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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!

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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