We’re really good at coming up with reasons why we “can’t” but often those reasons are just excuses, and if we could have the courage to examine those excuses, we’ll realize that if we just work a little harder, we could turn can’t into CAN. 

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In early 2016 I got the opportunity to travel to Paraguay with 200 other Leadership Speakers, members of the John Maxwell Team, and John Maxwell himself to provide leadership training to thousands of business people.  Transformation Paraguay was an amazing initiative that reached 1/8th of the country in just 1 week.  Those leaders were then tasked to go back to their workplaces in their cities and share the training with at least 10 people and It was fun, exhausting, and an amazing opportunity.

Each night, the whole group would come together for dinner, and some kind of fun event.  On the third night, John told us of his visit that day to the slums of Cateura where the residents make a living picking through the nearby landfill for anything they can sell or use.  He went into detail about the extreme poverty, the smell, the tiny rivers of contaminated water flowing throughout the slums, but he also spoke of the hope, especially from a particular group and their leader.

He showed us the video of Favio Chavez, the musical director of the children’s orchestra in Cateura.  http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/  The kids learn to play instruments made completely of recycled garbage from the landfill, and they perform.  The video was heart warming and inspiring.

“And now, we thought it would be great for them to come and play for you!” and the kids of the landfill harmonic, and their garbage instruments came streaming into the stage in their light blue shirts and dark blue pants (incidentally the same uniform I wore for 3 years as a music student at the Interlochen Arts Academy.)  Tears streamed down my face as we listened to the beautiful music played by this amazing group who had the courage to say “no excuses.  We’re going to do this!”

It made me think about my life and my choices, and how often we make excuses because it’s the easy way out, and if we don’t risk, we won’t fall….but if we don’t risk, we also don’t fly. 

So what reasons are you making for not getting healthy, or not making more money, or not going back to school?  I guarantee there is someone out there with much better “reasons” who isn’t using those reasons to hold them back. 

Why do we do that?  Well, it’s easier to just make excuses.  It’s easier to not take the risk, the risk of judgment, the risk of failure, the risk that our hard work won’t bear fruit.  But if you don’t try, you’ll never have anything more than you have right now.  If you take the easy way, nothing ever gets better. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s not an option.

So have the courage examine your “reasons”, and decide whether they are truly reasons.  If some kid in a poverty striken family can learn to play a violin made of a fork and an old can, you can take that next step for your own better life.  It won’t be easy, but everything worth getting requires a little struggle, even if it’s just internal.

Get out there, and make it happen.