The Problem With Zero Excuses – February 12, 2020
I was thinking the other day about how much my life has changed since having a child. Shockingly, I have realized how much it has changed for the better. Before I had my daughter, I was what you would call a procrastinator. I like how the word ‘pro-’ is in this word. I definitely was good at it. I’m really not sure what ‘-crastinator’ means. It is probably Latin for time waster or time fool or something like that. I’ll look it up later; however, if my definition is correct, then I was a pro time waster. Which is absolutely true. I abused my time. That’s because I had so much of it. Once I finished work, I was free for the day, free for the week. I could meet with friends (which I did) and just completely waste weekends having fun and not being very productive. Now, I’m not saying I regret doing this, in fact quite the contrary, I am glad I did. I think I was able to get a lot of it out of my system and with the proper amount of reflection realize that it wasn’t the best usage of my time. And I know this isn’t a shocker but: time is a non-renewable resource. When our time is up. That’s it. It is up. You can’t put more coins into the arcade machine of existence. Therefore, you need to use your time wisely and constructively.
Which brings me to my point, having no excuses is sometimes the worst excuse. I view excuses as another term for resistance. Resistance from doing whatever it is that you want to be doing. Maybe it is fitness, maybe it is painting a picture, maybe it is writing (like me!). Whatever it is, it is unique to you. Again, I can’t tell you what your niche is but I can tell you that when you are doing it you are in what yogis and mind magicians call ‘the flow state’. Which is a pretty awesome thing. Essentially it is when you are doing something that feels effortless, requires little energy, you could do for sustained periods of time and that during and after: you feel much more positive. Excuses are what distract us, or resist us, from doing this very important dimension of self-care. This is because we all have something unique that we can do that gets us in this flow state where we are effectively creating energy rather than consuming energy. Again, I am no scientist, I simply speak from experience here: you need to start doing what you want to do. But what is an excuse? I’ll be honest, there are some really lame ones out there: “I got to party”, “I got HAMMERED last night”, “I don’t know where to look on Google”, “I made plans with a friend,” all of which are likely said while you blankly stare at a cell phone screen. Blah blah blah I honestly don’t care. This is rather pathetic. Now, I’m not saying you are pathetic but these excuses certainly are. These are not excuses. These are you wasting one of your most precious gifts: time.
A real excuse, is something like a commitment or some form of obstacle that you have no control over that you must engage with. The example previously stated were not mandatory engagements. You taking eighteen shots of some horrid liquor was of your own volition. If you are trying to tell me that it’s because your ‘friends’ forced you to do it because they were pointing some imaginary pressure pistol at your head, then the answer is simple: find new friends. A real excuse is something like you not wanting to miss your daughters first swimming lesson, you wanting to do something special with a parent, you making time to write a report for work that might get you further in your company. I have no idea what it might be but a real excuse is something you actually have to do. Being a parent is a good excuse for not doing what you want or need to be doing. However, it is still an excuse and as I mentioned earlier, excuses are what get in the way of us doing what we need to. Am I saying be a dead beat parent and run out of your kids life? Absolutely not. Then you really would be pathetic. No, I am not saying don’t do these things, afterall, they are obligations. You have to do them. Your life will be better managed if you do. What I am saying is use these excuses as fuel. Instead of saying that you can’t work on your next passion project because it’s your daughter’s first birthday, change your mindset: It’s my daughter’s first birthday so I need to work on this passion project. And how you do that is by making time. My suggestion is finding time in the day to do what it is that you want. Instead of throwing away time looking at how happy the robots of social media are, do what you need to do so you have more time to put away and do the things that put you in that flow state. Turn your excuses into your reason or influence to do what you want to do.
In the end, it is all up to you. You are responsible for how your story turns out. And how it turns out is based on your decisions not the decisions of others. That guy who forced you to get hammered? He doesn’t owe you anything. That device that steals all your time? It’s not apologizing any time soon. What does matter: your family, your real friends who support and encourage you, yourself. That is what matters. And guess what? That’s on you to put in the time and effort into. It’s your life, not theirs. So make it count. Think how much more present you will be with the ones that matter if you do what you need to do for yourself. And what you need to do for yourself is work on the things that make you feel happier, fuller, refreshed, invigorated. Make time to do your time. Turn your excuses into your reasons to do something instead of to not do something.