Endless excuses

It amazes me how many people never go out and do anything other than work during the week, drink on an evening, and lounge around at the weekend, possibly with a bit of DIY. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, although personally I find it to be an incredibly dull existence.

I know quite a few people who would most probably really enjoy kayaking, but the same old excuse is aired time and again. “I haven’t got time”. The reality is of course that there is plenty of time but they can’t be bothered. If you have an interest in something you will always manage to reserve time for it. Many of the people who I paddle with have kids, wives, mortgages to pay. Yet they still find time to do the things they enjoy.

While I would not pass judgement on those who choose to stay in and do nothing much most of the time as people, it is their choice how to live their lives, I simply cannot understand them. I love to meet people who have a passion for something. I don’t care what, just something.

I have one friend in particular who will never try new things. He is afraid he might not like something if he tries it and he doesn’t have much confidence. Part of overcoming fear is trying new things. After all, what is fear? Fear is merely an emotion based upon not knowing what will happen, and assuming that the worst will. Fear of the unknown can be conquered to a fair degree by trying new things, and by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Experience of new things, and the surprise that you actually enjoy them builds confidence. It is a reinforcing cycle. Yet if you do not take that first step to push the envelope a bit you will never experience this. How can you ever learn to have faith in yourself if you have never tried anything to demonstrate that you are actually capable of something? If you find that you don’t like something, fair enough, move on and try something else.

Back in school I was the quiet shy guy. I didn’t like trying things. I could have gone to the watersports club that was run once a week, but I didn’t because I was afraid of water and couldn’t swim, even though deep down I really wanted to. I never went to parties because I didn’t like boisterous crowds. Basically I was Mr Nerd, at home with my computer. Not good. Not good at all.

But then I made a conscious effort to change myself. When I was at college I made a decision to talk to strangers, to speak more confidently. It worked. Things started to change and I realised that the only thing holding me back was me. There was a bit more to it than the two things I mentioned, but you get the idea.

I still cant stand nightclubs – give me a pub with real ale any day of the week – but I will push myself to do things way outside my comfort zone, just to see what happens. I have been in some hairy situations as a result, but all of this starts to put the world into perspective. If you are one of those people who always puts off giving things a try, don’t. Most of all, do not make excuses not to do something if the real reason is because you are afraid or apprehensive.

If you are afraid of water stop thinking about the bad things that can happen. The friend I mentioned above refuses point blank to even entertain the idea of learning to swim. He claims that he sinks. It’s all BS of course, a way of avoiding admitting that he is afraid of water. He is no different physically from anyone else. If he would seriously try it he would prove to himself that he was capable of something that he didn’t think he could do previously and this would help his confidence level no end.

So one of the first things you will need to do is to free yourself from your inner voice telling you all the reasons why you shouldn’t try something. Just saying a resounding NO to it every time it rears its head will help to change your entire mindset.

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