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Overcome the Top 25 Excuses to Wait on Your Dreams

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses…The gift is yours—it is an amazing journey—and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.” ~Bob Moawad

If we try, we can always find a reason not to do what we want to do—and it can seem perfectly valid. We can convince ourselves that we’re being smart, realistic, or safe, or that we don’t even really want it.

We’re great at justifying the status quo, because we know exactly what that’s like—even if it’s dissatisfying.

The unknown can feel terrifying. But somewhere in that same realm where anything could go wrong is everything that can go right.

So many times in my life, I’ve finally pushed myself to do something and then wondered, “Why did I wait so long?” If I had known the benefits would far outweigh my fear and discomfort, I would have pushed myself sooner.

But we can’t ever know that in advance. We can only know that our reasons to do something are greater than our excuses not to.

In my efforts to keep moving beyond my comfort zone, I’ve compiled the top 25 excuses not to go after a dream, along with a few reminders to help us overcome them.

Excuses About Time

1. I’m too busy to do what I love.
2. I don’t have time to discover what I’m passionate about.
3. I’ve already put a lot of time into a different path.
4. I’ll do it—someday.
5. It’s too late for me now.

We all have the same number of hours in each day, and we all have the potential to use them to do what we want to do.

That being said, we’re all starting with different schedules, responsibilities, and obstacles. A single, childless person who inherited a large sum of money may have more immediate time freedom than someone with a large family and mounting debt.

I share this not to be discouraging, but rather to acknowledge reality: We all have unique circumstances that could make it challenging to find or make time.

While it might be easier for some of us, it’s possible for all of us.

We can all create at least a small window of time to take one simple step. We can all decide our dreams are priorities, and that we owe it to ourselves to pursue them, regardless of what we’ve done before. We can all recognize it’s never too late for us unless we decide it is.

The important thing to realize is that the time is now, whether we have days, hours, or even just minutes to devote. We might not have the time to do everything, but we all have the time to do something.

Excuses About Money

6. I don’t have the money to get started.
7. I need to continue earning exactly what I earn now.
8. I can’t make any changes until I pay off my debt.
9. I need a bigger safety net before I take a risk.
10. What if I can’t make any money at it?

We all need money to live—there’s just no getting around it.

We may sometimes have to do things we don’t love to get by, and we may not all be able to completely change our lives overnight. We might not be able to up and travel the world, or make massive financial investments in our goals.

What we can do is decide that our dreams are important, and then leverage our most valuable resource—our passion—to honor them as best we can.

That might mean doing something on the side as a hobby, or bartering for free lessons, or volunteering our time to help someone who will serve as a mentor.

We don’t need a massive amount of money to start, or a guarantee that we’ll make a ton of money down the line.

We just need to know that our dreams are worth the effort, and that we’re willing to be creative with the resources we have.

Excuses About Knowledge

11. I don’t know where to start.
12. I don’t know enough to start.
13. I’m not smart enough to succeed.
14. I don’t know if I can make it.
15. I’m not an expert.

No one knows going in exactly what they need to do—or what they can do. No one has it all figured out, and no one starts off with expertise.

If we wait until we feel we know everything we need to know, we’ll likely never act.

When I wrote for a ‘tween publication, I interviewed a young girl named Leah Larson who started a magazine called Yaldah at 13 years old.

She wrote all the articles for the first issue herself, and then made countless calls to printers and potential advertisers, having no idea what she was doing. Perhaps because she was so young, she never worried about what she didn’t know. She just jumped in and started learning.

Ten years later, Yaldah has expanded to Yaldah Media Inc., which now offers books, retreats, and more. She’s grown with her company, as we all can with any dream.

We don’t need to know everything to start. We just need to know we want and need to do it.

Excuses About Other People

16. My friends and family don’t think I can do this.
17. My friends and family don’t think I should do this.
18. I need to focus on the people who need me.
19. I don’t have anyone to do this with.
20. It’s all about who you know—and I don’t know the right people.

There will never be a day when everyone agrees with us, believes in us, and supports us. There may never be a time when other people stop needing us. And for many of us, there won’t be a likeminded partner waiting to hold our hand on a parallel journey.

If we believe in ourselves, none of these things have to deter us. As we do what we love and create new possibilities for ourselves, we will inevitably form mutually beneficial relationships.

In my early days on Twitter, I had a different account where I tweeted uplifting messages. It was my first attempt at making the difference I wanted to make.

Back then, I’d never have imagined I’d be connected to so many amazing people; and I wasn’t sure I could run a website since I knew nothing about the tech side of things.

One day, a web strategist and designer named Joshua Denney tweeted about me, complimenting my profile and tweets. Since we connected then, he’s been instrumental in shaping Tiny Buddha—and he’s become one of my closest confidantes, consultants, and friends.

There are countless people out there who could support and help us, but we can only meet them if we put ourselves out there too.

Excuses About Probability

21. Things likely wouldn’t pan out.
22. Many people have tried to do this and failed.
23. I’ll probably be scared and uncomfortable if I try.
24. I’m not sure if this is the “right” decision.
25. There aren’t any guarantees.

The reality is there aren’t any guarantees. That means even a sure thing could one day be not so sure. Certainty is an illusion that comes from comfort—but just because something’s comfortable, that doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

We can either cling to what feels safe, avoiding potential disappointment, or realize the worst disappointment is the type we feel in ourselves.

That’s what happens when we ignore our calling; we may feel more secure for not taking a risk, but we also feel unhappy with ourselves for not finding the courage to do it.

We can’t ever know what the results our efforts will be, but we can know we dramatically decrease our odds of feeling satisfied if we make it a priority to do what we love—no matter where it leads us.

That’s what it means to make the “right” decision—to do what feels right, right in this moment, the only one that’s guaranteed.

And one more excuse I didn’t include: I’m not good enough. We’ve all thought this at one time or another. Especially in our socially connected world where we have constant reminders of everyone else’s achievements, it’s easy to feel we don’t stack up.

But maybe we don’t have to. Maybe we don’t need to be better than anyone else, or even better than we are now to make a difference.

Maybe the world needs us exactly as we are, with our unique blend of skills, talent, and potential. Maybe the difference we make isn’t just about where we end up, but also how we learn, grow, and share on the way there.

Sure, our gifts and accomplishments can make the world a better place, but what we really want and need is to be inspired—and what’s more inspiring than starting right where you are, believing in yourself, and taking a leap of faith?

When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it can seem like dreams are luxuries, but they’re not reserved for the chosen few. They’re reserved for people who choose to believe in them and act on it.

To do that, we need to stop telling ourselves the story of why we can’t, and start creating the story of how we can.

What’s your dream, and what can you do today to start living it?

Photo by Manuela

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) & co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you get unstuck & change your life. She's now seeking stories to include in her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story! For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter & Facebook.

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  • mofe

    I’m Transformed, thank you

  • panic

    I was having an anxiety attack thinking about my decision to move overseas end of this year. I was panicking and making all those excuses, especially the one about- i don’t know what i am doing, why i am doing this, what’s the point of doing this…
    Then I clicked on this post.
    Thank you.. I can feel myself calm down.
    I guess all I need to know is that I am doing this because it feels right.
    Afterall I have only been thinking about it for over 3 years!
    Thanks Lori, you do have a wonderful way with words.

  • jr cline

    My dream is to retire, sell my house, and become a full time, roving, RV living, photographer.
    Today I’m going to make a project plan to accomplish this in the next 18 months.

  • http://twitter.com/BlitheNiche Lori Stalter

    I have to admit way too many of these excuses used to be a part of my daily mantra.

    The time problem I solved by utilizing those little snippets of time that are usually wasted – sitting in waiting rooms, standing on line, etc. I keep a book and notebook
    with me at all times to do research, read, jot down thoughts, create my next
    article, mind map my ideas, and create reminder lists of things I want to
    accomplish later.

    The money excuse I’ve found if it’s important enough to me, I’ll find the money. I find something else to cut back on or do without so I can do this new thing.

    Approaching new and unfamiliar activities with the innocence of a child is perfect! It creates a sense of adventure instead of fear. You allow yourself to be comfortable with not knowing what you’re doing now, but you’re excited to learn as you go. I’ve been taking this approach lately and it’s a lot of fun.

    The other people excuse I resolved by changing who I associate with. If the person is consistently and persistently pessimistic and a naysayer, there’s no room for them in my life. That sounds harsh, but a fresh apple rarely makes a rotten apple fresh again.

    And does it matter whether or not we ever reach the destination? Guarantee or no guarantee, the adventure and experience is in the journey, which only should end when we end.

    I love this list. I hope to remember its lessons when I’m tripping over any new excuses that creep up on me.

  • Delores

    I have made many of these excuses when thinking about following my dream or even just making a change in life’s path. I think you could probably add #26 to the list…”I am too old to make a change.” this is something I am going through now. I am 62 and have decided to go back to school for training in an entire different industry. I spent almost 40 years in the Corporate world working in some area of accounting in a managerial position. I got fired two years ago and since have been dealing with the emotional fallout that comes with that life experience. The “too old, who would want me” excuse was my way of staying stuck and purposeless. I finally decided that I, the good Lord wiiling, will be 63 in a year whether I make this change or not. So, I am going for it. Cross that excuse off the list.

  • Lisa Stone

    So many times I have said “why did I take so long to do that” :) What really has stood out is when someone close to me said “what took you so long”.

  • http://twitter.com/CarmeloBryan Carmelo Bryan

    Hi Lori … you really hit on the excuses we tend to make when we haven’t really committed to a path! And, that’s the deal, isn’t it? We sort of think we want something but we’re just not all that committed … so we make excuses to let ourselves off the hook.

    I particularly struggled with the “Excuses about Knowledge” section. It was, gosh, look at all these people who know how to put together websites, manage their social media campaigns, harness video messages, write compelling sales copy – how can I possibly catch up?? And on and on it went!

    But, what I found was that as long as I wasn’t 100% sure about what I wanted, these excuses would forever be there. Once I found my “truth” the excuses vanished. I didn’t become “smarter” but I found ways.

  • Judy

    I just sold everything I own and am moving to an island off the coast of Maine…a dream I’ve had since I was little! I have been pacing around my apartment stressed….after making so many changes, taking this big leap, and letting go of my belongings, a relationship, having no idea what I’ll do there or how it will go…and then you posted this. Thank you for the reminder! I need to be the brave person who dreams big, believes in them, and acts on them. I’m waiting to hear about a place to live and the anxiety was really building! So glad I stumbled upon this. I could easily say that 90% of those excuses up there are true for me, but I know that despite past mistakes, not being “perfect on paper”, and not having everything lined up…I deserve happiness and a bright shining future. I deserve the chance to get unstuck, and to be me in a new context…to have an adventure.

    (And there is never a perfect time to make something happen. Ducks are very seldom ALL in a row. And sometimes, the dream itself is what needs to happen to be able change the energy in your life, create momentum, and get you to a place where you can fix the dumb stuff like your financial situation, inspire you to learn more of what you need to, and get you out of a mental rut!)

  • Jesse

    Great summary. Nodding in agreement through the entire read.

    I am a graphic designer, web developer and musician, all of which I am able to earn freelance income from. All I truly want is the freedom and flexibility to work on my own, where and when I choose. Like many others I’m sure, I simply cannot live the rat race for the rest of my life. I feel twice my age because of this workstyle – its simply exhausting and the opposite of how life should be.
    Ive been standing on the edge of the cliff for almost a year now saving money, making more contacts, learning new skills, paying off debt, putting myself in a better position everyday to follow my dreams of being a freelance designer & musician – yet I feel like I’ll never actually leave the comfort of my easy (boring), uninteresting, dead-end, but high-paying corporate job.
    I know I will have to make myself jump, but I’m secretly hoping somebody will sneak up from behind and just push me off already.

  • PhotoCoyote

    Great article! I’ll pass it along. Sadly, my health problems prevent me from doing much of anything. I haven’t figured out a way to overcome that “excuse” yet.

  • Peggy

    Thank you!!! The timing of this article is perfect and just what I needed to read today. I can’t thank you enough for this blog.

  • Anne

    Thank you for such a great article! Came at just the right time too! I am an artist and am thinking of opening up an Etsy shop. Will be printing this article to keep in my studio to give me courage to go for my dreams. Realize that it will be hard work of course, however it will be enjoyable as well.

  • mari

    Thank you for another great post….I heard this quote the other day and I think it fits…

    Courage is an angel. It can make the difference between a good life and a great life.

  • Bjorn Karlman

    Have any suggestions for how I can be a 31 year-old Leah Larson?

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    Yeah, this was posted on the right day…today, the day when I actually started thinking (again) that I should’ve pursued another field of study and interest because it seems like every little step forward that I take in trying to “act” on reaching my dreams, something always sends me a few steps backward.
    I’m in the process of making a short film…or rather, trying to make one, and things are not falling into place the way that I had hoped and planned. I hate having to do everything and wear so many hats and I hate feeling like I have to micromanage people and I hate having to wait on people and be dependent on so many variables and facets of the whole darn thing….it’s so debilitating. — Makes me think I should just throw my hands up and go into retail, or journalism or directing porn. Heck, at least I’ll be able to earn a decent amount of money with the latter. Just sayin’…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! And I’m sorry to learn you’re dealing with health problems. I wouldn’t call that an excuse so much as a challenge.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! How exciting that you’re moving overseas. It sounds like you’re about to start an amazing new adventure! =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s wonderful! Congrats on creating your new plan. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    It sounds like you’ve made some wonderful positive changes! I find childlike innocence is a big one. When you see it all as an adventure, learning becomes fun, not stressful.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Congrats on going back to school! How exciting to start fresh and do something new. What are you studying?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Jesse. I know what you mean, about the rat race. Traditional full-time work has a way of consuming our lives, and that’s just the accepted norm it seems. I hope you get that push you want. I’d do it if I were standing behind you!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s wonderful Judy! Congrats! I love what you wrote about the dream itself creating momentum. I’ve also found that sometimes acting on the dream redefines it. The more proactive we are, the more we learn about what we want and what we can do.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s wonderful Carmelo! (About finding ways.) I had those same excuses, especially since I had (and still have) limited tech knowledge. Sometimes I’ve wished I could do everything myself, because I feared I was held back by what I didn’t know. But on the other hand, it’s enriched my life to connect with and depend on other people–people I value and enjoy working with,

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome Anne. Congrats on your decision to open up an Etsy shop!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. And thanks for sharing that quote. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You mean how to start a magazine? Or how to be fearless, proactive, etc?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Well, it would certainly be an interesting career. I hope things move forward with your project! I know all about the frustration of feeling stalled.

  • Judy

    Thanks, Lori! Just recieved word that I got the cottage I was waiting to hear about! Off I go! …crazy!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s great! :)

  • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

    Lori this is a great post :).

    As I read it I found myself immediately thinking “These aren’t excuses! They are just part of the journey.” But once I finished I completely agreed with you.

    These are the common excuses people use. The problem is that people accepted these reasons as unsurmountable walls rather than mountains to be climbed.

    I believe that 95% of people can move forward with their dreams but the reality is that each of us has a different starting point. If someone is struggling financially, this means moving forward with their dreams starts with getting their finances in order.

    If someone struggles with time, then they have to start with getting their time in check.

    Most importantly, I believe we all have to take 1 step forward. Chasing after a dream can feel so overwhelming if we try to take on the entire journey all at once. But if we focus on one thing at a time, I believe we all can do it :).

  • Kris

    A great post! You can change your life by writing down your goals, acknowledging them, and staying true to yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/ZivanaMindset ZivanaMindset

    Wow Lori, where to start! This is an amazing article that covers so many rich aspects! So I won’t prattle on about that – let me stay focused and answer your question.
    My dream is to leave corporate and be a fulltime mentor / coach to women who want to live what is meaningful to them. I launched my blog 1.5 months ago and still finding my feet in the blogosphere world.
    To start living it – I’m writing up a calendar of key milestones for next year and specific actions that I should take to get there. On the days that I get scared, I’ll note to drink some wine or re-read your post :)

  • prashant

    you are right lori……….. i found where i m doing wrong in ths life,, now i have i have to start work upon this thanku

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    LOL regarding the wine. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea. =) What a wonderful goal to have, to help women like that. I think meaningful work is so important for our happiness!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Kris!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Izmael! I think that’s the biggest obstacle sometimes–accepting our unique obstacles instead of comparing ourselves to other people. At least it was for me. Focusing on one tiny step at a time has helped a great deal!

  • Liz Roberts

    This is a great lesson Lori, thanks for posting! I really liked the way you structured this one too. It’s also well-timed. After not having camera gear and not being able to take on assignments (Photojournalist) I was blessed to become “geared up” again this month, but found a few excuses slipping in like “I’m too busy” “what if I don’t have what it takes any longer”, etc. Trying to put the excuses, and fear, aside I joined a photography group an hour away from where I live. The photographers are at all different levels and the photos posted are very inspiring. So, I have committed to an outing with the group when I return from my trip home to B.C. next month!! I’m very excited to find my passion again and what it means to me now. Cheers Lori!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! That’s great you’re geared up again and that you joined a new photography group! Have a wonderful trip to B.C. =)

  • justjeany.blogspot.com

    It’s mid night in here, I’m at +7 time zone. Can’t sleep, an suddenly found this great article. I realize that I’ve been postponing all the effort I could do to reach my dreams, sometimes I even wondered, what if the think I dreamed of wasn’t really the think I’ll be dreaming of for the rest of my life? That’s my problem as being young person, I even don’t know what to wish and what to dream. I hope I can learn better. Keep inspiring…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean. I’ve changed dreams many times, so I’m almost certain I’ll have new ones down the line. I think of it like anything else though–our choices today don’t have to be forever. All we can ever do is act on what we want and feel now.

  • Rain

    I was passionate about different things back then: my liberal arts degree, writing, and plans to create a career in the academe.

    However, as soon as I was barred from graduation (despite finishing the curriculum on time & despite non-involvement to an incident which I was accused of), these plans got derailed. Of course, how would I be able to enter the academe, teach, write credible research to influence people, & express myself?

    All the things I’m passionate about seemed ordinary, as if the fire to pursue them has been extinguished. For years, I’ve been considering myself as a lost soul – switching careers & jobs, starting and failing to sustain new projects/hobbies/interests.

    I’m not sure where to place my concern above those 25 excuses I’ve read. What I know is that I want to live a purposeful life – I want to know my life’s meaning, what it’s about, what I’m capable of sharing to others.

    As of today, I work as an IT Consultant for a great company (which is obviously a mismatch with my degree). I always try to tell myself, ‘Hey, you’re brilliant. You can actually be at par or be better than the engineering/business graduates at work.’ That makes me proud for what I’ve achieved so far. But it always makes me think, too, about the past, about what could have happened if things went as planned.

    Honestly a large part of me says I want to go back to the academe, impart knowledge to students, & bravely stand for my views. This remains a frustration from my end. But I’m trying to put that aside in the meantime by sticking with the job & trying to maximise whatever it could give me such as money & other kinds of learning.

    I admit, work-related challenges thrill me, but I always yearn for more relevance, for doing what I truly love – if I really know what I love at this point in time.

  • http://twitter.com/CourtneySiegert Courtney Siegert

    Lori, thank you very much for sharing this; while it resonated with me on a very deep level, I am still having a hard time swallowing the realities you present here.

    I don’t normally comment on things like this, but I beleive that I can relate to you (and you to me) in a special way. Like you, I attended Emerson College, where I majored in Theatre and minored in psychology. Growing up I was always very passionate, secure, & sure of my dreams of performing, capitalizing on creativity, and where I wanted to go with them.
    That all changed in my second year of college, when I began to take notice of things that would make me uncertain of my future – thoughts like “what will they think?” or “can I do this?” were a constant presence in my mind.

    After college I moved to Los Angeles, where I have been for the past two years, and I have never felt more unlike myself. I am totally lost and in a rut, one that despite my “best efforts” I cannot seem to get out of. I am 23, working a corporate job now (something I vowed that, as a creative person, I would NEVER do) and I find myself waking up most days feeling sad and confused, and above all, unfulfilled. The inspiration and passion that used to flow through my veins no longer exists, and it’s a crippling thing to come to terms with.
    The excuses that you mentioned above are all ones that have crossed my mind, but I am at a point where I don’t even know what I am trying to “excuse.”
    I know that happiness is a choice we make each day – but it is a hard one to make when my brian is so exhausted from constantly trying to figure out my next move. Many of the things I love, like family, friends, my dog, familiarity, etc…are back home on the east coast. I thought all along moving out west would be the answer to everything, that I would find my “place” – but it’s just been confusing and draining. I have gone back and forth about moving home for six months now, and it’s starting to become a form of self-torture. I feel as though I am beating a dead horse trying to figure out what direction to go in, and it’s wearing me out (not to mention my family and friends).

    Thus, here I am, airing my personal laundry for everyone to read, which in itself is very intimidating, but at this point I will do whatever to hear some outside perspecitve from someone who really seems to have it together, who has maybe gone down this kind of path before. I pray for contentment, for peace of mind, for the ability to go an hour without feeling overwhelmed in some capacity.

    How are we supposed to decide what really is best? How do we decide between what is logical and sound, what is bringing in money, what is what we are “supposed” to do (I get a lot of answers like “just stick it out”) and taking that plunge of uncertainty, feeling that “free-fall”, going on a completely uncharted path? It scares me. I don’t want to live in regret, but I also don’t even know WHAT exactly I will be regretting if I do, and then if I go for it, I am scared of spending perhaps years working towards a goal that ultimately I will abandon, costing me time and money and effort that may all be in vain.

    Apologies for the obscene length; I’ve been holding this all in for a while. Your articles are all so helpful and help ease my mind, but sometimes I wish someone would just come out and say “Hereis what you need to do. Here is your blueprint.” Though Socrates may have been onto something when he said “The unexamined life is not worth living,” I’m thinking perhaps I may be taking that philosophy to the extreme. How do I get out of my head and start living?

  • Courtney

    Lori, thank you very much for sharing this; while it resonated with me on a very deep level, I am still having a hard time swallowing the realities you present here.

    I don’t normally comment on things like this, but I beleive that I can relate to you (and you to me) in a special way. Like you, I attended Emerson College, where I majored in Theatre and minored in psychology. Growing up I was always very passionate, secure, & sure of my dreams of performing, capitalizing on creativity, and where I wanted to go with them.

    That all changed in my second year of college, when I began to take notice of things that would make me uncertain of my future – thoughts like “what will they think?” or “can I do this?” were a constant presence in my mind. After college I moved to Los Angeles, where I have been for the past two years, and I have never felt more unlike myself. I am totally lost and in a rut, one that despite my “best efforts” I cannot seem to get out of. I am 23, working a corporate job now (something I vowed that, as a creative person, I would NEVER do) and I find myself waking up most days feeling sad and confused, and above all, unfulfilled. The inspiration and passion that used to flow through my veins no longer exists, and it’s a crippling thing to come to terms with. The excuses that you mentioned above are all ones that have crossed my mind, but I am at a point where I don’t even know what I am trying to “excuse.”

    I know that happiness is a choice we make each day – but it is a hard one to make when my brian is so exhausted from constantly trying to figure out my next move. Many of the things I love, like family, friends, my dog, familiarity, etc…are back home on the east coast. I thought all along moving out west would be the answer to everything, that I would find my “place” – but it’s just been confusing and draining. I have gone back and forth about moving home for six months now, and it’s starting to become a form of self-torture. I feel as though I am beating a dead horse trying to figure out what direction to go in, and it’s wearing me out (not to mention my family and friends). Thus, here I am, airing my personal laundry for everyone to read, which in itself is very intimidating, but at this point I will do whatever to hear some outside perspecitve from someone who really seems to have it together, who has maybe gone down this kind of path before. I pray for contentment, for peace of mind, for the ability to go an hour without feeling overwhelmed in some capacity.

    How are we supposed to decide what really is best? How do we decide between what is logical and sound, what is bringing in money, what is what we are “supposed” to do (I get a lot of answers like “just stick it out”) and taking that plunge of uncertainty, feeling that “free-fall”, going on a completely uncharted path? It scares me. I don’t want to live in regret, but I also don’t even know WHAT exactly I will be regretting if I do, and then if I go for it, I am scared of spending perhaps years working towards a goal that ultimately I will abandon, costing me time and money and effort that may all be in vain.

    Apologies for the obscene length; I’ve been holding this all in for a while. Your articles are all so helpful and help ease my mind, but sometimes I wish someone would just come out and say “Hereis what you need to do. Here is your blueprint.” Though Socrates may have been onto something when he said “The unexamined life is not worth living,” I’m thinking perhaps I may be taking that philosophy to the extreme. How do I get out of my head and start living?

  • paulo guimaraes

    I agree, I am sick of working for others, I want to make my own money doing what I love. After two years, I have no choice but stay where I am. It is frustrating.

  • http://twitter.com/cinghialetta Stephanie Unson

    Thank you so much for this post. After many false starts, I’m finally dedicating myself to being an artist and designer. I doubted myself for years, despite earning degrees in creative fields and having my work be respected by peers. When I sought the approval of those closest to me, I was shamed instead of encouraged – comparisons to others with more “respectable” careers and higher salaries, awkward silences or unwanted explanatory interjections on my behalf when I called myself an artist (“Actually, she’s thinking of going into teaching”… um, what?). I would second-guess myself when applying to jobs in my field, thinking, “Oh, who am I kidding. I’m not good enough.” I’ve worked in stable office environments, and it pained me to realize that I looked forward to Fridays as an escape from the week. I don’t see why I can’t enjoy what I do for a living, instead of dread it. And I’m tired of making decisions based on what others might think.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Stephanie! That’s unfortunate the people around you diminished your dream in that way. Congrats on going after your passion. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Courtney,

    You’re most welcome. No need to apologize for the length. I will do my best to help!

    First of all, I could relate to what you wrote in a big way. When I first moved out of state I felt lost–like I had no clue what I was doing or why. I felt like I was always scheming and strategizing, trying to figure out how to live a happy life, but it overwhelmed and disheartened me to realize nothing was guaranteed. No matter what I did, I might not be successful–and then I’d living away from everyone and everything I knew for nothing.

    In terms of deciding what is best, it might help to ask yourself these questions:

    -What are your top 5 values (i.e.: family, adventure)? These are the top 5 things that are most important to you in life.

    -Do you feel your life honors these values now?

    -Do you feel like you can honor these values living in California?

    -Would you be better able to meet these if you moved home?

    As someone who also lives in LA, and has family on the east coast, I’ve found these questions very useful in helping me decide where to live and what to do. I know family is one of the most important things to me, and a life that doesn’t allow me abundant time to see them just won’t work.

    Your answers to these questions might change your dream. That doesn’t mean you’re making excuses not to follow it; it just means you’re redefining it.

    Also, once you’re clear and what’s most important to you, it might be easier to get out of your head. When you’re honoring your values, there’s less to stress about because you know your life honors the things that matter to you the most.

    I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/attainablelife Unattainable Life

    It’s crazy to think that a few decades ago that Nike was on to something when they came up with the super simple slogan to “Just Do It”. Bill Bowerman, one of the co-founders of Nike, didn’t exactly know what he was doing when he created his first pair of sneakers for his runners. He just began experimenting with his wife’s waffle iron and the rest is history.

    The point is that he didn’t know what he was doing. He may have said one of the 25 above excuses but the fact that he just kept chugging along and just showing up. He just did it.

    This article opened my eyes to something personal for myself that I gained from the 13 year old girl example. Just ask. They worst that could happen is they say no or maybe they say comeback when you’re more prepared. But just asking sounds and seems like there are so many doors ready to be open that I could be just standing in front of.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    So true! I think the fear of rejection can be crippling. Someone once contributed a post to the site about his experiences in sales–how he learned he needed to get so many nos to get to a yes. It was just part of the process. That was eye-opening for me!

  • Courtney

    Lori – thank you so, so much for your thoughtful response. It really helps to hear some outside perspective and I will most definitely be sitting down and re-evaluating those top 5′s this weekend :)
    From one Emersonian to another, keep up the excellent work! You really are helping a lot of people find strength and courage here. It’s comforting to know there are people out there who truly care about the greater good and infitnite potential in humans. I am sure you’ll be hearing from me throughout my process :) Thanks again!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. And thanks so much! It’s nice to connect with a fellow Emersonian. I’d love to hear how things go for your as you move forward. =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kerry.quinn.5891 Kerry Quinn

    Very profetic article. Thanks for taking the time to write and describe the excuses. Looking forward to some great changes this year in our family and have fun moving ahead.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Kerry. That’s wonderful you anticipate some great changes. I’m looking forward to some new developments as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/BruceJoneschicago Bruce Jones

    Great article! Those who are looking to pursue their dreams of seeing the world they should look into teaching English as a foreign language and being paid to live abroad. Check out International TEFL Academy http://www.InternationalTEFLAcademy.com

  • Siddhartha Bhatia

    I am able to relate to each and every excuse written here. Lori Thanks for showing me the mirror.

  • Nina

    It’s a leap of faith and you just have to do it.. I did that a few years ago (went into freelance design) and never looked back! I did it so I can have the work/life balance, flexibility to travel (!!) and also because I like the variety of working in different places. To be fair I freelance at agencies so it’s not the full type of freelancer working for yourself, but you could start with that? Not sure where you live and if that would work for you but JUST GO FOR IT! Freelancing’s the best! :)

  • Alex

    Thank you for this post.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • tshepo kunene

    Thank you so much. I really need to hear messages like this as they encourage me to stand up for what I truly feel is right for me. I always doubt my self in fear of what others might say about me especially my family. Sometimes I feel alone and angry for doing anything that my heart desires in satisfaction of other people’s feelings and needs.

  • Laura

    Love the article!
    Wish I could be organised like yourself! I have a good paying job but it’s not what I’m meant to be doing…
    I feel like there is something else for me. I have different ideas in mind – finishing my book, Crete a small craft & arts business or go back to athletics… but I think I’m just throwing them out there because I don’t REALLY know what I’m meant to be doing… I wake up every morning exhausted. I’m 30 in September and also getting married. Apart of me just wants to pack up & travel the world *sigh*
    I know I have to do something…but what!?!?!?!?
    Life ey? Haha
    Xx

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean, Laura! We live in a world where we have so many options, and we’re always bombarded with other people’s dreams/success stories on Facebook. Then when you factor in that we’re multifaceted people with varied interests, it gets even more complicated to choose a path and stick with it.

    I think it comes down to experimentation. I actually wrote a different post about this that may be of interest to you:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/do-adjust-do-a-journey-to-meaningful-satisfying-work/

    This is a little old, so I’ve actually revised my plan several times since then. I’ve decided that it’s okay if I never feel like there’s one specific thing I’m meant to be doing. Maybe it will be ever evolving as I evolve. And maybe that’s what keeps life interesting.

    I hope whatever you choose, it’s something you love and enjoy. If we’re meant to do anything, I suspect it’s that!

    Lori

  • Jeffrey Reyes
  • kavin paker

    Never liked them, but that is what I had to study in school in Singapore since Science stream was the way to go.
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