Are you born successful, or do you become successful by making certain choices and following different leads? When you think about the question, it becomes obvious that the second option is true. Sure, some people are born into better circumstances than others, but the reality is that every individual chooses whether or not they want to chase success.

Some individuals happen to be in the right place at the right time, while others encounter career-killing pitfalls. There's no way of knowing which direction your career will take. And while you can't dictate everything, you can control certain aspects.

Unfortunately, far too many people choose to play it safe. They get stuck in the nine to five grind and become comfortable with a meager salary and career stability. While there's nothing wrong with this, most business-minded people have higher dreams of launching an idea, building a business, or doing what they love. In these cases, there are five pervasive excuses that hold people back. Are they holding you back from pursuing what you really want to do?

The 5 Most Common Excuses

By reviewing the following five excuses and conducting an honest self-assessment, you may find that the only thing holding you back from chasing your business goals is yourself.

  1. "I don't have the time."

In most cases, the first excuse people use is that they don't have enough time. This is the easiest excuse to use, since most of us lead busy lives. Between a full-time job, family obligations, friendships, and hobbies, you may only have two or three hours of free time during the week. In other words, there's no way you have time to pursue your business dreams, right?

Everyone in the world has different circumstances. However, there's one constant that nobody can escape. Regardless of where you live, how many resources you have access to, or which talents you possess, you have 24 hours in a day--just like everybody else.

Do you think entrepreneurs who chase their goals have more time than you? Absolutely not. In many cases, they work 80, 90, or 100 hour weeks to pursue their dreams. In other words, they make time for what they're passionate about. It's all about prioritizing and organizing your life for optimal efficiency. Your current 40-hour workweek shouldn't be an excuse for not pursuing an alternative dream.

  1. "I don't have the resources."

The second most common excuse is a lack of resources. This self-imposed limitation is rooted in the belief that you need a ton of money or lots of connections to do what you love. Again, this is far from the truth. It's nothing more than an excuse for avoiding a challenge.

Here's a little exercise for you. Bring up you favorite search engine and conduct some research on self-funded businesses. You'll find a few results, but you'll quickly realize that fully self-funded business ventures are rare. Even incredibly successful and wealthy entrepreneurs rarely self-fund a startup. In the large majority of cases, they seek out resources from friends, family members, peers, and investors.

This just goes to show that you don't need millions of dollars in your personal savings account to chase after your dreams. If there's one thing that's more important than dollar signs, it's the will to succeed. With the right amount of confidence, you'll be able to find adequate resources.

  1. "I'm too old/young."

Age should not be a limiting factor when it comes to business success, but we unfortunately tend to make it a big deal. The irony is that we rarely think our age is appropriate for chasing our dreams. When you're in your twenties or thirties, you may think, "I'm way too young. I need a few more years under my belt." When you're in your forties, fifties, or sixties, you may say, "I'm too old to try something new."

This begs the question, when are you the right age to pursue your goals? The answer is now. Whether you're 21 or 61, you can, and should, chase your dreams. While there are certainly disadvantages to being young or old, there are also a handful of advantages. As a 21-year-old, you have energy and passion that's rarely found later in life. As a 61-year-old, you have wisdom and knowledge that was nonexistent when you were just starting out.

If you want further proof that age is nothing more than a number, check out this infographic that shows how old different people were when they found success. You may be surprised by what you discover.

  1. "I don't know enough to succeed."

The fourth most common self-imposed excuse is the idea that you don't know enough to succeed. This excuse is rooted in a lack of confidence and can be really damaging. The truth, though, is that nobody has it all figured out.

If Steve Jobs would've waited to have it all figured out before he invented the personal computer, nothing would've been done. If Mark Zuckerberg felt the need to graduate from college before launching Facebook, the social network may not exist today. Do you think these guys had it all figured out when they started chasing their dreams? The answer is no.

You don't have to know everything in order to be successful. You'll find people that can help offset your deficiencies, and you'll learn plenty along the way. A lack of knowledge isn't an adequate excuse for not doing the things you want to do.

  1. "I might fail."

The fifth most common excuse is the fear of failure. In fact, this may be the most pervasive excuse. While people commonly use the other four, it's this fear of not succeeding that prevents the majority of entrepreneurs from chasing their dreams.

Once again, this isn't a valid excuse. Even scarier than pursuing an idea and failing is watching someone else chasing your dream and succeeding. Failure is a possibility, but it shouldn't hold you back. The most successful people in the world have all experienced failure at one point or another. However, they chose to get back up and try again.

Remove Self-Imposed Limitations

Each of these five excuses is essentially a self-imposed limitation. Nobody else is keeping you from chasing your goals and dreams. While you may look at it this way, the reality is that--to an extent--you control whether or not you succeed.

Figure out which of these excuses you identify with the most and don't be afraid to push them aside and try something new. You'll enjoy the liberation that comes with chasing your passion. And who knows, you may just discover that elusive thing they call "success".

Published on: Dec 7, 2015