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7 Dumb Things That Smart People Do To Undermine Their Success

7 Dumb Things That Smart People Do To Undermine Their Success

You would be surprised at how many smart people wake up at night and wonder what went wrong with their careers. They had it all going for them. They joined the best company at the right time, they had excellent qualifications and yet, somehow, they have not advanced to the point where they can look with pride at what they have achieved. Here are 7 things they have overlooked along the way.

1. They forget to develop a good support system.

They all know about teamwork and perform it religiously, but they never develop a real support system. They fail to realize that everybody needs advice from the experts in their field who will guide them and help them learn.

They never realize the potential for learning from these competent and kind people and they forget to seek them out. They are not easy to find. You need trustworthy, competent people in your support system.

If you neglect to build this, you may find yourself in a bind when you need last minute help or some candid feedback on your project. Sharing one’s knowledge is the other side of the coin and is always a great investment.

“Be nice to the people on your way up, because you’ll also be seeing them on your way down.” – Unknown

2. They underestimate the fallout from negative thinking.

These smart people can immediately see what is wrong with the policy, projects and company procedure. They are somewhat frustrated that they cannot influence company policy as they would like. Guess what? This is what comes across as complaining and not being proactive enough to get things moving.

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Negative thinking is one major factor that gets in the way of most careers. The whiners are usually at the top of the list of people who will be laid off.

Cynthia Shapiro has outlined this in her book Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know—And What to Do About Them.

“Don’t ever publicly complain, disagree or express a negative view.” – Cynthia Shapiro

3. They neglect to do their own PR.

This is about building relationships at every level. That is why they have to build bridges all the time with everybody who will have a say in their promotion or downfall.

They do not realize that qualifications, skills and successes are not enough. They do not volunteer to take on new responsibilities and do not seek out unique ways to raise their profile within the company.

In fact, success, knowledge, qualifications and brilliance have a habit of irritating some people and they come across as being too pushy. This is all the more reason to get going on their own PR. If they neglect that, nobody else will properly do it for them.

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4. They do not understand the risks of multitasking.

Lots of managers and leaders seem to thrive on multitasking. They may do for various reasons, like pressure of time, stress, looming deadlines and so on. They might think it is even a more efficient way of keeping everything under control.

Researchers at Stanford University have found that there is no substitute for doing one thing at a time. In fact, they have found that being bombarded with several streams of information affects their memory, focus and attention to detail.

Multitaskers have problems in sifting irrelevant details and when they do have to switch to another task, they are actually slower than their one task at a time counterparts.

5. They become too complacent.

They have gotten the job they’d wanted and their upward path is almost guaranteed. Well, not quite. The danger here is that many managers just assume that they can take it easy. They fail to grab chances to widen their skills set and even keeping up to date on technology.

They also neglect to find out what is going on in their industry. Other leaders tend to neglect details and start to cut corners.

Some of them cannot even be bothered to join the relevant professional organizations and they pass up opportunities on joining various committees which are extremely useful for career advancement, as they can be in the loop as to what is changing.

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The dizzying changes in technology alone are frightening and they need to be up to speed on this and many other aspects of their business. Complacency has ruined many careers.

6. They do not realize the value of networking.

Many managers and leaders are so wrapped up in their own career goals that they neglect an essential task of networking outside the company. They fail to see the potential of personal, operational and strategic networking.

At the strategic level, they may miss out on getting stakeholder support for future challenges. They may fail to see the potential at the personal level of using these contacts for their own professional development.

At the company level, they are not exploiting useful contacts for information, trends and developments in their industry.

7. They lose touch with their values and ethics.

“Character is the quiet, reserved, value-creating force of the person, untouched by circumstances or external pressures.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

After some time, there is a risk that many managers and employees go on autopilot. What happens then is that their values, ethics and drivers get shoved down on the list of priorities.

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It is an alarming fact of life that you will hear more colleagues complaining about their bad eyesight, memory or hearing than about questioning company ethics, values and their own character defects. It is frightening to reflect that bad management is often the result of thousands of tiny surrenders of certain values and ethics which are eroded on a daily basis.

Do you think that your career is at risk because of one or more of the above scenarios? Have you made one of these dumb mistakes? It may be time to take stock.

Smart people who succeed have always worked hard and they never stop building relationships. Above all, they never lose sight of their own strengths and weaknesses and they are keenly aware that they must never become complacent or negative.

Featured photo credit: Manager for a day/ FTTUB via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2018

Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

What do you think it takes to achieve your goals? Hard work? Lots of actions? While these are paramount to becoming successful in reaching our goals, neither of these are possible without a positive mindset.

As humans, we naturally tend to lean towards a negative outlook when it comes to our hopes and dreams. We are prone to believing that we have limitations either from within ourselves or from external forces keeping us from truly getting to where we want to be in life. Our tendency to think that we’ll “believe it when we see it” suggests that our mindsets are focused on our goals not really being attainable until they’ve been achieved. The problem with this is that this common mindset fuels our limiting beliefs and shows a lack of faith in ourselves.

The Success Mindset

Success in achieving our goals comes down to a ‘success mindset’. Successful mindsets are those focused on victory, based on positive mental attitudes, empowering inclinations and good habits. Acquiring a success mindset is the sure-fire way to dramatically increase your chance to achieve your goals.

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The idea that achieving our goals comes down to our habits and actions is actually a typical type of mindset that misses a crucial point; that our mindset is, in fact, the determiner of our energy and what actions we take. A negative mindset will tend to create negative actions and similarly if we have a mindset that will only set into action once we see ‘proof’ that our goals are achievable, then the road will be much longer and arduous. This is why, instead of thinking “I’ll believe it when I see it”, a success mindset will think “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

The Placebo Effect and What It Shows Us About The Power of Mindset

The placebo effect is a perfect example of how mindset really can be powerful. In scientific trials, a group of participants were told they received medication that will heal an ailment but were actually given a sugar pill that does nothing (the placebo). Yet after the trial the participants believed it’s had a positive effect – sometimes even cured their ailment even though nothing has changed. This is the power of mindset.

How do we apply this to our goals? Well, when we set goals and dreams how often do we really believe they’ll come to fruition? Have absolute faith that they can be achieved? Have a complete unwavering expectation? Most of us don’t because we hold on to negative mindsets and limiting beliefs about ourselves that stop us from fully believing we are capable or that it’s at all possible. We tend to listen to the opinions of others despite them misaligning with our own or bow to societal pressures that make us believe we should think and act a certain way. There are many reasons why we possess these types of mindsets but a success mindset can be achieved.

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How To Create a Success Mindset

People with success mindsets have a particular way of perceiving things. They have positive outlooks and are able to put faith fully in their ability to succeed. With that in mind, here are a few ways that can turn a negative mindset into a successful one.

1. A Success Mindset Comes From a Growth Mindset

How does a mindset even manifest itself? It comes from the way you talk to yourself in the privacy of your own head. Realising this will go a long way towards noticing how you speak to yourself and others around you. If it’s mainly negative language you use when you talk about your goals and aspirations then this is an example of a fixed mindset.

A negative mindset brings with it a huge number of limiting beliefs. It creates a fixed mindset – one that can’t see beyond it’s own limitations. A growth mindset sees these limitations and looks beyond them – it finds ways to overcome obstacles and believes that this will result in success. When you think of your goal, a fixed mindset may think “what if I fail?” A growth mindset would look at the same goal and think “failures happen but that doesn’t mean I won’t be successful.”

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There’s a lot of power in changing your perspective.

2. Look For The Successes

It’s really important to get your mind focused on positive aspects of your goal. Finding inspiration through others can be really uplifting and keep you on track with developing your success mindset; reinforcing your belief that your dreams can be achieved. Find people that you can talk with about how they achieved their goals and seek out and surround yourself with positive people. This is crucial if you’re learning to develop a positive mindset.

3. Eliminate Negativity

You can come up against a lot of negativity sometimes either through other people or within yourself. Understanding that other people’s negative opinions are created through their own fears and limiting beliefs will go a long way in sustaining your success mindset. But for a lot of us, negative chatter can come from within and these usually manifest as negative words such as can’t, won’t, shouldn’t. Sometimes, when we think of how we’re going to achieve our goals, statements in our minds come out as negative absolutes: ‘It never works out for me’ or ‘I always fail.’

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When you notice these coming up you need to turn them around with ‘It always works out for me!’ and ‘I never fail!’ The trick is to believe it no matter what’s happened in the past. Remember that every new day is a clean slate and for you to adjust your mindset.

4. Create a Vision

Envisioning your end goal and seeing it in your mind is an important trait of a success mindset. Allowing ourselves to imagine our success creates a powerful excitement that shouldn’t be underestimated. When our brain becomes excited at the thought of achieving our goals, we become more committed, work harder towards achieving it and more likely to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

If this involves creating a vision board that you can look at to remind yourself every day then go for it. Small techniques like this go a long way in sustaining your success mindset and shouldn’t be dismissed.

An Inspirational Story…

For centuries experts said that running a mile in under 4 minutes was humanly impossible. On the 6th May 1954, Rodger Bannister did just that. As part of his training, Bannister relentlessly visualised the achievement, believing he could accomplish what everyone said wasn’t possible…and he did it.

What’s more amazing is that, as soon as Bannister achieved the 4-minute mile, more and more people also achieved it. How was this possible after so many years of no one achieving it? Because in people’s minds it was suddenly possible – once people knew that it was achievable it created a mindset of success and now, after over fifty years since Bannister did the ‘impossible’, his record has been lowered by 17 seconds – the power of the success mindset!

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