In the LIFE business, Orrin Woodward recommends that everyone get their hands on one of the top 5 books titled The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz in order to help people gain success in building communities. As you study people, you will be able to identify the major difference between those who are successful and those who are not. As Schwartz states, “the more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses.” It is not surprising to me how many people in our profession have heard countless numbers of excuses when offering an opportunity for life changing results.
But it’s not just in building communities; excuses are all around us everywhere we go! Now I am no doctor so I would never claim to diagnose someone with this mind deadening thought disease that Schwartz calls “excusitis” but through learning about the disease you may be able to self diagnose and save yourself of a life of regrets, unfullfillment and insignificance.
In chapter 2 of his book, Schwartz talks about the four reasons (excuses) people allow themselves to be defeated in the pursuit of their dreams. They are:
- Health: We’ve all met someone who’s constantly bemoaning the state of their ingrown toenails, the air quality, the pollen count, their fair skin that’s subject to burning, etc. etc. These people are probably in generally good health, but they allow themselves to think their way into every imaginable ailment known to human kind. I realize that there are genuine health challenges that certain people face. However, there are those individuals (such as Mark Zupan, the inspiring paralympian from the documentary film Murderball) who face greater limitations in their ability to function in society than most of us will ever dream. These people don’t waste time pitying themselves; they go out and find ways to circumvent their challenges and thrive and achieve at the highest levels of society.
- Intelligence: There are very few people willing to publicly admit that they feel intellectually inferior to their peers. However, there are many who harbor these thoughts privately. The truth is, a few points on an IQ test matter very little (and can often be a hindrance). Remember the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. What’s crucial to success is not having all the answers, but a commitment to success itself and having a hunger for continual growth. As long as you won’t give up, you can encounter as many learning opportunities as you can stomach. Very often, those with a high IQ (and are aware of it) suffer from analysis paralysis or the habit of waiting for the “perfect time” to begin a new endeavor. Sadly, that time never comes.
- Age: Age is viewed as a hindrance not only by the old, but by the young. Some of our more mature readers should always remind themselves of the story of Ray Kroc (founder of McDonalds), who didn’t buy his restaurant from the McDonald brothers until well into his 50′s. Consider this: a typical college graduate enters the workforce at 22, and the most successful leaders of companies and organizations will typically work well into their 70’s. This leaves a span of over 50 years to accomplish something in the business world truly worthy of the word success.
- Luck: I believe luck is like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; only the very young or the sorely misinformed believe in it. I’ve heard, as I’m sure you have, that luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet. If you’re ready for the opportunities that come your way, you’ll be one of the luckiest people around, and people will envy how you always seem to land on your feet. Be always ready through constant application of your current skills and the never-ending effort to gain new ones, and luck will find you.
There are four strains of excusitis. I pray that you don’t have any but if you do happen to suffer from this malady, try the following exercise: make a conscious effort to pay attention to what you say at all times for the next week, and see if you catch yourself making excuses for why you can’t accomplish something.
I realize that in the profession of building communities with the LIFE business, the excuses we hear will be endless (and there are many more than just Schwartz’s examples). Why? Because people are involved. In a perfect world, every person we encounter would have the courage, work ethic, hunger, character and confidence to change their life without ever digging for an excuse. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, we have the blessing of helping people treat and cure their disease with new information and mentorship led by Orrin Woodward’s example.
Special note: For those suffering from excusitis, there is a cure! Please visit www.the-life-business.com to subscribe to a monthly dose of ‘medicine’ that is certain to cure you of this mind deadening thought disease.