Forbes article on “4 Practical Ways to Find Your Life’s Passion And A Career You Love.” In fact, think about what you did when you were a kid. What you did for fun, when the reality of adult life was likely not a factor. Me? Among other things, I wrote stories and poems. I did. And I loved it. I came up with my very own “book of poems” and I took at least one creative writing summer class and I let my mind go free. In college I also took one fiction writing course, which I embraced like a long-lost friend, but somewhere in the middle of those two points in time I began honing a different job path, one which has been satisfactory in its own way but which has let my love of writing become dusty on a corner shelf… What has happened, I wonder? When did I… stop?

This blog is the first way to combat that, so I’m trying. I’m proud of myself for trying, and I hope you try too, with whatever you enjoy doing. It’s hard, though. Change is hard. But we got to keep fighting it, or at least, doing our best to ride life’s waves, no matter how clumsily or heavy-heartedly we initially do. If you need inspiration, remember this: “A person can never really fail unless [he or she] give[s] up” (as Granny Puckett so wisely said in the Hoodwinked Too! movie).

Now, if you extend the original phrase, you get, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse” (attributed to the brilliant business philosopher Jim Rohn, who incidentally has ten other amazing quotes on success.com). Lately, every time I see the “don’t” played out, either consciously or unconsciously, it bugs me like crazy. All those times when people say they can’t do something, because they’re too tired or too busy or it slipped their mind or yada yada, and more importantly, when they don’t really mean it, I can’t stand it. Think about it for a moment. If you really, and I mean really, wanted to do something, would you give any of those reasons?

I don’t think so.

I know that sometimes these obligatory reasons are inevitable, yes. I have been guilty of this, and I know that things happen. Life gets in the way. We are all almost universally busy, and we are often overstretched and overcommitted. I understand that people dance to different rhythms of life, too, so that we may all have unique takes on how to handle these moments.

That being said, let’s say you’re exhausted (and tired, since the level of your fatigue requires the support of synonyms), burned out from a long day at work. Then, somehow, a chance to win a million dollars appears, with a greater than fifty percent chance to win it – and it comes to you, of all people.

Not so tired anymore, are we?

Why not? Well, it’s simple. If you really wanted to do something, anything, you would do it. Or at least attempt to do it.

You would make time for it.

What’s more, it’s about honesty. Instead of saying, “Sorry, I’m too busy”, what if we confided, “I’m really busy, and I also have other things that are a higher priority to me right now. But if time opens up and this is next, I will be there.” Followed by the unspoken but implied, Because I want to. Or what if we shared, “I’m so tired, but I do love this, and I mean that. What about tomorrow instead?” Or what if we even confessed, “I don’t want to because I don’t like it. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you! Hang out this weekend?”

You see what I’m doing here? Transparency. Sincerity. Human decency. What if we all did this? For one person’s refreshingly honest and motivational take on maintaining human decency, see this Odyssey post on “What Happened to Human Decency” (and how to help make the world a better place).

Again, I acknowledge and respect that in many many cases, we have timing conflicts, and must choose. In many cases, we are simply doing the best we can. In regards to how we share this information with others, though, I feel that we can do better. My personal belief is that we shouldn’t always be courteous just for the sake of being courteous; who has ever embraced stiff pleasantries over the more vibrant, cleansing power of truth?

Recently, when I asked a friend of mine if she was interested in running a 5k, she replied by asking when it was, joking that she was hoping I would say next week when she would be out of town.

Now, that’s honesty. And I like it.

On a related note, how do you make time for something? How do you prioritize? Well, that’ll be the subject of one of my future blog posts.

Ultimately, if you really want to absorb this, learn from this, and evolve from this, you will. I can’t change that. I can, however, show you with words what is so wondrously wonderful about becoming self-aware enough to acknowledge what you want, what you don’t want, and the fact that all it takes to start is a determined, fiery will.

If you want, I’m here to help guide the way – let’s trade in those excuses for sincerity, and that’s a start! You and me, both.

If you don’t want to, that’s fine too. After all, in the end, it will be the way it was meant to be all along.

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