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Excuses Are Snakes and You Gotta Chop Their Frickin’ Heads Off!

Photo Credit: Linda Tanner

All excuses are bullshit.  I hate them!  They piss me off.They cause you to settle for a life less than the one you deserve to lead. They get in your way and allow you to avoid facing your fears.

It’s not just that they are insidious in the way they infiltrate your life, but they paralyze you.  They tie you up. You can’t move forward.  And so you settle for status quo.

I hate that for you.  You deserve better!  YOU are better!!!

So this is what we’re gonna do.  I’m gonna call these bastards out–by name!  You’re gonna be able to see them coming a mile away and when they slither up into your life’s garden, you’re gonna grab your hoe and chop their frickin’ heads off!

You know what excuses are–beliefs you hold that allow you to abdicate responsibility for your own life.  You learned to become a proficient excuse-maker as a child, no doubt; and then as an adult, you developed an expertise in excuse making.

On Thursday, I’ll be posting a podcast talking more about this topic and on Friday, I’m going to post about the two types of excuses we make and why we make them.

In the mean time, let’s look at some additional examples of excuses that we use to avoid our fears.

Additional “Snakes”

I have responsibilities now.  (Conversely, others may tell you, “You need to be responsible”)

It is bad timing.

I need this job.

I don’t have the right education/connections/experience.

I just need my big break.

All of these excuses are snakes and you need to chop their heads off!

If you are feeling guilt or shame about something, you can be pretty sure that there is a snake lurking. The expectation others have of you creates shame.  Your expectation of yourself creates guilt.

It is really easy for these snakes to slither in and offer excuses to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt.  Once you accept an excuse to lean on, it takes the pressure off of you.

What do you do once you recognize them, though?  After you’ve ripped them out of your life. What then?

You’ve Eradicated the Pests…Now What?

If you don’t have your excuses to rely on, what do you do?

That’s scary.

Years ago, I used my arts degree as an excuse for not being successful in my career.  I have a music degree. I don’t have training in business.

This fact is true.  I do have a music degree.  But it was merely an excuse.  When I surrendered that excuse, I replaced it with a more powerful belief.

I love helping people.  Business is about helping people. I can help people, and I can be successful in business.

It takes balls.  You gotta be courageous.  You have to grab your dreams with your own hands and pull them out of the clouds and slam those puppies down on the foundation of your own reality.

In other words, you gotta take responsibility!

The excuses are just veils for the fears you don’t want to face. You have them. I have them. We all have them.  Good news is that when you muster the courage to look ‘em dead in the eyes, you’ll find that your fears will always be the first to flinch.

That’s cuz they’re just fakers.  Your fears are based on the beliefs you have bought into and used as excuses for why you won’t live your life with power.  Once you recognize that, then you realize that YOU are the real deal!

This doesn’t mean that your circumstances are unreal.  Hear me on this.  This doesn’t mean that the things you have used as excuses are not there.  It simply means that you do not need to use them as an excuse any more.

Excuses are just facts that we’ve twisted into lies.  The facts remain.  But you can always create new facts.  You can always choose a different belief.

What will you choose?

I would love to hear some of the excuses that have held you back and how you set them aside.  What are the empowering beliefs that you have chosen instead? Please share them in the comments below so we can all encourage and inspire each other.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Perhaps, not all excuses can piss you off. sometimes excuses are done because they are important and sometimes it can be their act not to hurt anyone from the past and in the future. I heard many excuses from my past relationship and I found that their are good ways why this can be done by other people. Love the article Steve but not the photo. I hate snakes and I’am scared to see them.

    • Steve

      This is true, Tracyann. I think the kind of excuses you’re referring to are polite social excuses. In this article, I was thinking more of the excuses that we tell ourselves in order to avoid facing our fears. Those are the types that really irritate me.

      I understand about the picture! 😛 I don’t like snakes either, but I also wanted to use a picture that was bright and could convey the idea of the post…that excuses can be dangerous! 🙂 Appreciate your comments, as always.

      • yeah! The polite social excuses is the one that I’am referring too Steve. They are slimy and very dangerous. Maybe I have a trauma about snakes because when I was young I was almost bitten by it.

        • Steve

          I don’t blame you. I had a trauma with snakes when I was young. Our yard was full of them and I always felt they were chasing me! As a child, this is terribly frightening. I was afraid to go in the yard to play. Even to this day, I have a natural aversion to snakes.

  • Hi Steve
    This was a great post and probably the biggest issue most of us face. We love to give excuses as to why things are not possible or why we cannot do certain things. Our crappy programming makes it all too easy to actually believe the excuses too. But, most of the time, when we begin to peel back the layers of the excuse, it really comes down to not wanting to do something because it may involve making uncomfortable changes or drastically altering the way we live.

    • Steve

      Kelli! Welcome. I’m so glad you were now able to comment! 🙂 I agree with your point about “peeling back” the programming that reveals our discomfort with change. In your own life, how have you learned to overcome the aversion to change and growth? What have you found that is successful to facing your excuses?

  • This is certainly a very powerful post, Steve! To be honest I was initially turned off by the title and the big snake picture at the top of the post. But there is truth in what you’ve written, and what holds us back is often the fear of the unknown so we remain in our uncomfortable comfort.

    We need to be uncomfortable to grow. We need to embrace ideas that might initially turn us off to explore new ways of thinking about ourselves and life.

    When I think of my excuses, I instantly know they’re not useful or valid in my life. They’re hardly even worth mentioning.

    I’m not afriad I’ll fail- I know I will sometimes fail and sometimes succeed. I’m not afraid I’ll fall- I know sometimes I will fall and I’ll pick myself back up again. I’m not afraid to loose it all- I started with almost nothing and I’ve gotten this far. I’m not afraid I can’t because I know whether I can or can’t is what I believe.

    Have a grateful day!

    Chrysta

    • Steve

      You aren’t the first one to shy away from the snake. Don’t worry. He’s a harmless corn snake. Actually, in real life, I’m not too fond of snakes, but corn snakes are really beautiful…bright orange and yellow…and they’re very good-tempered. My brother had one growing up. His name was Doc (holliday). He was so much fun. A lady on Pinterest actually chastised me because I was disparaging snakes and she’s a snake lover. 🙂 Just shows me that what I assume is a good analogy may not always be (ie not everyone wants to chop the head off a snake!) 😉

      Wow. I love all your positive beliefs that you’ve implemented in your life. When you find yourself held back to any degree do you still find it is due to excuses you’ve accepted or is it usually due to another reason all together?

      • Thanks for your reply, Steve! I’m actually not afraid of snakes and it is talk of chopping off heads that struck me. I’m a peaceful sort and would prefer not to chop the heads off any creature. 😉

        When I’m holding myself back it’s usually fear or lack of confidence and I think excuses are my way of trying to validate my fear or lack of confidence. An amazing thing happens when I think about my fears and lack of confidence- I realize they aren’t true and they have no place in my life today. These things come from the past and they are very rarely an indication of what I’m experiencing now and so it’s a bit easier for me to recognize them for what they are without giving them power over my life.

        In the beginning it was much harder to overcome the excuses of my fears and self-loathing, but I decided I would rather be happy than depressed and so I moved foward despite my excuses. I overcame them because I had a choice about whether I wanted to be happy and I did.

        Chrysta

        • Steve

          I gotcha. In reality, I took the analogy further than I would in real life. Even though I dislike snakes, any time I’ve seen one, I’ve just run the other direction. I don’t think I’ve ever killed a living thing–minus the occasional horsefly or cockroach. 🙂

          Oh…that’s a good point. Lack of confidence is definitely something I’ve struggled with as well, so I can really relate to that. You’re right they often are things based in the past that are no longer relevant. Validation. That’s a great point. I’m glad I saw this because I’m just about to start recording the podcast episode for tomorrow (on excuses). I may include this point because I think it’s a really valid one I hadn’t thought of.

          I’m really glad you realized that you could decide to move beyond depression. That’s the whole point of my posts this week. It’s courage! 🙂 Amazing how it so often comes back to that, isn’t it?

          Was it hard for you to build your courage from a place of depression and self-doubt? I’m sure it was a process (as it is with anyone). Did you have a specific incident that triggered your courage or started you on your path or was it just a slow series of decisions that helped you build your courage?

          • We have such a nice discussion going here, Steve. I love it! 🙂

            I experienced a clarifying moment when I was 8 years old.

            Having grown up in an abusive home, I hated myself and hated my life. I was suicidal when I was 6 years old and if I could have figured out how to attempt suicide I likely would have tried.

            During one of my step-father’s alcoholic rages I thought about how much I hated my life and I decided, at 8 years old, that I was going to make different choices than those my family made and I was going to be happy someday.

            I didn’t know how to be happy, but I was determined to find a way. I found one path to happiness when I started going to Alateen at age 12. One of the first things I remember suggested in Alateen was to look at myself in the mirror every day and say, “I love you.” I had nothing and I had nothing to loose so I did it. I did it every day, although I didn’t believe it at first. Eventually I did start to believe it, and I began to learn how to be happy.

            I was in a life-or-death situation and my choice was to stay there and perhaps take my own life or choose to move forward despite the excuses, fears, self-loathing, and pain. I believed a better life was possible and anything that didn’t serve a better life was something I was willing to do without.

            Chrysta

            • Steve

              I agree. That is actually my hope on this site. To foster more and more connection and conversation.

              First off, thanks for sharing such an intimate experience from your past. I’m sure it was very traumatic. Your courage as a child is inspiring. It reminds me that all of us naturally have great courage and purpose.

              I think it is amazing that you set that intention and even though you didn’t know the how…your life was led to a place where you could learn happiness. The universe offered you up wonderful resources when anyone on the outside, looking in, would have said that you didn’t have many resources at all.

              I stumbled upon that exercise (looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you”) several years ago. No one taught it to me, but my soul knew I needed to hear those words from myself. It was amazing the transformation that occurred. Did you experience any direct results of this practice or any you can trace back to your exercising your self-love? I’m just curious to see what others’ experience has been with this. Do you continue it to this day? (I don’t…but I wonder if I should start it back up occasionally).

              Again, thanks for the enlightening discussion.

  • We all have excuses don’t we . I think the first step is getting conscious awareness of them because we’ve been so damn conditioned over the years and we just come out with stuff too easily without engaging our brains. You get two things in life excuses or results and if you’re not getting the results then take a look at your language to yourself and others.
    Even though I ‘m a trained NLP practitioner I still find myself slipping in this area .
    Thanks for bringing this stuff to the forefront of my mind again.

    • Steve

      I absolutely agree, Kath. Awareness is the first step in any process of transformation. We do kinda go on “autopilot” when it comes to our habits, and–consequently–our lives.

      I didn’t realize you’re an NLP practitioner. Have always been fascinated by this method of transformation, but have never studied it too deeply. Do you have specific areas that you tend to make excuses more than others? How do you overcome that habit? Are there specific techniques you use personally?

  • Petrea

    “Once you accept an excuse to lean on, it takes the pressure off of you.”. Bullseye! It’s so easy to get seduced by excuses for this very reason.
    I’m looking forward to reading more from you about this

    • Steve

      Thanks for stopping by, Petrea. I appreciate it. I’m publishing a short 15-minute podcast on excuses tomorrow…and the final post on Friday here so keep your eyes open.

  • Steve-In NLP terms we say you either have results or excuses and excuses are always grounded in fear. Whilst I have the same fears as anyone I focus my efforts on programming my mind in the NLP way to push for the outcomes I ‘m looking for. So ‘acting as if’ in terms of states of emotions and having smart goals to drive towards which are specific and time bound. I use positive anchors to get into an empowered state anywhere/anytime and practise visualisation techniques utilising all the senses to build intensity of vibration. As NLP deconstructs language it also builds awareness of what we tell ourselves every moment and what’s going on behind that. Self sabotaging ie the cop out might have something to do with secondary gain. For example I might want success but then again in my mind I might have a negative association with it based on a past experience because whaen I was successful I had no life just all work, by uncovering, through the questioning process we can accurately identify why we self sabotage. I think its a great acceleration methodology for anyone wanting transformational change.

    • Steve

      I agree with that, Kath. I think I expressed it that excuses are veils that allow us to hide from our fears. Your technique of using a myriad of tools NLP programming in your language, taking action “as if,” and developing physiological anchors that can help you transform your state seems like a really empowering approach. That way, it’s not just one specific tool, but all of the tools combined that work toward your success.

      Your point about awareness really resonates with me. For me, I’m always looking for the “deeper” issue or the more fundamental issue that is holding me (or others) back. I’m not a therapist, but whenever I was doing coaching, I always looked for what a person’s deeper motivation was. If I could find what they truly believed in a situation, versus what they said they believed, it usually led to a real moment of awakening for them. There’s nothing like that moment when someone has a point of enlightenment. So powerful!

      I SO appreciate your perspective. It really challenges me.

  • Where do I start?…… My excuses include the one about my age. After hitting 40, am I too old to still pursue my dreams? The voices of others can make that seem like a legitimate one to use. I stomped on that one big time by moving away from Gary, IN just after turning 40 after spending my whole life in the same city to that point. I left the relative security of teaching school. Though it is a practical career, my spirit knew that I had to walk away to keep growing. It was keeping me stick, hidden from my full calling.

    Steve, I LOVE this post!! No more Mr. Nice Guy!! These blocks to fulfilling our destiny must DIE!!! Whoooo hooooo!!!!!!

    • Steve

      I think a lot of people can relate, Earl. SO many people never go for it…at any age. I so respect your perseverance and courage. It inspires me daily. It’s so great to have some FB buddies I know are out there knockin it down and dragin it home!

      I have done the same thing as you in my thirties…hiding from my true purpose and the work that drives my passion. I’m starting to walk into that and I am seeing amazing things happening. This is the work we were put here to do. Never doubt that!

      I’m going to start producing a WebTV show so keep your eyes open for that in the next couple of weeks. Even more good stuff is coming. 🙂

  • Aaaaaaah! I hate snakes, though I liked the post, I can’t bear looking at the picture.

    • Steve

      haha…I got so many comments on that snake picture, Joan. Funny thing is that I dislike snakes as well. This snake, though is a harmless corn snake. My brother actually used to have one and he would let it “kiss” my baby niece on the cheek. It is an extreme close up so it definitely looks more fierce than it is. Thanks for stopping by the blog, though. I appreciate you popping in and I hope you’ll make yourself comfy.

  • Your blog post has helped me greatly. As I was reading it, I was
    able to sort out the predicaments in my life that have
    been pulling me down. It served as a reminder that each obstacle in life can be and should be surpassed!