Keep the Excuses to Yourself

Ever notice how, when you express your lamentations to someone from an older generation, they scoff at how easy folks have it nowadays? It’s almost laughable but there’s a lot of validity to that way of thinking. We do have it a lot better than the folks who preceded us and should stop making excuses for not achieving our goals.

Conspiracy theories aside, do you realize that there is more technology in a cellular phone than it took to send the first humans to the moon? Most of us are intimately attached to our phones, using them to share photos, watch movies, read content, and post on social media. We even find time to make the occasional call or send the random text. However, much like the invention of the television, the smartphone is a game changer. Now, how it changes the game you choose to play is completely up to you. Most of us waste time mindlessly comparing our lives to those of the so-called stars; we even love to justify that our existence is nowhere near as dysfunctional as the folks we see on reality TV. However, the same technology can be used to educate.

At the time of this blog post, the world has been on lockdown for about a month. COVID-19 is wearing us out and I’ve even lost a family member to the pandemic, so it’s no joke. Many of us have been quarantined to our homes and a lot of folks are bouncing off the walls because of it. Netflix (not to pick on the streaming service because I also watch) has seen an extreme uptick in viewership, with shows like Tiger King leading the charge. Amazon is also seeing a surge in business, with people dropping billions on items they may or may not need. YouTube access is also at an all-time high.

This all equates to billions in revenue for corporate heads who are already rolling in the green stuff. Again, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube are sites and services I use. But, I have to step back and ask myself, with all the figures these conglomerates are counting, how am benefiting from this shutdown? How are you?

Weeks into this thing, with us still likely having several more months to go, we should begin to see beyond our excuses. “I can’t get ahead because ___________” is pretty typical for those of us who feel stuck. Well, I encourage you to reconfigure that into a positive statement: “Considering everything going on, I can use/do ___________ to change my life.”

Much like ready access to cellular networks (the controversial, conspiratorial advent of 5G notwithstanding), most of us are able to get onto the internet without a lot of thought. Facebook, like the aforementioned companies, has something of a captive audience (again, not knocking the site because it’s one I also use). Think about that: the billionaires are trying to expand incomes that they will never possibly live to spend while we’re still making excuses and crying broke.

Do you see something wrong with that? Are you noticing a trend?

Keep in mind, the drug dealer never forces the potential addict to use his product. Oh, he will offer the first hit at a deep discount, maybe even set you up with a feasible environment (i.e., tweaker pad, crack house, heroin shooting gallery–if a sane person could even consider any of those as anything other than express elevators to Hell). Once you’re hooked, it’s a long, hard road back to sobriety. Many never make the return.

But junkies, having thought they were special or that their body chemical was somehow different than all other folks who’ve been strung out, took the hit anyway. Their excuses for why they chose to descend range from some sort of childhood trauma, daddy issues, or any other of a gazillion reasons why they decided to take the slippery slope.

There are other paths. Now, be aware, these are not as easy to find as a commercial advertising the next episode of your favorite dysfunctional group of wannabe stars or talentless families whose alliterative names start with the letter–okay, no need to be nasty. What I’m telling you is that you can come out of this lockdown with more than just bragging rights to stuff in which you have no ownership.

So, what’s the breakdown?

1. For starters, shut the fuck up with all your excuses. Was that too harsh for your figurative ears? Then it was likely offensive because it was meant to get your attention. You’ll be alright once the swelling goes down.

2. Log onto YouTube. It’s an amazing site that has more than just great entertainment value. Find a business subject that sparks your curiosity and do a search for it. Because of the power of technology and the ability of sites to creepily/(in)conveniently connect your likes and dislikes to one another, you will soon find those sorts of ads popping up in your Facebook timeline, on Instagram, and even in your email account.

3. Don’t forget educational/personal development sites AND downloadable material offered by your public library as comparatively inexpensive alternatives. Once you’ve found subjects you’d like to explore further, do your research and proceed with intelligence. Remember, results for the person selling the program are probably not typical. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own success story.

4. Start a business that has heavy internet presence. Looking to purchase and learning how to operate an ice cream truck may not be the best venture, considering social distancing and proximity restrictions, and given the fact this quarantine may go clear through the summer.

5. Give your self-improvement, education, and your business ventures the same sort of rapt attention you’ve given to social media and consuming televised bullshit. Yep, I said that.

6. Find other likeminded individuals who have also gotten past their excuses and have decided to build. I’m not telling you to trust a complete stranger with Grandma’s secret recipe for peach cobbler. You don’t have to share exactly what you’re doing but it helps to align yourself with others on similar journeys.

7. Discipline yourself to check in at regular intervals (Every evening after the kids are asleep? Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings after breakfast?). Figure the schedule that works best for you and put that smartphone to good use: set alarms to remind you until your actions become habit.

8. Leave the excuses behind and keep procrastination (which is natural, so don’t beat yourself up too damn much) to a minimum. This is especially important once “The Outside” opens back up and society is able to reintegrate in whatever the new norm will be.

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