8 Reasons Why You’ll Never Live the Life You’re Capable of Living

Excuses come in all shapes and forms, and they’ll continue to take on other shapes and forms, that is, until we remove them from our lives, and begin to live our lives on our terms. Here are 8 reasons why you’ll never live the grand, epic life that you’re capable of living.

All 8 things, may not describe you, but run through the list and be real with yourself. Pull out a journal and jot down which areas you can improve on, and where you have everything under control. This article is a great resource for self-reflection and clarifying your path and your purpose. Use it. Don’t just gloss over it.

1. You don’t know your “why”.

Merely making money isn’t a why. It won’t get you up at 5 am 365 days a year. It won’t help you inspire people to join your cause. Money is a benchmark. A measuring stick that tells you how good you are at what you’re doing. Is it the only benchmark? No. But it’s a valid one.

To live to your capabilities – which I’m confident you’re viewing in a limited capacity – you need to have a purpose and mission. There has to be something you’re trying to create, disrupt, or give to the world. There has to be something, someone, you’re working towards that’s greater than your own monetary success.

Are you out to change how the world communicates? Are you trying to inspire? Are you here to educate and enlighten? Define your way, and make sure it impacts this planet and the fine people in it, in a positive way.

2. You don’t have a chip on your shoulder.

You’ve had it easy your entire life with no one telling you that you can’t make it. You have nothing to prove, either to yourself or to anyone else. Or, you’ve had people tell you that you won’t make it your entire life, and you’ve started to believe them.

Either way, if you lack a rather large chip on your shoulder, an insatiable desire to prove yourself to yourself or to others, you’re not going to reach your true potential, you’re not going to squeeze every bit of ability and talent out of your bones. Instead, you’ll settle with “ok”.

Michael Jordan kept a massive chip on his shoulder even when he was on top of the world and his profession. So did Jobs, Gates, and Gretzky. Some downgrade this “desire to prove one’s self”, saying it’s unhealthy. And maybe it is. All I know is that those who have a burning desire to prove themselves accomplish more in life than those who are content with mediocrity. If you’re constantly trying to prove something, you’re constantly improving.

3. You think failure is the end.

There are two kinds of people, those who see failure as a lesson, as added motivation, and as something that will only make them work harder, and those who see failure as the end, a “sign” to start something else, and do something else with their time and life.

The first group of people, those like Edison, Jordan, Robert E. Lee, and Theodore Roosevelt, will succeed in the long run, but they’re also going to fail a lot more than the group that sees failure as the end.

Failure isn’t the end unless we allow it to be. In my own life I’ve failed miserably time after time, even in this business, and I will continue to do so. But each time I fail, I learn. Not to say that I’m an ideal case for a “winner”, but hey, I’ve learned to see failure in its true light, and it’s a choice to see it as such.

4. You take days off.

What’s misunderstood about creating something, anything, be it a company, a dream, a goal that’s seen to its fruition, is that there’s often no end to the journey. There are no days off. There is no end of the rainbow, just a lifetime of hustling, but also plenty of reward.

If you’re not prepared to work harder than everyone else – even though that may not be possible at all times – you’re not going to succeed. Hard work, however, isn’t merely a matter of building a business, but a matter of building character.

Hard work and persistence will make you a winner in the end, even if it’s not in the field you start out in. Hard work and persistence is how you develop grit, and it’s grit that will make you a stronger, tougher, more successful man.

5. You lack conviction.

When I first started this business I joined a mastermind group filled with friends who were killing it in my industry, and industries like it. And although it was great for relationship-building, I was getting pulled in too many directions, given too much advice, far too early in my entrepreneurial life. So, even though it may have been great advice, it was just too much. I lacked conviction on my direction for this company, something that I’m only now steadfast and firm on, which has served me much better than the watered-down focus that I had when I first started.

The lesson:

If you know your values, and your why, you’re going to find it much easier to make the right decisions for your life, business, or whatever.

6. You’re a fake optimist.

A positive attitude is a must, and to see things in a positive light (like the failure example) is necessary, but you can’t be a fake optimist who’s unable to see the truth about a situation or about his life, and still succeed.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from studying Robert E. Lee was that a leader must accept the truth about his situation, and then make the best of it. But so many of us fail to accept our realities as they truly are, let alone make the best of the situation.

We think everything will work out, yet we don’t put the work in needed to succeed. We fail to see our wrongdoings and weaknesses, thus, we don’t fix them. Alas, you should put a positive spin on things, but don’t fail to see the truth, and life, as it really is. It’s only then that you can make the best of it.

7. You think people are born into success.

Being born into wealth has no value. There’s no room for growth, resilience, and acquiring grit. It’s useless. As a man, you shouldn’t even want that to be the narrative and your life. You should thrive on challenges. You should seek them out.

If, right now, you feel that success is something you’re born in to, you have to change the way you think, or you’ll never become a tough, strong, gritty man, let alone a successful one who lives to his true potential.

If you think your success is out of your hands, why work? What’s awesome is that there are more millionaires and billionaires that weren’t born into their success than there are those who were. So not only is this a destructive mindset that will lead to failure, but it’s also not true.

Taking control of your life is the only way to live the life you’re capable of living. If you fail to do so because you truly believe that it isn’t in your control, then you’re on your way to a life lived far beneath your potential.

8. You see everything as a curse.

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.” ~ Carlos Casteneda

Setbacks aren’t setbacks unless you treat them as such. Failure isn’t the end, unless you let it be so. Life is a challenge. It’s a massive challenge made up into smaller challenges, that are then broken up into daily challenges, and even mental challenges that you face every minute.

Are you a warrior or a coward? How do you see the world? Do you see the road ahead as a challenge, or do you see your starting point as a curse?

Man the up and see it as a damn challenge! Within you, somewhere, maybe buried under a false perspective, and mountains of weaknesses that you’ve incurred over years of living in this hard world, is a warrior. Bring him out. Let him rise. Give him life, and let him develop. How is this done? By rising to the challenge! You have a warrior somewhere within you, it’s this warrior that will help you live the life you’re capable of living, it’s the coward that will make you fail.

  • Dave

    I’m not really down with number 2. People with chips on their shoulders are unattractive humans. If thats the price of success I’ll give it a miss.
    Agree with the others though. Very good stuff. No excuses or whingey poor me crap. Man up and get back on it.

    • Ya that’s a good point. I don’t think I explained it well enough.

      • Sean

        I think it all makes sense if you remove the words ‘chip on your shoulder’. You can still have a burning desire without it

      • E.G.N.

        Chip on your shoulder is just fine as long as you don’t shove it in peoples faces. Use it for personal growth but keep it to yourself. Use it as the drive you need to accomplish the things in life you want to accomplish. Having a chip on your shoulder is just fine, it’s how you use it that defines you as a man.

      • Tynam

        …or indeed as a person. One of the most brilliant scientists I know is a mathematician who was told at a very young age – by a teacher! – that there was no point in her trying hard with maths because she’d never amount to anything. (I don’t know if it was personal, or just the usual stupid girls-can’t-do-science crap.)

        Even as a young child, she knew that was stupid, wrong, and bad teaching. She’s been pissed off about it ever since – and the resulting career has been _phenomenal_.

        But you don’t have to hold a grudge about it.

        Suggestion: Maybe a better way to phrase it is “2. You don’t have anything to prove.” The common factor in people who change the world is that they feel the need to.

      • Well said. Different wording, same soul. There’s nothing wrong with having something to prove, Jordan (Michael) was so great because he’d take the smallest sign of disrespect as a challenge. Unhealthy? Maybe. But be strong enough to control it and use it.

  • Ty Williams

    There’s a 9th reason….if one.don’t read and.comprehend.good advice…

    • Great point. i think there’s a few others, I might add to this post.

  • Chris

    Found your site through Art of Manliness and the Wolverine post. I’ve read a lot of health and man blogs and this by far is one of the best dude. Thanks.

  • ChiefSittingBull

    Great post, Chad, although I am kind of confused with number 6. Can optimism and realism coexist? I don’t consider myself an optimist in any sense, but I am a die hard realist. Realism prompts action and provides results whereas optimism is just wishful thinking. I find it very hard to be both, and that seems to be my problem with the whole “new age” community. That they just go on and on about being positive when they should be preaching for people to get off their asses and do the work.

    Anyhow, fantastic post. Keep ’em coming.

    • I think optimism of action can exist with realism. I can’t stand the new age community, bunch of hippies with their heads in the clouds failing to see reality. It’s the realists who benefit humanity, guys like Robert E. Lee and even Jesus – but both of them were optimists in action, that is, they saw the reality, then CHOSE to make a positive result.

      It’s the result that can be positive, but we don’t have to ignore the negative realities of life, I think that’s unhealthy and not smart.

    • Tynam

      Yep, they go together. Success comes from being realistic about what the world _is_, and optimistic about what it _can be_. Then making plans that go from one to the other.

  • Awesome man, this is right on.

    I think number four should be more well defined though, instead of never taking days off, you should on take a break off when it serves you more than working.

    My philosophy is that you should be doing whatever is necessary to become stronger every day, and sometimes (although not nearly as much as people like to think) that means taking some time to relax so you can come back even stronger.

    Burn yourself to the ground, then keep pushing through, THEN take a little break. Then come back even harder.

    • Agreed. A day off in nature especially, is a day that has aided you in your quest. Great point.

      • Tynam

        That. Presenteeism is as stupid as absenteeism – you shouldn’t be in the office because “it’s 3.15 on a weekday”; you should be in the office because you’re accomplishing your goals there.