How Honest Are You With Yourself?

How many reasons have you uttered to yourself or others today for your behavior? I’m late because of traffic; I can’t work out today because I don’t have time; I really want to publish a book, but I just don’t have time to write it. We all do it, the question is how many times are you doing it?

I am in full agreement with Bernard Roth, a Stanford professor, when he states “Reasons are bullshit!” Reasons are simply excuses prettied up – they are excuses to hide the fact that we are not willing to give something  (or someone) a high enough priority in our lives. So it is time to be honest with ourselves (if not others as well) – when we say we don’t have time for something, we need to realize that it really just isn’t a priority for us. For example, we say we want to be healthy, to eat right, and exercise, but then we say we don’t have time to do it when instead we should be honest with ourselves and admit that it simply isn’t a priority. Or, let’s say you are constantly late for things – this just means that whatever you are late for, is not a priority for you. If someone said be at the town center at 2pm and they’ll give you a million dollars, you’d be early and waiting around regardless of what was going on in your life. Some people hide behind heart-wrenching reasons such as I can’t do that because I am missing a leg. Tell that to some of our amazing athletes who have successfully trained and competed in the Paralympics.

Here’s another one that I’ve commonly seen and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it in the past as well. An individual saying that they wish they had more time to spend with their family. But then you’ll find this same individual volunteering to take on more work, volunteering for business trips, working their hardest to get promoted which leads to more work and longer hours. If they really wanted to spend more quality time with the family, that would be a priority, however, for some reason this is the story they feel like they need to tell, perhaps guilt for being ambitious and putting the family second? Who knows – only that individual, if they were being completely honest with themselves, can answer the reasoning behind their behavior.

So – what’s all of this leading up to? If you want to do something in your life, whatever it may be, who’s really stopping you? The correct answer is – you! You are responsible for deciding what you do or don’t do in your life. Don’t blame others or use excuses to justify or rationalize your behaviors – especially the “I don’t have time” excuse.

Bernard Roth, that awesome Stanford professor I mentioned earlier, has a great strategy for getting out of your own way. You simply need intention and attention. With intention – do you really intend to do it (be honest!)? With attention – are you willing to give it the attention it requires (again, be honest!)?  Then, you simply need to start. If you want to write a book, this means that you set the intention to write the darn book, and then give it the attention it requires – setting your butt down, putting your fingers on the keyboard, and writing – for extended periods of time. No checking Facebook, texting, going down the rabbit hole of “researching” different topics beyond what is necessary.

So here is your call to action – make a pact with yourself to not use reasons (i.e., excuses) unless you absolutely have to. Be honest with yourself and if it is something that you really desire to do – set the intention and give it the attention it truly needs to be accomplished.