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New Year’s Revolution: Stop Making Excuses!

4/26/2013 3:37:00 PM

Tags: loving life, achieving success, Dan Chiras, Taking Responsibility, list of Life Lessons, Life Skills for Young Adults, Help for Young Adults, Good Advice for Life, Advice for Life

Into the FutureIf you are going to be successful in life — even if that just means creating a loving family or strong personal relationships, being a good person, or selling your handmade soap or paintings at a local crafts fair — you’ve got to stop making excuses.

If you want to get in better shape, or lose weight, or write that children’s book or start that gift shop or sell your artwork, you’ve got to do what all successful people do: go for it, unencumbered by the ball and chain of excuse-making.

Successful people don’t make excuses for not accomplishing things.

They point their eyes in the direction they want to go, and they start moving in that direction.

Success for many of us comes one step at a time.  And it is often followed by many stumbles along the way.

Keep in mind success won’t come over night, but it will come if you sustain your effort day after day after day week after week, year after year.

I started my writing career at age 18, but it wasn’t until age 32 that I signed my first book contract. My file cabinets are filled with rejected short stories, novels that never made it, and a few nonfiction books that never seemed to make the cut. 

I never gave up, though. I wanted to be a professional writer more than anything else in my life. I loved writing so much, I would have done it if it were illegal!


So, I suffered through a long, steady stream of rejection slips, never letting my passion for writing and my desire for success to wane.

Sure, I was disappointed from time to time, but I never gave up.

But I never stopped believing in myself.

I never stopped honing my craft.

I also never stopped studying markets and trying to figure out ways to sell my work.

I read books and magazine articles on writing. I studied what others did by reading everything I could get my hands on. I experimented. I reviewed my own work critically and kept trying to make it better.

I even discovered a few secrets of successful writing that could help turn any mediocre writer into a sellable author.

I didn’t make excuses for rejection slips, though, I wanted to. I didn’t give up because the chances of getting a novel published when the chances of getting a first novel when I first started my fiction-writing career were 16,000 to 1. That is, there were 16,000 rejected novels (in the 1970s) for every novel that was awarded a contract.

Those odds would have daunted the most dauntless among us. Not me.

So, whatever it is you want to achieve, drop any excuses and get started. You can’t make it to your destination if you don’t try.

Don’t ever doubt yourself. 


Hold on to your passion. 


Remember, the world is full of 10-year overnight successes— people who struggled for years to become a success.

Never stop learning and trying to improve. 


Leave the excuses for losers and pave your pathway with persistence, hard work, continual self-improvement, a little more hard work and diligence, dogged determination, perseverance, and then throw in a little more hard work for good measure. And tomorrow, start all over again.

But just never, ever give up.


Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

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