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9 Things That Successful People Don’t Do

9 Things That Successful People Don’t Do

Success is a mindset and a series of habits tied around that mindset. What separates a successful person from an unsuccessful one is the way that they approach life. Picture in your head any person that you think is successful and you will probably find that there are many things that they do and many things that they don’t do. When you picture several of these types of people, you will find a pattern. You too can take your first steps toward success, if you just recreate this pattern. By mirroring some of the things that they don’t do, you too can become successful!

1. They don’t have too many goals

The first biggest mistake that people make is that they don’t set any goals. The second one is that some set too many. Successful people only set a few goals at a time. They know that achieving a goal requires hard work and an intense focus.

People who set too many goals at the same time, often end up not achieving any. This is because working towards a goal requires enormous willpower and self-discipline. Willpower is a finite resource and if you have too many goals, you might spread it too thin, not having enough to even reach even one individual goal.

2. They don’t set goals without figuring out their priorities

This doesn’t mean that successful people don’t achieve several goals, most of them do, but they do it in a smart way by setting priorities and working on just a small number of goals at a time.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower was not only one of the most successful American general of World War 2, he also later became the US President. One of the secrets to his success was the fact that he knew how to set priorities.

He used what we now call the Eisenhower Matrix. He divided up a box into 4 parts, with each part showing how urgent and important each task or goal was. When he had to do multiple tasks, he would prioritize by putting each into one of the squares: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not urgent and not important.

What you can do is write down all your goals on a piece of paper with the one of highest priority at the top. Then go down the list and put a check next to the first and second goals on the list, and strike out all the rest. First focus on these as your priorities. Once you have achieved them, start going down the list.

3. They don’t go about without setting out a plan to achieve their goals

Successful people always have a plan on how to achieve their goals. Without a plan, you are very likely to falter. Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest painters of the 20th century put it this way:

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“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

4. They don’t set unrealistic goals

When setting goals, they don’t set unrealistic goals, but instead focus on what is possible. Ancient Stoic principles state that you should focus on changing the things that you can change and not worry about the rest. Focus on what is possible to do, and the seemingly impossible will take care of itself.

You should set realistic goals, and go step by step through your plan. Every time you should set mini-goals and work towards them. You should build one goal on top of another.

Michael Jordan described how he went about becoming arguably the best basketball player ever:

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“I approach everything step by step….I had always set short-term goals. As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one. When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again….So I set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity. That’s what I focused on all summer. When I worked on my game, that’s what I thought about. When it happened, I set another goal, a reasonable, manageable goal that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough….I guess I approached it with the end in mind. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there. As I reached those goals, they built on one another. I gained a little confidence every time I came through.”

5. They don’t set goals without keeping in mind the benefits that the achievement of those goals will bring them

In order to keep yourself motivated, when setting goals, you need to keep in mind the benefits that achieving that goal will bring you. You might be working towards having a dream body, but in reality the dream body is not the end point. It is the benefits of having a great body, like increased strength and health that are the end point.

6. They don’t have a fixed mindset

Successful people don’t have a fixed mindset. Instead, they know that if they work hard, they will be able to achieve whatever they want. They know that destiny is in their hands and that if they set out to achieve something, they will do it.

7. They don’t complain all the time

One thing that separates the successful people from the unsuccessful ones it that the unsuccessful ones complain and don’t do anything, while the successful ones keep their mouth shut, take what was given to them and get to work. Instead of wasting time complaining, they think about what they can do to change their unpleasant situation. Then they go about doing it.

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8. They don’t let their egos get ahead of them

Successful people also don’t let their egos get ahead of them, but instead stay humble. The ones who don’t lose sight of this principle often end up falling really hard. Hubris is the enemy of success.

They know that life is a series of struggles and that in order to succeed, they need to fail a few times. However instead of giving up, they pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and continue on their journey towards success.

A.R. Rahman, an Indian singer-songwriter described how important staying humble is:

“To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head.”

9. They don’t sit on their ass

Successful people never sit on their ass, but instead work hard. They never stop learning, whether from books or from other people. They know that success doesn’t come without effort.

Featured photo credit: Success/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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