When it comes to finding and fulfilling our purpose, we can do one of two things: (1) make excuses; or (2) find creative, innovative ways to do what we have been called to do. Most roadblocks and setbacks we experience begin in our minds. What holds us back many times is the thought that something or someone is actually holding us back. Overcoming the things that get in our way can often be done by making a mental shift from excuse-making to actually making things happen.
Mental shifting, or cognitive shifting, is a method by which we re-direct our present focus of attention from a certain thought or fixation toward a different thought or fixation. We can do this both unconsciously or consciously. In cognitive therapy, cognitive shifting is the conscious choice to take charge of the direction of our mind and set our attention on a path that is beneficial, productive, and successful. In every aspect of life, you will find yourself having to redirect your thoughts to stay focused on your purpose and the hard work it takes to accomplish your goals.
If a task is unpleasant or a situation is unfavorable, our minds often unconsciously switch to think of something more pleasant. This is not always good because some tasks, such as studying for an exam or pulling an all-nighter to develop a major presentation for your colleagues, may be unpleasant at the start, but they are for the long-term greater good. In such cases, we do not let our unconscious mind flip the switch. We must consciously choose to take charge at that moment and re-direct our minds back to the task at hand.
Making excuses is the easy way out of everything. Excuses often begin with “I only do…”, “I don’t have…”, “I’m too this…”, “I’m not this…”, I don’t know…”, “I would if…”, “If only…”, or “I can’t…” It’s a temporary ease of conscience that attempts to get us out of doing what we know we should do. When we make excuses, we aren’t taking life seriously. If life is important to us, if our purpose matters to us, we will make things happen. The shift from making excuses to making it happen can be the difference between night and day.
The end of excuses begin when we make a mental shift to finding and creating innovative ways to fulfill our purpose, accomplish our goals, and live our dreams. When we stop making excuses for why we haven’t done what we should have done, we make room to start making changes. When we start making changes, we’ve ultimately made the mental shift to embrace progress, results, and success.