“I would be so successful if someone just gave me a shot!”
Many people out there have mindsets and attitudes that set them up for failure. When confronted with possible reasons for failure, or a lack of personal success, they often end up just making excuses. Here are 10 particular bad habits that keep those people from achieving success.
They’ll write that novel just as soon as they’re done with their favorite show. Oh, but now they’re hungry. They’ll get started after a snack. Oh, but now that snack has made them sleepy–a little nap couldn’t hurt, right?
One of the hardest, and the most obvious, parts of achieving success is the actual work. Procrastinating, making excuses or tricking themselves into loafing is just going to cement the fact that nothing will ever get done. It might not sound pretty, or even too easy, but the easiest way to get to success is to just jump in and get going (which is exactly how I got started).Advertising
It’s not their fault they’re not successful. The industry is bad, they don’t have the money, etc. When it comes down to it, however, who is the one responsible for their success? Themselves.
This is the day and age where people are launching successful start-ups in a few months, getting published online and finding their way to success one way or another. Some things might be out of their control, but blaming others is just going to waste the energy and time they need to get going.
3. Sour grapes
Being envious of the success of others is almost as bad as blaming them. All the time and energy they could be putting into their own goals is going towards a person who more than likely has done nothing but show them that the goal is attainable. They don’t have to be applauding their success, but being envious and sour about it is a waste of time–let it roll off the shoulders and dig down towards accomplishing goals.
4. Minimizing others success
Again, they don’t have to be cheering and raving about the success of others, but minimizing their accomplishments looks bad on them and on their own goals. If they attained success, would they want others rolling their eyes and treating it like it is not a big deal in the slightest? I highly doubt it. “So they climbed Mount Everest, big whoop. Plenty of people have done it before.” Have they?Advertising
They’re going to do this, they’re going to do that–the proof is in the pudding, ultimately. Talking about their goals and what they’re going to accomplish is all well and good, but talking time is better spent actually doing. Talking about goals has actually been shown to make you less likely to reach them, so zip up those chattering lips and dive in.
6. Making assumptions
You know what they say about the word ‘assume’, it makes an (inappropriate word I’ll leave out of this article) out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ . Unsuccessful people are the best at making assumptions without considering other outlets or opportunities. Missed chance after missed chance can put anyone behind, or completely ruin something that they poured a lot of hard work into. People are often surprised at what happens if they take a chance instead of listening to that little pessimist inside their heads. ‘Never assume’ is good advice and it is a mindset they should get out of as quickly as possible.
This one is obvious, isn’t it? It’s about the same as loafing, but even worse because it applies to multiple areas of our lives. That big project? Eh, its not due for a week. Dreams? Eh, going to be taking a class to learn how to write in a few months, I’m just relaxing until then.
Procrastination is not the friend of successful people. Many of them had to learn how to either make procrastination work for them or to barrel through it and press on, even with the proverbial sloth demanding you park it on the couch.Advertising
“It will never work. It is impossible, I just can’t …” That is about when it is time to take a good look at what they’re doing. There are a plethora of people out there that once thought the same thing: they can’t get a man into space, they can’t find a way for a human to fly, they can’t cure a disease. Well, people did what was once considered impossible. If they can defy the entire world, why can’t they defy the internal pessimist and get there? Don’t say that it is impossible. In the world we live in today, it seems like impossible is becoming a word that gets weaker every day.
Fast food, energy drinks, trash TV–their brain is sobbing at the thought. With all the time spent taking in things that are not good for their brain or body, how can anyone expect it to happily balance out and produce the stuff they need to achieve success? Output should be greater than input; though they don’t have to take the starving artist spiel literally. The point is, production is where the value is, not the absorption.
“Well, I tried.” Sure, they tried once. That horse is shaking its head and trotting off to find someone who will get back on it. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with cutting losses sometimes. After all, no experience is ever truly wasted, but quitting is the mortal enemy to successful people. If they believe in something, they want to find that success, there is no road map. You may very well have to carve your own path through treacherous jungle. If they give up the first time a mosquito bites, then they’ve doomed themselves already.
Success, in large part, is about the human being in the arena. People cheer for them, their struggle and victory, but the person who watches idly and scoffs, having never tried has also never really lived.Advertising
Mindsets are not set in stone. It is never too late to get started and change perspective. After all, achieving success is completely up to them; they are the one making excuses and holding themselves back. Decide when it is time to stand up and get back into that arena.
Featured photo credit: Boys around a campfire by the water./simpleinsomnia via flickr.com
Last Updated on April 22, 2021
How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow
Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.
Table of Contents
Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work
In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.
One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.
Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.
Motivation Is Not the Answer
How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?
If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.
We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.
Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.
Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.
How to Work Hard by Working Smarter
Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.
1. Define What a Win Looks Like
In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.
Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?
Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.
When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.
4 Steps to Define a Win
- Know the outcome you desire.
- Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
- Write the outcome down.
- Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.
Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.
As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.
Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.
2. Evaluate Your Activity
Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.
Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.
Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.
Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:
- Do now
- Plan to do it later
- Delegate to someone else
- Delete it
Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:
- Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
- Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
- Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
- Does this activity have to be done at all?
Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.
3. Prioritize Your Calendar
If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.
First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.
It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell
Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey
Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.
It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.
4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next
We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.
Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.
But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.
“Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu
Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.
Use these questions to reflect on your day:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What can I change?
- What do I need to start doing?
- What do I need to stop doing?
The Bottom Line
Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.
Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:
“Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”
Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.
That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.
More on Creating Healthy Routines
- Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You
- Your Routine is the Key to Achieving Your Goals
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart
Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com
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