Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 1, 2018

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.

    Advertising

    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.

      Advertising

        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.

          Advertising

            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.

              Advertising

              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.

                  More by this author

                  Leon Ho

                  Founder & CEO of Lifehack

                  How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The Most Successful People Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are How to Be A Genuine Expert in Your Field Seriously Stressing Out? The Complete Guide to Eliminate Work Stress

                  Trending in Smartcut

                  1 How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive 2 11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort 3 15 Productive Things to Do When You Have Extra Downtime 4 Seriously Stressing Out? The Complete Guide to Eliminate Work Stress 5 How to Make Changes to Your Life by Changing Your Habits

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                  How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                  How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                  Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                  Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                  All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                  Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                  How bad really is multitasking?

                  It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                  Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                  This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

                  Advertising

                  We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                  So what to do about it?

                  Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                  Now, forget about how to multitask!

                  Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                  1. Get enough rest

                  When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                  This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                  When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

                  Advertising

                  2. Plan your day

                  When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                  When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                  Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                  3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                  I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                  I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                  Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                  4. When at your desk, do work

                  We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

                  Advertising

                  Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                  5. Learn to say no

                  Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                  Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                  By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                  6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                  For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                  Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                  7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                  Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

                  Advertising

                  You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                  The bottom line

                  Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                  Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                  Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Read Next