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10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing

10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing

So many people grow up with what I like to call a “fairy-tale attitude”: They simply think that everything will end up working out for them, as if their life is so much more important than everyone else’s. While they may be the star of their own show, they’re certainly nothing special to the world without ever doing anything to prove their worth.

If you want to work hard to add something to the world, and increase your chances of success, make sure to avoid practicing any of the following habits.

1. Procrastinating

Time is a valuable asset that cannot be replenished. So why would you spend time putting off your obligations? The unsuccessful don’t realize that those obligations are only going to pile up higher and higher the more you sweep them into the corner. Avoiding responsibilities only makes it that much harder to face them when push comes to shove.

2. Placing blame

It’s easy for the unsuccessful to blame others for their mistakes, but it doesn’t get them anywhere.

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Owning up to your shortcomings allows you to grow as a person. Realize that it’s totally fine to make a mistake (as long as you only do it once), but it’s never okay to make someone else take the fall when you screw up.

3. Minimizing others’ achievements

I think everyone at one point has read about someone else’s accomplishments and thought “Psh, I could have done that if I tried hard enough.” But did they? No, they didn’t; otherwise it’d be their face on the cover of TIME magazine, not the other person’s.

Give credit where credit is due, and you’ll realize that it’s not only talent that gets you ahead; it’s what you do with that talent that really matters.

4. Consuming

Unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies consumption. TV shows are on whenever you want, stores are open 24 hours a day, and credit cards make it easy to hop on Amazon and buy yet another gadget you’ll use for a few days then toss into your closet.

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Instead of constantly taking from society, do something to give back. Create something for other people to enjoy; you’ll realize it’s even more rewarding than consuming something created by others.

5. Talking too much

Again, our society seems to value those who talk a good game, regardless of whether or not they follow through with their words (just watch any political debate to verify this). Not only do the unsuccessful talk too much and act too seldom, but they also lack proper listening skills.

Take the time to actually hear the messages other people’s words are saying, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. You might actually learn something.

6. Making assumptions

So many people let their prejudices place a veil over their world. It’s never healthy to assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling, yet that is the default practice of the unsuccessful.

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Until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes and seen the world from their perspective, you have absolutely no right to assume that they are stupid or wrong just because their viewpoints clash with yours.

7. Acting negatively

Naysayers are the party-poopers of the real world. While others are busy searching for solutions to problems, negative people throw in the towel, thinking “Why bother?” or “That’ll never work.”

Such a defeatist attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you come up to the plate thinking you’re going to strike out, you almost certainly will.

8. Making excuses

We spoke before about placing blame, but it’s possible to make excuses while not pointing the finger at someone else specifically. Unsuccessful people always have some reason lined up for why they failed to complete a task: “I had too much else going on,” “It was impossible to do in that amount of time,” and so on.

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Making an excuse is only an admittance that you couldn’t overcome the difficulty placed upon you.

9. Being fearful

Many unsuccessful people are unsuccessful because they’ve simply never put themselves “out there” and tried to accomplish something. This goes along with their negative attitude: They’re scared of failing, so they don’t even try. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize is that failure can eventually lead to success if they learn from it. But they’ll never succeed if they’re too afraid to try.

10. Quitting

Some unsuccessful people try, then fail, then quit. I could go on ad nauseum about the many successful people of our time who failed over and over again, only to change the world when they finally got it right. Thomas Edison didn’t just one day invent the light bulb, and the Wright Brothers didn’t just one day create the airplane. They worked through trial and error, figuring out what worked and what didn’t, until they perfected their invention — and went from daydreaming hopefuls to successful inventors.

Featured photo credit: Failure Scrabble / Jeff Djevdet via http

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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