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No More Excuses!

Lessons from a broken bicycle

Photo by Wayne Bishop on Unsplash
A few weeks ago, I broke my bicycle’s gear shifters half-way into an 88 kilometer ride. Needless to say, the ride home wasn’t a walk in the park. By the time I got home, my right arm was tingling from fatigue.

In the weeks that followed, my excuse to go riding was that my gears were broken. In all honesty, that was just a cop-out. Then, in a moment of deep introspection, I realized I was sinking fast! The habit that has become my aid to reflect, meditate and pray was broken. It is like a very dark shroud fell over me.

The last couple years haven’t been easy on my family. It’s been day after day of hustling to build our business. At first, it felt like I was going to lose my mind… Literally!

Then I discovered an activity that transformed my life – cycling on the open road. Words can’t describe enough the peace and joy this brings me. Riding my bicycle for miles on end gives me time to deeply reflect on God and life. As I ride, sometimes I pray. I cry when the pain is unbearable. There are a few times I have a good laugh. Many times I curse when the going is rough. But I keep peddling even when my muscles tire and lungs burn like crazy.
When life throws me lemons, I won’t make lemonade no more. Instead, I’ll focus on the strength the experience gives me to hustle for the oranges. To be honest, orange juice tastes much better for me.

The real test of life isn’t when I am cruising and care-free. It is when I go round a bend and encounter a stretch that is rough and tough. When everything around me seems to crumble and break.

This is when I want to give up. It becomes easy to get into a pity-party, and I find comfort in excuses. “This can’t work anymore!”, “Why should I put any effort in it?” or “Those guys are privileged, they must have had an ‘inside’ connection that has made them very successful!” And the list goes on and on and on…

Reluctantly, I picked up my broken bike and hit the road on only four gears — out of a possible twenty-one. Was it uncomfortable? Definitely yes! But a day later, muscles, bones and tendons felt just fine. This alerted me that I need to deal with other excuses I am feeding myself every day!

As I analyzed my excuses, I established that they are driven by two motivations: fear and procrastination.

“Excuses are just the lies your fears have sold you.” – Robin Sharma

Fear of starting all over. Fear that something can’t happen unless the conditions are ideal. And fear kills far more dreams than failure ever will. I am living testimony to this! It is hard perfectionist, type-A person like me is remembering to be vulnerable every single day. I need to ask to help and understand that failure is not the end of things.

Accountability is learning from my experiences, tucking them into reminders and rolling them forward to serve others bigger and better.

“People who are in the habit of enjoying the comfort of inaction often pay a high price in the end.” – Dr. T. P. Chia

Procrastination is the second beast that feeds my excuses. I am coming to terms with this self-imposed roadblock. Working broken gears on my ride amplified this weakness even more. Delayed action has been a close relative to fear. They feed off each other like crazy!
This procrastination has cost me big time. The fear of losing on a business deal has kept me playing small. I try to live in the past or the future because the present sucks! My time sweating the climbs on my bicycle amplified my my deceit. It’s going to be a long climb.

Today, I rise above my excuses. It will take sweat, blood and tears. But
my mind is battle-ready. My body will just have to drag along if that’s
what it takes.

Q: How will you deal with excuses are holding you back? And who will hold you accountable?

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