Category: Wayne Dyer Views: 3258
In my role as a counselor, teacher, and parent, I’ve heard many reasons that people use to explain an unhappy existence…and almost all of them inevitably fall into one huge category, which I call “excuses.” Of the 18 most commonly used ones, here are two that match up closely.
Excuse #12 – “I’m Too Old (or Not Old Enough)”
The age of your body can seem to be quite an obstacle on the road to changing long-held thinking habits, particularly since you received an extensive list of memes concerning age very early on. Depending on where you grew up, you heard statements such as: “You can’t ride your bicycle until you’re seven,” “You can’t sleep over until you’re ten,” “You can’t drive a car until you’re 16,” and “You can’t have sex until you’re married.” Then at some point you discovered that you went from being not old enough to being too old! Then you started to hear: “You can’t get a new job after age 35,” “You can’t change occupations because you’re past your prime,” “You can’t fall in love again at your age,” “It’s too late to write the book or compose the symphony you’ve always dreamed about,” and, of course, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And all of these memes became your reality.
The age excuse comes from an inclination to identify yourself with the number of trips you’ve made around the sun rather than from the unlimited side of you that lives independent of the age of your body. Part of you has an ageless mind and is quite oblivious to the physical aging process—and it’s available to you if you’ll just encourage it with conscious invitations to participate in your life.
As a young child, you had daydreams about what you might invent, draw, write, or design. Mind viruses came your way routinely, which made age your reality. “Wait until you’re bigger to do those kinds of things” seemed to be a never-ending pronouncement, all too quickly turning into: “You’re too old; act your age; it’s too late.” Somewhere between the two, your private destiny wasn’t elevated to a primary position in your life.
You are the age you are—period. Yet those thoughts swirling around inside and outside of your head are ageless. They have no form. No boundaries. No beginnings. No endings. When you speak of age, you speak of your body, this finite thing that houses your invisible essence. This excuse is all about your physical self, and it is unquestionably influenced by your mind.
You’re the perfect age right here in this moment, and your body can be no other age than what it is. Identify yourself in what Lao-tzu calls “the subtle realm,” or the invisible domain of Spirit, with thoughts like these: I am ageless, and I can train my body to work with me in achieving anything I can conceive of in my mind. There’s nothing about my age today that prohibits me from fulfilling my dreams. My mind is free, and I can train it to do my bidding rather than acquiescing to an excuse pattern.
Excuse #18 – “I’m Too Scared”
Here’s what my e-mail correspondents have told me is one of the biggest reasons they have not pursued the life of their dreams: “I’ve always been afraid of being alone,” “I’m scared of failing and I’ve been this way since I was a child,” “It’s a scary world and someone could hurt me,” “I’m afraid something bad will happen to me or my family,” “I’m afraid that someone will yell at me, and I can’t handle criticism,” and “I’m scared about being poor or losing my job and not being able to get another one.” Clearly, fear is a biggie in the excuse catalog.
A way out of the “I’m too scared” thought pattern is offered in A Course in Miracles. I have a special love for this weighty tome that tells us there are only two emotions we can experience: love and fear. Anything that is love cannot be fear, and anything that is fear cannot be love. If we can find our way to stay in a space of love, particularly for ourselves, then fear is an impossibility.
I believe that fear is a mind virus that insists you’re either a success or a failure, and it’s passed from one mind to another until it becomes a habit. From an early age, you’re taught to feel: If I don’t succeed at everything I attempt, then I’m a failure as a person—and I’m scared to death of having to live with such an awful label. This virus is passed on to you from other minds who bought into the same logic…and it keeps on replicating, infiltrating, and spreading, until it becomes a habitual way of responding. You think fearful thoughts, and then you use those same thoughts to explain the deficiencies of your life. You act as if they’re really true, when, in fact, they’re nothing more than excuses.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous refrain from his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” was crafted from Thoreau’s observation that “nothing is so much to be feared as fear.” These Tao men had it right—there really is nothing to be afraid of.
As the saying goes:
“Fear knocked on the door. Love answered, and no one was there.”
You can read more about the 18 most common reasons we use for not pursuing our dreams, in Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits.
WAYNE W. DYER, PH.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He's the author of over 30 books, has created many audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows.
His books Manifest Your Destiny, Wisdom of the Ages, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and the New York Times bestsellers 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, The Power of Intention, Inspiration, Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life, Excuses Begone, and now Wishes Fulfilled have all been featured as National Public Television specials.
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