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13 Reasons Why You Will Never Be Successful

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13 Reasons Why You Will Never Be Successful

Do you know why the odds of becoming a huge success is so low? Because it’s insanely tough. But at the same time, the changes you can make in your life to exponentially increase the odds are actually very simple. Simple, but not easy. It’s all in your mind. Are you ready to make major changes in your life? Let’s get to it. Here are the 13 reasons why you will never be successful in life.

1. You push off responsibility

Accept full responsibility for every single thing that happens in your life. Don’t blame others. Don’t blame circumstances. Don’t blame what you lack. And definitely don’t blame your luck. You will always have choices to make in every situation, and these choices will always have consequences.

Take responsibility. Make the right choices, because they will either steer you that bit closer to your goals, or away from them. Success is nothing but a series of all the right choices you make. If you want something, got get it yourself. You’re in charge. Period.

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. ~ William Ernest Henley

2. You procrastinate

Understand the cost of being a procrastinator. It is like a credit card. You have a lot of fun while at it, but wait until you get the bill. Procrastination is deadly.

I don’t care what your reason for procrastinating is. The Law of Diminishing Intent states that if you don’t take action soon after the idea strikes you and the emotion is high, fairly soon the urgency starts to diminish. And the longer you wait, the less likely you will ever get the job done.

Start off by making the decision to declare war on your procrastination devil. By just being aware that you need to be at an endless battle with this devil, you are already ahead of the majority.

Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. ~ Wayne Gretzky

3. You are a perfectionist

Perfection does not exist. It is only a great excuse not to get started. Do your best; strive to be good; strive to become better than you were yesterday; but forget perfection. Because if your work truly matters to you, you will never ever reach that state anyway.

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And stop waiting for the ideal moment or the ideal plan. It will never happen. If it does, something is bound to go haywire along the way. You just need to get started. And then again tomorrow. And again the day after.

Your dreams will never come to fruition if you are preparing and waiting around. They will if you apply and take massive action.

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. ~ Napoleon Hill

4. You are afraid of criticism

If you are going to be achieving anything great, expect tons of criticism and haters. Learn to handle them. Learn the kind of criticism you should accept and the kind that you should discard. Not all criticism is of use.

In any case, do not let the fear of criticism stop you from doing what you have to do. You do not have to please everyone. That’s a sure route to failure. This is your mission. This is your life. Let’s do this.

To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. ~ Aristotle

5. You are afraid of failure

Do things for success, but expect failure along the way. Failure is absolutely necessary. Failure is a life lesson designed to bring out the best in you. If you are too afraid to fail, then don’t start.

It’s okay to have some fear, but don’t be too discouraged when you do fail. Because it’s not about how many times or how big you fall, it’s about how many times you’re willing to get up and try again. And I hope you answered that with, “as many times as it takes.”

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. ~ J.K. Rowling

6. You are darn lazy

If you’re putting in the same amount of work as the people around you, consider yourself lazy. It’s a competitive world, and if you want to stand out at all, then prepare yourself mentally and work two times harder than everyone else. If others work five hours, you work seven. Work your butt off. It pays. And forget all your partying.

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil. ~ J. Paul Getty

7. You lack originality and creativity

You are already lazy. It’s not any better that you are doing the same thing everyone else is doing. You need to be unique if you want to stand out as well.

Be original and get those creative juices flowing. Dare to be different from the crowd. You can get ideas and inspiration from others. You can even copy to a certain extent. But in the end, be your authentic and genuine self. People are dying to see the unique you, and not another copycat.

Trusting your individual uniqueness challenges you to lay yourself open. ~ James Broughton

8. You play it solo

We humans were biologically designed to flourish together. Success does not come by our self. There’s a reason why we like to say we “could not have done it without you” in the Oscars Academy Awards. It’s true.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Learn to genuinely connect with others and work together. Support one another. Likewise, help and offer value to others. You cannot expect to receive when you don’t give.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is a success. ~ Henry Ford

9. You are ungrateful

Being grateful increases your level of happiness dramatically. You will be much better equipped to face life’s challenges when your natural state is full of joy, happiness, and gratitude. Happiness leads to success, and not the other way round.

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Start adopting an attitude of gratitude and if need be, keep a gratitude journal. Look around as you read this. I bet there’s at least one thing that would make life very different for you if you lost it. And make no mistake, this is not a chance for you to settle with what you have. Being grateful and settling are two very different things.

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. ~ Brian Tracy

10. You fail to learn from your mistakes

Along the way, you’re going to make a ton of mistakes. Accept them with humility. Those are some free life lessons. Approach every mistake you make as a special learning experience sent to teach you something valuable and necessary for your success in the future.

Einstein says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them.

Learning from your mistakes is an essential skill that enables you to develop the resilience to be a master of change rather than a victim of change. ~ Brian Tracy

11. You don’t believe in yourself

“He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right” (Confucius). Drop all your self-limiting beliefs. If you want something with a strong enough passion, you will find ways to make the impossible happen. The only limits you ever set up for yourself are all in the mind. Change them.

You are unstoppable. Dream big because you are destined for greatness. Believe that you will be a big success. You already have everything it takes to crush life. All you have to do right now is succeed.

When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve. ~ Napoleon Hill

12. You lack consistency

Consistency is crucial to your success. Develop the habit of showing up all the time, whether you feel like it or not. The pro doesn’t give himself excuses. He just gets the work done. Short bursts of fiery enthusiasm will not cut it.

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Come up with a system for yourself and make sure you stick with it. Deciding and succeeding to hit the gym four times a week is far more superior than deciding to hit the gym seven times a week and failing to execute three times. Yes, even when the outcome is the same, because you are training your mind to be weak by not doing what you say you will do. That weakness will rub off negatively on other areas of your life.

Long-term consistency will always trump short-term intensity.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

13. You have stopped growing

Successful people understand that they need to sharpen their skills all the time. They understand that once they stop, they will fall behind the competition. They’ve made the decision early in the game to become excellent and the top in their field.

The moment you stop growing and learning is the moment you truly fail. That includes your personal development and all other areas of your life. In fact, the moment you decide your level of personal development is enough, that’s when you become a failure of life.

Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development. ~ Jim Rohn

I don’t write articles just to entertain. My work on this planet is to serve and inspire others. To inspire action. I’ve learned along the way that if you truly want to succeed, you have to focus on one thing at a time and master it. Don’t multitask. It is true that all 13 are essential for your success, but you are setting yourself up for failure if you try to master all 13 life changes simultaneously. Slow and steady wins the race. Pick just one and focus all your energies on it. If I were you, I’d choose consistency.

Good luck, and to your success!

Featured photo credit: Erik Moberg via flickr.com

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8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

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8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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