No Excuses. I have kids. I work full time. I have a disability. I have a chronic illness. I did it what’s your excuse…
The No Excuses Ideology started out as a motivational story to inspire people to make the most of what they can do instead of what they can’t. It has grown into a volatile attack of superiority. Instead of feeling inspired by someone with a clear challenge overcoming that challenge, you are meant to feel condemnation for not doing what they do.
I feel the change in tone is due to the appropriation of those images and the added voice’s superiority. I have seen images of amputees running with the quote “what’s your excuse” unrelated to the person running or even related to running or disabilities at all. Fitness trainers and coaches that feel inspired by these images are using them to sponsor “No Excuses” challenges or programs. The appropriation comes when the value is not in building up everyone to overcome their personal challenge but to make them feel inferior for not being as fit as the person they see. If an amputee can do it, why haven’t you, what’s wrong with you?
There is every reason to be inspired by someone saying “I will not be handicapped.” It takes strength and courage to say “I’m capable” when the world gives you plenty of reasons to feel incapable. To focus on what you can do and what you do have. To take control of your health. It does not make you a hero to have a challenge, or to be disabled. It does make you a hero, leader, and inspiration when you encourage and build up those around you. When you persevere through life’s challenges regardless of how brutal they may be.
I understand the trainers thinking but let me tell you from the special needs community, please stop. I know from personal experience how much work and perseverance it takes to overcome these major challenges. I don’t take it lightly when I see a person with a missing limb, or in a wheelchair, having their picture paraded with No Excuses. In most of the cases those that triumphed want you to focus on what you have, to take control of your health, and not waste your own resources. I’ve yet to meet someone that has overcome such a major challenge that wanted you to feel bad because they were more fit than you.
Let’s focus on building each other up. Find solutions to the challenges you face. Address the real truth that everyone faces challenges to their health. Everything around us encourages failure, wants you to gain weight, makes money off of you every time you do. No one is superior to you for the way their body looks. Every single person has a challenge to their health. Let’s not play who’s challenge is superior.
Let’s focus on finding solutions to curb the alarming health trends. Let’s save our family, our friends, each other from the detriments of poor health and nutrition. Let’s inspire others to overcome their challenges and take back No Excuses. Stop condemning others and encourage instead. No matter your ability just say “I’m able.”