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A Trap That Successful People Will Fall Into and Instantly Become Losers

A Trap That Successful People Will Fall Into and Instantly Become Losers

Sometimes people ask me “what the most dangerous trait in leadership” is. I think they often expect answers like “They take to severe risks” or “the inability to adapt” and yes, these are dangerous traits. But they aren’t what I say, instead, to me, the worst traits a leader can have are: severe self doubt or the opposite, hubris.

Essentially, thinking everything that happens to you is down to other people because you are either too confident about yourself (and thus are blind to any problems), or not confident enough (and thus see problems where there are none).

Hubris can make anyone fall victim to the biggest trap on the road to success. It can blind someone to any of their faults, or faults in their company or idea. A person with hubris will believe that any problems they face are only down to others, and never themselves. This lack of awareness can make even the strongest fall empires fall.

The Trap of Hubris

Think about Alexander the Great, considered by many to be one of the greatest commanders in history. Before he reached thirty years of age, he had conquered most of the known world, from Greece to India. He never lost a battle. However his successes made him arrogant, and suspicious of others. He stopped listening to any of his advisers and the demands of his troops.

    At one point, after pushing his men relentlessly for ten years, they demanded that they return home. As he refused to consider the needs of his men, his expanding empire came to a sudden halt somewhere in the desert. His arrogance was so bad that he often refused to delegate responsibilities to others, so when he died, he didn’t name a successor. Because of this, his empire crumbled away.

    Countless people throughout history have aspired to be like Alexander, but I consider his story to be a warning.

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    Signs of Falling Into the Trap

    Hubris isn’t always obvious. After all, hubris, at times when things are going well can be mistaken for sheer self confidence (which unlike hubris can be positive). However, hubris becomes clear when things start to go wrong.

    I have done my best, but they haven’t.

    Imagine that you are the manager of a successful company. One day, a few extremely skilled and high performing employees decide to leave your company. What would you do?

    The hubristic person will convince themselves that the good employees are the ones with the problem, they’d think that the company will be better off without them, and as such will develop an even more arrogant and uncaring attitude. This in turn will mean more and more employees will leave.

      The dangers of hubris isn’t just a problem in business or leadership either. Indeed, imagine you fell out with a friend because of something mean or cruel they said. If they were hubristic, they’d only blame you for the fallout and as a result, they’ll never change.

      There’s nothing I can do to stop this.

      If a business is going downhill, these people will believe that there’s nothing they can do about this. They will try to normalize the issue, saying that it’s a common phenomenon, or it’s something unpredictable and uncontrollable. For example, they might blame it on the fall of an overall market, the severe competitions these days, or the drop of overall living standard.

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        Others are just luckier.

        These people may think that more successful people are intrinsically more “lucky” than they are, and thus they don’t spend time considering what made them so successful in the first place. By doing this, they lose any chance for self improvement, and genuinely decrease the possibility for future success. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy

        Think about Mark Zuckerberg, when Facebook initially became successful, many people thought it was a fluke, a trend that would die down after a couple months. Now, years later, Facebook utterly dominates online social media and has for all intents and purposes revolutionized how we communicate online.

          Others are more talented.

          They may also think others are simply more talented than them. They may point to someone like JK Rowling and say “I wish I could be like that, but I’m simply not good enough” This is self doubt at its worst.

          Though JK Rowling now is arguably the most popular and successful writer in the world, she was once a broke single parent trying to get a book deal. The Harry Potter books were rejected by many publishers. Her success didn’t come from some incredible and unique talent, but because she had a fantastic idea, and persevered with it.

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            I don’t have that much capital to do what I want to do.

            They may also think that they don’t have unlimited money and resources like others do, so it’s difficult to come up with creative solutions, to invest in a potential project, to expand the market or to connect with influential people.

              Ultimately, if a person only looks to outside forces for their success or lack of success. Then they stop looking into the root causes of any problems and thus have no chance of getting rid of these problems. If these problems aren’t tackled, they only get worse.

              Getting Out of the Trap

              There is only one person who controls you, and the things that happen to you, and that person is you. Sure, bad things can happen to anyone. But I believe that the effect of these bad things are directly proportional to your reaction to them and your thoughts. If you see setbacks as opportunities, it becomes extremely difficult for you to become overwhelmed.

              Look at What You’ve Got and Make the Most of out It

              Something that today may be a problem, might be a benefit tomorrow, it all depends on perspective. I believe that every problem has a solution, but no solution can ever come if someone gives up by thinking that they are powerless.

              For example, if you have to complete a project or need to do something but realize that the budget you have for it may be too small. You could spend time being frustrated about this, and complain about your luck, or you can spend time trying to work out the most efficient use for this budget.

              It is like the story of David and Goliath. It’s the story how a young King David from the bible defeated the enemy champion warrior Goliath, despite Goliath being far larger, stronger, and better armored.

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              Most people when faced with such a fight would give up. Indeed that’s how the story goes. Nobody in David’s army thought he could possibly win. However he played to his strengths, David knew that he could never defeat Goliath in hand to hand combat, but that didn’t matter, as David was skilled with a ranged weapon, a sling.

                If David was hubristic he might have tried to fight Goliath as physical equal, where he would have been crushed. If David had severe self doubt, he would never have fought in the first place. But instead he thought about it, knew what he could do, and what he couldn’t do and worked accordingly. He was aware of his own limitations, and decided to see them as potential strengths.

                Think about the scenario I mentioned earlier, where some high performing employees leave your company. A wise leader, one who sees the whole picture wouldn’t merely accept their loss as inevitable, or think that that the company was better off without them, but would instead look into what made them leave in the first place.

                  They’d wonder what they could change to make it less likely other employees would leave like that. In doing this, the company would improve, it would stay strong. However failure to investigate what made those employees leave will mean that more employees may leave in the future for the same reasons.

                  Stop Waiting for Things to Happen, Make Things Happen

                  What I mean by this is simple. Know yourself. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to use them both to your advantage. Think of yourself as a person of action, someone that makes things happen, not someone that things happen to.

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                  Leon Ho

                  Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                  Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                  How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life

                  How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life

                  When a young CEO stepped in at the helm of a dying giant, his first task was to figure out what needed to be done to save the company. After he spent some time researching the company and the market situation, he came up with a simple plan which he introduced to the shareholders in his first speech as the CEO.

                  He spoke just about one single thing–safety. Everyone in the room thought he was crazy and some people jumped the soon-to-be-dead ship.

                  15 years later, he not salvaged the giant, but made it one of the strongest steel and metal companies in the world and made a global name of himself.

                  The company is Alcoa and the guy was Paul O’Neill.

                  But the story matters to us for one thing only and that is the relentless focus he had on safety and security in his company. Paul O’Neill said that his employees deserve to leave work the same way they arrived at it–unharmed.

                  And it was this radical focus on a single habit in the company that made it great. A single focus on a single habit which had a massive ripple effect.

                  This is known as a keystone habit.

                  The Importance of a Keystone Habit

                  A keystone habit is a habit which has the biggest ripple effect in your life which means that by implementing it, you will radically change everything in your life.

                  It’s quite easy to spot the keystone habits which make your life miserable.

                  Take overeating as an example. If you weigh 400 pounds, you’re bedridden and your physical health massively declines. You can’t function individually so you need help to even do the basic things like going to the toilet or walking up the stairs. Since you can’t move, you can’t go to your job so you probably lose it. And since you can’t move, you can’t go out and meet someone so your dating and social life decline as well. And as a formerly overweight person, I know how this sucks.

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                  This is just one example of how a keystone habit creates a ripple effect which creates change in every sphere of our lives. So we better open our eyes and make sure that we use the power of the keystone habits for bettering our life.

                  Why Less Is More

                  A keystone habit is about one thing and, the one thing only which you do to radically improve your life. And a lot of people would, at this point, ask what are the best keystone habits to implement in their lives.

                  And here is the big truth: Nobody knows and nobody can tell you exactly.

                  Everyone is specific and has different things going on for them in their lives, so claiming something is always superior to something else would simply be irresponsible.

                  So even though I can’t tell you what to see, I can tell you where to look.

                  Every keystone habit can be situated into one of the following four quadrants:

                  It’s either a physical habit, intellectual habit, emotional habit or a spiritual habit.

                  Any keystone habit I ever encountered which changed the life of someone falls under these 4 categories.

                  And the trick is recognizing what kind of habit right would benefit your life the best at this moment. Asking what the best keystone habit has the same effect as asking what the best book in the world is– it depends on who you ask and what your current life situation is.

                  If you’re struggling with the meaning of life and want to find hope in this crazy world we live in, I would point you to a great book which recently came out called Everything is F*cked by Mark Mason. If you were a struggling parent of a 10-year old kid who just found out the perils of the internet, I would point you to a security app.

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                  You get the point…

                  But just because everything is relative, it doesn’t mean that some things aren’t better than other things. War and Peace will always be a great book no matter if it currently befits you to read it. And the same thing can be applied to keystone habits so let’s see what kind of keystone habits fall into the great category.

                  Great Keystone Habits

                  I have already mentioned how all keystone habits fall into one of the four categories: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. So the following keystone habits will fall into one (or more) of these buckets.

                  But before we proceed into the habits, know this.

                  What got you here, won’t get you there.

                  So if you already have a keystone habit which you implemented for quite a while now and you think it’s no longer working, you are probably right. We need certain things at certain times of development, but we need to let them go later on to grow to new levels. So use the habits to better your life, but don’t worship any one of them for your entire life.

                  Physical Domain

                  When it comes to great keystone habits in the physical domain, they all fall into two buckets:

                  • Exercise
                  • Food

                  These two are the pinnacle of the physical domain when it comes to keystone habits. I don’t even have to tell you all the ways exercise helps you in your life.

                  From better hormonal regulation, to energy levels, to looking better, to feeling more confident, to increasing your lifespan and the quality of your life, a keystone habit of exercising is one whose effects you will feel fast.

                  When it comes to food, it’s literally the building block of your life’s energy. If you eat garbage, you will feel like garbage–garbage in, garbage out. And your energy levels are one of the most important factors you need to regulate in your life if you want to achieve anything.

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                  None of your dreams will ever come true if you eat a massive bag of chips every single day, which makes you drowsy and lifeless no matter how much ambition you have.

                  But the physical domain is just one of the four domains so let’s jump to the next one.

                  Intellectual Domain

                  There are many great intellectual keystone habits we can pursue, but I will just name a couple of them which most of you who read the article will find relevant:

                  • Reading Books
                  • Writing (columns, articles, personal blog or diary)
                  • Learning new languages
                  • Learning a new skill set (copywriting, coaching, cooking…)
                  • Teaching your skillset or your life experiences

                  All of these have their own benefits and can massively improve your life and the life of people around you. When you, for example, learn a new language, you don’t just learn a new language, you learn a completely new way of thinking and form unique connections in your mind.

                  But we don’t stop here, we have two more domains to cover.

                  Emotional Domain

                  This is a difficult one because, for one, it’s really hard to measure it in any quantitive way. You can’t just call your wife every single day and think that by doing just that, you are a good husband. It doesn’t work like that.

                  I wrote about the problems of measuring emotional habits before and I won’t go in-depth about it here, but I will just mention that measuring these kinds of habits requires your and yours only subjective analyses. It’s like giving yourself a daily score of 1-10 on the question of “Did I do my best to be a great husband today?”

                  The keystone habits of the emotional domain are one of the most complex and difficult ones to pull off because they require most people to change things they do in relation to other people.

                  If you want to be more sincere and honest in your emotional responses, that means that you will have to make some people angry by doing that. It can be a difficult conversation you need to have with your spouse or with your friends, maybe a disagreement with your peers and colleagues, or a deep look within yourself with an honest look about your actions and mistakes.

                  Emotional domain keystone habits improve your life in any stage, but since they make us do uncomfortable things, they are the last ones we pursue.

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                  Some of the examples would be:

                  • Telling yourself that you are the only one who is responsible for your emotions and keeping that standard
                  • Calling out passive-aggressive in people
                  • Speaking your mind even though you know it will bring disagreement
                  • Dealing with your own problems first before pointing fingers
                  • Asking for feedback constantly, both positive and negative ones
                  • Deciding to be vulnerable even though it means risking being hurt

                  The things I wrote above are probably the most difficult things you can ask someone to do, but they are also the most rewarding things you can do in your life. If you want to achieve greatness, you need to be willing to dare greatly.

                  And last, but not least, are the keystone habits of the spiritual domain.

                  Spiritual Domain

                  The keystone habits of the spiritual domain are our connection with things which in our lives that have a higher purpose than just ourselves. This is the place where feel the connection with our communities, with Higher Beings, with God or Emptiness or whatever you want to call it.

                  The spiritual domain is the strongest as a guiding force in life and some of the keystone habits of this domain include:

                  • Finding your life’s purpose
                  • Living your vision of life
                  • Sacrificing yourself for the achievement of something bigger than you
                  • Nurturing your inner voice and connection with the Spirit

                  To some readers, this might seem like woo-woo, but I can assure that it isn’t. This is about the spiritual dimension of every individual and if you disregard it, you will annulate a part of you which will become a problem.

                  The Western world currently faces a major spiritual crisis where people feel disconnected with anything in their lives which has a higher purpose than themselves. That’s why people are miserable even though they lead an “objectively” rich life where they appear to have everything but still feel like happiness is not in their lives.

                  If you read all the way up to here, you found at least one keystone habit which can help you right now in your life.

                  All that is left now is to implement it. As the famous adage goes:

                  “Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing.”

                  Now you know, it’s time to do.

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                  Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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