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Success Without Excuses By John Watson

If we hope to achieve any worthwhile goal it will be necessary to throw out the excuses. The excuses usually do not deceive others but they may well deceive ourselves.

In England today, several national services are of a poor standard. One reason they are so poor is that the people responsible for providing the services always have an excuse ready. One year when the trains were delayed, the excuse was that there were too many leaves on the tracks! Why didn't those in charge make sure the leaves were cleared off the tracks?!

Bill Bailey, an English singer and comedian, has commented ironically on the fact that the English don't expect too much from life. They almost rejoice in the fact that services are useless. Bill told one of his audiences:

"I'm English and, as such, I crave disappointment. I actively seek it out. It's one of the reasons I continue to use public transport because, you know, we are guaranteed disappointment, aren't we?

"I was on a train a while back and we made one of those hilarious unscheduled stops in the middle of nowhere. It's so rubbish on the trains now that we don't even bother to listen to the announcement. It could be anything. We just zone it out. It could be something like the following:

'We apologize for the delay. A very, very heavy flood from Saturn has formed an impenetrable casing around the driver's brain. We'll try and get that chipped off as soon as we can.

'We appear to have driven into the belly of a dragon. I don't know how that happened. It must have been hiding in the tunnel. We're sorry about that. Let's hope he passes us out at Crewe.

'The driver has pulled in to play a game of Tetris on his game boy. He has never got to this level before. So good luck, eh!'

Bill explained what had really stopped the train: "The actual reason we stopped was that the buffet car was on fire. We got a tantalizing glimpse into the chaos on the trains. All we could hear on the speakers was 'Gary! It's burning! What are we going to do?'

"Everyone in the carriage cheered. 'Hurray! We're rubbish.' That's the British characteristic."

In fact, the British are anything but rubbish. Bill Bailey himself is an outstanding comedian and musician, but there is an amazing tolerance of low standards in public services unless they involve fatalities.

It is probably a good idea to laugh at the things we have no control over like the trains stopping unnecessarily but there is no need for us to accept low standards in our own lives. We, and no one else, have control over our own lives.

However, if we come up with too many excuses for not doing what is difficult and challenging, we will end up like the railways and achieve mediocrity.

We can choose to be disappointed with our own lives and make lots of excuses for our failures or we can ban the excuses and work around them to achieve success.

Pat O'Bryan of Milagro World was impressed by the way the Beatles turned potential excuses for failure into opportunities. If the drumming was weak on a particular song, they would add in other percussion instruments to make the drum track more interesting.

If the guitars were weak, they would bring in a great guitarist like Eric Clapton to play brilliant lead guitar. They could have blamed the drummer and guitarists for the weak sound and accepted a mediocre standard. Instead, they refused to make excuses and worked around their problems and achieved huge success.

Pat comments: "Excuses are wonderful, aren't they? Once you've got a good one, you can hide behind it for years. Recognize excuses for what they are, delete them, and turn your problems into opportunities. If you don't have money, a huge list, or a clue, team up with someone who does, and succeed anyway."

I teach a great kicking martial art but have never been good at kicking high. To get round this I tell my students to kick low! This is far more effective in the street than kicking high. If I want a great demonstration of a high kick, I get one of my best black belts to provide it.

The students are able to view a great demo and the demonstrator is inspired to do even better in future. My lack of flexibility is no longer an excuse for giving up teaching. It becomes an opportunity for a higher standard of teaching. It also encourages others who realize they don't have to be flexible to learn effective self-defense.

So forget the excuses about being too old or too young or too unfit or too stupid. Find ways around these problems and press on to achieve your success goals.

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