I really want you to be honest with yourself, with your warrior spirit. Do you feel your actions are meaningless sometimes?
I know you have a lot of things going on. Our modern world forces us to be busy most of the time, and sometimes the easiest way to keep ourselves busy is by creating a routine and hoping for things to change by themselves.This will never happen, but we create a excuse every time we have to face this.
If you are feeling like every step is not moving you forward, it’s time to face reality. For how long have you lived this way?
You deserve a happy life. You want to fulfill your calling and be more than what you do, you aren’t your job.
I can talk from experience on this one, if you do the same things over and over again, you will never accomplish anything beyond what you have.
Allow me to share a quote that helped me change:
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. -Steve Jobs
The first time I heard that quote, my life wasn’t happy at all. In fact I was doing things in a very automatic way. That quote forced me to see reality, it destroyed any excuse I could create.
Ever since, there is a question I constantly ask myself: If I want different results why I’m doing the same things?
The days over at the bank
By now, you may know I left my job at a wonderful bank here in Mexico City. The pay was somewhat good, I had a lot of benefits and yet it was draining my life.
I had great friends there, but for a long time I found myself finishing my work as fast as I could and being a prisoner for over 4 hours each and every day.
Somehow I believed this was what had to happen for me to be happy, yet I felt depressed. What did I try for almost 3 years? To work harder and feel better about my job. I know, that’s plain stupid.
I talked to my friends, to my family and I always found the same answer: “You have to do it. You are winning good money and the place is great. You are doing great”.
Then I stopped and asked myself that simple question: If I want different results why I’m doing the same things?
I made an insane amount of excuses. Some involved my parents, or I was trying to convince myself of wanting things I didn’t really like. I felt like a fool.
The next day I resigned, I gave my boss 1 month to find a replacement and I have never looked back. Life has been a lot better ever since.
What’s the secret? No more excuses.
Out of your comfort zone and into uncertainty
Uncertainty has a truly bad reputation. To be honest with you, it’s one of the best teachers you can ever find. It will always give you different results, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but you will always learn something new.
The only thing you have to pay forward for such an excellent teacher is to do something different. It doesn’t matter if it’s just taking a different route to work or if you eat a different breakfast. You will get a different result.
It’s truly interesting how uncertainty became such an unwelcome guest for all of us. It used to be your best pal when you were just a kid. You loved it as you were discovering the world, and were you worried? Not one bit, you got bored really quickly if you did the same thing over and over again.
Do you remember those moments?
You uncovered something new, even if was something everyone else around you already knew, but you felt like you owned the world. You laughed at every surprise and had fun all the time. It was awesome, so why did you stopped?
Before you answer that question, let me tell you something. I figured out any answer to that question is just an excuse. I know, it’s hard to accept, but it’s the truth.
How to remove excuses and create long lasting change
If you love big plans like I do, I have a bit of bad news for you. The only cure for becoming unstuck is taking action.
Our brains have built in defense mechanisms, I’m not really an expert on this area, but I understand this: If you screw up, your brain go in defensive mode and will do anything to remove you from the crime scene, at the very least from your point of view.
Each time you aren’t doing something to change your current situation, you’re guilty of it and your brain does what it does best, it creates a scenario where you aren’t guilty, in other words it makes up an excuse for you to use.
Once you understand this, you can interrupt this pattern. You just need to accept your responsibility over your life, and suddenly, your brain can’t make any excuse.
Like any other skill, you need to practice to get good at it. I will share my method with you (pieced together from a lot of exercises I have tried), feel free to add or remove any steps. But please, try it first as it is.
- Find the reason: Start by asking yourself “why?”, if you are feeling guilty this will automatically trigger an excuse, if not, you will get a reason. Whatever the result, just write it down.
- Change it from question to affirmation: In my opinion this is where the magic happens. Take the action you aren’t taking, the reason or excuse you wrote and create a simple sentence that goes like this “I’m not taking [the action goes here] because [the reason or excuse goes here]“. Read it out loud.
- Pay attention to your reaction: Take a minute to understand how you feel. If you feel guilty it was just an excuse, why? Because it makes no sense at all. On the other hand if you feel light and better, you have just named a good reason why you can’t take action, the later almost never happens.
This method has helped me overcome a lot of obstacles and try new things over the last year. This is just the first half, the next part is to take action. That’s another complete post.
To reap the whole benefits of this method, try it a couple of times and see your reaction. In the next post I will help you uncover the best way to motivate yourself and take any action you want (you may want to subscribe to avoid missing the next part).
Take my method for a spin and let me know in the comments if you have any difficulties and we can work them together.
Photo by Deiby