I thought it might be logical to follow up my Resolution article with an article on Excuses. One of the most influential books I have read was entitled No Excuses by Brian Tracy. When I first read Tracy’s excellent text, I realized how many excuses I made for not getting things done. How easy it was to blame someone or something else for my lack of direction and focus.
Out of Tracy’s “21 Ways to Achieve Lasting Happiness and Success” two stood out for me – character and responsibility. These two seemed to encompass the other 19.
Let’s take a moment and learn from Tracy. First, let’s look at character. Being completely honest with ourselves is fundamental to our integrity. How can we be honest with others if we are not honest with ourselves first? He points out that it takes tremendous self-discipline to always “do the right thing”. This integrity applies to relationships with our families, friends, business associates and yes, even to strangers. Tracy suggests that our character psychology is rooted in three key attributes of our personality:
• Self-ideal which refers to our values, virtues, ideals, goals, and aspirations.
• Self-image is how we see and think of ourselves.
• Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves.
Second is responsibility. I was brought up to be responsible for my thoughts and actions. As I reflect, I think I did a fairly good job of being responsible. But now I realize there were thoughts and actions which I could have addressed a bit more responsibly. It was a portion of J. Paul Getty’s quote Tracy used that made me ‘stop and take stock’. I paraphrase, “Individuals who want to succeed must appreciate the might and force of habit. They must be quick to break those habits that can break them – and hasten to adopt habits that help them achieve the success they desire.”
Committing to make the changes required to break old habits and replace them with new ones is a challenge that most of us face.
If you find yourself making excuses for your lack of action, I strongly recommend No Excuses, 21 Ways to Achieve Lasting Happiness and Success by Brian Tracy.
Faithfully following the SOAR process helps us to put excuses aside and move toward our desired outcomes.
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