The 21st century has seen a huge shift in social responsibility. Some of it for the better some for the worse. Over my time at university thus far, I have grown fond of statistics and its use in displaying trends and data. An idea I have been conceptualizing as I picked up on it during the global pandemic was, this idea we seem to want to be the exception to the rule when it comes to excuses yet we are within the average when it comes to the responsibility of success.
Where am I going with this?
Bare with me here as I will explain my point more thoroughly. 2020 has been a huge year of stress and disaster, not just for the individual but the collective as a whole. Australia alone has experienced unprecedented bush fires, soon followed by floods and damaging storms effecting farming and agriculture alike. Following that, the world went into complete turmoil as the COVID-19 Virus ran wild. None of this can be controlled by the individual or expected to be, therefore; an understanding of stress and anxiety must be made. However, at a certain point what follows this needs to be addressed. Yes, a lot of us were put out of work or the way in which we worked was completely shifted. Home office hours, new jobs , different roles, less pay etc. These are things well outside of control and that isn't denied, what is being questioned here though, is the idea the world is as it is and there's nothing you can do.
Instead of looking at 2020 through a lens of opportunity , society has somehow deemed it acceptable to pass the burden of responsibility onto the next person for the last persons success or failure. Its become 'ok' to pass blame to anyone but one's self in terms of goals, current position , previous skills, successes and failures. As the title says, when it comes to the excuses we wish to create excuses in order to justify our laziness or unsatisfactory living. We somehow find ourselves in the exception category. (The likely hood you are in the 1% population to somewhat excuse a limitation you’ve placed on yourself is very, very unlikely.
We look for the most obscure reasoning we cant do something “it's not my fault, born this way. Genetics, Broke parents" so on and, so forth. When the reality is, we are well within the norm and are scared to take responsibility for our short comings. No one bought that cake and force fed you, no one made you buy $300 shoes or a $90,000 dollar car.
These are choices we make regardless of pre-dispositions. If you acted as if you are within the norm not the 'exception to the rule', confronting your responsibility may be hard, but you'd be much further ahead than playing the victim. The 99th percentile group that realistically cant actually add up to the number of people that claim to be. We want to blame a rare stress disorder or eating disorder for our food choices during a global lockdown, instead of recognizing the need to reduce caloric intake when less active.
We are what we tell ourselves
We have told our selves the world sucks because we didn’t keep a job when everyone else upskilled and we decided it wasn’t important. We don’t have the time or finances to get re educated yet we have found 10 hours a week to watch Netflix or spend 200$ a week on alcohol and take away.
While its completely understandable for some that covid was a good reset, down time, destress of the sympathetic system etc. We cannot confuse a rest with being lazy. We may rationalize it, we may justify it, but the fact is it is far more likely we are not outside the bell curve when it comes to our excuses but are simply trying to validate the choices we have made and the time we have wasted.
The Polar Opposite Block Towards Goals
Ironically just as we wish to find ourselves the exception when it comes to excuses and reasoning, we seem to pull the polar opposite when it comes to our goals and capabilities. “ I cant possibly learn to code”. “There's no way I could start a business” “I cant go to the gym how am I meant to lose 10kgs at home”.
It’s a completely illogical conclusion to draw on, that we can be so exempt to the rule in terms of failures yet we HAVE to be within the average to our possibilities. "I'm but one person how can I change the world?". Yet, the world should change in order for me to succeed…Doesn’t make sense does it? It’s a strange line of reasoning that we can find the rarest possible reason to excuse our failure to act but we cant find the rarest possible reason to go after something we say we want.
Seeking to be Seen Objectively
2020 has actually, when looked at objectively, allowed for the greatest shift in labour and skills this side of the internet. Just about every single course, text book, documentary, lecture class subject etc. can be found online. Never in history during a global event have we had so much information accessible to us at the touch of a button when told to 'stay home'.
We have had the potential to learn new skills, create new beginnings, mend old relationships or build new ones. Network with people we didn’t think we could, start courses easily accessible online. Yet with all these things available to us we have somehow deemed it the fault of anyone else that we are not where we want to be.
The Struggle to Grasp Success
It confuses me we cant seem to grasp that our success our failure is a result of our own effort. The government is not going to hand you a million dollars or a successful business, lock downs are not to blame for excess eating. At a certain point responsibility has to fall on us to take a plunge and leap into our goals. 2021 will be a chance of revitalization in markets and industry, chance for new success and skills to emerge, opportunities to take hold of if we are willing. But all of that is only possible when we come to terms with the fact it is our responsibility to make it happen.
The stoics encourage the focus of energy on things we can control, our own personal behaviors in relation to external events or stimuli. If we cease fixating on the uncontrollable to focus on what we are in effect of, we will see just how much life is actually ours to shape. Life and the world will not shift for your excuses, you may find an echo chamber to validate them, you may find others who accept you for your excuses but in the end it will not allow you to grow. It is time to switch the shoes around, realize that the smallest possible reason to go after your dreams is all you need, and the rarest possible reason to quit.
Encourage a New Way of Thinking
This way of thinking will prevent you from throwing in the towel at the smallest hiccup, and keep you directed when storms start to come over the sea. Where ever you are and where ever you are starting from, may not be the best possible place; but starting anywhere and taking control of what you can is all you can do. You can sit and anchor yourself to your excuses or you can move with the future and grow. I know what I'm going to do, its time you start giving your self the respect of responsibility and take control of where your going to.