I have published many articles about success on this blog, and I think one of the most important characters successful people possess is their ability to never make any excuses.
Most people are not living their dreams because they are living their fears. They make lousy excuses to justify all the reasons why they can’t do it.
We all make excuses. The thing is that successful people who have gone on to achieve extraordinary results in life are those who learn to manage to control their excuses. They make less. They take responsibility and they don’t make as much.
When you take responsibility and don’t make excuses, life begins to happen. Success starts coming your way.
Like what Tony Robbins said:
“There are only two options: Make progress or make excuses.”
It is either you make excuses and tell yourself or others why you can’t, or you get busy making progress.
Remember, for every reason you think you can’t, there are hundreds of others who have faced similar circumstances and succeeded.
So stop making all the lousy excuses from now on. Or at least, make less of them so that you will start making progress.
Here are the 13 most common excuses people make that prevent them from achieving and living the successful life their desire.
1. You don’t have time or too busy
This is one of the most common excuses people make. When you ask them why they are not building the business they are so passionate about, they will tell you that they don’t have time.
I have a friend who always talks about starting an internet business. When he sees someone making a living from the internet, he becomes inspired and wants to do the same.
But when you ask him why is he not doing it, he will tell you that he doesn’t have the time.
You have to understand that we all have 24 hours a day. It is not that you don’t have time, it is that you don’t know how to manage your priority.
Running a multi-million dollars business is difficult, let alone two. But Jack Dorsey does that as a CEO of Twitter and Square. You can read the strategy Dorsey used to manage his time from this article on CNBC.
My point is that it is not you don’t have time, but rather, you don’t know how to set your priorities and manage your work.
All of us are given 24 hours a day. Some people use their time wisely and able to live the 4-hour work week while others seem to struggle with their time.
So stop making excuses and say that you don’t have time. Instead, choose to rethink your priorities.
If you spend 8 hours working and 8 hours sleeping, you left another 8 hours for other things. So how do you spend those 8 hours?
Do you play games on your phone for an hour? Do you check updates on social media like Facebook and Instagram for another hour? And do you watch YouTube mindlessly most of the time?
It’s not about how much time you have, it’s about your priorities.
How you spend your time tells you a lot about your priorities.
If your goal is to build a successful blog but you are wasting most of your time on social media and watching too much videos on YouTube, it simply means that your goal is not your priority.
When something is priority #1, you will get it done. You will wake up an hour early to do it. You will stay later to accomplish it. You will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”Peter Drucker
So don’t say that you don’t have time. Learn to manage your time. Learn to manage your priorities. And learn to do what’s important first than spending your time on things that don’t really matter.
All the most successful people in the world have 24 hours a day – Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and you.
Thus, if you think that you don’t have time, think again. Where does the time go? How do you spend your day? What tasks do you spend most of your time on?
When you know how you use your time, you know your priorities. And when you know your priorities, you can manage them.
2. You don’t have the capital, money, or resources
“I don’t have the money” is another common excuse people make. If you want to start a business but you don’t have the capital, what should you do? Are you going to stop and let your dream dies?
First, it is not the lack of money, capital, or resources, rather, it is a lack of creativity.
What else can you do when you don’t have the money to start? Can you partner with someone else? Can you get a loan from banks or someone you know? Can you start without money?
Second, if you need money to make money, perhaps, you’re getting it wrong.
When you receive $100k to start a business, most likely you will fail because you lack the experience and the necessary skills.
Instead, you need to learn to start from scratch. You need to learn the ins and outs. You must learn to make $1 or the first sale before you can make $1 million.
The concept of MVP (minimum viable product) is powerful. You don’t need to invest all your money to build the perfect product, you just need to get the product out to the market as soon as possible.
You then improve from the feedback from the market. If you pour in all your hard-earned money and idea doesn’t work, you end up a big loser.
Read the stories of successful entrepreneurs and you will understand that most of them started with little or no money:
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the famous pair that started from Job’s parent’s garage in California. After developing a couple of different models, the pair knew they would need more financing. So Jobs had to find a co-signer to get a bank loan for $250,000.
Michael Dell started Dell Computers from his campus dorm. He eventually dropped out of his university to focus on his company full time. His first investment? $1,000 from his family.
Pierre Omidyar did not start eBay on purpose. He started an auction site called AuctionWeb as a side hobby. When his internet service provider requested him to upgrade his account due to high traffic volume, only then Omidyar started charging his audience for using his site, which grew into eBay.
Most entrepreneurs started from nothing. If you think you don’t have money to build a business to succeed, you’re making an excuse.
This article from SmallBusinessTrends shared 17 entrepreneurs who started from little or no money. Read it so that you’ll understand the lack of money is not a roadblock, but an excuse you need to overcome.
3. You don’t have the qualification or necessary skills
- “I don’t know how”,
- “I don’t have the experience”,
- “I’m not English educated”,
- “I don’t have the qualification”,
- “I don’t have the skill”, etc.
Do you make these excuses? Do you let them stop you from getting what you want in life?
I’m not an IT graduate. I studied civil engineering in school, but yet, I’m passionate and willing to learn about blogging and internet marketing.
I know some people wanted to build a blog, but they let their fear of technicalities stop them.
They say that they don’t know how to register a domain name, they don’t know how to write, they don’t know how to design their blog, etc, etc.
Champion was made.
If you want to get rid of this excuse, you need to change your mindset. Champion was made, not born.
While it is true some people may be more talented than others, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful without talent.
Michael Jordan may seem like a talented basketball player, but do you know that he was rejected for his high school basketball team due to “lack of skill”? Of course, Jordan made it up with hard work and brutal training.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”Michael Jordan
You have to understand that you can become who you want to be as long as you’re willing to work hard and hustle for it.
Nobody was born a winner.
If you want to be a winner and succeed at what you do, you must be willing to learn, to improve, and to do better each day.
It doesn’t matter if you lack the skill or if you don’t know how to do it, you can always learn.
Here are 2 straightforward ways to overcome your lack of know-how:
1) Outsource it or hire talents
You can’t be everything and you’re not superhuman. You may be good in marketing, but lack the talent in technical skills. So what do you do? You outsource the task or hire someone else to do it.
Steve Jobs has great talent in design and marketing, but he lacked technical skill. That was why he partnered with Steve Wozniak to build the first batch of Apple computers.
2) Learn and improve yourself
What if you can’t outsource the task or hire others to do it? Well then, learn to do it yourself.
There are a ton of books you can read and many courses and workshops you can attend.
No matter what you want to achieve, someone else has already achieved it and is willing to share his or her method. You just need to be willing to learn.
Never let your lack of skills, knowledge, or know-how stop you from achieving your goals.
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”Zig Ziglar
4. You worry the competition is too tough
Are you not taking action because you make the excuse that the competition is too strong or that someone is already doing it?
One thing I learned from MJ DeMarco, the author of The Millionaire Fastlane is that money and success go to those who execute.
Ideas alone are not enough. If you want to make your dream a reality, you must execute. You must take action, regardless of the competition.
In fact, competition can be a good sign because it is telling you there is a market for what you are about to launch.
A lot of people think that blogging is dead because too many people are doing it. But it also proves one thing – the blogging industry is profitable, which is why a lot of people are doing it.
Besides, competition is good because it means you don’t have to start from scratch. Unless you are building a revolutionary product like when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, you need competition to improve your product/service.
Facebook isn’t the first social media sites existed. The first popular social media site was Friendster. Then MySpace came around and conquered the market. And now, Facebook is the biggest social media platform.
The same happened in search engines. Google isn’t the first that invented search engine, it was Alta Vista. And then Yahoo! Came around and captured the majority of the market. Eventually, Google took the lead and became the #1 search engine today.
What about mobile phones? It was first launched by Motorola, and then Nokia came and became the market leader. Today, Apple, Samsung, and other Chinese phone manufacturers like Huawei are the leaders.
Competition is necessary.
If you give yourself the excuse that competition is tough or that you someone is already doing it, you need to know that competition is necessary.
It is true that someone may already do what you have in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it much better than them.
Thus, stop making this lousy excuse. There is no perfect business or an idea that is totally new or unique. Whatever you have in mind, someone is already doing it.
The key to success is to outperform your competitors. Do much better than your competitors.
If your competitor is providing service A, you provide service A+B. If they are giving service A+B, then do it much better by giving A+B+C.
That’s why competition is really relevant. The more competitive a market, the more money you can make – if you can outperform your competitors.
5. You think it is too difficult
Want to start an internet business but you keep telling yourself that it is too difficult? Nothing worthwhile comes easy, my friend.
If you want to achieve great success, be willing to sacrifice and pour in the hard work.
Do you really believe that becoming a champion is something easy?
We’re talking about being extraordinary here, my friend. We’re not discussing being ordinary or common. We want something great, something extraordinary, something spectacular.
Thus, you must expect things to be difficult and choose to persist.
Making the excuse by saying things are difficult shows 2 things:
1) Perhaps, you’re not too committed to the things that you want.
If you want to lose weight and you say that it is too difficult to achieve, you’re telling yourself that having a slim, fit, and healthy body is not too important to you.
When something is important to you, you will do it, even if it is inconvenient.
2) You’re too afraid to fail.
Yes, when you say something is difficult to achieve, you’re indirectly creating the safety net so that you can fail and nobody can blame you.
Failure is normal. In fact, failure is necessary to get you the success you want.
Without failure, you can’t improve. And without improvement, you can’t become successful.
People learn the most from failures. So don’t be afraid of failures. Be afraid of not trying.
Now you understand why people make the excuse by saying things are difficult.
Of course, it is difficult. Creating extraordinary results require you to put in the ‘extra’. Becoming successful means you need to say goodbye to the ordinary and do something that normal people don’t dare to do.
Hence, stop making the excuse that things are difficult.
Understand this: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
6. You believe this is not the right time or condition
Are you making the excuse by saying that this is not the right time or condition? If you do, ask yourself this – how do you know it is not the right time?
There is no perfect moment to start or to do something. If you are truly committed, just do.
You don’t have to wait for a group of geese fly in the shape of a cross only to start. You can start right now.
What if you don’t have the necessary resources? Like I mentioned above, use what you have and do what you can.
You don’t need to know everything to start. Like what Zig Ziglar said:
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, you just need to start and learn the perfect moment.
Opportunity comes with preparation.
Do you know that it is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared?
You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, you just need to be prepared. Like how Les Brown ended becoming a DJ. I strongly suggest you watch this short inspirational video below:
Les Brown told his story how he prepared himself to be a DJ, which eventually, he landed on his dream.
You should do the same. Always be prepared because you will never know when the opportunity will come.
Therefore, don’t wait. Stop waiting for the perfect moment, the right time, or the right condition. The best time to strive is now. Act now.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
7. You think you will fail because others have failed
What if you tried something and you failed? Boy, you’ll surely use it as an excuse to not try again by saying, “It doesn’t work!”
Have you heard about the story of the Barracuda?
A biologist placed a barracuda into a fish tank and then added some small baitfish. And as expected, the barracuda quickly ate the baitfish.
The biologist then separated the tank into two sections by placing a glass in the middle. He then put the barracuda in one side and some bait fish on the other side.
This time, the barracuda attacked the baitfish, but hit the glass and bounced off. The barracuda tried again, but failed again. This happened every few minutes.
After a couple of days, the barracuda stopped attacking the baitfish. It has ‘learned’ that its attempt was futile.
Even after the biologist took away the glass panel that separated the tank, the baitfish swam freely across the barracuda, but the Barracuda did not attack the baitfish.
Do you get it?
If you have tried something and failed, first, it doesn’t mean you are going to fail again in the future.
Even if you did it a minute ago, it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail now.
Second, if you fail, it means something you did is not right. Perhaps, your approach is incorrect. Or maybe your method is wrong.
Whatever you do, don’t buy into the belief that once you have failed, you’re going to fail forever.
You may face defeats, but you must not be defeated.
You have to understand that you may need to fight a battle more than once to win it.
Do you expect to read a book and you will become successful? No, it takes consistent effort, learning, and improvement.
You don’t do it once and if you fail, you stop trying. You do it again, and again, and again. Until you get it.
This was what Winston Churchill meant when he said:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
So what if you fail and lose? Stand back up and try again. Improve your method if necessary. Do something else, try a method, do something new, and keep trying until you succeed.
If you make the excuse you have tried before and failed so you can choose not to do it, you’re wrong.
Success will not come to you in one shot. It is your consistent effort that creates success.
Hence, keep trying and keep doing. If you fail, seek out why. Treat your failure as feedback and improve from there. That’s how success is created.
8. You use someone as an excuse
Of all these lousy excuses, this is the one I hate the most. How can you use someone as an excuse?
Well, I have heard quite a lot.
I once heard someone said that he isn’t successful because of his wife. I have also heard that someone chose to let go of a job offer because he has a child to take care.
When you get emotional, yes, your wife and your children may seem like a good reason you abandon your dream. But logically speaking, it’s just an excuse.
In my opinion, I believe that we can all make the best of all choices. You just need to be creative.
What if you got a lucrative offer to work overseas but you already established a family? What are the best options?
Brainstorm and come up with the best one. Of course, you should take your family into consideration when you make the decision, but never use them as an excuse to settle for your comfort zone.
What if you can negotiate with the company and bring along your family overseas? What if you can choose to work online and manage the overseas work from local and only travel when needed?
Never put the blame or responsibility onto others. Take full responsibility for all the things that you have decided and done.
When you make excuses by saying you can’t do it because of someone, you are pushing away your responsibility and by putting the blame on someone else.
Don’t do that.
From now on, don’t say your wife is dragging you or you have a family to feed and that’s why you can’t pursue your dream.
Take charge of your life. If you are 100% committed to achieving your goal, nothing can stop you. You will do whatever it takes.
9. You think you are too young or too old
Do you think you are too young to do something or too old to achieve your dreams? It is never too early or too late, my friend.
Many people say that internet marketing, blogging, becoming a YouTuber, or running an e-commerce website is for the youngster, I don’t really agree.
Nothing can stop you from doing it if you absolutely want to achieve it.
Again, it is never too young or too old to do what you want to do.
Time is going to past anyway. Five years from now will definitely arrive, the question is, where will you be by then? Are you going to be living the same life doing the same thing?
Or are you going to take the chance and pursue what you really want to do out of your life?
Everyone lives in their own time zone.
Some time ago, I saw someone shared a post about living in everyone is living in their own timeline. And so I searched on Google and here’s what I discovered:
New York is 3 hours ahead of California, but it does not make California slow.
Someone graduated at the age of 22, but waited 5 years before securing a good job!
Someone became a CEO at 25, and died at 50.
While another became a CEO at 50, and lived to 90 years.
Someone is still single, while someone else got married.
Obama retires at 55, but Trump starts at 70.
Absolutely everyone in this world works based on their Time Zone.
People around you might seem to go ahead of you, some might seem to be behind you.
But everyone is running their own RACE, in their own TIME.
Don’t envy them or mock them.
They are in their TIME ZONE, and you are in yours!
Life is about waiting for the right moment to act.
You’re not LATE.
You’re not EARLY.
You are very much ON TIME, and in your TIME ZONE Destiny set up for you.
Are you getting this?
It doesn’t matter what’s your age. You can be 21 or you can be 51. As long as you have the drive and the passion to pursue the success you desire, go for it.
You’re not too late nor too early. You’re living in your own time zone.
What if you worry others say you’re too young or too old?
What if you’re 60 and you want to start a blog? What if you’re 18 and you have a dream to build a hundred million dollars real estate investment portfolio? And if you care what others say about you?
Here’s a great idea I learned from Jack Canfield. He called it the 18-40-60 Rule:
At the age of 18: You worry about what everybody is thinking of you. Other people’s opinion of you matters more than anything.
At the age of 40: You do not care what anyone thinks of you. People’s opinions of you no longer matter.
At the age of 60: You finally realize that nobody has been thinking about you at all. Most people only care about themselves and what is going on with them.
As you can see, nobody really cares about what you think. In fact, most people are busy with their own life too.
Those who care about you will encourage you to live your best life. And those who don’t care about you, why do you allow them in your life?
So move on.
Remember, it is never too young or too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.
10. You don’t have the right contact or network
So you buy into the belief that you don’t have the right contact or network? When you think about why you’re not living your dream, do you make the excuse saying you don’t know the right person to succeed?
It is true that success requires a good circle of influence and network. People often say, “It is not what you know, but who you know,” this does sound true, but only to a certain extent.
One day, a father asks his son to move a big rock as big as his size. The son musters all his strength and tries to lift the rock. But to no avail, the rock is too big and it doesn’t even move an inch.
The son tells his father he can’t do it. The father then encourages his son to try again with all his might and do whatever it takes to move the rock.
Again, the son tries to move the rock with all his strength, but the rock sits still and doesn’t move at all.
The son then gives up and tells his father he has tried his best. The father at his son and says, “You sure you’ve done everything you can? I’m standing right beside you and you don’t even ask me for help.”
The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter who you know. If you don’t leverage on your network, you are as good as no network.
Many years ago, I used to work as a real estate negotiator. One of my friends who has no knowledge about buying real estate bought a house without my knowledge.
He ended up getting conned. When he visited the house, it was fully furnished with furniture. After the transaction went through when he got the key, the house was empty. And there was no inventory list within the contract.
My friend knew I’m in real estate, but he didn’t even bother asking for my knowledge and advice.
Seek help and leverage on other’s knowledge and experience.
Imagine if you want to build a successful internet business and you have a friend who has been earning huge money from the internet, are you going to ask him for advice and get him to show you how to do it?
Or are you going to try out everything on your own?
You can shortcut your learning curve by leveraging on other people’s knowledge, success, and network.
You don’t have to start from scratch and build from the ground up.
If you know someone who has built the elevator, ask him to take you to ride along. This way, you save time and energy.
Think about it, why are you reading this? You want to learn from others so you can achieve higher success, isn’t it?
So dare and be willing to ask for help.
What if you don’t have any contact network?
Like I said before, no one is born a champion. If you don’t have the right connection and network, guess what, you can build it.
If you don’t have any friend, it doesn’t mean you won’t have any in the future, right? You just need to go out and get to know someone.
So you want to learn to build a professional network and grow your contacts? Heed the advice from this article:
11. You think you don’t have luck
Another lousy excuse that people make – saying they just don’t have the luck.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in luck, but I will never let luck stops me from getting what I want in life.
If you believe you’re not lucky, will that stop you from pursuing your goals?
And do you know that you can actually improve your luck by working harder? After all, it’s a numbers game.
The more you do, the more likely you’re going to hit the bull’s eye.
If you approach 5 people and all of them reject you, try more. Approach more people, improve your presentation, and learn to become better at what you do.
When 5 people reject you, try 50. There will be one saying “yes”.
It is said that Colonel Sanders received more than 1,000 rejections before he finally got his first “yes”. And that was how he changed the fast-food industry through Kentucky Fried Chicken.
According to this article on Today.com, J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter pitch was rejected 12 times.
If you think you don’t have luck because you failed or you get rejected, think again. Rejections and failures are the foundation that builds your success.
The more rejections you get, the closer you are to your next acceptance.
In sales, you can work out your average conversation rate. This way, you can know roughly how many pitches you need to make before you can close a sale. The more rejection you get, the closer you are to landing on a sale.
While luck may play a role in determining your success in life, but it’s a minor one, not a major one.
You can make up your luck through hard work and persistence.
12. You tried before and failed
Never let your failure become your excuse. Yes, you may have tried something before and failed, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to fail again in the future.
Learn from a baby. When a baby learns to walk, she will fall down many times. Will you stop her from walking just because she falls before?
No, not at all. In fact, you will encourage her to walk. You will hold her hands and let her stand properly and walk.
But adults don’t do that. When adults fail, they think that they’re not good enough. They believe they’re going to fail again in the future. And they stop trying.
Failure is normal and common. You don’t have to take it personally.
When you try something and fail, it simply means that your approach is incorrect.
So what do you do when you fail? Dust yourself off, stand back up, and try again.
When you try once and failed, you just need to try again.
You may fall and you may get hurt. But if you keep trying, you will eventually succeed.
13. You believe that’s who you are and you can’t change
This is the ultimate excuse people use when they can’t find any other. They say that’s just who they are, and they can’t change it.
When you ask them why are they lazy, they will tell you that’s just who they are. They are lazy, and they can’t do much. And you can’t do much too.
- “I’m just lazy”,
- “I’m bad at math”,
- “I’m not attractive enough”,
- “I’m not a motivated person”,
- “That’s just who I am”, etc.
So don’t make this kind of excuses.
You can change who you are. But first, you must raise your awareness and never make this excuse.
According to PsychCentral.com, change begins with awareness:
“It’s a process that begins with being aware. This may seem obvious, but it’s not. If you’re used to blaming everyone else for your problems, then you’re not aware. If you’re living your life in a daze, blaming bad luck, then you’re in denial. How are you ever going to change anything if you don’t own up to how your thinking and behavior help create the predicament you’re in?”
Once you have built up the awareness, the next thing you need to make a change is commitment.
It is not easy to change, but if you are 100% committed to doing it, you can do it.
Here’s an interesting article from Wanderlust Worker about being committed:
If you want to live the successful life you have been dreaming for so long, you need to give up on making these lousy excuses. These excuses are nothing but roadblocks that stop you from unleashing your inner potential.
The moment you make an excuse, you stop the progress. And if you want progress, you must stop making excuses.
Take charge of your life. Be aware of your thought patterns and what you tell yourself most of the time.
Whenever you notice you’re making an excuse, stop and make a change.