Excuse Yourself to The Positive
"Whether you want to do something, or you don’t, you’ll find a reason for the latter"
Tyler Fjellbo (@TyFjellbo)
We all know the experience of knowing we should be doing something, but instead come up with excuses to get out of it. Humans have a remarkable talent for rationalizing their way out of anything, no matter how much in their interest that thing may be.
You need to put that Twinkie down but "aww shucks, it's just this one time. I promise to go to the gym tomorrow." So then you need to go to the gym. But "aww shucks, I gotta to drive to the bank today. Guess I won't have time for the gym."
Or, we invent mental gymnastics. You need to save your money to invest in a project this month, but, "Aww shucks that new phone is out and I really need it. It will help me be more productive at my job. That will impress my boss and maybe he will give me a raise next quarter. Really, getting a new phone pays for itself!"
Excuses can come in all shapes and sizes. And, as I demonstrated in these examples, we can come up with ways to excuse ourselves INTO something (the Twinkie or new phone) as well as OUT OF something (the gym). But what is pretty much universal is that our excuses are always to justify doing something NEGATIVE. Something that we recognize, at least on a subconscious level, is bad for us. It is something that is against our interest, either short term or long term. Also, it can be an excuse to choose a vice over virtue. To be hedonistic, at least for "the moment".
After all, we are all sinners right? So just a little sin today. I'll go to church tomorrow.
But it never ends. You never end up just sinning "a little" or "just for the moment". It turns into moment after moment. Day after day. Soon, you are simply living a life of vice with no virtue at all.
So how do we break out of this vicious cycle? (by the way, notice how the words "vice" and "vicious" have the same root"?)
Instead of making an excuse to do something (e.g. eat the Twinkie), I want you to make an excuse to NOT do that thing.
Or, if you are tempted to excuse yourself to not do something you should (e.g. go to the gym), I want you to make an excuse to NOT not do that thing.
I call this technique "Excuse Yourself To The Positive".
(…but before we begin, let’s have a word from our sponsor—ME!)
Are you aware I just released a new eBook? See below! (or just keep reading)
…and now, back to the article!
Whether you are tempted INTO something or OUT OF something, as I discussed earlier, it's going to be the harmful thing you are tempted to do. So invent an excuse to the beneficial thing.