Red Pill #259
6 Common Excuses for Failure
We all have a lot of people in our lives who have not amounted to much. They haven’t developed ambitious dreams, pursued worthwhile goals, or created anything of lasting value, apart from children. There is a wide range of lifestyles than can objectively be called failures. At the low end, you have the dismal souls who can barely maintain shelter and food for themselves. At the high end, you have people with good jobs and nice homes, who look like a success on paper, but who have failed to do anything notable or important.
Just as certainly as most people will fail to lead extraordinary lives, they will develop convincing excuses for why this is so.
Excuses are poisonous because when you repeat them often enough, you start to believe them. What starts as a deflection of blame, ends up a self-limiting mental prison that sabotages your chance at happiness.
Because excuse-making is so pernicious and harmful, it makes sense to identify common excuses and debunk them, lest we allow ourselves to get sucked into believing them.
Let’s look at 6 of the most common excuses for failure, and why they have little validity:
I had a bad/rough/poor/abusive childhood.
This is number one because it’s one of the most common. Almost everyone can look back at their childhood and find a thousand things they wish had been different. In any epoch of human history, mankind has faced extreme adversities. Parenting has ranged from feral, to stifling micromanagement. Children at all points on the socio-economic spectrum have been subjected to abuse by ignorant or deranged parents. The big problem with this excuse is that, since there are no perfect childhoods, it serves as a universal excuse. Everyone can claim it, and lay the blame for their failures at their parent’s feet. The reality is that an abusive childhood can certainly damage one’s psyche, and hamstring one’s ability to succeed easily. But it can never stop a determined person from rising above their childhood to become successful adults. History is replete with examples of people with terrible upbringings who went on to be great individuals. Once you are past 30 years of age, it’s time to start taking responsibility for your own success and failure, and leave your parents out of it.
- I have health problems. Some people seem to be positively obsessed with their health problems and negative body image. They enjoy talking about medical issues with friends and family, in the same way that people discuss sports or the weather. They seem to revel in relaying the details of their poor health and all the testing and procedures they have been through. There is ample evidence that a person’s mindset can effect his health, and it stands to reason that someone who is constantly thinking about their bad health will self-fulfill their worries. There is also plenty of evidence to show that healthy eating and exercise will ward off many illnesses before they start – meaning that a lot of health problems are self-inflicted. That’s not to say that positive thinking can cure cancer, or that there’s no excuse for staying in bed with a debilitating disease. However, the placebo effect is real, and can work in both positive and negative directions. Some diseases and health problems are legitimately beyond a person’s control, and will limit what they can do with their lives. There is no disputing that. But people can work around their limitations, whatever they may be, and lead successful lives. We need look no further than people like Beethoven, Helen Keller, or Stephen Hawking.
I’m too short/too fat/not good-looking enough.
These excuses are just ridiculous, so we won’t spend much time on them. Almost everyone can improve their appearance dramatically if they care to do so. The short man can focus on building great muscle tone and healthy skin. The fat person can lose weight. The ugly person can choose to have a great hairstyle and impeccable fashion sense, to offset their unfortunate countenance. Your appearance will not hold you back unless you allow it to, and there are millions of examples that prove this.
I was never given any opportunities.
This excuse stems from the immature mindset that it’s up to others to provide us with good opportunities. As any self-reliant, successful person knows, opportunities are never given, they are created. Only you will look out for your own best interests and create opportunities that are right for your skillset and interests at that time. Other people will only give you opportunities that serve their agenda.
Other people are deliberately holding me down (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc).
If another group is able to hold you down, it’s only because you are expecting something out of them that they have no obligation to provide. In this age of affirmative action and political correctness, it actually works in your favor to be in one of the minority protected classes, as long as you have even a minimal work ethic. If another group does not give you what you want, it’s up to you to get it on your own, or to work within your own group to get it. It’s possible that white racism could make it difficult for a black man to get a job in finance. But it’s impossible to stop the black community from developing their own business where discrimination would not be an issue. Sure, Hollywood discriminates against gentiles and makes it very difficult for conservatives or Christians to get any work. But there’s nothing stopping you from building a competing entertainment company elsewhere and excluding most jews. If women don’t like the treatment they get in male-dominated professions, they are free to organize with likeminded females to form their own competitive businesses.
I have other responsibilities to take care of – a wife and kids, a sick relative, etc.
The man who compromises his goals in order to take care of other people will soon find himself unable to care for anyone. When you are preparing for take-off on an airline flight, the attendants instruct you that if the cabin becomes depressurized, you are to take the oxygen mask and apply it to yourself first, before you put one on your child. The reasoning is sound – unless you take care of yourself first, you’ll be rendered helpless to take care of anyone else. This principle applies to life as well. The best thing you can do for others is to look out for number one. If you are in a position where you enjoy financial success, physical health, and mental acuity, then you’ll have far more resources available to offer the people you care about. If you put your dreams on hold to care for a woman who is not blood-related to you, you’re beyond pathetic and probably shouldn’t even be reading this article until you have studied basic game theory.