There Is Always Something!

by Krantcents · 52 comments

Post image for There Is Always Something!

There is always something that holds you back!  Why do we always make excuses?  An excuse is an unconscious defense mechanism to justify or explain a behavior or feelings in order to avoid a true explanation.  If you are constantly rationalizing your behavior by making excuses, you won’t accomplish very much.  A long time ago, you made an excuse and someone accepted it.


It probably started with your parents, teachers or relatives.  It really doesn’t matter!  Making an excuse became a habit, albeit a bad habit as soon as someone accepted it.  Making excuses keep you from getting to the true explanation.  We make excuses because we do not want to face the truth!  Excuses are in two forms.  It is the answer given when someone asks you why you did not do what you said you would do.  The other form of excuse is the lie you give yourself why you did not accomplish your goal or task.

I see potential greatness in my classroom, but many do not reach their potential.  I hear good, bright students who never do much because they are used to making excuses.  Many people make excuses because they do not want to face the truth!  The truth is they did not try hard enough or they didn’t really want to succeed.  Success is scary!  You have to overcome fear to succeed.  In high school, it may mean losing your friends.  When you finish school, you may lose money, respect or more.  Your first excuse is not even trying!

Why Risk?

If you do not have goals, you won’t have excuses.  Simple enough, you don’t try to do anything so you won’t have excuses.  Remember, this is a defense mechanism to minimize your risk.  You are about to graduate high school or college and you are more concerned with security than finding a career that you really want to pursue.  There are many careers that offer security such as various government jobs, teaching, nursing, engineering, and other careers that have a shortage.

I do not have a problem with people who select these careers for the right reasons.  I am concerned with people who select those careers because they are settling!  I had a bright student in class who said she wanted to be a Registered Nurse.  I asked her why?  Her response surprised me!  She wanted to be a doctor, but felt she could not go to school for that long.  So she is settling and may be unhappy with her choice although she will rationalize it by giving the excuse that works for the moment.

On the Job Training

My parents taught me a lot of good things although I did not appreciate it at the time.  First and foremost, they were successful role models.  My parents had all the reasons for failure.  They were immigrants, undereducated, little or no money and spoke very little English.  They did not know they could fail and had the courage to risk.  They taught me to try and you will succeed.  They taught me soft skills such as positive work ethic, self management, motivation, good attendance, valuing education, willingness to learn, critical thinking and a lot more.

My parents did the impossible because they kept going when others would stop.  When they became successful, they did not change.   I got what I needed versus what I wanted!  Formal education was a given and I spent a lot of time working with them getting on the job training.  I did not realize the training I received by just being around the business and the people in it.  My parents never let me get away with making excuses because they never did.  No excuses mean you don’t stop the first time you fail.

Three (3) Habits to Change

Let’s talk about you!  If you make excuses every time you fail, you need to change.  How can you change, if you have formed this bad habit for so long?  It won’t be easy and it shouldn’t be.  It takes twenty-one days to establish or break a habit.  It takes effort to overcome a bad habit or establish a good habit.  All you have to do is go on a diet to realize that.  I lost weight (35-40 lbs.) roughly thirty-four years ago and have kept it off!  It was not easy and I made a lot of changes.  This one small success helped me take on bigger risks and achieve success.  I left my nice safe position at a Fortune 100 company to work for a small to medium size electronics firm soon after this success.

Success breeds more success.  It starts with small changes or successes and you willing to risk more and more.  How do you use your success for more success?  It is the approach!  I take big; no I mean huge goals and break them down to daily tasks.  If I perform the daily tasks, the goal will take care of itself.  I am not saying that you do not need to adjust or adapt to the situation, but you concentrate on the details.  Pay attention to the details and the goal will happen.  Isn’t that what a budget does?  You pay attention to your expenses by chasing the pennies and dollars because you will accomplish your financial goals.

I often heard people talk about fear.  Is it fear of success or failure?  I notice students in my classes who stop trying because they failed so many times.  They gave up!  Imagine trying so many times and giving up.  The guy who started Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) failed a lot too.  He finally succeeded after many failures in his sixties!  Just think if he gave up.  There are many stories of people who succeed in life because they never give up.  When you give up, you buy into an excuse.  You accept whatever excuse you came up with for failure.  Making changes to your goals and keep trying is not giving up.

Final Thoughts

Doing nothing is just like making an excuse!  Procrastination is a form of excuses.  Complaining is another form of an excuse.  An excuse sounds a lot like you are just complaining about your situation.  Take action!  Start with your habits and make changes with your bad habits and replace them with good ones.  Change your approach to problem solving and setting goals.  Break them down so you can achieve success.  Don’t let fear stop you.  Whether it is fear of failure or success, you need to take risks to succeed.  Doing nothing yields nothing!  Why wait any longer?  You can start right now, it is your future.  There is always something, but you can do something about it.

Photo by: Pat Guiney


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There is always something, but you can do something about it.

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Holly@ClubThrifty January 10, 2013 at 4:06 am

This is such great advice. I have seen it time and time again- the people who are succeeding in life are the ones who are working hard and doing proactive things on a day to day basis. I hate procrastination!

Krantcents January 10, 2013 at 6:57 am

Many times , I think it is just negligence or ignoring the obvious. It is similar to driving on bad tires and surprised that you have a flat tire.

Eddie January 10, 2013 at 6:55 am

Action is what drives results, words without action are just empty. Life will always throw us curve-balls, it’s how we react to them is what sets us apart. Great tips Larry!

Krantcents January 10, 2013 at 6:58 am

Thanks! Whenever I am frustrated or impatient, I take action. It has worked very well for me.

Money Beagle January 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

Teachers have a fantastic opportunity to open the eyes of students when they see unlocked potential that the student is holding back. Growing up I had many times where I didn’t believe in myself, but there were several teachers along the way who saw that I was holding myself back. They pushed me, encouraged me, and believed in me. I will never forget those teachers and their words and inspiration stick with me today, up to 30 years later!

Krantcents January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

You are absolutely right! I remember an English teacher who saw I had some writing talent and recommended me for Editor of the school newspaper. It scared me to death, but I wrote articles every week. If it weren’t for his insight I never would have tried to write. I try to encourage my students to be their best, although it is difficult for many of them.

John S @ Frugal Rules January 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

This is awesome advice! Fear can be a powerful thing if you allow it be, it is those that learn to not sit in idle and take action that are able to succeed in life. There is nothing wrong with failing, it’s what you do with the knowledge you learn from it that makes the difference.

Krantcents January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Reasonable fear like nervousness is normal and good for you because you want to do well. When it is huge and prevents you from trying , it is detrimental. I find too many people are afraid to even try because they are scared of the unknown. I think it has a lot to do with their past experience. If you fail every time you try something new, you stop trying.

Tackling Our Debt January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

My parents were also immigrants, undereducated, little or no money and spoke very little English when they came to Canada as teenagers on their own. The things I learned from their examples they set while we were growing up were good attendance and good work ethic.

On the flip side, unfortunately they did not encourage risk taking or working on achieving goals, in any way. Their belief was that we go to school and get a good paying job, and stay in that job for the rest of our lives.

It took along time before I was in the right mindset to set and work on achieving my own goals.

Krantcents January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I think they worked on goals although it probably did appear that way. My parents had a similar background, however they created businesses. They never had formal goals, but they achieved so much. Were they encouraging to me? No, but they demanded a great deal from me. Things like good grades, hard work and acting responsibly. It all worked out well!

Kim@Eyesonthedollar January 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Fear is a huge reason why people fail. It takes courage to be above average when everyone else expects mediocre.

Krantcents January 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

It takes a lot to get out of your comfort zone. It may be overcoming your fear or finding motivation.

John@MoneyPrinciple January 11, 2013 at 1:49 am

I know what you mean @KC. Putting the head over the parapet is scary. Although for some even standing in front of a class of kids can be scary too.

Procrastination is an art-form. There should be a prize for it somewhere except it has probably not been finished yet and certainly not publicised!

Krantcents January 11, 2013 at 6:56 am

There are many situations that are scary, but you cannot accomplish anything by avoiding your fears.

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin January 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

Fantastic and timeless advice! I feel that more and more people are comfortable with making excuses, even myself. I have found that 99.9% of the time you can literally do ANYTHING if you simply have the desire to do it. I will also say that excuses aren’t always bad and should maybe be considered conscious acknowledgement of their unwillingness to do a task.

Case in point, over the last year and a half I have slacked on my physical fitness regime because I chose to come home and spend time with my family. If I really wanted to I could find the time to work out and while it is technically an excuse, I acknowledge that there are just so many hours in the day and I would rather spend what I have left with my family.

Great post!

Krantcents January 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

I agree, but you can get up early to work out or do it with your family. Have you thought of taking a walk as a family? We used to do it when my children were young. Have you thought of doing a physical activity together?

AverageJoe January 11, 2013 at 8:50 am

Your piece reminds me of the Michelangelo point about goal setting. I won’t get the quote right, but it was about setting your goals too low and reaching them vs. setting goals sky high and achieving things you never dreamed you could accomplish.

Krantcents January 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

Interesting, I was unaware of that quote. I believe you always need to stretch your goals otherwise they are too easy. My mantra has been and is, “impossible is just an opinion”!

Pauline January 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

I procrastinate too much for my taste but don’t have a fear of failure so like Joe said I enjoy setting idealistic goals and see if I can achieve even 40% of them.

Krantcents January 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

Procrastination is just a way of putting things off. There is no satisfaction is putting things off. I just put it on my list and work the list. I play a little head game of check off one of the things I do not enjoy and reward myself. Another approach is to get those things out of the way first, so the rest of the list will be easy.

Fig January 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

So true, sir! There is always something to hold you back… if you let it.

Krantcents January 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

It is the difference between success and failure. You are in control!

Sarah Park January 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Very inspiring insights. People always tend to make excuses every time they feel like not doing a thing. And these people are most likely to fail in their goals. That is because they lack the determination and hard work to make ends meet no matter how hard it could be.

Krantcents January 12, 2013 at 7:59 am

I agree and it is questionable if they ever wanted to succeed in the first place. A goal should be something you really want to accomplish not just an idle wish.

Buck Inspire January 12, 2013 at 1:35 am

Great pep talk as usual KC! Nice breakdown of excuses. I’m way better than before, but when I was younger, I was caught in no man’s land. On one hand, I wouldn’t try things so no need for excuses because there was no chance of failure. If I did try and it went against me, I would justify or look elsewhere besides myself.

Krantcents January 12, 2013 at 8:02 am

Thanks, the obvious question is, what did you accomplish? Probably nothing! I am sure you changed and you are more honest with yourself now.

Rob @FinancialSprout January 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

Wow! That’s some great advice. My question is what would be the difference between an excuse and a reason. Let’s say I was late to work because my car broke down. Is that a reason or excuse?

Krantcents January 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Do you have routine maintenance performed on your car? If so, it would be a reason. If not, it is your fault. I would view a flat tire or an accident as a reason, presuming you left early enough.

Elizabeth@ Broke Professionals January 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

When I was in 8th grade, I was on the swim team. I was ALWAYS making up what I called “reasons” why I had to sit out a set; my coach finally yelled at me, saying, “Those so-called “reasons” are just “excuses”!” He was right; I’d never realized that what I saw as an explanation was stopping me from reaching my goals. I graduated high school as an All-American, thanks to him!

Krantcents January 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I wish everyone had to face that kind of scrutiny, instead too often we just accept these bogus excuses. The best part is you will never forget that experience!

Drew @ January 13, 2013 at 12:24 am

I agree there is always something holding you back, but there are times where what is holding you back is your rational, and it is justified!

I might not have the dream job right now, but it only makes sense for me to stick it out.

Krantcents January 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

I agree to an extent, but you can continually work on getting the dream job. It may mean networking or improving your performance.

Amy @ JobCred CV Builder January 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Very motivating. What’s also holding back sometimes is wrong choice of priorities. It’s the essence of procrastination where things of less importance are given more priority than the main goal.

Krantcents January 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I know exactly what you mean! This year I made some changes because I was working on the wrong things and not achieving what I set out to do. I started making the changes last month and a;ready see some positive signs. These changes came out of reflecting on my results and I realized I needed to make changes.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter January 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Great post. It really hit home. I try to be proactive with all aspects of my life and for the most part I do pretty well. What I find challenging is balancing them all in 24 hours a day.

Krantcents January 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Why balance every 24 hours? I think you should think about a longer period. Some days are skewed with more work than I like, but it balances out over time.

Jules@Fat guy,Skinny Wallet January 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I can’t agree with you more. As a former teacher I saw students making excuses all the time. I tried to show them that there is no reason to make them. At the same time, I have certainly made my own excuses for years. I have eliminated excuses in some areas of my life, but this made me realize I still have plenty of work to do. Thanks for the reminder!

Krantcents January 14, 2013 at 7:00 am

You’re welcome! You are half way there as soon as you realize that you make excuses.

Kathleen, Frugal Portland January 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

Very well said! Stop holding yourself back. I’m glad you’re out there shaping young minds.

Krantcents January 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, I like what I do although it is not easy sometimes. Everyone will make excuses from time to time, but it is only detrimental when it is all the time.

Squirrelers January 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Excellent post – you’re on a roll, Krantcents!

Totally agree that success breeds success. Doing the hard work, paying attention to the details, and continuing on when others would give up – these are all things that can lead to success and increased confidence.

Krantcents January 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Confidence helps you get through the difficulties! One of which can be failure. You know you will succeed and you won’t let failure hold you back.

Untemplater January 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Yes. Excuses drive me crazy at the office. Some people just can’t admit that they screwed up and always try to come up with some excuse or put the blame on someone else. I agree with you on taking action. We are in charge of our own destiny.

Krantcents January 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

Absolutely! When someone makes excuses for failure, I think it reduces their authority. It is equally bad if someone accepts the excuses.

Evan January 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Feel like I should make a t-shirt that says “Do it for Colonel Sanders!” Weren’t you a teach also at some point?! TONS of careers

Krantcents January 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

I am still a teacher and have been for the last 12 years.

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