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Rationalize Success Away

I was invited to do a Leadership workshop at a well known Fortune 100 company out in New Jersey. The all day event was geared toward their new crop of interns. At a point in my presentation I talked about the many reasons we come up with for not taking action. The many excuses we create in order to delay or defer acting on our plans to achieve success.

I talked about how we have a bad habit of 'rationalizing' why something can't be done or be accomplished. We procrastinate because we convince ourselves that: It can't get done, I don't have enough time, I have too much to do already, I'm short on money so now isn't a good time, My dog's sick so I'm not in the mood to start anything right now, I'm not smart enough, I'm not qualified?, on and on, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea! We rationalize why we can't get going.

Did you ever break up the word 'rationalize'? The ability to 'ration lies' to ourselves. That's what we do when we come up with all kinds of excuses of why we can't do something or why we haven't started on what needs to get done. We feed ourselves small doses of lies every day; to the point where we convince ourselves not to ACT.

Later on in this leadership workshop, a student asked a question about how to network into a job outside his current area of concentration. I responded by asking him what were some of the obstacles stopping him. He responded with a litany of excuses of why he wasn't able to do it (offices are not in the same building, hard to get a hold of people, it's a big company, etc). But each excuse, as I bluntly pointed out to him, was just that, an excuse. These were inconveniences, NOT obstacles. Huge difference!

I then questioned his commitment for change (i.e., how bad he wanted it). He stared at me in a way that indicated he had gotten the point. You see none of his excuses for networking and meeting people outside his group were valid. He was simply 'rationalizing' why he wasn't doing it. I too have been a victim of 'rationing-lies' to myself and procrastinating. But over the years I've gotten better at catching myself doing it and forcing myself to take action even when my mind wants to convince me otherwise.

I've concluded that dreams don't dissipate over night. The reason many people will never achieve their goals or realize their dreams is because they 'rationalize' them away, bit-by-bit, day-by-day, week-by-week and so on. Every year we make new resolutions only to relinquish them, not all at once, but slowly through the impotent-laden rhetoric of rationalization. Every moment you delay in starting your life's mission, that's one less day you have to work with.

So my question to you is this, "What have you been 'rationalizing' away?" "What dreams or goals have you been deferring, waiting for the right moment or timing?

Take action...don't rationalize your success away! Remember, success happens for a reason.

Victor Gonzalez, top Hispanic motivational speaker and author of "The LOGIC of Success". For more info go to: or by email

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