The Scriptures give us many emphatic directions on how to achieve success with God’s help in our daily lives
Everybody’s heard Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
…but the first part is equally important and perhaps especially needed when motivation is waning because of the many discouraging conditions around us. Here’s what it says:
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
And the classic ‘success’ passage in the Bible is God’s commission to Joshua in Joshua chapter 1:
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
I have some questions for you today about your success and your future. Let’s talk about them and see what we can do to improve our situation – not only for own sakes but for the sakes of the people around us …the community … and ultimately the society we live in. Why? So that we can be a testimony of God’s goodness and blessing – bringing others to a closer relationship with Him.
Here are the key questions you really need to ask yourself:
Do you really want to be successful?
Do you think it’s okay with God if you’re successful?
Are you willing to do what it takes to achieve more of what you were created to be and to do?
What are the excuses that have prevented you from moving forward?
It’s time to become the type of influential person who eliminates excuses and takes responsibility for their actions. It is time to become the rare individual that others can look up to as a model of accountability and purposeful results.
Establish your purpose. Specify your Goals. Determine what you want. It’s within you to achieve great things. Taking personal responsibility for where you are in life is a wonderful first step… so learn to fess up to your excuse-making and decide now to stop making them in the future.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. ~Benjamin Franklin
Use your mind to make money… and not to make excuses. ~Robert Kiyosaki
If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another. Yiddish Proverb
“Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far.”
“Difficulty on the way to victory is opportunity for God to work”. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When you ask a six year old why they didn’t do their chores, they might respond with “I forgot.” When you ask your employee or co-worker why a project isn’t completed they may respond with, “I didn’t know it was a priority” or “I have not had enough time.” When you ask your congressman why the government is a mess you’ll likely get a long-winded excuse about why it’s everyone else’s fault but theirs. Excuses are like air, they constantly surround you wherever you go.
Most excuses are just answers about why you didn’t do something. “Why were you late?” If you are like most people your answer will be something like, “my alarm clock didn’t go off” or “an unexpected phone call held me up.” With a life filled with expectations by other people we naturally tend to get defensive about our lack of meeting those expectations. People want answers.
What about the larger life-altering questions? It seems that we’re just too polite to ask the difficult questions. “Why aren’t you successful?” “Why haven’t you lived up to your potential?” “Why are you so unhappy?” We might go our whole life without hearing questions like these. But we all know that, deep down, we’re bothered by them… and we’re making all sorts of excuses to ourselves that keep us stuck.
When we’re not successful, maybe we’ll blame our parents. Or maybe it’s the education system, the boss, our co-workers, our spouse, or countless other individuals who stood in our way or didn’t contribute to our success. Do we really want to continue being like the 90% of the people out there who blame faceless institutions for creating rules that specifically would not let them succeed? Have you heard the “lack of time” excuse? You’d think some people were only given 16 hours a day to work instead of 24. Most of us seem to blame everything under the sun except our own actions for why we haven’t achieved success.
Have you ever thought about the difference between being interested in something and being fascinated by something? Interested? Or Fascinated? Which will it be? When you’re truly fascinated with something you’ll dig deeper to find out all you can about it and make appropriate choices and actions that reflect the input you received. When you are only ‘interested’ in something you tend to look for the slightest excuses to not take action and continue missing out on the benefits of life-changing discoveries. Status quo rules and progress or success is stifled.
Why you have not achieved success in life is not due to your intelligence, your situation, or opportunities that have been given to you. Countless individuals started life with less and have achieved more than most others. If you have not achieved what you want in life, then look no further than the choices and actions you’ve made up to this point. If you’re thinking “Yeah, but my circumstance is unique” or “Yeah, but I don’t have…” or “Yeah, but (whatever other excuse you want to name),” then you’ll just continue on the path that brought you this far.
What time is it?
It’s time to become the type of individual who eliminates excuses and takes responsibility for their actions. It’s time to become the rare individual that others can look up to as a model of accountability and performance. It’s within you to achieve great things… and taking personal responsibility for where you are in life is a powerful first step on a life-changing journey.
As you move forward with the goal of being excuse-free, ask yourself a few questions:
Do You Really Want to Be Successful?
First you have to believe that your Creator made you to reach for and accomplish all that you were made to do. Achieving success takes drive and determination. Somebody else can’t make you have drive or motivation. You have to decide for yourself. It takes a strong inner determination to grab hold of inner initiative. It’s there… inside you … courtesy of your Creator… but almost everybody would rather take a winning lottery ticket than determine to do what it takes to achieve their own success.
Almost everyone claims that they want success but few are willing to put in the time, the energy, and the sacrifices needed to reach success. What do you want to accomplish in life? What are your goals? If success truly isn’t something you want, then don’t expect that it’s going to drop from the sky.
Who and What Have You Blamed for Past Failures?
Answering this question honestly will take a level of self-awareness that might make you uncomfortable. Have you constantly – inwardly or outwardly – complained about a lack of time? Have you thought to yourself that if you had a different boss, or business partner, or a more supportive spouse that you would be more successful?
What are the things in your situation that make you feel discouraged? Maybe you’ve complained that they are the hindrance to your success. If you will identify what you have blamed in the past, you’re taking an important step to dumping that excuse in the future. If you catch yourself in the future making that same old excuse, just give yourself a little slap on the hand. Smile outwardly and compliment yourself on the fact that you no longer are the type of person that blames others and situations for your circumstances.
What are the Excuses that have prevented You from Moving Forward?
There’s a good chance that you have a business idea or some area of interest that you have hesitated to take action on. Perhaps you’ve known that your area needs a new type of business that isn’t now available. Maybe you’re interested in real estate and know you can be successful but haven’t taken that next step. Or maybe you just want to find a proven business you can get excited about that can be profitable for you. Whatever the objective is, there have likely been excuses that you have told yourself to prevent you from moving forward with your ambition.
You know the common excuses: lack of time, lack of resources, and lack of money… maybe you just don’t know where to start and you need to attend some seminars to meet people and get ideas. When you catch yourself making any of the countless excuses tempting you to put off action today…
Think about this. There really shouldn’t be much mystery about your personal future. Afterall… your actions today (or lack of them) have a huge impact on your consequences tomorrow (or 5 years from now).
There’s a reality check we all need to make once in a while. There will never be the perfect time when you have unlimited time and resources. You will never have performed all of the perfect planning, and learned all you need to know. So just grab hold of your idea and run with it. Replace excuses with action and you will be amazed at the transformation that begins in your life.