Monday, May 01, 2006

What's Your Excuse??

Using Excuses to Avoid Fun
By Ted Schredd

Excuses stop you from having more fun, more love and more good times in your life. That’s the only thing they do. We’re presented with unlimïted opportunities to do, see and experience life. Go here, go there, go everywhere. The problem is we just can’t do everything, so we say no to plenty of potential joy.

Here are the most popular fun-avoiding excuses:

Excuse Number One: I’m too old for that. You are nevër too old to enjoy
anything; you will just enjoy different things. Besides, when exactly does
“too old” take place? At twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy?
There are seventy-year-old triathletes, skydivers, skiers, universïty
students and mountain climbers. Look, there are senior citizens kicking
butt all over the planet. Don’t let your butt be on the receiving end of
those kicks. You are only too old when you’re dead.

Excuse Number Two: My health is no good, so I’m unable to participate.
Well, tell that to cancer survivor Lance Armstrong after he won the Tour
de France. Tell that to Rick Hansen, who pushed his wheelchair around the
world. If you stop living because of your perceived restrictions, you are
the only loser. Fun people say regardless of what ails me I am going to
give it a go. They don’t believe physical ailments or disabilities will
hold them back.

Excuse Number Three: I’ve nevër tried... walking on hot coals, Argentinian
tango, speaking Norwegian, riding a camel or acting on stage, and I don’t
want to look stupid trying something I’ve nevër done before. Every minute
of every day, somebody, somewhere is doing something they’ve nevër done
before, just once. Oddly enough, it’s the only way to try something new.

Excuse Number Four: I already tried that, and I didn’t enjoy myself. When
you were a child learning to walk, did you quit because it didn’t work out
the first few times you tried it? Or do you still crawl everywhere you
travel? If you’ve given something a good effort and you still hate it,
dust yourself off and move on to the next challenge.

Excuse Number Five: I don’t have the time. Everybody has the same amount
of time. It’s just how people use it. If you say you have no time for fun,
then you just haven’t made fun a priority.

Excuse Number Six: It costs too much. There are plenty of activities that
cost next to nothing: a picnic at the park, a walk by a lake, a romp at
the playground or even a romp in the sack. If you really have your heart
set on an expensive activity, all you have to do is ask what will it take
for this to happen? Could you get a part-time job, trade some service you
can perform with someone else, borrow the equipment, buy the equipment
second-hand? Fun people don’t shut down a possibility because it’s too
expensive. Instead of saying “no” they just ask “How?”

Excuse Number Seven: I won’t know anybody. You don’t know anybody, so you
stay home, which helps you to solidify your belief that you don’t know
anybody. Fun practitioners are excited to meet new people. Maybe they can
add to their list of playmates. The only way you get to know people is to
get to know people.

Excuse Number Eight: It’s too dangerous. It’s probably ten times more
dangerous crossing the street or driving to work than most adventure
activities ever could be. If you do a little research, get some
instruction and get the proper safety equipment -- you’ll be fine.

Excuse nine through twenty-six: Life is supposed to be a struggle. That’s
childish. My dog wouldn’t approve. I have to do it the old way. I’m too
intelligent and mature to be having fun. My head is too big. But the
animals will get me. You need special training for that. They don’t sell
pork there. I can’t play with them because they’re a different religion. I
would but I’m just too fat. I’m too scared. I smell. The weather is always
bad. If only I had a million dollars, then I could have some fun. I don’t
have the right clothes. I might hurt myself. Someone might laugh at me. Or
whatever other excuse works for you.

Excuses seem perfectly valid in the eyes of those who create them, but in
reality they’re ridiculous. When you use excuses, you repel the very fun
people and situations that can bring you happiness. If you truly believe
you’re too old, what do you think will happen? You’re just going to get
older and older. If you’ve decided you don’t want to feel stupid trying a
new activity, then why bother trying it in the first place, right?

Eventually your excuses will solidify into beliefs, and unfortunately,
changing your beliefs is a little more challenging. Best to nip this
situation in the bud before the excuses harden into beliefs. So how the
heck does one stop this chronic excuse thing?

Begin by admitting the truth -- you are responsible for the level of fun
in your life. Everything that is around you -- your house, your lovers,
your job and your circumstances -- is a direct result of you and the way
you think. So many people look outside themselves to blame or excuse
themselves from their reality, but it takes courage for people to accept

Avoiding responsibility by making excuses takes away your personal power
and leaves you open to further anxieties. Blaming somebody or some entity
will NEVËR solve the problem. Blame the world, blame the government, blame
the farmers, blame the little goat at the zoo -- it’s all their fault.
Anything, any statement to deflect the real root of the problem. To think
that other people or the government are responsible for fixing your life
is silly. It only prolongs the inevitable fact that only you can make your
life great, fun and delicious.

The great leaders in history were always able to take responsibility.
Unfortunately, there have not been that many great leaders. Most leaders
these days just deny and deflect responsibility. They use a political
sleight of hand to retain their power and put the focus somewhere else. It
was the Republicans, the Democrats, the economy, the weather, the local
government, the FBI, the police, the whites, the blacks and on and on. We
have very few responsible role models in our political system. It seems as
if the only people in our society who think they don’t need to take
responsibility are the politicians and the celebrities.

Our culture rewards lack of responsibility. Do you remember the case of
the “I drank hot coffee and I’m suing McDonald’s”? Somebody went to
McDonald’s, ordered a coffee, drank it and found it was too hot. So they
decided to sue McDonald’s. Isn’t coffee supposed to be hot?

Here’s another example. A woman sued Universal Studios because, she said,
the theme park Halloween Horror Nights Haunted House was too scary for her
and caused her emotional distress. In a different pitiful example of
responsibility avoidance, the family of a man who drowned on a fishing
trip sued the Weather Channel for ten million dollars claiming that the
man was tricked by the station’s storm-free forecast. At Disneyland, a man
drove into his fiancée on the bumper car ride. The injured woman then sued
Disneyland and her own fiancée. OK, just one more. Some people have a
party. Guests come over and drink. The hosts offer a free cab ride but the
drunken visitor refuses. Mr. Party Pants decides to drive, crashes his
car, blames the hosts and sues.

Yes, there are plenty of situations where companies or individuals need to
be punished for unacceptable behavior. But the coffee is too hot? The
Halloween night is too scary? The weather forecast is wrong? The bumper
cars are too bumpery? Oh my God, that’s terrible. You must get a lawyer
and sue. The lawyers and litigants in these frivolous lawsuits should be
given a slap upside the head and a stupid ticket. I don’t understand why
they haven’t tried to sue God for making the cliffs too cliffy and the
tornadoes too twisty. The media help out by highlighting these stories of
ridiculous litigation. Their barrage of “blame experts” can find fault
with anyone and anything. We being the information sponges that we are
believe them word for word. Then it sets off a frenzy of copycat
litigation. If they can sue over hot coffee, what could I sue for? When
people are truly responsible, they can’t admit it for fear of being sued.
If we can’t take responsibility for drinking coffee that’s too hot for us,
then how can we ever take responsibility for our own happiness?

You have the choice to take responsibility for your life. You are wherever
you are in this moment in your life because you brought yourself there.
Evaluate your job, your friends, your lovers or lack of, where you have
been and where you are going. You created it all. Good or bad, you are
responsible. Then imagine where you would like to go. Then think of all
the excuses you have used in the past. Taking responsibility allows you
the freedom to grow. No excuse can ever justify you not discovering,
exploring, adventuring, laughing and enjoying your life. There are more
than enough roadblocks to happiness in your life. Why ensure that it won’t
happen with the habitual use of excuses?

About the Author:
Author Ted Schredd has been a fun researcher for the past fifteen years.
Ted wrote "Gramma Knows the F Word"- How adults can discover more fun in
their life - to inspire people to enjoy their lives. Available at Amazon.

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