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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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