There is a hidden danger lurking in the depths of your mind. It wants to see your ambitions destroyed and you rendered as another mediocre cog on the wheel who leaves no legacy behind. It’s a stronger beast in some than in others, but it lies dormant, yearning to break free and control your mind, no matter who you are!
I’m talking about the Excuse Demon.
This post warning about and elaborating on how to deal with the Excuse Demon ties in well with my upcoming review of Gorilla Mindset, but it’s been in the pipeline for a while, because I’ve suffered this demon for long in my life.
The pathology of the Excuse Demon is that of enabler. It enables sloth, indolence, and mediocrity. It is imbued into us deeply by our culture, which performs rites to it as a sort of invisible Baphomet. It is the blood god of the mind that demands sacrifice, keeping us all slaves to our base nature and our consumerist society that demands good workers.
The path the Excuse Demon follows is one of rationalization. It is particularly insidious because it disguises itself in the guise of logic, which we as humans prize highly, and are therefore liable to misinterpret. The seductive voice of the Excuse Demon tells us that we can remain comfortable. There are reasons to keep ourselves penned up in our little boxes – ones that can be fully filled in with logic.
Do these sound familiar?
“I want to ask for a raise, but I just know it won’t happen because Bobby was just turned down…”
“I have this new idea, but probably no one will care…”
“That girl probably has a boyfriend…”
That is the rationalization logic that the Excuse Demon uses to beguile its victims. The Excuse Demon protects us from the fear of stepping outside the box or doing any work. While the excuses above are cliche because they happen to everybody, let me give you one that is whispered to me frequently.
“I don’t know what to do immediately at the moment, so I’ll take a break.”
This is a nagging excuse that pops up constantly in my head. The end result is that it winds up wasting me a ton of time. I use the excuse that I don’t know what to do to not do anything. It’s a terrible habit that I’m doing my best to break.
Another variation of this excuse is that the demon tells me that “what I’m about to do is hard.” This is a stealth rationalization to do nothing in the face of a challenge and/or fear. It enables procrastination with the seductive guise of logic.
You all probably have your own excuses. The Excuse Demon whispers in your head all kinds of manufactured logic to prevent your from achieving a higher state of being and drag you down into your sniveling, cowardly self.
Think about some of your own common excuses for a moment, aside from the generic ones. What excuse is your mind giving you when you’re contemplating an action? Is that excuse grounded in clearly observable reality or is it something your subconscious is just telling you, feeding you, like poison?
Quintus Curtius mentioned a long time ago to “not fear Goliath.” He said “not to focus on what Goliath is doing, but your own self and your sling.”
The Excuse Demon is telling you to fear Goliath. It’s making him seem immortal, when in actuality he can be defeated with a simple sling, if only you will have the courage to stand and use it.
The complete set of keys to defeating the Excuse Demon can be found in Gorilla Mindset, but one thing that is most important is boldness. Taking action when you hear the Excuse Demon talking to you has a marvelous effect – it shuts his voice down as your mind focuses on the movement of your body toward the desired end. This, for instance, is why I advocate immediately moving toward a woman you want to approach, or at least staying in motion if possible, instead of sitting down and freezing up.
So in the moment that you feel hesitant, a hesitance that you will inevitably rationalize with excuses, tell yourself what’s happening, envision the Excuse Demon trying to keep you from your goals, and take action. Move forward, and it will kill any feelings of procrastination. Once you start a task, especially a small one, you have a big incentive to finish it (this, for instance, is why portion control is the most important part of losing weight, as people innately want to eat all the food on their plate).
The mind and body are connected. One can lead the other. When the Excuse Demon rises, he is a part of your mind attempting to lead your body away from action. Outflank him and let your body lead your mind to greater things.
Procrastination and fear are the habits which kill all dreams. Your mind will attempt to rationalize them. Don’t allow it! This is a hard pattern to break, especially if you are not naturally inclined to long-term focus (as I am not), but it’s an effort that must be made, with consistent reminders to yourself and application with your actions.