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10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

Life is a challenge. Whatever way you may look at it, there will always be obstacles that are meant to make you a stronger and better person.

In the midst of all these obstacles, it is incredibly easy to go down a road of self-pity — where you truly believe that the world is against you. And, because so many people are in “self-pity” mode, it might seem like the acceptable way of living.

Sadly, self-pity mode ruins people’s lives. When you are in that mode, you become self-destructive because your headspace is always filled with negative thoughts that you think are the norm. Naturally, because you think it’s the norm, you are seldom aware that you are ruining your life.

In 2007, my life changed forever when I understood the power of thoughts – positive or negative. In fact, my life changed so much that I started a company called Wealthy Mindset® in 2009. The pay-off line for the company was “Wealth begins with your Mindset.”

I’ve gone on to work with hundreds of people through Wealthy Mindset® and RunForWealth, a blog I use to publish content on how you can “Run A Fulfillng Life Race.”

As a result, I have studied and experienced, personally and in others, the impacts of positive and negative thoughts.

In this post, I hope I can share common negative thoughts that can potentially ruin your life. I am also going to share some solutions that will help you replace negative thinking so you can start re-shaping the direction of your thoughts.

1. “Life is unfair” makes you a victim

Nobody ever promised us a roller-coaster in life. And yet, every time life deals us a temporary blow, we are quick to express how unfair life is.

Life is very fair, provided you shift paradigms completely.

Most of the blows you will receive in life are meant to help you reach your destiny. Use them to be the best you can be.

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Non-toxic thought and action: Life is fair and I must use the obstacles in life to learn and grow.

2. “It’s everyone else’s fault” makes you irresponsible

Ever come across people who are never at fault?

All the negative vibes and occurrences in their lives are the result of everyone else. To them, shifting responsibility is the easiest option. If it isn’t their partner or spouse, it’s the boss. If it isn’t the boss, it’s the friends. If it isn’t the friends, it’s the colleague or the neighbor.

Non-toxic thought and action: I need to take full responsibility for all my actions and outcomes in life.

3. “I grew up underprivileged” prevents you from being a futuristic thinker

We will never start on the same base. And that does not mean life is unfair.

Just because someone has a better starting base in life doesn’t mean they don’t have problems and challenges that come with the “advantage.”

The reality is that we all have obstacles to overcome – regardless of where we start in life. Quite frankly, where you start is insignificant. Your life journey and where you end up is what counts.

Non-toxic thought and action: Life is a privilege and I will navigate through my obstacles regardless of where I start.

4. “Failing equates to failure” limits your breakthroughs

You will fail in life. Be it at school, work, or in business – you will attempt to do certain things and they will fail.

Sadly, we don’t know what our ration of failing is. It would be pretty cool if we did. But, we don’t, and that’s the reality of the matter.

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Regardless of your failing, you need to learn from you mistakes and keep trying. Tough as it may be, at times, this means you need to abandon a particular career, project, or business venture completely and try something new.

Ultimately, you need to remember that you only become a “failure” when you stop trying. Failing comes with the territory to success.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will learn from my mistakes and failures but I will never stop trying.

5. “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” destroys you

As cool as this may sound, it’s a ticket to self-destruction. No one wants to live a boring life. But to live like there’s no tomorrow is just plain stupid.

Your today was determined by what you did many months and years ago. Your future (tomorrow) will be determined by your actions today.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will live responsibly every day because my future is determined by my current lifestyle.

6. “I don’t have the right contacts” limits self-investment

Knowing the right people in the right places is like gold.

What we often neglect to appreciate is that gold goes through an entire refinery process of heat and pressure before it yields it’s optimum value.

Likewise, your gifts, skills, talents, integrity, and character need to go through a rigorous process of tests in life before you can rely on contacts.

Contacts and knowing people in the right places means nothing if you can’t add value to people’s lives through your skills and talents. Equally important, your contacts mean nothing if you lack integrity or character.

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Refine all the above and contacts will take you to places you never dreamt of.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will invest in myself first and refine my skills, gifts, talents, integrity, and character and the right contacts will help me get to higher heights.

7. “If I could win the lottery one day…” creates an overnight success fallacy

I know you are probably asking: “how on earth can this be a negative thought?”

The thing about gambling, and the lottery in particular, is that it plants a seed of “overnight success.” There is no such thing as “overnight success.” It takes many years to succeed. Life is a process of inputs and outputs.

Sadly, studies have also shown that most people who win the lottery end up in a worse-off situation. Why? Because they have not learned the necessary skills required to keep what they have won.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must work hard and smart and life will reward me appropriately and abundantly.

8. “People are gossiping about me” negatively impacts your focus

It is quite sad to see how many people walk around paranoid about who is having conversations about them. As a result, they have low self-esteem. They second-guess themselves and spend most of their energy “watching their backs” for “enemies” or potential moves of “sabotage.”

Here is the crux: people will always talk, whether you do good or bad. Forget about what people are saying behind your back and focus on doing you.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must focus on living my life fruitfully, regardless of what people say behind my back.

9. “I am not good enough” blurs our gifts, talents, and skills

We all have gifts, talents, and skills. Our responsibility is to identify those and continuously work on improving them so we can add value to other people’s lives.

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For anyone to say “I am not good enough” is complete hogwash. The primary problem is that many people spend a lot of energy trying to achieve in areas they are not gifted or talented in. We have become so competitive that we often neglect to stay in our lanes.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must identify my skills and talents and stay in my lane of destiny.

10. “It’s impossible” prevents us achieving extraordinary goals

Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Achieving great success is not about “pie in the sky” hype. It takes some goal-setting, systematic hard and smart work, and then having the faith required to allow your ordinary efforts and inputs to become extraordinary achievements.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will set life goals and develop the faith required to make my hard and smart work become extraordinary success.

In conclusion, most of society is stuck in “toxic mode.” As a result, most toxic thinking is deemed to be normal.

I really hope that this article will help you identify subtle toxic thoughts that can ruin your life. More importantly, I hope the suggested “non-toxic thoughts” can help you escape that mode so you achieve abundance and success in life.

Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com

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Peteni Kuzwayo

Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

What Makes a Good Leader: 10 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 10 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge. High-ranking people – your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace.

The following is a list of characteristics of a leader who successfully leads a great team:

1. Stay Positive, Even in the Worst Situations

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and, by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing cupcakes or beers on Fridays can make the world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figure out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney (1901-1966), had his share of hardships and challenges; and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse.

    What Can You Learn from Walt Disney?

    Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

    Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down — Because sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    2. Exhibit Confidence Everywhere

    All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

    Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high and the problem will be solved more quickly.

    If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go down hill from there.

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    Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      What Can You Learn from Elon Musk?

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 10 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll be more confident about yourself.
      • Work on your strengths, do your best to enhance them.

      3. Have a Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the work place.

      As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,[1] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[2] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!

        What Can You Learn from Barak Obama?

        Laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

        Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspirations from the internet.

        4. Embrace Failures and Manage Set Backs

        No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

        Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks.

        Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

        Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

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          What Can You Learn from Walt Disney?

          Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

          To do this, use the 5 Whys problem solving framework.

          By asking “why” for 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

          You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

          5. Listen, and Give Feedback

          This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

          The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

          The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

            What Can You Learn from Dalai Lama?

            Encourage communication between team members and establishing an open door policy.

            Practice not to interrupt team members when they’re talking.

            Summarize what they say and ask for feedback every time after you have talked about your ideas.

            6. Know How and When to Delegate

            No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

            Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

            Although Steve Jobs is known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members – like Tim Cook – Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even while he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

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              What Can You Learn from Steve Jobs?

              To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

              • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
              • Talk with your team members more too to know more about their passion and interests.

              Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

              7. Inspire and Grow People Around

              Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

              Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

              Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                What Can You Learn from Pope Francis?

                Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them.

                Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                8. Take Responsibility and Never Blame Others

                Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind.[3] This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                  What Can You Learn from Howard Gillman?

                  Ask yourself what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.

                  Take the responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

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                  9. Make Decisions Based on Lessons Learned in the Past

                  It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career (figuratively, of course). Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                  Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                  You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories, or search from your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                  Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake.[4] From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely – and it shows.

                    What Can You Learn from Warren Buffett?

                    Write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made.

                    Have all the lessons well organized and  when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                    10. Lead by Example and Commit to Do the Best

                    Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working ones on the job. All great leaders lead by example.

                    Why should your staff and team members give it their all if you don’t bother to? By proving your own commitment, great leaders will inspire others to do the same, as well as earn their respect and instill a good work ethic.

                    After 15 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was voted state counsellor in Myanmar – one of the highest-profile and most powerful positions in the country. She became a symbol of peaceful resistance when she attempted to bring democracy to her country.[5] In the early years of her detention, she was often in solitary confinement. Suu Kyi is a perfect example of committed and belief-driven leadership, which she openly demonstrated during her many years of house arrest.

                      What Can You Learn from Aung San Suu Kyi?

                      Some people learn by observing the way you perform a task, some need more detailed guidelines.

                      So dedicate time to demonstrate your work to team members, let them observe how you do it. Summarize the skills you use and let team members know how you make difficult things work.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too.

                      Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs.

                      But we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

                      More About Leadership

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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