30 Excuses Why You’re Not Starting Now


I sat there on the phone listening for just short of an hour. Not conversing, not discussing… just listening as the person on the other end rattled off a litany of reasons why they could not possibly succeed.

Not only did I not get a chance to speak – but if I had been given the opportunity, I’m pretty sure I’d have been speechless anyway. And that, my friends, is a rare occurrence.

I listened as this person blamed everything from other people to the economy to the world in general for their lack of momentum. It was mind-boggling. Excuse after excuse flowed but not once did I hear, “I must be doing something wrong. How can I fix this?”

It reminded me of this scene from a classic 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers:

Except to hear a real-life adult do that for almost an hour wasn’t funny like when John Belushi did it. It was more like a mixture of sad and rage-inducing.

When my turn to speak finally came, I kept it short and shared my belief that if someone is spending that much time and making that much of an effort to find external reasons for their lack of success, then they’re looking for answers in the wrong place. The right place they should be looking is in the mirror.


Most of the time when we’re guilty of using lame excuses, we’re not even aware that we’re doing it. Blaming external factors instead of taking responsibility is the rule rather than the exception, so we subconsciously rationalize it as acceptable behavior.

Of course there are real obstacles we encounter along the way, but running into a legitimate barrier here and there doesn’t mean you’re beaten – and it doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Most of the time it’s just a good indicator that you need to take a new approach to the situation.

Winner or Whiner?

Winners encounter obstacles, too. They screw up and they fail just like everyone else. The difference is that winners are always working on their next run at the problem. They pick apart negatives and focus on solutions that will allow them to go around or through obstacles. They act. They attack. They are in motion.

Whiners, on the other hand, focus on reasons for not proceeding solutions. They wallow and waste time in the mire of all the “reasons” they don’t stand a chance in the first place.

Knowing When To Call The Wahmbulance

How are you supposed to know if you’re a winner who’s gearing up to attack an obstacle or a whiner who needs a ride in a wahmbulance?

It’s pretty easy, really. Winners discuss attacking problems and obstacles. They don’t hunt for reasons not to act. Their discussion of obstacles comes from a place of, “Here’s how we’re going to own that situation next time.”

If you find yourself just stating problems and discussing how impossible to overcome they are, you may be a whiner.

30 Ways To Be A Whiner

Here are 30 ways to stifle your momentum, assure your stagnation, and just plain old bum yourself out. If you have ever used any of these as a way of keeping yourself from taking action, it may be time to do some serious self-assessment.

1: I’ve never done it that way before.

2: I tried that once before and it didn’t work.

3: I’ve tried several times and it didn’t work.

4: (Insert expert’s name) says I need a (certain tool or service) to make it happen.

5: No one wants to hear what I think.

6: It’s too hard.

7. There’s no way in this economy.

8: I need to spend more time thinking and planning this out more.

9: I just don’t have the extra time for a new project.

10: That’s pretty risky. I’m scared.

11: So-and-so says it won’t work.

12: I’ll wait until conditions are more favorable and the timing is better.

13: If I just had more money.

14: I’m not as talented as other people.

15: If I try that, people will criticize or mock me.

16: I can’t find the motivation.

17: I just need a lucky break.

18: I didn’t get in (to the mix) soon enough.

19: My plan isn’t that original.

20: The competition is too big for me to compete against.

21: I inherited the problem. It’s not my fault.

22: I don’t have enough experience.

23: I’m afraid of what would happen if I failed.

24: I’m afraid of what would happen if I succeeded.

25: I don’t have the right connections.

26: I wouldn’t know where to begin.

27: I’m too old.

28: I’m too young.

29: I don’t have a big enough audience/client base.

30: I’ll start on it tomorrow.


Time and Opportunity Are Precious

You only get so many days on this earth. Unless you believe in reincarnation – in which case you only get so many days before you start all over again. Either way, you need to make the most of the time you have.

Next to my desk where I’m sitting and typing right now is an old, tattered hand-written sign that I’ve tacked to the wall. I can’t tell you how old it is, but it seems like it’s been there forever.


There is nothing as disappointing as looking back in time and having to admit that you have let yourself down. It is a much better feeling to be able to look back with pride, win or lose, and know deep down that you have given it your all.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

Your time is too valuable for excuses.

Act. Move. Execute.

Share your stories and insights about excuses and obstacles in the comments section.


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30 Excuses Why You’re Not Starting Now Reboot Authentic

About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

12 Replies

  1. htmljenn

    It’s funny, I wrote a similar article for web designers this weekend. I had been talking to a friend who has more freelance work than he can handle (as do I) and then I got a call from another friend saying she was giving up freelancing “there’s just no work out there.” We talked for a bit and I started musing about how three freelancers in the same field and the same region could have such vastly different experiences. Then I started thinking about the three sub-contractors I’d tried to hire the month before and how hard it was.

    I think making excuses and blaming others is also a way to avoid looking at your own shortcomings.

    1. “I think making excuses and blaming others is also a way to avoid looking at your own shortcomings.”

      That is so true! It is kind of stupid really because mistakes and shortcomings are the best lessons you can have.

      Great post Gary!

      1. Agreed, Ava. And thanks very much for the Tweet, too!

    2. I agree, Jenn. The sad thing is that I see so many people with all kinds of potential waste time – years even – on this type of behavior.

      It reminds me a little of what I think when I see petty criminals. “You know, getting a job takes a lot less time and effort – and has a much lower chance of landing you in jail or worse.”

      It’s similar with excuses… If they just got on with it instead of wallowing – imagine what they could do.

  2. Fantastic post, Gary! It will be interesting to see how many ‘whiners’ you can convert. I’ve had similar conversations with people and find that there is little common ground between whiners and winners. People who complain constantly seem so committed to their misery; I often am left speechless as well.

    Everyone has moments of insecurity, but those who have the moxie to push through are more often than not rewarded for their action. This is definitely the group I choose to hang with!

    1. I love “committed to their misery.” And I agree. Some are. Others are in denial… and yet another group falls more into the victim mentality. I think we’ve all been in one of those groups on occasion. The important thing is recognizing it and not allowing yourself to fall into that trap. Thanks for the comment, Kimberly!

    1. Exactly, Mike. It’s better to go down swinging than to just go down. And you just might crush it in the process.

  3. I don’t have time to learn how to stop whining.

    And there was a flood.

    And an earthquake.

    And my dog ate . . . something.


    1. 🙂

      And that is EXACTLY why I love me some Bobbi Emel. Funny stuff!

  4. Ah, that video made me smile. Great clip.

    Kimberley reminded me of an old desire – I wish I had the ability to spend time in the brains of other people. The first step to progress is understanding – from an abstract developmental psychology perspective I understand the whiners, but from a raw emotional level, it’s like a foreign species.

    1. That’s an interesting take. I guess I can see where they’re coming from too… I just can’t relate to it or share that angle on things.

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