7 Common Excuses that Prevent Our Success (Demolished with Help from Jim Rohn)


At a friend’s recommendation, I recently read Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle by Jim Rohn and it was so timely in so many ways:

  • It offered the very affirmation that I needed in order to make the tough decisions that will propel me forward in terms of my well-being, my business and my life as a whole
  • It reminded me of the importance of lessons previously learned but forgotten (or foolishly ignored)
  • It inspired me to make these few remaining months of the year count like never before!

The things that had prevented me from reaching this point of confidence and conviction: excuses, that don’t really stand up in the light of day. For that reason, this post is for me – as a very public reminder for the times when I find myself falling short in terms of the respect, graft and love that I owe myself. It is also for any of you who can relate to the situation of your activity and/or results not matching up with your ambition. Here’s some of that good old tough love, seasoned with some of my favourite quotes from Jim Rohn’s book. In no particular order …


1. It’s beyond my control

When life is challenging, there is some fleeting relief from shifting responsibility on to somebody or something else. Your boyfriend, your boss, your parents, your government, the economy. Each of these scapegoats has its particular charms, depending on the circumstance.

You complain and you find others to jump in the game and complain with you. It’s even more satisfying when there are many of you decrying the same injustices. You even build entire relationships with people based on your common gripe. You get together over drinks and complain about how it’s impossible to pay the bills. You take 2 hour lunch breaks together to talk about how, at this point, you’re only still here because of the paycheck.

All this is much easier than taking a cold hard look at yourself and accepting that you are complicit in the design of your situation. That everything starts with the self. Change, starts with us.

“We cannot become a stronger nation until our attention to the essentials of life begins to change. The ability to establish more competent leadership in our government, our schools, our churches, our businesses, and our communities lies in the emerging value of the individual.”


2. I’m not _______ enough

And so-and-so who seems like they are where I want to be has this and has that. And is like this and like that. How can I compete? How can I get where they are?

“What stops us from recognising our inherent gifts and talents is a poor attitude about ourselves. Why are we so quick to see the value in others and yet so reluctant to see it in ourselves? Why are we always ready to applaud someone else’s accomplishment and yet so shy about recognising our own?”

I’m reminded of a most moving moment I experienced at a Women of the World Festival workshop, last year. An exercise where we each had to invoke women who are close to us and see ourselves from their eyes. Almost every single woman in the room (of about 50, at least!), spoke of being proud of themselves. Why is it so hard for us to proclaim our brilliance outright? Why do we have to pretend to be somebody else in order to do it? Why don’t we give ourselves permission to shine?

It’s time to beam!


3. There’s nobody to mentor/encourage/support me

We all like to see examples of people ‘like us’. Proof that we are not completely out of our mind. That there is a precedent for success.

But I don’t know where to find them. They’re not accessible. Nobody around here gets it. Nobody is on my wavelength.

“Finding new voices to inspire us is not a matter of skill or luck; it is a question of attitude. It is the student who must seek out the teacher, for rarely does a good idea interrupt us. Success moves toward those who search for progress, not toward those who need or want its results.”


4. It’s too big, too ambitious. I’ll never achieve it

Unless we cast an eye on today at the same time as we look forward to next week.

“Intelligent, planned, intense, and consistent activity creates new energy and keeps us moving toward the exciting future that our thoughts and desires have already designed for us.”


5. I’m never going to get a big break

“Until we have learned to take care of the little opportunities life brings our way, we will never master the disciplines for becoming happy and prosperous. The major accomplishments in life begin with the mastery of small disciplines.”

Bigger can be better but something is better than nothing. It’s not about lowering standards; it’s about being present. And appreciating that any grand plan will only be achieved by accomplishing the smaller sub-tasks.


6. I’ve been busy working working working and I’m getting nowhere – might as well give up

It might be time to take a look, not at what you’re working on externally but, at what’s going on internally. The problem might be closer to home than you think!

 “Progress must be measured on a regular basis. The timely checking of the key indicators in all parts of our lives is a barometer of responsible thinking.”

“Our objective must be to work harder on ourselves than we work on anything else.”


7. I just can’t 

I rarely EVER allow myself this indulgence. I think my parents drummed that one into me really well when I was younger. It’s a rare occasion that you’ll hear me use the word “can’t” in reference to my abilities. Maybe it’s also stubbornness and for that I can also thank my parents (there I go already using excuse number 1!)

If there is nothing I believe more, it is this:

“Atttitude – the beginning point of all human progress and achievement”


Read for your self 

A few years back, I really got into reading non-fiction, and primarily of the personal development genre. While there are some real greats in that list (e.g. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin), if you only ever read one such book, make it Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. It covers the essence of many of the books I’ve read. Indeed, there are few books as slim as this one that manage to be so comprehensive in their subject matter.

Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle is available on Amazon (if you click on this Amazon link – and the links of the other books mentioned – and make a purchase within that session – of anything – Afri-love may earn a teeny weeny commission. Thanks in advance!).

Thank you Sirena for this wonderful intervention!



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