“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 July 10, 2020
The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness
Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.
Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.
The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.
Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.
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Program Your Own Algorithms
Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.
Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.
By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.
How to Form a Ritual
I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
- Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.
Ways to Use a Ritual
Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:
1. Waking Up
Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.
2. Web Usage
How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.
6. Going to the gym
If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.
Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.
Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.
8. Weekly Reviews
The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.
We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com