by Bryan Golden
People avoid certain things for a variety of reasons. Fear is a significant cause of avoidance. It could be fear of failure, fear of criticism, or fear of hurt. Difficulty is another reason people avoid something. It’s much more appealing to take the path of least resistance than to struggle. Lack of time is also used to justify avoidance. An easy way out is to say you’re too busy.
Regardless of the reason, whenever you avoid something, you deprive yourself of an opportunity to grow and become stronger. When you develop a behavior pattern of constant avoidance, you forfeit an active role in your life in exchange for a passive one.
Suppose you want to improve your physical condition. You will have to exercise, which is a lot of work. It’s certainly easy to avoid exercise by sitting on the couch watching TV. You can tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow. Or you can use the excuse of not having enough time.
The bottom line is that you will not get in shape until you start working out. Exercise is effective because it forces your muscles to be active. By avoiding it, you gain nothing. The longer you avoid it, the longer it will take you to get in shape.
Avoidance may come into play when you want to go back to school. There are many job opportunities available only to those with a college degree. If you are interested in pursuing such a career path, but don’t have the necessary schooling, it is incumbent for you to obtain the required credentials.
It’s normal to be tired at the end of a day of work. The most appealing option is to go home and relax. It takes a lot of time to go to class and then put in many hours studying. That’s why many people avoid continuing their education.
You won’t benefit from an education unless you do whatever it takes to get one. Although many successful people have a limited formal education, education is never a limitation. An education is an example of something people avoid although it would make them stronger.
A person may avoid personal responsibility by maintaining a dependence on others. One can become deluded into a false sense of security believing someone else will take care of them. The someone else can be an employer, the government, a parent, a spouse, a friend, or any other person.
When you presume someone else is responsible for your well being, you can never be at fault for anything that goes wrong. It’s then easy to assign blame for your predicament. However, those who look into the mirror and take personal responsibility for their situation, have much more strength to solve problems and overcome adversity.
People who assume personal responsibility don’t blame others, rather they seek to discover the cause of a problem and fix it. Personal responsibility can be scary, but the benefits are substantial. Those who take personal responsibility have direct control over the quality of their lives.
Surprisingly, there are people who will avoid persistence by giving up at the first sign of adversity. They erroneously assume they have failed and are therefore justified in abandoning their quest. Future failures can then be avoided by not attempting anything new.
When you don’t avoid persistence, you pick yourself up whenever you stumble and keep going. In so doing, you have the strength to overcome obstacles and ultimately succeed.
Next time you are tempted to avoid something, first consider what you may be losing through your avoidance. You will become much stronger and have a more rewarding journey by embracing challenges rather than evading them.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden