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Statements I hate: “it’s easier said than done”

cheap-talkOne of the blogs I follow is Harsh Reality by a blogger who refers to himself as Opinionated Man.

The site description reads:

My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.

One of yesterday’s posts was about how much the author hates the phrase “We come from similar backgrounds.”

In a nutshell, he finds it pretentious, insulting, and flat-out false.

If you want his full thoughts on the matter, you can read it for yourself here.

After reading his post, I started to wonder if there were any statements like that for me.

Without much effort, I was able to recall several popular statements that make me cringe.

Today, I’ll share the one cliché that stands at the top of my list:

“It’s easier said than done.”

If I could eliminate just one phrase from the English language, “it’s easier said than done” would be my unquestionable choice.

Here’s why:

Regardless of the topic of conversation, “it’s easier said than done” contributes nothing to the discussion other than the proclamation of a self-evident truth that literally applies to everything.

In and of itself, the phrase is not a bad thing. I understand what it’s supposed to mean and I acknowledge the sincerity of those who use it.

However, when this statement is typically invoked, it’s usually only uttered as a response to an invitation to do something constructive or creative.

People love to say “it’s easier said than done” as if it’s some sort of linguistic trump card that uniquely softens the blow of inspiring messages and healthy suggestions.

But here’s the deal: EVERYTHING is easier said than done.

Going to bed is easier said than done.

Seriously.

Going to bed might be easy, but it’s a lot easier to say “I’m going to bed” than it is to actually walk over to the bed, lie down, and fall asleep.”

Making toast for breakfast is easier said than done.

Again, making toast is quite a simple task, but it still involves activities like opening up a package of bread, removing a slice from the package, placing it in the toaster, setting the timer properly so it doesn’t burn, and so forth. Merely uttering the words “I’m going to make toast for breakfast” is a heck of a lot easier.

On so many occasions,  “It’s easier said than done” is triumphantly or fatalistically asserted as if it were a reason to reconsider or reject some important proposition.

But it isn’t.

It’s a relatively empty cliché that sounds more revelatory than it actually is.

Any decision that requires action, however small or insignificant those action-steps may be, is easier said than done.

The notion that some things are easier said than done while others things are easier to do than say is an illusion.

All of the hundred and one little choices you make on an average day are easier said than done.

Whether you’re making toast, training for a marathon, brushing your teeth, fighting for your marriage, tying your shoes, changing your diet, checking your voicemail, learning a new language, surfing the internet, taking a shower, or trying to change the world for good, it’s all easier said than done.

We unnecessarily, unfairly, and unproductively depreciate the demands of doing when we arbitrarily compare it with the ease of talking.

If you’re one of those people who loves responding to practical suggestions by saying “it’s easier said than done”, I offer you my response:

It’s better done than said.

So, just do it.

if you don’t want to do it, then do something else.

Because no matter what it is you decide to do, it’s always going to be easier said than done.

Your dream is a franchise: keep building no matter what!

Steve “Franchise” Francis grew up in abject poverty.

Raised by a single-mom, he grew up living in a 3-bedroom apartment shared with 14 people.

His passion, and natural talent, for basketball was thwarted by his inability to keep up his grades in High-School.

He was declared academically ineligible for his Freshman year and was kicked off the team during his Sophomore year.

During that same time, his mother, who had been living with a hernia for 10 years, died of health complications at the age of 39.

Francis fell into a deep depression and, as a result, would never play a game of basketball for his entire High-School career.

After being in a two-year emotional funk, while still battling the daily pressures of poverty and inner city life, Francis decided to use the death of his mother as motivation. He chose to see the tragedy as a lesson on the preciousness of life and, according to the words of a close friend, decided to use “the knowledge to go forward with his dreams.”

Unfortunately for Francis, he had no High-School basketball experience and, in spite of his skill and dedication to practice, he lacked the exposure necessary to get into a national college basketball program.

After attending two different junior colleges in a two-year period, Francis transferred to the University of Maryland where he finally got his shot to perform on a big stage.

He didn’t disappoint.

The Maryland Terrapins finished second in the ACC and Francis was named to the All-ACC first team and the All ACC Tournament team. The Terrapins were a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament but were defeated by St. John’s in the Sweet 16. Under Francis’ leadership, Maryland finished with a school record-setting 28 wins and only 6 losses and were ranked #5 in the final Associated Press poll (wikipedia).

After playing college ball for one year, Francis was selected as the #2 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.

In spite of experiencing every excuse for NOT achieving his dream, Francis found a way to get into the NBA.

You can watch his story, Beyond the glory Steve Francis, for yourself here.

Enough about Francis.

Let’s talk about you.

What are your problems? What are your legitimate excuses? What are the odds you’re working against?

Don’t ignore them. Don’t pretend as if they’re illusory.

Acknowledge them. Write them down. Take a cold hard look at them.

After you’ve done that, ask yourself the following:

Will I let this list of dream defeaters define my destiny or will I choose to regard them as opportunities to gain the knowledge to go forward with my dreams?

Your call.

TK’s Two Cents “Excuses are great, but they don’t create.” Part II

In my last post, I opened up a discussion on the issue of “excuses”. You can read that post here. I ended by saying I would “give you my two cents on the critical component to successfully creating the  results you desire in any area of life.” Well, here goes…

Stop talking to your Ex(cuse)

You must find a way to forego the luxury of having excuses. Plain & simple. You have a right to your excuses, but being right wont always get you want you want. Your parents will understand, but your heart will never be content. You must learn to love making things happen more than you love being sympathized with for not doing what you really want to do.

When we make up our minds to consciously evolve in some aspect of life, it’s as if the Universe decides to “test” us by sending several fantastic reasons our way for why it would be completely okay if we decided to quit or procrastinate.

People who wish to take charge of their lives must resolve to decline those invitations as much as possible.

The real “why”

Good News:

If you fail to do the work you were created to do, the people who truly love you will most likely understand your reasons why.

Bad News:

You’re not here on this Earth for the sole purpose of being understood by the people who truly love you. You could be loved by everyone on the planet and still be miserable.

Better News:

The real reason why you’re here is to do the work you’ve been uniquely created to do. Those who find a way to conquer their excuses and engage in this work, know the difference between existing and being alive. The philosopher and civil rights leader, Howard Thurman, advises

“Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

One of the deepest sources of joy in this life comes from voluntary involvement in the process of creating something you love. Whether you actually “succeed” or not is irrelevant. It’s the sensation of being alive, of flowing harmoniously with the energy of who you know you’re supposed to be that comprises genuine satisfaction. This satisfaction is the real “why” that you’re looking for. The reason “why” you’re not experiencing that satisfaction is the cheap imitation. It looks good and it might fool others, but you’ll always know for yourself that it falls short of the real thing.

What excuses can and can’t do

Excuses can appease your guilt, but they can’t alleviate the pain of an unlived life.

Excuses provide you with reasons, but they don’t protect you from regrets.

Excuses can make you look good in the short-term, but they never make you feel good in the long-term.

Excuses are great, but they do not create.

Only YOU can create and you can’t do that until you say goodbye to some really good excuses first.

If you feel the achievement of your personal goals is being hindered by difficult to overcome excuses, stay tuned. In the future, I will return to this topic and offer some personal suggestions for how we can get around them. It’s a learning process for all of us and it will take some work, but our happiness is well worth the effort.

For now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some creating to go do. I hope you do too. Either way, I’m glad you stopped by for a cent or two.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Excuses are great, but they don’t create.

An excuse would not be an excuse if wasn’t at least somewhat reasonable. The presence of logic is precisely what separates an excuse from just plain ol’ hogwash.  There’s another word I could use here, but my Dad’s a pastor and he reads my blogs now so I need to keep things PG-13. That’s an honest excuse. I’m not hogwashing.

Hogwash vs Excuses

“Hogwash” is pure nonsense. In fact, it’s so nonsensical that the person who’s telling it doesn’t even believe what they’re saying. Statements like “My dog ate my homework” is just plain ol’ hogwash. It’s a way to keep the conversation going in order to avoid confronting the real issue at hand.

An “excuse” is a logical sounding explanation for why a given result was not obtained. “I have the flu and have thrown up three times already and it’s not even noon yet” is an excuse.

Hogwash is obnoxious. Excuses are respectable.

The subtle danger of excuses

The most dangerous thing about an excuse is that, although they are far more intelligent and socially acceptable than hogwash, they ultimately produce the same net results. The only difference between a hogwasher and a man with a good excuse is that one of them has a respectable reason for not getting anything done and the other lacks a respectable reason for not getting anything done. But in the end they both still get nothing done. By “getting nothing done”, I’m specifically referring to the process of avoiding what you love whether you’re physically active or not.

I fully excuse your excuses

Before you conclude that I’m a cruel insensitive jerk, let me be clear about the fact that I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong with not getting things done. This is not an essay on how I think you should live your life. If you don’t spend your time and energy following your own bliss, I harbor no judgement towards you at all. I don’t find you annoying. I don’t think you’re a  lazy idiot. I don’t think you need to change. In fact, I don’t even think excuses are bad. Sometimes, an excuse here or there seems necessary. So, if you feel passionate about excuses in any way, I’m glad to let you know that we can still harmoniously coexist on this planet.

However…

For the person who wants to get the most out of life, there must be a clear understanding of the following fact:

Being great at creating what you love is not the same as being great at explaining why you are not creating what you love.

If you need heart surgery, do you want the doctor who’s great at heart surgery or do you want the friendly lovable awesome guy with a totally understandable reason for why his inability to finish medical school was completely beyond his control?

More importantly, if it was your dream to be a heart surgeon, which one of those people would you rather be?

In tomorrow’s post, I will give you my two cents on the critical component to successfully creating the  results you desire in any area of life.

I hope you’ll join me for the dialogue. In the meantime, make it a great day.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Click here for “Excuses are great, but they don’t create.” Part II

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