Issue 7, June 1, 2009
— Dr. Wayne W.
Dyer, Excuses Begone!
In this issue:FEATURE: Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone!Guy Finley, Liberate Yourself Jeanie Marshall, Asking Empowering Questions Yasha, The Body-Mind Connection Sharon Elaine, Affirmations: Hopes and Dreams Jim Donovan, Don't Push Your Goals Away Gabriella Kortsch, Tending Your Inner GardenSong Chengxiang, One Fundamental Law of SuccessWider Screenings, Star Trek, Star Wars...EventsReviewsEarlier issues
Excuses Begone! was
created out of a belief that entrenched ways of thinking and acting can
indeed be eradicated. Furthermore, the most effective means for
eliminating habitual thoughts is to go to work on the very system that
created, and continues to support, these thinking habits. This system
is made up of a long list of explanations and defenses that can be
summed up in one word: excuses. Hence, the title of this book is really
a statement to yourself, as well as to that system of explanations
you've created. It is my intention that all excuses be . . . gone!
extract part one (part two next week)
Ideas for Eliminating Excuses
...I’d like to share with you a set of beliefs that I’ve adopted for
myself. I encourage you to be receptive to these ideas, even if they
initially seem inapplicable to your life at this time,
because I feel strongly that they’ll assist you in beginning the
process of moving away from justification and defensiveness.
Here are the seven tips I’ve personally found to be very helpful in
eradicating excuses from my life:
1. Remove Any
and All Labels
Old habits of thinking stick around, often for an entire lifetime,
largely because you create internal reasons to reinforce and maintain
them. These reasons, which I’m calling “excuses,” can become
permanently lodged in your subconscious—they’re labels you place on
yourself that ultimately become your self-definition. In the words of
Søren Kierkegaard, the famed Danish theologian: “Once you label me you
negate me.” As you enter the Excuses
Begone! paradigm, make a promise to yourself that you
won’t be labeling or negating yourself anymore.
My daughter Serena grew up labeling herself as “not athletic” or even
“frail,” a self-definition that morphed into a comfortable excuse
whenever physical activity came up. My daughter’s labels negated the
real Serena, who could become anything or anyone she chose. By
consciously making a decision to remove those labels, and nothing more,
Serena has gradually become a young woman who enjoys participating in
athletic events and who loves the positive changes in her body as a
result of daily exercise.
Rather than saddling yourself with self-limiting labels, affirm: I am capable of accomplishing
anything I place my attention upon. Make it clear to
yourself that you can never negate the real you; you’re an infinite
being, and with God all things are possible. The corollary of this
would be: with labels, most things are negated!
with Your Subconscious Mind
I refuse to accept the idea that we have an unconscious mind that
defies us by being completely inaccessible. To me, this is a
prescription for believing that for the major portion of our lives,
we’re controlled by unseen and unavailable forces residing within us. I
recognize that we’re often totally unaware of why we’re behaving in
certain ways, but this implies that we have no choice in the matter. Awareness is the
simple key for alleviating this condition.
Have regular conversations with your subconscious—remind it that you
don’t want to go through life on automatic pilot. Discuss your
unwillingness to be a victim of the whims of that “ghost in the
machine” of your body, whose orders originate in the mind viruses and
thinking habits that were programmed into it by people who are either
long dead or no longer play a role in your adult life.
I usually tell my own habitual mind things like this: “I know that I
have some really silly leftover habits that were instilled in me a long
time ago, and I want you to know that I’m no longer interested in
having my actions dictated by you. I’m bringing all of those old habits
of thought to the surface, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to
be more aware of all aspects of my life.”
I had a conversation like this recently regarding my inclination to
misplace my keys. I treated the ghost inside of me that always seemed
to place my car keys in difficult-to-find locations as if it were a
real person. While this may seem like an insignificant little habit,
for me, changing it was huge. To this day I rarely misplace my keys.
Initiate a conversation with your subconscious mind in which you make
it clear that you’re not going to let part of your life be run by an
invisible stranger who acts and reacts on the basis of memetic or
genetic programming. Instead, decide that you’re no longer going to
allow (or excuse) behavior from an unconscious part of yourself.
3. Begin the
Practice of Mindfulness
As you head into the seven chapters that identify a new paradigm for
ridding yourself of excuses permanently, I encourage you to begin a
practice of being more mindful. This is in fact what I did to end my
lifetime habit of being forgetful, particularly when it came to where I
placed my car keys.
At one time, I simply excused my can’t-find-my-keys behavior with this
label: “I’m forgetful.” I can recall both my mother and my wife often
exclaiming, “Oh, that’s Wayne, our absentminded professor!” Memes
buried within my subconscious became useful excuses for explaining my
habit of being forgetful . . . but then I discovered how to be mindful.
I began to practice being conscious of what I used to do unconsciously,
and it worked!
Each time I came into the house, I made a decision to be aware of my
keys in my hand—to feel the texture and shape of each one of them, to
hold them with awareness, to listen to the jingle-jangle sound—and then
place them in a special spot reserved just for them. And lo and behold,
an old unconscious habit had been brought to the surface and into my
conscious mind, causing that old excuse of being forgetful to be
eradicated. (On the rare day when I can’t find my keys now, it only
serves to reinforce my commitment to stay mindful.)
By the same token, there was a time when my yoga practice could
deteriorate into a boring routine and I’d become frustrated with
myself; or while swimming in the ocean, running along the beach, or
even sitting and writing, I could get lost in my old forgetfulness and
lose sight of the glorious feeling that’s available in all human
activity. I found that practicing mindfulness in many ways throughout
my day helped immensely.
In his book The Miracle
of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh advises us on this
The Sutra of Mindfulness says, “When walking, the practitioner must be
conscious that he is walking. When sitting, the practitioner must be
conscious that he is sitting. When lying down, the practitioner must be
conscious that he is lying down. . . .” The mindfulness of the
positions of one’s body is not enough, however. We must be conscious of
each breath, each movement, every thought and feeling, everything which
has any relation to ourselves.
These days when I swim, I experience my
arms moving, my legs kicking, my shoulders stretching, the feel and
taste of the salt water, my fingers cupped and moving the water, my
breathing, my heart rate . . . all of it. Practicing mindfulness has
taught me how to be in the moment and find my self as well as my keys!
That makes me think of a story Mobi Ho,
a Vietnamese scholar who translated Hanh’s book, tells:
As I sat down to translate The
Miracle of Mindfulness, I remembered the episodes during
the past years that had nurtured my own practice of mindfulness. There
was the time I was cooking furiously and could not find a spoon I’d set
down amid a scattered pile of pans and ingredients. As I searched here
and there, Thay [Hanh] entered the kitchen and smiled. He asked, “What
is Mobi looking for?” Of course, I answered, “The spoon! I’m looking
for a spoon!” Thay answered, again with a smile, “No, Mobi is looking
next week. No
thanks Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Hay House for permission to include this
extract from Excuses
WAYNE W. DYER
W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in
the field of self-development. He’s the author of 30 books, has created
numerous audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of
television and radio shows. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational
counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor
at St. John’s University in New York.