Unboxed Life

Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.

Destroying Excuses And Creating Change Through Daily Actions

Thailand Buddha

“To make any kind of progress, we need to imagine a different reality and believe it’s possible.”

–Tali Sharot

It feels like lately I have been unable to think about much else or attempt to write about much else. There is this nagging and smoldering idea planted firm in my core that change is coming, that things are happening. Even though I am not exactly sure what that means or what it is I keep asking myself, what can I do to be ready for it?

Particulars aside, thinking about change and taking life somewhere new is always a challenge for anyone. Making a change to something new is always harder, scarier, more difficult than staying the same. If it was easy or straightforward first off everyone would be doing exactly what they want, and second it wouldn’t be worth much. I think what makes change so difficult is that the unknown always seems impossible or out of reach no matter how much we want it or how much we believe we can achieve it. Human beings always place more value and stock in what they can point to and relate to making our current situation the most comfortable.

If I was able to point to one thing, one habit, one limiting factor that will always hold us back in our pursuit for our fullest life it would be the infamous and destructive power of excuses. Like invisible beasts sent to destroy our ambition and cloud our judgment, excuses can poison even the most resolute of us. To move from the place we find ourselves and the unfulfilled life we lead into the life and place we desire to be we must let go of excuses. Among many other things excuses are:

  • Enablers of mediocrity
  • Limiting
  • Almost always false
  • Fabrications of our own insecurity
  • Easily overcome

These excuses convince us of things that without them we would never accept as truth. They whisper in our ears directly into our minds the doubts and insecurities that cut down our desires at the base toppling them before they get a chance to grow. Convincing ourselves that we can’t/won’t/aren’t able to live the life we carry in our hearts is often our most formidable barrier that we must break free from.

We must tell ourselves and believe that we are not too old, too young, too poor, too stupid, too fat, too anything to take small steps that will lead to a passion-filled life. Overcoming obstacles and destroying excuses start with understanding of ourselves and our situation. To begin building a toolbox of weapons against doubt and fear we can establish three things:

  1. Why do I find myself here?
  2. What will happen if I stay here?
  3. What can I do today to get where I want to be?

With a firm understanding of these three factors can we then grasp the magnitude or delaying change in our life and fully realize that the barriers we perceive between us and a different situation are almost solely composed out of our own ability to excuse away the action we know we must take.

Thailand Buddha

Why do I find myself here?

It sneaks up on you. You know you are here. You know you want more. You can’t remember how you got here. This is the product of the slow but unyielding power of complacency and mediocrity. We find that the things we believe (it’s too hard, it’s for someone else, it’s not practical or realistic) end up becoming reality in our life. That’s the thing with living a passive life, you find yourself in places you never meant to be, the life you really want now a distant oasis.

Maybe it’s not that the life you lead now is bad or hard, it’s just not “full”, you know? I think that most people see their life as a product of a combination of things such as circumstance, choice, and old fashioned chance. It seems that the disconnect happens when we place all the power of what makes our life in the hands of circumstance, essentially resigning to being a passive player in life instead of the instigator of our dreams. By allowing the world to dictate our path we have enclosed ourselves in a comfortable little box keeping us right where we should be. We should not beat ourselves up or wallow in our sorrows playing the victim. Instead decide today to begin dismantling that box, piece by piece if need be.

What will happen if I stay here?

We have all heard varying versions of the idea that in 20 years you will not regret the actions you took, but you will regret the actions you chose not to take. Though it can be cliché at times, I think the basis of this idea fits here and can tell us a lot. We may understand the concept, but does it strike inside as true and dangerous? Or is it more of a novel idea that is good to think about but lacking to the conviction to act upon it? We tell ourselves, “That life is for someone else.” As time goes by you see others doing the things and living the life you want. You’re right then, that life is someone elses but what we fail to understand is that they are not different from you and I, they simply made a choice.

The good news is that choosing to do nothing will ensure things will be easier, more comfortable, and exactly how they are now. The bad news is that choosing to do nothing will ensure things will be easier, more comfortable, and exactly how they are now.

And what about the ripple effect our not choosing our most important life will have on others in the world? Aside from the personal consequences of limiting your life are the people who will be left without your profound and unique impact on the world. We all bring something singular and distinctive to the world we live in and each of our impacts can be transformational. Without that matchless contribution to the world we run the risk that when we leave this world it is no better than when we came, and that is a tragedy. The world and the people within it who are counting on your particular impact will be left searching for something that is bound and chained by our own fears and excuses.

Thailand Shrine

What can I do today?

Now here is the meaty and weighty issue that we must face in our attempt to create change in our life. To change ourselves, our status, our standing in life is as difficult a task as there is. As human beings we are naturally averse to change and the work that accompanies it for the most part. We seek out comfort and instant gratification rather than work and delay satisfaction. I don’t claim to have all the answers and there are other folks who are much better at the practical applications of creating change in your life here and here and here. The one key that I can make as simple as possible, the single thing I want you to hear if you hear nothing else is this:

Change can only happen through small, daily choices that add up to a different life

It’s really as simple and as complex as that. What is the one thing you can do today, the one choice, the one anomaly in a life of predetermined courses and unchosen paths? Today you can make a plan, write a sentence, make a choice to break the cycle. It begins in our minds and in our perception of what is possible and what is not. Today choose to see the world for what it could be and not what it is. Begin to understand that the distance between the here and now and the life you want to lead is the culmination and combined product of one choice after another. Any reality you can imagine, any career or goal or future you can conjure up in your mind is only a choice away.

Leave here today with an idea planted deep in your mind that is this:

Is the reality I see and the life I lead more feasible than the one that resides in my heart?

I think the answer to that question will lead to amazing places.

Thailand Fishing


2 comments on “Destroying Excuses And Creating Change Through Daily Actions

  1. Angel B
    March 22, 2013

    Thank You Tanner! Awesome post!

  2. Mary
    March 23, 2013

    Tanner: I think about sad, sorry excuses a lot. I try to remind myself when I don’t want to do something, maybe it’s just not important enough to me. If it was, I would do it! Thanks for the great post

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