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The Harsh Truth About Why You Aren’t More Successful

The Harsh Truth About Why You Aren’t More Successful

The road to success isn’t always as easy as it sometimes appears when judging from the success stories of people living their dreams. Most successful people don’t have the luxury of getting ‘lucky’ and actually have to work hard and put a lot of effort into their goals. So what sets the goal achievers apart from the rest? The answer to this question may not be what you want to hear…

If you’re wondering why you just can’t seem to make it big, the harsh truth is that YOU may be  standing in the way of your own success! Most people want success but don’t actually do anything to make it happen. Everyone has the opportunity to be successful (we’ve all heard hundreds of rags-to-riches stories), it’s what you make of your opportunities that really matters.

Here are the top five ways in which you may be hindering your own success.

1. You don’t do what it takes

It’s one thing wanting to achieve a goal and quite another doing what it takes to achieve it. Many people start out with very real intentions of becoming more successful but don’t actually have the commitment to do what it takes. You may start strongly and then give up at the first hurdle and make up convenient excuses for either postponing or quitting the task all together.

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Successful people don’t make excuses, they stick to their word and commit themselves wholly to their tasks – if something needs to be done, it gets done. If you’re not willing to take massive action and work for your goals, how do you expect to ever achieve them?

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. – Jeff Olson

2. You procrastinate and don’t challenge yourself

If you spend more time thinking about tasks than actually doing them, it’s time to make some changes. Instead of making things complicated, put theory into practice and bring your plans to life – you know what needs to be done, so go out there and do it!

What’s stopping you? Don’t let yourself succumb to fears of resistance, failure and challenges. It takes real strength and courage to do what we know we need to do in order to have what we want. If it’s any comfort, we often paint things out to be a lot more difficult than they actually are, but you’ll never know what you’re really capable of unless you give the task an honest try!

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Courage is looking fear right in the eye and saying, “Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.”- Author Unknown.

3. You’re in self-denial

Denial is a coping strategy that allows us to maintain a preferable image of ourselves. While this may initially keep us emotionally safe from painful truths, in the end it does us no favors – it prevents us from dealing with the real issues. It takes guts to look at yourself and to honestly identify why you haven’t been able to get the results that you want.

Having a bit of self-awareness can go a long way – instead of blaming external forces around you (a convenient cop-out), identify your strengths, as well as your weaknesses (and work to improve them). If you’re unable to achieve a task, don’t just quit. Think about what aspects of your attitude and approach held you back.

Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got one flat. – Unknown

4. You don’t have the right attitude

No one is completely negative or positive about everything. Because most of us have a mixture of attitudes towards different things, we become so used to our own way of thinking that we’re prone to developing blind spots – it becomes difficult to pin-point our self-destructive attitudes. This is why having a coach as an unbiased, external observer, can help to shed some light on areas you may not have thought of before, as well as to guide you towards making the changes that will help you achieve better results.

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome. -William James

5. You don’t take the right actions

You may have the best attitude in the world, but if you’re not taking the right steps towards your goals, you’re not likely to achieve them – the wrong actions with the right attitude won’t get you very far!

Becoming more familiar with the trial-and-error method can help you to use your failures as stepping stones to take you further toward success; one wrong stepping stone towards the wrong direction isn’t the end of the world, it’s just one step less to think about!

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When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. -Confucius

Unfortunately, the truth does sometimes hurt, but if you’re unable to handle it, are you really cut out for the field you’re hoping to succeed in? Instead of letting the above truths hurt your feelings, use them to empower you! While it may sting a little to think about yourself not being as successful as you want to be, you have the power to change things, as long as you can just be honest with yourself! So think about how bad you really want success and whether you’re really willing to do what other successful people have done to be in the positions they’re in.

Remember, no one is going to achieve your dreams for you – you only have one life to make things happen, so get to it!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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