What are you missing out on in life because you’re making excuses? No, really. Stop, think about this question and honestly answer it. Write it out if you need to, but focus on this question and focus on your individual and personal response. This may be the most important thing you do today.
Excuses may be why you’re not pursuing a dream you have or why you’re not making family a priority. They may be keeping you from a deep spiritual conviction or from changing what you do for a living. Your list could be very long.
Now let’s go back a step to put this in perspective. You only get one chance at life and it’s happening quickly.
We’re just passing through on this planet in the days we have. There’s nothing any of us can do to change excuses we made yesterday or any time in the past. Regardless of your age, you have one less day to live today than you did yesterday. This causes an urgency in me. To know my days are numbered causes every day to have a high value to me.
Today is the oldest you’ve ever been. Today is the youngest you’ll ever be. God willing, if you live to old age, there’ll be a day when you reflect back on your life. On that day you’ll assess what you didn’t do in your life with the days you have been given.
The most common answer to a question to octogenarians as to how they would have lived their lives differently if they could live it all over again was that they “would have taken more risks.”
Anyone who lives into their 80’s or 90’s doesn’t have much of something that most of us still have a lot of, and that is time. Don’t squander this resource.
So why not make an excuse today as to why you shouldn’t do something you want or need to do? Then go ahead and justify why you made the excuse and pass by your opportunity. Repeat this exercise tomorrow and the next day and the next day until it becomes too late to do what you really should do.
I live life with a premise that we have time to do what we want to do. Oftentimes we say “I don’t have time for that.” Bottom line is that you have time to do what you want to do. A more accurate response would be “I am choosing to make a priority of other things over that.” In other words, you could make time for that if you wanted to.
My wife and I saw a television program of a man we both have heard speak in person and who has down the concept of living life in the present. His name is Bob Goff, author of the best selling book “Love Does.” In his video he told a young couple to look down at their feet. He said to live where your feet are. When he said that they happened to be in a sailboat, but the point was to live life in the present, where your feet are right now.
So look at your feet. Where they are is where you are. Don’t waste this moment and don’t waste this day. If there is something you’ve been pushing off to the future, why not, as the Nike ad says, “just do it.” It will not get any easier to do tomorrow than it is today.
Why not excuse your life away? Why not miss out on adventures that you could experience in the limited trips you have around the sun? I’m not saying don’t spend time preparing for the future, I’m just saying that I feel that focusing on bad experiences in the past and worrying about what will happen in the future often keep us from living today to the fullest.
I’m talking about personal decisions that each of us make. In the Bob Goff program, the young couple always wanted to open a bed and breakfast. It was a dream they had, but they never put their plan in action. Mr. Goff asked them “Why not?” They had a new daughter, were still young in their careers, were facing all the issues a young couple faces, and the list of excuses grew from there. It was easy to justify why they shouldn’t chase their dream.
But after all the excuses are given, and at the end of the day, their dream was slipping through their fingers.
It’s easy here to get into the area of “regrets.” I believe each of us will have a time in our life when we look back and regret things we didn’t do. What we do today determines our regrets of tomorrow.
If you feel your life is boring, it is you, not the world that is boring. The world is truly an exciting place. Take your family on that trip you have always wanted to go on. Change careers. Take your spouse out dancing. Jump into that non for profit organization and give all you have to help others. Read every word in the New Testament. Put on walking shoes and go for a walk. The list is endless. Your list of what you are not doing is not happening because your excuses are getting in the way.
Don’t strive to be average. Don’t strive to die common. Grab what you can in the life you have left. Be a person of action. Put your feet on the ground and move forward.
The dictionary defines excuse as “Attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.” Stop justifying why you don’t do something you need to be doing. Today you still have a precious gift of time, a gift that is fleeting and you will not have in the final years of your life.
My challenge to you is to take seriously my beginning question. What is not getting done because of excuses you’re making? Move from excuses to action and stop justifying why you’re not accomplishing something that needs to be done.
If your excuse is you don’t have time, you’re fooling yourself. You have time for what you want to have time for. Stop being lazy. Stop being fearful. Stop excusing your life away. Put your feet on the ground and just do it.
And when your days are winding down you’ll have fewer regrets for what you didn’t do because you chose not to hide behind your list of excuses.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to email@example.com:firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202-0850.
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