You’re Not the Exception

When you look at athletes or artists or anyone who’s better at anything than you are, your immediate reaction is to tell yourself you could never do the things they’re doing. You can’t even run an entire minute without having to stop to breathe, you’ll never be able to run a marathon. When you paint a landscape, your sun is still in the upper corner with a smiley face … you love to create art but who would want to buy your work?

You keep trying different things to figure out if you’re good at any of them. And you’re not. You suck at everything.

If only there was just one thing you could actually do well. Every time you try something new, you always fail … so you move on to the next thing. Maybe that will be the thing you’re good at.

You’re not the exception. You aren’t the only person who sucks.

Everyone sucks at anything when they first start. I’ve tried so many new things in my life (and sucked at them) that I know if you want to find something you’re really good at, first you have to be bad at it.

No one wakes up one morning and becomes an Olympic snowboarder. Or featured on the cover of Climbing magazine hanging off the face of El Cap. You don’t just run a marathon one day. Or paint a masterpiece. Or write the next great American novel.

It takes work. Pain. Frustration. Tears. Anger.

You’ll hate what you’re doing sometimes … maybe more often than you enjoy it. You’ll get so pissed off that it doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You’ll find excuses why you can’t or shouldn’t be doing whatever it is you’re doing. Reasons why you’re not good enough. Why it shouldn’t be you doing this.

I hate running. I even own a shirt that says “Running Sucks.” I wear it almost every time I go running. I really do hate running. It’s hard. It hurts. I know I’ll never, ever be as good as I want to be. But I keep running. Even though I have to force myself to put on my shoes and go to the gym. Even though I wake up in the middle of the night because my legs and feet hurt so bad.

I keep running.

Because despite the pain, I love the feeling of having accomplished something. Of working towards something else. Of always having another challenge to face; the next day at the gym, the next 5K or to beat my best time. Or of the marathon I’ll be running in a few months.

You can’t expect to try something new and just be good at it. And if you try something and you aren’t good at it, that doesn’t mean you’ll never be good at it. If you try rock climbing and you can’t get to the top because your hands are weak and you don’t have the strength to climb, that’s not a good enough reason to quit. You can work on your weaknesses and get better over time.

Even the people who are the best at what they do had to work hard to get to where they are now and have to keep practicing to maintain their skills. They work to perfect their art, their craft, their skill, their strength. At some point, they sucked just as much as you do right now. Even now, they still have moments when they struggle. Did you see Shaun White in Sochi?

Paint. Run. Climb.

Do whatever you want. Even if you suck. I give you permission to be really, really bad at whatever you want to do.

Now, go on with your bad self…

When Your Excuses are Just Excuses

It took me a long time to figure out that I control my life.

I used to believe I didn’t have a choice.

Each day was a repeat of the one before and the next would be the same as today. Nothing ever changed.

I made excuses.

I never had enough time or money. I didn’t have enough time because I was always working so I could have enough money. But no matter how much I worked, I never seemed to have enough money.

I was like a prisoner in my own life.

I didn’t have dreams.

All I could focus on was the day ahead. The bills due at the end of the week.

I wasn’t happy.

But I also wasn’t miserable enough to have a reason to change. The Comfort Zone. That place where you could be doing something better with your life but you’re afraid of the risk.

What if you fail?

At least you have a job. Even if you aren’t happy, it pays the bills. Maybe your marriage has dulled over the years, but it could be worse. You aren’t fighting all the time. And sure, you’ve put on a few pounds over the years, but at least you can still see the tip when you take a piss…

You get through the day by minimizing the problems and making excuses for the way things are. This is your security blanket to protect you from the realities of your life. The reality that you know you deserve better … that you’re capable of more.

You sacrifice your dreams in exchange for comfort and the illusion of security. You’re complacent and complicit. And until acted upon by an outside force, you’ll remain this way until you die.

Motivation rarely comes from within. You’re too busy trying to justify the way things are instead of doing anything to fix them. You spin things in your mind and find reasons why the problems aren’t your fault. You don’t want to take responsibility. So you blame someone else.

And so your dreams are never realized. Your goals never met.

And the cycle repeats itself.

“It isn’t my fault.”

Have your excuses become just that?


Money Solves Money Problems

…and that’s all it solves.

If you’re broke, money helps.

It’ll buy you food, put a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Shoes on your feet. Gas in your car.

Money isn’t a magic potion that makes life perfect. It won’t make you happy. It won’t buy you friends … not the type of friends you want. Money won’t keep you from dying.

A lot of people think money is the answer to all of their problems. As if having money would change who they are. If they had money, then they’d do all the things they’re only  able to dream of doing.

Money isn’t the answer. And money doesn’t change who you are, it only exposes and amplifies who you are. Good or bad. If you had money, you might do some of the things you dream of doing…


Maybe you’d take that trip to Ireland you’ve been talking about your entire life. Or maybe you wouldn’t. Actions express priorities. If something is important to you, you’ll make it happen. If it’s not important, you’ll make an excuse.

And what better excuse than money?

It’s easy to tell yourself that [insert your dream here] is too expensive. You look at your bank account and you’re not even sure how you’re going to make it until next payday without starving.

If only you had more money … then you’d be able.

How long have you been telling yourself the same story?

What if you’d saved just $50 a month for all those years? How much could you have saved? If instead of buying that outfit that’s hanging in your closet with the tags still attached, you’d put that money towards your dream?

The truth is, your dreams don’t really matter to you. The shit you spend your money on … those things are what your care about the most. What you say you care about isn’t important.

But how you spend your money…

That’s the action that expresses your priorities.