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Daily Journal
     June 3, 2022      #87-154 KDJ

Don't let your excuses hold you back

By Toby Moore

Why do some people have everything and others have nothing? How come some were born with all the advantages and others face a continual uphill battle?

Unfortunately, life isn’t fair. This harsh reality can lead some to make excuses for why they can’t have what they want. All of us make excuses at times, and I’m not going to criticize anyone for making them.

Often, our excuses come from a broader narrative we’ve created that might not be completely accurate. The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives in ways we might not even realize. Sometimes these stories can lead to a lifetime of excuse-making.

I knew a first-rate cook who had everything it took to become a great chef and run a restaurant. He struggled to pay for his family, and he needed a better income. One day, he was presented with an opportunity. He was offered the position of head chef. As the head chef, he would be responsible for deciding what was on the menu and managing the kitchen staff. If he were to accept the position, his salary would double.

I assumed he would accept the offer, but I was shocked to hear him say, “I’d like to take the job, but I never went to school to be a chef; I don’t have the education to manage the kitchen staff.”

He had limiting beliefs about himself. Although he was qualified, he didn’t feel qualified. The owner of the restaurant believed in him, the position was his for the taking, but he created a story in his mind for why he couldn’t do it.

I know an excellent writer. He has sent me many samples of screenplays and novels he has been working on throughout the years. What he sends me is always brilliant. He truly has a gift.

The other day I met with him, and I asked him to let me read one of the screenplays. Surprisingly, he told me he had given up. I asked him why and he said, “It’s been so long that anything good has happened to me. I don’t have the time, and I can’t ever seem to finish any of the stories that I start; I’m not sophisticated enough; I’m not good enough; I cannot write what I see in my mind.” As I pressed him further, he finally said, “I’m afraid of what people will think of my work.”

I know he’s talented enough. I know he can be a great writer. Unfortunately, he has many excuses for why he will never be able to accomplish his dream. The story he chooses to believe is that he’s a failure, nothing good ever happens to him and, no matter what he does, it will ultimately end in defeat.

I met a great computer programmer who is fluent in many computer languages. His dream was to own a successful business. He admired prominent business leaders and always spoke of being like them. One day he told me about a unique idea he had to make a blockchain platform that would revolutionize the lending business. He talked about it so often I was sure he would create the company.

I asked him when he would incorporate and begin building the business. I was surprised by his response. He said, “Are you kidding me? I can’t do that; It’s too big of an idea. It would never get done.”

He convinced himself it was too big of an undertaking and that he didn’t have the chops. Was it possible? Yes. Did he have the ability to make it happen? I think so. That didn’t matter; what mattered was that he didn’t think so.

If we interpret what’s happened to us negatively, it can lead to a lifetime of excuses and blame. You may have faced great adversity, and you may have gotten the short end of the stick. The way you view the hardships you’ve encountered has the potential to make you or break you.

It’s not easy, but if you can reinterpret your life story in a positive light, your excuses will fade away, and you’ll begin to live the life you always wanted.

Toby Moore is a columnist, star of the Emmy-nominated film “A Separate Peace,” and CEO of CubeStream Inc. He resides in Bourbonnais and can be reached through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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