If you listen closely, you will find that lots of us make excuses for ourselves all the time. People says things like, “I’m not good at keeping in touch with friends” or “I’m not good at exercising” or “I’m not good at saving money,” when the reality is that they just don’t make it a priority. Anyone can stay in touch with friends, or go for a walk, or cut back on discretionary spending. (After all, nobody forced us to buy that latte!) But we don’t do it and come up with excuses to justify it instead of telling the truth, which is that we do the things that are important to us. What would happen if we changed our language to say, “I don’t want to exercise” or “I don’t want to work to keep in touch with friends” or “I don’t feel like saving because spending is more fun?”
If we aren’t doing them, then they aren’t important to us. So if you’re not learning Chinese or becoming a better potter, maybe that’s because it’s not important to you. But what if they are important? What if what you’re really saying is, “It’s important to me but it’s too hard to do, so I’m not going to do it.” What then?
Tony Robbins is famous for having asked this question to his audiences: “How long would you give your average baby to walk?” He gives suggestions, such as a month, a few months, up to a year. His audience always responds with, “Are you kidding? There’s no time limit. My baby is going to learn to walk no matter how hard it is and how long it takes.” And then Tony’s response is “Interesting.”
What if we came up with excuses as to why our baby wasn’t going to walk? Would we have a human race in which 99% learn to walk? What if we let go of our excuses and realized that the most important things are often the hardest, but in doing them, they are usually the most worthwhile? How about being married 50 years? Or raising great kids? Or starting a company? How many of those are easy to do or have guaranteed results?
To step onto your world stage, you must let go of excuses and know that you will learn to walk metaphorically, and that the world is waiting for your next steps. So next time you catch yourself saying that you’re not good at something, either accept that it doesn’t matter to you or realize that it does and make a commitment to do something about it today.