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Stop with the excuses… and start taking responsibility

Are you living a life of endless excuses? Here's how to stop

I have what they call ‘an addictive personality.’

For 30 years, cigarettes had me in their grasp. Many other vices wink at me, but I’ve managed to keep them at bay. How? Because I know I have an addictive personality. That insight makes me doubly cautious not to flirt with temptation.

However one vice has always stayed with me. It crept into my DNA as a young shaver, and pops out every now and then to pull me down and hold me back — just at the wrong times.

It’s a vice which I bet you’re addicted to too. (Actually, I never bet. It’s too addictive). You know it. You try to ignore it, and pretend it does not matter. But in your heart you know it has you by the throat. And it’s damned hard to let go of.

Here’s the thing. If you want to realise your full potential in your life — to be the best partner, parent, daughter, son, sibling, neighbour, and of course be the best you can be in your career — then you have to look this vice in the face and let go of it, for ever.

There is just one action you have to take which — if you can master it — will make you better in everything you do.

Empty your pockets of excuses.

Excuses about what? That’s the point. Whatever you make excuses about — STOP.

Excuses hold you back. They give you an ‘out’. Excuses let you off the hook. They point the finger elsewhere for your shortcomings. Excuses are a 30 kilo backpack you carry on the marathon of life. They will keep you second rate.

Excuses are as an insidious vice as any. Sharp word that, insidious. It’s definition:

Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with very harmful effects.

Here’s the key to emptying your pockets of excuses, and getting this ball and chain to progress behind you:

Take full responsibility for everything that happens to you.

It’s as simple as that.

Refuse to blame or criticise others for what happens to you.

Look hard at every circumstance, and look for the learning in it for you. What could YOU have done differently? How did YOU miss the mark? What do YOU need to do next to ensure you grow from it and are stronger as a result?

And then move on. Do not dwell on the past. Learn from it. Take responsibility. Give yourself feedback and coaching. And then get focused on the very next thing you can do to make progress.

Most of all, empty your pockets of excuses. Brand that phrase into your brain. Make sure it pops out at you every time you start making an excuse. STOP. No excuses. It is MY responsibility. What can I learn from this? And what can I do next to make positive progress.

I went to the doctor last week. “Chris,” she said. “You’re 25 kilos overweight.” “Yes,“ I replied. “I know…. And here’s the thing. It’s my wife’s fault….”

Get real. Take responsibility. Never blame others.

Empty your pockets of excuses.

(And in my case, of Redskins too).

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