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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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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