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10 Things Ambitious People Never Say

10 Things Ambitious People Never Say

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Ambition is having a strong drive to do or achieve more in life. Unfortunately, a lack of ambition can be an individual’s own worst enemy. Un-ambitious people sabotage their own potential and happiness through self-limiting beliefs, bad habits, and negative thoughts.

Ambitious people, however, believe in themselves and their capabilities. They understand that everyone is capable of achieving far much more than they typically give ourselves credit for. You won’t find ambitious people speaking negatively against their own interest — you won’t hear them say stuff like:

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1. “I can’t do this—it’s too hard.”

Ambitious people never limit themselves or undervalue hard work with these words. They tell themselves they can do it and press on until it’s done. Nothing worth having comes easy: you’ve got to work hard to for it. As Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister says, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

2. “I’m not good enough.”

Ambitious people never say they are not good enough. Saying you are not good enough holds you back and makes you vulnerable to quit when things get a little rough. And quitting when things get a little rough is never a good thing. The most successful people in the world are not quitters. They are hard workers who believe in themselves and their abilities. Be confident and believe in yourself, or no one else will.

3. “I won’t make it through the obstacles.”

Challenges and obstacles are tests of your resolve and desire to succeed. Ambitious people never say they won’t make it through the hard times. They say they will make it because they know better things lie ahead—the sun always shines after the storm. Besides, as an old Arabian proverb says, “All sunshine and no rain makes a dessert.” Gold is fashioned through fire.

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4. “People won’t take me seriously.”

The only time people won’t take you seriously is if you don’t take yourself seriously. Period. Insisting that people won’t take you seriously is an excuse not to do what you know you should do. Ambitious people never say these words. They respect themselves and honor their work and that earns people’s respect. Start respecting yourself and honoring what you do and people will respect and take you seriously.

5. “I’m going to fail for sure.”

Failure is not entirely bad. It can teach you valuable lessons and redirect you to the right path. Ambitious people don’t say they are going to fail and let that stop them from trying. They defy the fear of failure by taking calculated risks because they know the only time you are truly defeated is when you don’t try at all. Jim Carrey says it best: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

6. “I can’t handle success.”

Ambitious people never declare they can’t handle success before they even achieve it. Dr. Jason Plaks, a social psychologist at the University of Toronto, and Kristin Stecher, a research scientist at the University of Washington, conducted studies and found that those who think their capabilities are fixed are the ones more likely to suffer disorientation and anxiety when faced with dramatic success. Those who think of their abilities as changeable handle success far better. If you think your capabilities are fixed and say you can’t, you’re right. Confucious said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” Say you can and you will.

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7. “I’ll probably make a mistake and mess things up.”

Ambitious people never utter these words because they believe in themselves and understand you can’t please everyone. Some people will consider your effort terrible, others will consider it okay and yet others will consider it excellent. Don’t worry too much about it all. Give your absolute best each time in everything you do and learn from your mistakes. Ultimately, say like Cheryl Cole said—“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.” Say it because making a mistake is not the problem; the problem is not learning from your mistakes.

8. “I’m waiting for the perfect moment to start.” 

Ambitious people never say they are waiting for the “perfect moment” because the “perfect moment” to do something is a myth. Moments are what you make of them. Ambitious people simply start and really focus. It’s never too late to do something. Start now and do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Stop procrastinating and wasting your life waiting for the stars to align. There will always be reason to procrastinate and wait another day, but only those who actually start get things rolling. Keep in mind the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is right now.

9. “I’m not as good as that guy/girl.”

As long as you are always comparing yourself to others, thinking you are inferior to them and not being your true self, you will always try to be what other people are and always fall short. Ambitious people know this and never think or say they are inferior to others. They work on being the best version of themselves. You are not that guy or girl. You are you, and that’s not bad. Everybody is unique and gifted in their own way. Situations vary and we all grow at our own pace. Check what others are doing only to learn from them. Don’t be jealous or resentful. Be happy when you see others succeed because it means you can too.

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10. “I’ll never be successful.”

Words have incredible power. You won’t hear ambitious people say they will never succeed. That’s because they actually believe they will succeed one day. That conviction keeps them sufficiently motivated and driven to put in the hard work and time necessary for success. Say good words, think good thoughts, and do good deeds because what you say and believe is what you are destined to get.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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