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Making plans, not excuses, to attain dreams

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A lot of times, we can get caught up in what we think we can't do. We forget that we can do a lot.

Karen
Osborne

How much do you like the band One Direction? What would you do to see them in concert? Would you work hard for the ticket money? Or would you make an excuse and not go?

My niece saw One Direction for the first time last year. She had the time of her life. When she discovered that One Direction's new tour was coming to the city where I live but not hers, she decided she still wanted to go.

The problem was that her allowance wouldn't cover the ticket and the flight, and that the bill for the whole trip was too expensive for her mom to pay. There were a lot of reasons -- or excuses -- preventing her from going to the concert, but she was determined to go. Her excitement reminded me of when my friends and I wanted to see New Kids on the Block. (Hey, they were cool once!) The tickets were expensive. My parents told me that I needed to work off the cost and gave me a list of chores to do if I wanted to go.

I fed myself a lot of excuses. "I can't go because I don't want to rake those leaves; I can't go because there's no way I'm going to be able to do all of those chores."

A lot of times, we can get caught up in what we think we can't do. We forget that we can do a lot. I have a friend who spends all of her time on Facebook complaining about what she can't do. She can't get a job because she doesn't have skills, she says. She can't get skills because she can't go to school. She can't go to school because of a ton of excuses: loans, moving out of New York City, not wanting to look stupid, not wanting to shut off Netflix. It's exhausting to hear, especially when you realize that all she needs to do is make an effort.

We can make a lot of excuses even if they're silly. But we use them because we're scared or because we're simply lazy. These excuses keep us from having the life we should be leading.

My niece could have looked at the cost of the trip and said, "That's too much, I'll just stay home."

Instead, she did chores for family and friends and arranged for donations to her concert fund in lieu of birthday presents. It took effort and a lot of problem-solving, but she soon had a plane ticket and a floor seat for the hottest show in town.

That's what happens when you start working for what you want. I saw New Kids on the Block back in my day because I stopped making excuses. My niece is going to see One Direction for the same reason.

Erase your excuses and start singing along instead.

KAREN OSBORNE IS A COLUMNIST WITH THE CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE.

Karen Osborne is a columnist for Catholic News Service

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