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10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing

10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing
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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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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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