Excuse Experts Versus Success Stories

by Belinda Munoz on November 29, 2009

first steps

None of us living past two years is unfamiliar with excuses.  My little guy who’s almost three has just about perfected the art of making up an excuse.  He won’t eat his dinner because “It’s not hot enough”.  He won’t leave the house because he’s “too busy working with Legos”.  He won’t share his chocolate-y cereal with his momma because “It’s not very good”.

I’m betting a box of Count Chocula that we’re all hovering around expert level when it comes to our creativity in crafting the perfect excuse.

SUCKERS FOR SUCCESS STORIES

But the flip side of our masterful excuse-making is we’re all suckers for success stories.  This is why we tune in to tales, real or fictitious, about the single mom with six kids who becomes a renowned surgeon, the quadriplegic who climbs Mount Everest, or the deaf and blind boys who sing uplifting songs around the world.  Sure, we like other stories, too, but often these types of stories become instant Hollywood blockbuster hits.

Sap and button-pushing aside, I find our proclivity for triumphant tales encouraging.  Because, though on the surface, it’s tempting to say that we only tune in to feel-good stories to, well, feel good, I’m convinced it’s much more than that.  Yes, we all want to elevate our mood.  But beyond that, we ache for assurance that we can break through harsh conditions and prevail.  That against all odds, there is a reward for those who persevere.  That no matter how underprivileged, disadvantaged and downright unlucky some of us are, we can unchain ourselves from all the shackles that keep us down.

And I think the real reason we’re suckers for success stories is because when we witness potential in others come to fruition, it’s as though our own potentials also come to fruition.  It inspires us, if only temporarily, to replicate the success others have had.

Because the truth is, deep down, we don’t want to believe our skillfully-formulated excuses.  Excuses that are all too often conveniently there when we need them.  Excuses that work synergistically with the inertia that somehow found its way into our comfort zone.

Excuses that we half-believe as we half-cope with the half-baked half-hardships in our half-hearted existence, more or less half the time.

SHAPING OUR SUCCESS STORIES

So, we find ourselves perched atop some precarious halfway point.  Between intending and doing.  Between knowing and taking action.  Between standing by our manufactured excuse and wilting at the sheer power of the possibilities that can happen if we vanquished these excuses.

Exciting, no?

Sometimes, we take the plunge, doubt obliterated, and don’t look back.  And isn’t it often an exhilarating feeling to do so?  Other times, we hover just a little while longer in the in-between.  Waiting for a nudge, a sign, maybe even another excuse.

As with most other decisions, to take the next step or to stay put is often a personal decision.

We could think in absolutes and freeze-frame.  To wait for proof that one option IS more right than another.

Or we could think in grays and go with our gut.  To listen to that inner voice that doesn’t ever seem to put us in harm’s way if we take heed.

Rather than belabor the joys and torments of thinking in absolutes versus grays (perhaps another post), I will do something different altogether….

HELPING OTHERS SHAPE THEIR SUCCESS STORIES

For those who are so inclined, this holiday season, I humbly ask that you consider helping others shape their success stories by joining Blog with Heart to Alleviate Poverty , a challenge I’m very excited about that runs through the end of the year.

While my blog is still a baby, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join.  I believe that a lot of us are bothered by the disproportionate distribution of wealth.  Do we really want to ask the question, “If there is more than enough for everybody, why do some seem to have everything and others nothing?”  Or worse, do we really want to know the answer?

Blog with Heart is a project initiated by my blogging buddies Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen and Arvind Devalia of Make It Happen.  This is a chance to bring to bear something I’ve been harping about on this blog.  To seek and find tangible proof that, despite all the utter ugliness we see, humanity is still mostly good.
Through Kiva, a reputable, internet-based non-profit micro loan vehicle, we invite everyone to take a stab at alleviating poverty.  You can lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in one of many developing countries. You choose who to give a loan to and as they repay the loan, you get your money back.  Forbes describes Kiva as “the entrepreneurial daring of Google with the do-gooder ethos of Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2.”

TO JOIN, all you have to do is follow these 3 EASY STEPS.

Step 1: Sign up for Kiva here.
Step 2: Log into your Kiva account. Go to The Halfway Point Team and click the “Join Now” button.  If you are a blogger yourself, you may want to consider forming your own team.
Step 3: Go to the Kiva lending page and pick an entrepreneur you’d like to loan money to. When you get to the checkout, you’ll see that your loan has been added to the portfolio of The Halfway Point Team.

SHARING YOUR SUCCESS STORIES

You guessed it.  I’m a super-sucker for success stories.  And if you have any to share, or if you have a comment, as always, I’m all ears.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

Image by goldenratio

Recommended reading: Philanthropy 101: Learning to Give

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November 29, 2009 at 2:23 am

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ben Leon Guerrero November 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

Dearest Belinda,

THis was another excellent post by my favorite blog author. No one has so plainly described the “excuse” process we all go through, in a way that is both educational and motivating. At my age, I can use all the motivation I can get from outside sources, believe me! Even thgouh I am active on the internet, I do not join many clubs or sign up for many things on the line, because I guess a little old-fashioned…but I will look into the Kiva because it appears to be a very fine thing and maybe I can get Oscar and Che-Che to sign up and tell me how it goes. Congratulations for always finding a way to inspire everyone who reads your blog.

Yours still and yours truly,

Ben

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2 Fr. Michael November 29, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I love this post! And I love that quote by Marianne Williamson.
Thanks!

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3 Arvind Devalia November 30, 2009 at 4:27 am

Belinda, thanks for supporting the Blog with Heart Challenge!

From my perspective there really is no excuse for the world not to do more for those in more need.

I am not advocating straight giving, though there is always rooms for that, but giving people in the developing world a helping hand. Kiva provides us with the perfect platform for that.

As for personal excuses, we all make them on a daily basis. So often it is like waiting for all the lights to be green before we leave home!

Most of the time, we just have to take action and then see what happens. We will never know unless we try and do it.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to go through life and reach the end wondering what could have been?!

So no more excuses:-)

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4 Patty - Why Not Start Now? November 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Hi Belinda – I really enjoyed this. And what I like most is that you are proposing creating real world success stories. That’s refreshing. Because I do get tired of the BIG success stories we so often hear, that lead to fame and fortune. I like to embrace all the small successes out there, the small steps and the process. Participating in this sounds like a great way to do so. Thanks.

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5 Madeleine November 30, 2009 at 7:44 pm

“While my blog is still a baby, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join. ”

Thank you, Belinda. There goes that excuse. I’m going to write a post about this on my own baby blog.

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6 Malo December 8, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Kiva is a great site! Thanks for suggesting it Belinda.

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7 nadoby December 9, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Dear Author thehalfwaypoint.net !
It agree, this remarkable idea is necessary just by the way

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8 private_story December 25, 2009 at 6:05 am

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

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