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7 Life Barriers People Overcome to be Successful

7 Life Barriers People Overcome to be Successful

Becoming a success isn’t something that happens by accident, chance, or luck. The Mark Zuckerbergs and Michael Jordans of the world have the same 24 hours in a day that we all have, and they face some of the same barriers that we face on a daily basis.

The difference lies in how they utilize their time, and how they maneuver past these barriers without wasting a single moment. Some of the most successful people of our time have had to deal with:

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1. Age Discrimination

There’s this misconception in society that 20-year-olds are too young to know enough about the world to succeed, and anyone over 60 is too old to be considered in touch with the realities of the modern world. Though neither stereotype is necessarily true, people in those age ranges have to accept the existence of these beliefs and work hard to ensure their age doesn’t define them. Young adults can do this by bringing unique perspectives to the table rather than regurgitating what their college professors droned on about for hours. Older people can find success by being keeping up with contemporary changes in the way work is done throughout the world. In fighting against age discrimination, you can show the naysayers that you’re worthy of a challenge, regardless of your age.

2. What others think

If you want to be successful, you can’t take what others say personally. As a writer, I’ve had to change my habit of seeing criticism in a negative sense, and realizing I can take negative comments and use them to improve my future work. It’s not so much that I stopped caring altogether what others have to say, but that I started looking past criticism to see constructive feedback. Along with this, you can’t compare yourself to other people. The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday; as long as you’ve made some sort of improvement on your former self, you’re on the path to success.

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3. Toxic people

Some people don’t want to see you succeed, because then they’ll feel inadequate themselves. These people need to be dropped from your life before too much damage is done. There’s a saying: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” In other words, you should surround yourself with other like-minded people who thrive on success, and who continuously look for ways to improve their lives. By doing so, you’ll want to push yourself to be a better person as well. Hanging out with complacent people will only lead you to a dead-end road in life.

4. Fear

Some people have a hard time overcoming fear. Fear of failure, fear of being made a fool of, fear of being laughed at. First of all, fear is all in your head. Yes, in middle school your classmates might have laughed at you if you fumbled with your note cards during a speech, but they were 12. The truth is, no strangers care enough about you in the real world to put effort into embarrassing you. In fact, that you’re fearful of what others think simply shows you’re passionate enough to push past the fear and get your ideas out there. And as for a fear of failure: everybody fails. Successful people fail all the time, but they don’t give up. They use their failures as a learning tool and as a springboard to success.

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5. Negativity

Negativity is a combination of being surrounded by toxic people and being afraid of failure. The toxic people won’t share your enthusiasm for an idea, and will bring you down from your motivational high. Being afraid of not performing well will stop you from doing your best at every given moment. Combined, these two powerhouses of negativity add up to a gigantic waste of your time and energy. Don’t dwell on what could go wrong; imagine how incredible your life will be if everything goes right.

6. Dwelling on the past and future

Dwelling on the past is called guilt. Dwelling on the future is called anxiety. Again, both of these are a major waste of time. You can’t go back in time, so there’s no point in dwelling on past mistakes. Yes, you should always learn from mistakes you’ve made in the past, and work your hardest to avoid making them in the future, but that’s about all you can do. Dwelling on the future, on the other hand, is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you spend all of your time worrying about failing in the future rather than preparing for that same future, you’ll (obviously) be unprepared when the future becomes the present, and you will most likely fail. For example, just imagine a high school student staying up all night worried about failing an exam. In doing so, he actually makes it likely he will fail his exam because he was exhausted from being up through the night.

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7. The state of the world

You’ve probably heard the Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Yes, there are a ton of things going wrong in the world today, but there’s no sense in letting these events get you so down that you fail to improve your own life. There will certainly be things in your life you’ll wish you could change but you are unable to. Let these things go, and focus on what you can do to make the world a better place. Even if it’s something small in your community, you’ll still be doing your part to improve some aspect of the world you live in. By doing so, you’ll also be improving your own life.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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