Advertising

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

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Emina Dedic

TEFL Instructor, Traveler, Professional Writer, Model

10 Things You Start Realizing From Your College Life The Most Endangered Species In The US Dogs Dislike People Who Are Mean To Their Owners, According To Researchers The Cost Of Getting Lean: Is It Really Worth The Trade-off? A Touching Video Showing What Some Husbands Do For Their Wives On Their Babies’ First Birthdays

Trending in Communication

1 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 2 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 3 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 4 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 5 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Advertising
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next