As humans, we genuinely have our limits. We are unable to fly without the aid of some apparatus. We are unable to stay underwater for significant lengths of time without the aid of some apparatus. Truly, these are the limitations of our humanity. What is curious is how we impose inaccurate limitations on ourselves, in other areas of our lives, in the form of excuses. What’s even stranger is that we apply these excuses to the very things we want to accomplish, our dreams.
Let’s take the excuse, usually disguised as a “reason”, “I’m too busy” as an example. It is quite common for people to keep themselves going at a frantic pace in today’s society. Is this a truly accurate statement? If so, then it sounds as if your calendar is managing you instead of you managing it. I would be fairly certain, that you could find something(s) on your calendar that would take a much lower priority position than your dreams.
How about the excuse, “It’s beyond my skills” or “I’m not good enough”? Really? What have you done to prove this excuse to be a fact 100% of the time? Most of us haven’t even lifted a finger to test our theory of not being good enough. It is a mental limitation that has us defeated through mere thought.
What if you didn’t have access to any of your excuses, you can call them reasons if it makes you feel less guilty for not having done something up to now, when the opportunity arose to take action? What if they simply didn’t exist? I know it may sound overly hypothetical, but indulge me for a moment. What does your life look like if you don’t have access to any excuses? How great does that feel?
We can do great things if we don’t limit ourselves unnecessarily. There is a man named Dan Caro who was severely burned over 75% of his body when he was 2 years old. During his treatment, they wrapped him in gauze and would change the gauze regularly. One day, when they unwrapped his gauze, his right hand simply fell off. The fingers on his left hand fell off as well.
He was from New Orleans and loved music. He always wanted to be a drummer. Dan has completely overcome the adversity from his physical condition, refused to accept excuses and made his dream a reality. He is an accomplished drummer and has a stellar attitude towards life and the pursuit of his dream.
I include Dan’s story in this article to challenge all of us, myself included, to look beyond what we perceive as limitations and leave our excuses behind. Our dreams deserve so much more from us than cheap excuses, thinly veiled as justifiable reasoning. You have something amazing inside of you. It is a dream that, perhaps, you haven’t shared with anyone. It is something the rest of the world is waiting to experience. You are cheating yourself and cheapening the impact your life can make on this planet if you don’t lay down your excuses and let your dream begin to take on a life of its own.
CNN airs its Heroes awards ceremony every year. These are ordinary people who have decided that their dreams and passions were more important, and more real, than their flimsy excuses to stay in their comfort zones. I speak to a lot of people in my day to day dealings and I make it a point to ask a great majority of these people the same question: “If there were no limitations in life, what would you do?” The thing I find most interesting is that no matter what their dream or passion is, it is about impacting the lives of others and it is benevolent in nature.
Imagine a world where we live our dreams, especially if they are benevolent and positively impact others. We do it in a way that respects and honors ourselves and others; without standing on the backs of the less fortunate. One may argue that this is so ideological that it becomes impractical. I would argue against that perception; the simple fact that CNN has material to create an entire awards ceremony around the concept of living out of your dream negates that argument, in my opinion.
What is your dream? What are your excuses? What would be the opposite of your excuses; the positive version? Write down the positive version of your excuses and include them on the same page where you have written down your dream. Refer to it frequently throughout your day. An old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.” Take your step today. Life is short, so make it count. Celebrate your ability to bring your dreams to the world of reality!