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10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

You are what you think about. Can you create a better life by simply thinking about it? Of course not– that’s absurd. But if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts, it’s hard to get motivated to make positive changes that will improve your life. Please consider these 10 dangerous thoughts you should avoid.

1. “I guess this is as good as it gets.”

The second you become complacent, your progress in life will come to a screeching halt. No matter how good you are at something, you could always stand to improve in some aspect. Learn a new craft, hobby or language to keep your mind creative and fresh. Discover ways to increase the quality of your work or decrease the time it takes to complete tasks you’re already good at (then you’ll have more time for the important things that really make you happy!). Make sure personal growth isn’t just something you talk about–make it a daily event.

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2. “I’ll just do the easy stuff.”

That thing that you dread doing more than anything else? The odds are, THAT is the very thing you need to do. Do you think employers are interested in hiring people who are only capable of accomplishing simple tasks that anybody else on the planet could perform? Of course not. Whether it’s for the purpose of making yourself more marketable in the workforce, improving your body and health or whatever the case may be, you need to embrace the fact that you sometimes have to do things that you don’t enjoy. You know what I hate? Working on resumes, portfolios and sales pages. But even though I don’t particularly enjoy those things, I am very skilled at them because my success depends on it. Buckle down and do the thing you don’t want to do because like it or not, that’s probably the very thing you need to do.

3. “I don’t care about the details, tell me what to do!”

If you don’t understand why a particular task needs to be done, it is unlikely you’ll be able to pay it the proper attention it deserves. And if you don’t ask follow-up questions about things you don’t understand, your results will suffer.Take ownership of every project. Do you have any ideas to contribute that might make the end result better? Say so. No one is going to fuss at you for asking questions or offering suggestions that will improve the end result.

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4. “I’m not good enough.”

If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, smart enough, or (insert adjective of your choosing here) enough, your lack of confidence will reflect in your words, stature, and mannerisms. Why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you. Read books, articles, and studies about what you’re passionate about until you can truthfully say you are an expert in your field. Stop looking for the reasons you can’t do something and find the reasons you can. People often say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” but this statement is blatantly false. You are as strong as your strongest link.

5. “It will never work.”

Stop telling yourself you will fail because self-fulfilling prophecies almost always come true.

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6. “I’m a bad person.”

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter what wrong you feel you have done to a person, agonizing over a past event that cannot be undone will not make the situation better (and will make you feel a lot worse). Whether you ate something you know you shouldn’t have, said something hurtful that you wish you could take back or made a mistake on the job, don’t live in the past. If you apologized and explained yourself, then it is time to move on. Focus your energy to the future because that’s where progress happens. 

7. “What will they think about me?”

While you should do everything you can to make people around you comfortable, you shouldn’t sacrifice your genuine personality in order to please other people. Embrace your authentic self and share it with the world. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, that is their problem (and their loss). 

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8. “I’ll do it when the time is right.”

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the right time to move to a new town, talk to that cute bartender or begin a new fitness plan, you will never take action. Challenge yourself to burst out of your comfort zone. I know comfort makes you feel safe, but how fulfilling is it to spend your life thinking about doing things that you never actually do? Act now or regret it later.

9. “I wish I could look more like _____.”

Please understand that when you see scantily clad models in magazines, you are looking at doctored up images of people who most likely have put themselves through incredibly restrictive diets and/or excessive fitness routines in the weeks or months leading up to their photo-shoot. In other words, such a body would not be attainable for the average person. When you see articles like “The Hugh Jackman Workout,” you are seeing routines that were designed for a specific person (Hugh Jackman) with a specific body type and need. Even if you did the same workout as instructed, you could not reasonably expect to become as ripped as Hugh Jackman was in the latest Wolverine film. Accept your body as it is. Aim to improve your physique, but stop comparing it to other people with figures that are out-of-reach. 

10. “No one cares.”

Yes, they do. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your family, I can’t imagine that they don’t care about you. And even if you’ve lost touch with a lot of your friends, I bet they would be happy to hear your voice in a surprise phone-call. You have impacted more lives than you could begin to comprehend. Send an e-mail or write a letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in months or years. Call an aunt, uncle or cousin who made a positive impact on your development as a child. Join an online support community, message board or networking group of like-minded people who could become new friends. You are not alone– you are far from it. If you just moved to a new home, you might want to check out this article about how to make a bunch of friends in any new city.

The first step to a better life is to think better thoughts. 

I hope this list of dangerous thoughts was helpful. You can’t create a better life by the mere act of thinking about it, but it is a positive first step in the right direction. What are some positive thoughts that help you be happy and productive? Please share them in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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