I’ve been spending the last couple of months mentoring ambitious men. Although I’ve been mentoring guys on and off for more than five years, I finally took the steps to establish an official mentorship program that includes clear objectives, goals and milestones.

One of the guys I’ve been working with is Eastern European. He’s very driven and wants to build a high-traffic blog where he’ll share his ideas and thoughts with the world. (He really does have a lot to say.) Since I know a thing or two about blogging, I’ve been giving him very blunt and actionable advice—no sugar coating of any kind, no BS and no silly shortcuts.

While he’s extremely motivated, there’s one problem that’s hindering his success: his English isn’t very good. Even though we have no problems communicating, he just isn’t in a position to create compelling content and write persuasive sales pages.

Native speakers obviously take this for granted, but in order to clearly express yourself in any language, it’s not enough to study the language from textbooks, you must also understand the cultural aspects of the language. It’s imperative to understand things like slang, various dialects, the other nuances. Using a translator tool is next to useless; what makes sense in your native language may sound unnatural (or outright incorrect) in English and vice versa.

Given that he has poor command of the English language, will he be able to build a brand solely on writing persuasive and thought-provoking content? Probably not. While he’ll be able to share his ideas and opinions, it won’t be eloquent and expressive.

In all honesty, since he’s already 35, I don’t know if his English would ever match the level of a native speaker or at least of someone who immigrated to an English-speaking country at a very young age (one exceptions are Scandinavians who know English as well as any native speaker.)

My friend has a problem. A real tangible problem that’s obstructing him from accomplishing what he wants. He wants to draw a beautiful portrait, but he doesn’t have the right brush to do so. He wants to walk to my house, but there’s a 12 foot wall, fortified with barbed wire and guarded by highly-trained guys in black uniforms and semi-automatic weapons.

There’s no way in; he will have to do something else. He really has no choice. Though, don’t be too concerned about him; I know that once he finds that “something else,” he’ll go for it with all the might and vigor in the world. He’s one determined mofo.

But enough about my friend. Let’s talk about you. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhere in America, UK or Australia. Or maybe you’re in Denmark or Norway, two other countries where people speak perfect, native-level English.

Perhaps your English is even better than mine (I’m an Eastern European immigrant after all), so with some practice you’ll be able to write beautiful prose and persuasive articles.

Unlike my friend who’s truly handicapped, you are not. You can communicate clearly and effectively with a huge chunk of the globe, at least with those who have a passing knowledge of English.

But, while you don’t have a real tangible problem, you’re handicapped in a much different way: you have an excuse.

While you can physically and realistically do something, for one reason or another you think you can’t. You have the capability to write beautiful and persuasive prose, but you talk yourself out of it.

You can train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an awesome martial art that’ll help you create life-long friends in foreign countries or at home, build you a crew and make you super tough and fit, but you have an excuse to not do it.

You’re fortunate in more ways that you can ever count. You can become as big as your imagination allows you. Imagine if you were living in Iran, Nigeria or Belarus? Can you even imagine how hard it is to open an online business there? Do you have any idea how many hoops you’d need to jump through? Just thinking about feels like a nightmare.

None of that matters, because no matter what I think, and regardless what I try to get through your stubborn head, you still create stories why you can’t do this or that.

You tell me that “9/10 of businesses fail.” Or you tell me that you don’t wanna to train a martial art because you’re afraid of getting hurt (BJJ is actually one of the safest martial arts out there). Or you tell me that you’re too “busy” to allocate few hours per day after work to create a website and start building readership.

The grand illusion of excuses

The reason you feel so comfortable and not anxious about not doing a damn thing is because excuses are seductive and powerful. What they do really well is solidify your understanding of the world and your position in it.

If you are too lazy or incapable to start a business, you’ll naturally look not toward motivational sites like mine, where guys are making an absolute killing and living life to the absolute max, but to others who’re too lazy and incapable and hear what they have to say. Others much like yourself.

Misery loves company after all.

Then, after you spend enough time talking to other incapable guys, you’ll naturally reach a consensus to explain your inability to make moves. This will be the excuse. Whether it’s “9/10 companies fail” or something similar, this excuse will help you find your place in the world and rationalize your incompetence to others but most importantly to yours.

Think about what just happened. You went from a lazy loser who doesn’t respect himself enough to build something with his bear hands or mind to a cool and confident guy because there are many other people who feel the same way you do. You’re no longer a lone loser; you’re an esteemed member of loser crew.

Now that you have an excuse, you feel powerful, you feel that the truth is on your side.

This excuse helps you make rapid decisions without actually thinking through something. For example, if I tell you that you should start a business, not some huge enterprise, but a small business that sells a couple of products and makes a bit of money, your knee-jerk reaction will be to tell me that most of the business fail.

All of this is a meticulously created illusion. This fake confidence that comes from believing in some “perfect excuse” comes at a very high price. It makes you feel great in the moment when you need to take action at the expense of becoming productive and actually doing something. Basically, an excuse gives you the confidence to do absolutely nothing.

My Eastern European friend doesn’t make excuses, he has real, tangible obstacles standing in his way, obstacles that might take him years to resolve and fix—if ever.

But, you, my friend, are blessed. You don’t have a single barrier standing between you and your goals. Instead, you’re drowning in a sea of excuses.

How excuses go out of fashion

I know that there are guys who have been reading my site for over five years (or more). But instead of taking my advice and taking action, they are still slugging away at their soulless jobs or living with their parents or too fearful of taking action.

Of course, as expected, they have the perfect excuse to rationalize their inability to do something. But what’s really interesting is that every year these excuses morph into new ones. It’s almost as though there are  “fashionable” excuses that are used one year, and the next year these excuses get replaced by new ones.

That’s cool. But here’s what I really like to know: what would happen when you’ve used up all your excuses and can no longer “re-use” the same excuse you used previously?

What would happen then?

What would happen when an excuse stops being “fashionable” and believable. What would happen when starting a business becomes so easy and straightforward that people are succeeding (at least somewhat), that the excuse that “9/10 business fail” is no longer valid?

What would happen when training a martial art becomes so common that the excuse “you’ll get injured” in a very controlled and safe environment just doesn’t hold much weight anymore?

What would happen when starting a business becomes so easy and hassle-free (you all the tools and knowledge at your fingertips) and working few hours per day after work becomes second nature than the excuse “I’m too busy” immediately projects you as a lazy and undisciplined human being?

What would happen when you run out of excuses?

Will you look in the mirror one day and suddenly realize that your entire life has been a lie? That it wasn’t the media, the society, the culture, or your parents that lied to you all along: that the greatest and most convincing liar was the person staring back at you in the mirror?

What would happen then?

What would happen when you realize that you were too weak and incapable of taking control of your own life? That you don’t have any self-discipline and therefore lack any self-respect? That the entire time you thought you were acting rationally and intelligently, but you were really hiding the fact that you’re a weak and incapable man?

I know what you told me back in 2012. I know what you told me back in 2013. I know what you told me back in 2014, 2015. I also know what you told me earlier this year.

I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all. All your goddamn excuses. Every single one of them.

Is having a false confidence that comes from excuses really worth it?

Now, tell me—but be honest—is the false confidence that you obtain by way of the excuse worth not living your life to the fullest from a place like Rio de Janeiro, Bali or Barcelona? Is the trade off of feeling good because you’re not doing shit worth not making $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000 per month that you would’ve been making if you dumped you shitty excuse 5 years ago and began working? Is sticking to some excuse come hell or high water worth constantly feeling as though your life is slipping between your fingers, as you’re reading online how everyone is traveling, going out, meeting people, learning something new—you know doing something, but you’re living your life vicariously through others because, well, you’re too scared or whatever, and you’ve solidified all elaborate rationalizations, aka an excuse?

Remember, we’re not standing still, and we’re certainly not getting any younger. As you age, you lose some of the agility, the risk-taking, the ambitiousness of your younger years. You get saddled with baggage, accumulated from your past rejections and also from your inability to be rejected in the first place. Which is really the inability to experience life.

My friend, a super driven Eastern European guy wants to build the greatest blog in the world, but he can’t create it for the world’s largest market: English-speakers. It’s a real problem without no easy solution.

But you don’t have this problem. You can speak, read and write English. You have two arms and two legs. You know how to use a computer. You have all the information and knowledge at your fingerprints.

Fuck you—you have it all.

But, yet you’re standing there like a deer caught between headlights, paralyzed, undecided, lost, confused.

That’s cool. But I just have one question. Think hard before answering it.


So, what’s your excuse?

The post So, What’s Your Excuse? appeared first on Maverick Traveler.

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