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9 Things You Need To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Successful

9 Things You Need To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Successful

Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker and author, once said, “We become what we think about.” Perhaps truer words have never been spoken. The human mind is an incredible thing, and having the right attitude and mindset has routinely been stated by numerous successful people as being a pivotal key to success. Sometimes, however, it is easy to get side-tracked. Situations in life can get in the way of our goals, self-esteem, and personal well-being. Truthfully, success is a subjective term, and everyone will disagree over what constitutes being successful. Here are a list of guidelines, however, of some things to stop doing if you want to be or feel successful.

1. Stop Expecting Perfection

Often, we get frustrated when things don’t work out the way we want them to, or as quickly as we’d like them to. We stress over small details, or beat ourselves up for getting one thing wrong, or forgetting to dot one I or cross one T. People are fallible. Mistakes and drawbacks are a fact of life. Nothing is nor will it ever be perfect, and that’s okay.

Stressing out over minute details or things that would have been impossible to get to is unproductive and unhealthy. Start saying that you will do your personal best, because at the end of the day, you’re not in competition with anyone but yourself.

Example: Jennifer Lawrence is someone who everyone seems to be talking about right now, but did you know she was rejected for the role of Bella Swan in ‘Twilight‘? She also didn’t take theater classes. She just trusted her instincts and worked as hard as possible to land acting roles. Obviously, she wasn’t perfect for every role, but she didn’t expect perfection. She takes her failures and rejections well, trying to learn from each situation.

2. Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No

It’s always important to know your limits, and people will always try to test them. Human beings are social animals. We want to interact with others and feel like we are a part of something or like we are special to someone else. People also, for the most part, like to please others. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to be taken advantage of. Whether it’s helping a co-worker with something when you can’t really afford to, or loaning a friend money you can’t really afford to give.

Out of guilt, people often say yes to people and situations that they really should say no to. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut and say no. Sometimes you can’t stay a few hours later because you had other plans or important errands to run. Sometimes it’s okay to say no to that co-worker that keeps nagging you for help but is really just stalling because they don’t want to work and know you’ll help them.

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Sometimes it’s okay to prioritize other things over work. Saying no is healthy. Saying no means that you know your boundaries and can demand respect.

Example: Margaret Thatcher is known as being tough. She was a powerful politician. She also knew during her career when she had to take a stand, and sometimes that stand meant saying no to bad political and economic policy.

3. Stop Negative Self-Dialogue

We all can probably play back in our minds every negative or embarrassing thing we’ve ever done to ourselves, been subjected to, or done to someone else. Whether it’s tripping over one’s shoelaces in the fourth grade, or being fired from a job, wronging someone else, or overhearing someone speaking negatively about us, those thoughts are forever solidified in our minds.

Replaying those thoughts, however, and constantly punishing oneself for past mistakes, is counterproductive at certain points. At some point, it’s more important to learn from situations and move on, instead of psychologically beating yourself up.

The next time you find yourself saying, “I’m not pretty enough”, “I did this horrible thing once five years ago and I’ll never forgive myself”, or any type of statement along those lines, turn off that negative self-dialogue. Look in the mirror and say something kind to yourself. Read some inspirational quotes. Acknowledge that you are taking steps and making an effort to be a better person. Admit to yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and most importantly, that making mistakes is okay.

Example: This article does a good job of listing Steve Job’s failures. We remember him anyway, and we remember him as a pioneer and someone who didn’t give up. When things go wrong, and they often do, it’s easy for us to remember every mistake we have ever made along the way.

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Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of our goals because of that lack of confidence. Don’t give up and attempt to stay positive. Train your brain to think of things in a new, more positive way. Most of all, keep working hard. Failure doesn’t have to be permanent.

4. Stop Focusing On Just Today

Successful people tend to understand the value of a good plan. They plan out their day, their goals, a budget and they plan how much to save for retirement. That doesn’t mean they don’t have fun, though. They most certainly do! They just make sure to plan when it is appropriate and inappropriate to have fun. They make time for productivity and fun, but still save and think about the future.

So, stop just focusing on today and having fun. Think about where you want to be in five, 10 or 15 years down the road! Having a good focus aids in success!

Example: Neil deGrasse Tyson has been in love with the universe and science since he was nine years old. Because of that love, he worked long-term to study the things he cared about. He was accepted into Harvard where he majored in physics, eventually moving on to advanced education. His list of accomplishments would take up another full article in and of itself.

5. Stop Ignoring Your Goals

Stop believing things will just work out for you because you’re a good person. Good things only happen to people who make an effort. A part of making an effort is setting goals for oneself. As evidenced in the previous point, it’s not enough to just focus on the day at hand. It’s important to manage time and set short-term and long-term goals in order to be able to track progress and have something to strive for.

Example: Alan Turing is considered the father of artificial intelligence and computers. He also broke the code to the Nazi encryption machine called Enigma. He faced many challenges along the way, such as the inability to identify with others and being charged with indecency, for which he was eventually pardoned. Despite his personal struggles, though, he managed to break the code for Enigma, saving approximately 14 million people from death and in turn helped end World War 2.

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6. Stop Isolating People

Successful people understand that not everything is about work, church or similar obligations. Some things are about family, relaxation, and hobbies. It’s easy to get the impression that everyone who feels or defines themselves as successful probably has no spare time on their hands, and in some cases, that’s true.

However, it isn’t always. Social isolation can kill people. In fact, many successful people have mastered the art of balance. They don’t isolate the people they love because they have large goals or something they want to accomplish. Instead, they incorporate those they love into their goals and hobbies.

Example: According to a recent Forbes article, many leaders feel lonely. However, here are 25 examples of social business leaders who seem to thrive on relationships. It’s okay to know how to work alone and prefer that, but it’s also important to be able to rely on your staff, friends, and family for support.

Involving people in leadership or product processes makes them feel valued and provides valuable feedback. Successful people enjoy that relationship. They also enjoy their time away from their goals and work to spend time with their loved ones.

7. Stop Comparing Yourself To Everyone Else

Successful people understand that the only person they can compete with today is the person they were yesterday. They are too focused on themselves and their goals to worry about anyone else. They don’t want to compare themselves to others because it’s counterproductive. However, they do analyze where they have weak points and are able to genuinely admire people who have mastered things they have not.

There is no use to comparing yourself to someone else. It’s counterproductive and harmful to your self-esteem. It also helps to harbor negative self-dialogue.

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Example: Taylor Swift is one of the most successful recording artists of our time, but before that, she was a struggling musician in Nashville playing at small venues and coffee shops. She would turn in demos to various studios, covering a variety of songs.

It was only when she started playing and writing her own music that she got noticed and became the celebrity she is today. She faced a lot of adversity as well. There were people who doubted her skills and told her she couldn’t sing. Her confidence and faith in herself overcame that.

8. Stop Living In The Past

Successful people learn from their failures, but they do not live in the past. They take the skills and lessons they acquired from their failures and apply them to the present and future. Don’t live in your own personal past. Don’t define yourself by who you were. Define yourself by who you are today and by who you’re working toward becoming.

Example: Would we even remember Thomas Edison if he gave up on his ideas before becoming successful? Can you imagine simply focusing on what happened yesterday? So what if yesterday was a failure? Try again! Failure teaches us about what doesn’t work, and helps us get closer to a process that does work. Choose your attitude and control it. Move forward. Remember, failure is feedback.

9. Stop Tolerating Dishonest People

Successful people appreciate other people for their unique traits and gifts. They do not attempt to harm, belittle, or in any way demean others for their own successes or ideas. They are open to relationships with others, but know when to cut the cord, so to speak.

People can be too forgiving when it comes to being wronged, and it’s important to know one’s limits. Successful people do not tolerate negative and dishonest people, because they are too busy loving honest, sincere people.

Example: Everyone. We have all had frenemies. We have all invested in people who did not return our investment in them. Successful people know how to weed these dishonest people out. No one wants unneeded negativity around themselves or around the people they love. Read this article for tips on how to deal with dishonest people.

Featured photo credit: Nevit Dilmen via commons.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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