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How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Excuses for Not Taking Action

Over the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of personally speaking with more than 75 millionaires, CEOs, Olympic gold medalists, bestselling authors, pro athletes and more

I have learned so much from this incredible project. I asked each one of them to provide me with their very best piece of advice to their younger twenty something self…

Taking action was the single most recurring principle provided by these top performers. With good reason, too…

Learning, studying and educating yourself is great, but there comes a point where you need to stop studying and start taking action.

Education without action is meaningless.

My goal with this post is to talk you out of every possible thing that is delaying you from taking action in your own life.

I’m going to talk you through how to overcome four of the main excuses for not taking action:

  1. The timing isn’t right (…it never will be)
  2. I’m not experienced enough (…you’re just getting started)
  3. But I might fail (…you absolutely will, so embrace it)
  4. I don’t know what to expect (…that’s what makes it exciting)

excuses for not taking action - woman in glasses

EXCUSE #1: THE TIMING ISN’T RIGHT

Let’s address this dream-killing, procrastination-feeding myth of “the perfect moment”…

One of the favorite pieces of advice I received was from Brett McKay of The Art of Manliness:

There’s never a perfect time to do anything, so go ahead and do that thing you’ve been wanting to do.

If you’re in your twenties, like I am, this is the single most important time of your life.

You more than likely have no kids, no babymama and no mortgage.

What does this mean? YOU HAVE NO BAGGAGE.

If you’re reading this right now and you’re twenty something years old, let me tell you that the timing will never be better.

You think you’re busy now? Things will only get busier. Ask any of your older friends.  Life hits you faster and quicker than expected.

Your parents get older, you’ll need to care for them. You’ll find a boyfriend/girlfriend, get engaged, etc.

Before you know it, all of those things you planned on doing “someday” never happened.

You need to set aside time for the most important things in your life, right now.

If I could go back in time, I’d introduce my 20-something self to a quotation by the writer Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” – Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and author of fiteen books

If you can’t make time for the most important things in your life, then clearly something needs to change, because that is absolutely no way to live…

The perfect moment is a myth… Start now!

EXCUSE 2: I’M NOT EXPERIENCED ENOUGH

You’re right, you’re probably not. But why should you be? You’re just getting started.

The only way that you would “not be experienced enough” is because you’re comparing yourself to others more experienced than yourselves.

How to solve this problem? Don’t compare yourself to others.

Focus on learning, improving and developing your skills.

Let me tell you a story about this from my own life…

My senior year, I started my blog. And it was ugly! Smack yo mama ugly!

I had never built a website before. I used a free WordPress theme and googled my way through minor design tweaks.

After building this site, I realized I actually kinda liked this web design and WordPress thing. So, I started contacting family members, friends and other bloggers to see if they needed web design help.

I ended up getting a few clients, then after about 5-6 months, I was generating $1K monthly on the side!

Fast forward to now and I’m now fully funding my travels and ‘nomad’ lifestyle through my web design projects.

My most recent project I ended up getting paid more than $300 per hour!

I wasn’t experienced when I first started, obviously. But I got started, found something that interested me and turned it into work I enjoyed (and got paid well for!).

So in conclusion, you don’t need to be an expert.

Just get started. Just. Get. Started.

Looking back, I’ve learned some of the most amazing lessons just goofing around with different stuff: Starting a blog, coding a website, starting a newsletter. — Kevan Lee, content marketing expert and chief of content at Buffer

excuses for not taking action - man looking at mountaint

EXCUSE 3: BUT I MIGHT FAIL

First things first: You will fail. You will absolutely fail. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but instead a matter of ‘when’.

But, there is nothing wrong with failure. It is absolutely essential to success as many of the top-performers I spoke to mentioned…

Never let the fear of failure keep you from taking action. Failure is nothing more than a stepping stone towards success. It’s essential to fail a number of times in order to learn what doesn’t work. Since we have to fail first anyway, we may as well fail fast. So instead of fearing it, embrace it as an integral part of the road to success and achieving your goals. — Jasper Ribbers, angel investor, speaker, author and full-time traveler who funds his travels through AirBnB among other things.

Failure is nothing more than a learning experience. That is it. It doesn’t reflect on who you are as an individual. If anything, it actually shows that you are someone committed to achieving your goals and making things happen.

While your friends are watching Netflix and Snapchatting during their twenties, you’re taking action on improving yourself. Celebrate that. That is a success in and of itself…

It might be a bumpy road at first, but again, you need those experiences to mold you and develop your character while learning invaluable lessons along the way…

Story time!

Not many people know this about me… because I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it…

I co-founded a business with a nineteen year old stranger I met on Craigslist… YEP.

Six months later I had lost several thousand dollars and decided to break up the business.

NICE ONE, DUMBASS!

Surely you’re thinking I’m an idiot. I’m good with that. I just hope you don’t discredit everything you’ve learned so far because of that fact…

Sure, I jumped into that situation probably a bit faster than I should have.

But here’s the thing — the lessons I learned from starting and failing this business allowed me to truly embrace failure.

I lost a few thousand dollars, yes. But the insights I gained from this experience have already allowed me to make many thousands back since then.

Instead of hanging things up and labeling myself as a failure, I became more motivated than ever. I felt empowered. I lost some money, big deal, but I knew that I would make much more money using the lessons I learned.

This is the growth mindset that you need to adopt. This mindset allows you to find massive motivation in failure.

How? Because when you fail, the universe is telling you what you did wrong and what you need to fix. Be mindful of this, learn from it and then adjust your strategy accordingly.

EXCUSE 4. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT

If you haven’t seen this before on Pinterest or Instagram or on your annoying Facebook friend’s wall, then you’re probably new to the internet:

Growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.

Well it’s 110% true.

You don’t know what to expect? How would you?! You’re about to do something you’ve never done before!

But isn’t that exciting/thrilling/invigorating?

This is what life is all about. Pushing yourself just beyond your limits, growing, learning and improving yourself. Then repeating that cycle over and over again.

By just taking one small step forward with a project or outside of your comfort zone you can over time go on a journey to complete a book or getting into much better shape. But also to move forward on a positive path inside of you to build confidence and optimism in yourself and in what you can do with your time here in this world. — Henrik Edberg, founder of The Positivity Blog, home to millions of monthly readers from all over the world

Embrace your fear, embrace your uncertainty. Those are perfectly natural emotions.

However, most of the time, they are unrealistic and not rooted in reality.

You’re about to jump into the unknown in pursuit of something bigger than yourself.

That is incredible and I salute you.

Embrace your feelings of anxiety, silence them and take action.

Want to learn more actionable insights from highly successful, world class individuals?

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No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Written by Matt Kohn

Matt Kohn is an adventurer, Crossfitter and web designer. He authors Different Hunger where he provides ambitious 20-somethings with practical insights and tested strategies to improve their mindset, productivity and motivation.

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