Top 5 Excuses You Use to Sabotage Your Life

You could say that a big part of my job description as a coach is to help others see the silly excuses they use to sabotage their lives and to smash them in their heads with those excuses.

I’m on a crusade to help people get rid of their excuses and take their lives to the next level.

This is because I find that one can’t get any effective self-improvement work done with themselves until they are rid of their mental blocks. Sometimes, getting rid of those mental road blocks is the only truly important self-improvement work that needs to be done, and it’s all downhill from there.

I love to find patterns and put things into little boxes in my head. This has probably aided me in creating a list which I believe reflects the top 5 excuses people use to sabotage their lives. Today, I’m going to share it with you.

1. People Can’t Really Change

If this is your starting point, you’re in trouble. I believe that many people sabotage their lives simply because they don’t really believe they (or any other human being for that matter) can consciously change. They buy too much into that theory that a leopard cannot change its spots.

Of course, I think that although there are limits to how much and how fast we can change, the rest is complete nonsense. The fact that some people don’t really change past the age of 15 doesn’t mean that people in general can’t change. It rather means that many people don’t really understand the psychology of change and don’t know how to change effectively.

2. My Situation Is Special

I for one find this excuse amusing. We are so arrogant to believe the rules that apply for every other person do not apply for us. When I present a client a tried and tested method to communicate better with others, they will often object that it may work for others, but it won’t work for them.

I’ll state it plain and simple here: you are not special! If something works for 99% of the people who’ve applied it, it’s highly probable it will work for you as well. Let your guard down and try it before you declare that it doesn’t apply in your context.

3. I Had a Bad Childhood

Something I can understand but I don’t resonate with is how much emphasis people tend to put on their past, ending up believing that it’s an unsurpassable obstacle. They often use a bad childhood as an excuse for having a crappy life and for not doing anything about it.

One of the most important discoveries in cognitive psychology is that even though many of our thinking, feeling and behavior patterns have been created in the past, sometimes in our childhood, they have a life of their own in the here and now. It is in the here and now that we can act upon them and we can influence them.

4. I’m Too Old/ Too Young

There’s a whole range of excuses we use related to sex, race, nationality and age. The ones related to age, I find to be the most devious.

I used to think that my young age was preventing people from trusting me as a coach and thus, preventing me from getting more clients. Luckily for me, I soon realized that although some people did have a bias against young coaches, it was mostly in my head. So, as soon as I stopped treating my young age as a drawback, so did other people.

There are certainly age prejudices, and your age can present a challenge. However, keep in mind that age is a surmountable obstacle and we can maneuver around it. This is why, in my view, it provides a really superficial excuse for not doing or not getting something.

5. I Will Start Tomorrow

Sure! And following that same logic, tomorrow you will see no reason why you can’t say the exact same thing. After all, what’s a day plus or minus, right? Do this long enough and you eventually realize that you’ve postponed things so much they don’t seem worth doing anymore.

One client I had managed to postpone changing her lifestyle habits and loosing some weight until one day, she realized that she was in her 40s, and her weight didn’t matter to her that much anymore. No problem with that, except she had spent more than two decades feeling sorry for herself because she was plump.

Take a deep breath and take a good look at the five excuses above. Have you been using any of them lately? Can you see how they sabotage you way more than they support you?

Living an extraordinary life, having an extraordinary career or extraordinary relationships, these things do not happen by making excuses. They happen by accepting that what it is is what it is, asking yourself how you can take it to the next level, and then acting on the answer.

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About Eduard Ezeanu

Eduard Ezeanu coaches people to help them improve their habits, their confidence and their social skills, so they can experience the best life has to offer. He also posts on his personal blog, People Skills Decoded.

Comments

  1. Yeah, “I had a bad childhood” is crappy excuse??

    Tell that to the child who was physically, verbally and mentally abused for the first 16yrs of his life, but couldn’t do anything about it because the person abusing was his own father and the child had no where to go. Every other day the child saw his mother being beaten by his father.

    And to top it off he got sexually molested at the age of 11 by his teacher.

    Started working at the age of 15 to support himself, became a Dentistry student while studying and working so that he can save his mother from the abusive relationship.

    And you’re saying “having a bad childhood is crappy excuse.”

    And yes that’s my lifestory, and let me tell you something pal, the scars never go away – in the end you turn into a malicious, perfectionist monster that takes pleasure in watching others suffer. At least I fight to control my own demons….

  2. Tomorrow never comes, so its now or just forget about it.

    Another issue is people trying to do too much and never get anything done, need to concentrate on the small efforts that reap the biggest benefits. 80/20

  3. Eduard, I love your post!
    So many people can see themselves in those excuses. I don’t think there are any people who did not use one of those excuses at some time in their lives. –
    When I realized that I had those blocks. The most helpful thought to make me realize when I tried to use excuses was : Am I feeling like I am a victim of circumstances? – When the answer was yes, I knew, I had to stop thinking this way.
    And it was amazingly easy to let go of the old thought: “There is no way I can change.” Once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and easier.- I made some really amazing discoveries about myself this way.-
    The reward of starting the process is the amazingly freeing experience of having no excuses.

  4. Hey, Steve? You there? Where did you find this Eduard guy? LOL! Hats off to both of you. Steve, wise choice of author; Eduard, excellent article in simple but hard-hitting form and presentation.

    Now let’s get to it: The idea that people can’t change reminded me of our hometown spinster who believed in it totally. She remained cold, snapping at kids and juveniles all her life and declaring everyone “no-good.” A lot of those kids and young ‘uns have good lives now; she died alone. Now I’m not saying anything else except that I learned this: if we are open-minded about others, like change, we become open for others, too, including change. Now that’s positive. So I said a prayer for that spinster a while back.

    As for the other excuses, there’s four other people I could think about. But no more details, OK? All of these people got stuck somewhere not anyone would dream about. Fair enough for details!

    Let’s just not make excuses. Let’s make ways. Now that we know, we could make enlightened choices.

    • LOL! Hey Arina, fancy meeting you here ;)

      I know about a dozen people who use that first excuse. So, no story about that surprises me anymore. The surprising thing is that none of these people have a decent understanding of the human learning process, but they’re all confident that people can’t change.

  5. I love this post Eduard. We truly do have a way of fooling ourselves with one excuse after another.

  6. Hello Eduard,
    This is a great post. People who hold themselves back do so because of many reasons. There is a difference between explanations and excuses. People sabotage themselves either because they are afraid to fail, or they’re afraid to succeed. Positive self-talk will help people change the way they see themselves and their lives. Thanks Eduard!

    Dandy

  7. It’s not the mistakes we intentionally make, or our excuses, justifications, or rationalizations that are most dangerous to our happiness and success. It is our unconscious social conditioning and cultural hypnosis that is most fatal.

    We are unaware that we are blindly following the followers right over the of the cliff. We are lemmings, our behavior is encoded in DNA, hence, most failure is genetic: http://www.contrarianism.net/?p=406

  8. All great points, Eduard. The ultimate insanity of humanity is the myriad excuses we find to keep ourselves limited. The ego is incredibly clever at finding ways to convince us we are a “special” case and the rules of the universe do not apply. The source of the ego is the urge to be right, no matter what the cost may be. When we expose our self-sabotaging excuses, the truth of our unlimited potential is all that is left.

    • Interesting statement Rob, that one about our excuses being our ultimate insanity. I think it terms of effects they create, they definitely are, although I can’t help and notice that some people come up with really smart excuses. If they were only using their brains for finding solutions instead…

  9. Great post.

    I have been guilty of putting things off until tomorrow…and tomorrow..

    One must remember that “tomorrow never comes”…

  10. It’s such a delight to coach people when they’ve dealt with these issues themselves – and happily, most of the people I see have. Probably because I mostly call myself a hypnotherapist rather than a coach, and people think that you go to a hypnotherapist when you’re ready to change.

    I’ve seen lots of people who could use any or all of these excuses, and don’t. More of an inspiration to pass on to anyone who comes in with one of them still in place.

  11. Debbie @ Happy Maker says:

    Like this article Eduard. I know what you mean when it comes to peoples excuses. We are who we want to be. Life is about growning and learning. Number 3 – “I had a bad childhood”, I always say, “When you forgive your parents for what you think they did wrong you are an adult and have control of your life.”

    Parents do make mistakes, because they are only human, just like anyone else and do the best job they know how. My parents weren’t perfect, but if they hadn’t raised me like they did, I wouldn’t be who I am and I thank them for that, because yes , they did make mistakes, but I have over come them. If they hadn’t made those mistakes question is, “Would I be who I am and what I am meant to be?”
    To your happiness,
    Debbie

  12. I could comment on any one of these, but the first one is a big one for me.

    People like to think of themselves as static entities. We often find others say things like: “That is just the way I am” or “It’s in my genes.”

    I think we are changing beings whether we accept it or not. In fact, I think it is harder for us to stay the same.

    Once we realize that we are, by nature, always adapting and learning, we can use this fact to take responsibility for the ways we change.

    • Hey Steve,

      Personally, I find it a bit depressing when I hear people saying they can’t change without even trying. I know that with this kind of an attitude, they’re pretty much set themselves up to fail in every area of their lives.

  13. Hi Eduard,

    I think a lot of it also has to do with accountability. Some can be in denial and don’t want to admit that for the most part we are living the life that we have created for ourselves. That can be one of the hardest things to accept.

    There can also be a lot of fear involved when we realize that we need to step out of our comfort zone in order to change and grow as a person. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and go for it!

    • Hey Randy,

      I’d love to have a tool to help everybody feel more personal accountability. Unfortunately, it often seems to be ingrained really deep in our nature/ nurture to run away from the responsibility of our own lives. However, progress can always be made.

  14. Great points Eduard! I think procrastination is the root behind many of your points Eduard.

    Curious, where did you get your blog post image. I love it! :)

  15. As quoted: “Nothing is easy to the unwilling” (Thomas Fuller). I think people use all sorts of excuses to sabotage their lives is because they are not determined to change/act. If one really want something, he might go all out without setting any mind blocks. May be it’s not whether the leopard can change its spots, it’s just that the leopard refuse to. :)

  16. Great post Eduardo! I have myself become a scapegoat to these mental blocks sometime or the other. Another mental block is when we try to compare ourselves with others and somewhere down the line begin feeling that they are much better than us (though the truth is they are EXACTLY like us) and lose all hopes of ever improving our lives. I strongly believe that real change starts happening when you DECIDE that you want to live life on your own terms.

  17. Oh yes!! I’ve used all of these before…have been working on myself though…and tend to us ethem less now….although “my situation is special” and “I’ll start tomorrow” are proving a little stubborn…

  18. Great post, Eduard. I have seen all of these blocks in place with people who refuse to be helped.

    ‘People can’t really change’ – people can’t really change other people unless they are open to it and we can’t change ourselves without a degree of emotional pain being involved – it’s the unwillingness to go through the change process and also, should we wish to help others to change, the unwillingnes to put a new model ‘on the table’ for them to look at and risking having the model be rejected (and the pain if we’re taking the rejection personally that drives this belief. Accept the pattern of personal change and the risk of rejection (and de-personalise the rejection when it happens) and the ‘people can’t change’ model disappears.

    Love the ‘you are not special’ message. Spot on. I used to suffer with complex OCD (an allegedly incurable condition) and quite a few other emotional disorders and know for a fact there is a standard approach to self-healing because I went through them repeatedly for about 5 years.

    One of the mistakes sufferers can make is thinking ‘no-one else understands me’ and identifying the disorder as a part of ‘them’ to the point they actually fight to keep it and even use it as a social tool. I met with an OCD sufferer a couple of years back who had a large number of people running around her, catering for her every need, but these folks were getting fed up with her demanding behaviour and I had the job of telling her it was time she sought treatment for her condition. She told me it was her condtion and it was untreatable.

    In 30 minutes I laid out a rough treatment plan for her – and she was outraged by it. You’d think people would want to know how to heal from it, right? Not when they have identified with it and use it as an excuse to manipulate others they don’t. They label themselves ‘special’ and refuse to budge.

    The truth is the same rules apply to all of us – it’s whether or not we want to do what needs to be done that makes the difference.

    I won’t comment on the other headings – I’ll be here all day!

  19. I’ll state it plain and simple here: you are not special! Your Kidding Right?

    I think we are all Special, absolute miracles of design and potential. I choose to believe this, because this belief empowers me and helps me make better choices.

    I guess the same would apply in the context you are using. If it’s useful and moves people in a positive direction, that’s good.

    • What I mean Gordon is “you are not special” in comparison to other human beings. You are special in comparison to say, a rock, but any other human beings has the same potential you have. Sure we are all unique, although that’s another discussion.

      • Great post and I love the mocro debate on specialness.

        I guess the argument would be that we should not feel entitled for the world to treat us in any kind of special way. I choose to believe that we all have different strengths and gifts that make us “unique” or “special” or “whatever”.

        Anyhow, it’s all an argument over symantics…both points are well made.

        Thanks…

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