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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

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

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

Success means something different to every person: like beauty, it exists in the eye of the beholder.  It is your responsibility to determine what success means for you, and how you go about breeding success in your life.

Despite this, there are definitely hindrances to success. These drawbacks are ubiquitous in their ability to deter your success. But don’t fret because if you seek success, and you fear your actions are blocking your desire for success, you have the power and control to overcome the following obstacles.

1. Making Excuses

Stop blaming other people for why you don’t get what you want. Stop refusing to accept responsibility for your mistakes. You make your own choices and you make your own mistakes.In general, stop justifying your poor choices and stop attributing your lack of success to things outside of your control. Successful people don’t do this.

You are going to err. You are going to fail. When this inevitably occurs look within, in a non-judgmental manner, and figure out what you can do better next time. Don’t waste time looking externally by creating excuses for why you didn’t achieve success.

2. Focusing on the Negatives

Yes, there are negative circumstances in life that you have no control over. There are also plenty of positive experiences in your life. I am willing to bet you have more positives in your life than negatives. You are capable of living with a positive perspective. If you want to cultivate success in your life than you need to concentrate on all the good. You shouldn’t disregard the negative, but you don’t have to give it so much of your attention. Otherwise you are never going to be satisfied because you are so focused on the unfavorable conditions of your life. Even if you reach a level of ostensible success, your continued focus on the negatives will prevent you from relishing your accomplishments.

3. Fearing Failure

As I previously stated, YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL! There is no reason to fear it. Rather, you should embrace it. Learn from it, and ultimately improve from it.

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When you are successful you know you are always trying your best. When you fail it is not a reflection of you as a person; you are not a flawed individual. View failure as an opportunity to grow, not as something to be feared.

4. Looking for the Easy Way

I want to preface by stating that attaining success isn’t supposed to be an improbable venture where you have to overcome a certain amount of adversity and hardship. I am opining that successful people don’t look for the easy way through life.

Merely strolling through life on cruise control is not the blueprint for success. You need to challenge yourself at times. Push yourself and stretch your limits. Aim to reach your maximum potential, and then go beyond that. That is a success in itself.

5. Beating Yourself Up

You wouldn’t ever beat yourself up physically so why would you do it emotionally and mentally? Learning how to skillfully deal with your thoughts and emotions when you are facing adverse situations is crucial to being successful.

Get upset over things. Express your emotions in an appropriate manner. Be unhappy from time to time. It is going to happen. But don’t ruminate over unpleasant memories and beat yourself up over things that already occurred. Too much time and energy spent on this diverts your attention away from more important endeavors like progressing toward your goals.

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6. Being Ungrateful

The best way to establish more contentment in your life is to be more grateful. If you want to push away happiness, joy, and bliss than be ungrateful. Gratitude breeds happiness but it also breeds success. If you are grateful for your life and everything that comprises it you are going to have a less complicated time attaining wealth and accomplishing your goals.

I don’t just mean financial wealth because wealth includes all kinds of valuables. I am not proposing that all financially wealthy people are grateful, and therefore, successful, or that all financially poor people are ungrateful, and therefore unsuccessful.

Being ungrateful is not congruent with getting ahead in life. If you crave success than observe everything you are grateful for. Your gratitude will serve as a compass for your life. It will guide your decision-making, and lead you to success.

7. Concentrating Solely on Your Needs

Hopefully this goes without saying but focusing only on yourself is not going to help you attain success. You could be the wealthiest person on the planet, and it is apparent that you are extremely successful. If you accrued your wealth by taking advantage of people, or by being selfish and egotistical, you are not successful in my book. You probably wouldn’t be very happy either. The best way to succeed in life is by helping someone else!

8. Getting Distracted

You were going to start your book but…You were going to launch your dream business idea but…You were going to travel through Asia but…
I get it. Things come up. Life takes you on a different course. It happens sometimes. But don’t allow yourself to become distracted from realizing your dreams. When distractions obstruct you from your passions than you are moving further and further away from claiming your ultimate successes.

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This starts with your daily life. It is fun and often necessary to log onto Facebook and check emails, but don’t allow the modern technological age to prevent you from the work that needs to be finished today. Success is based on working toward your goals while not letting disruptions hinder that.

9. Living Aimlessly

It is your responsibility to ascertain your life goals and objectives. Being successful means you are fulfilling your life’s purpose every day.
Whether your purpose is super ambitious such as solving world hunger or more feasible like being happy, doesn’t matter. The point is that you are aiming to be the best you can be. Steadily wandering through life without any ambitions or without contributing anything to society is not what successful people do.

10. Giving Up

When you face an improbable obstacle in life how do you respond? Do you give up, or do you keep pressing on? Successful people don’t give up. They commit themselves to reaching their final destination. They may not ever get there, but they don’t allow impediments to prevent them from trying. This means continuing on despite failures and disappointments.

Success encompasses a lot of different arenas. What works for financial success may not translate into relationship success. Being successful as an athlete doesn’t necessarily make you successful as a student as well. There are varying degrees of success depending on what situation you are in.

Regardless, the fundamental backbone of success is trying your best. If you put forth your best effort, without harming others in the process, than you are a successful person. This can apply to work, family, friends, relationships, hobbies, etc. As the late great John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” I think that sums it up beautifully.

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Featured photo credit: Rinke Dohmen via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Published on February 19, 2021

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

Whether it’s planning a public speech or a kid’s birthday party, our intentions lean toward success no matter the endeavor. And whatever success we are hoping to attain, there will likely be obstacles that we must face. When these obstacles surface, we can either shy away and miss our chance or meet these challenges informed and ready.

Although obstacles can seem like the outside world is plotting against us, in reality, these external challenges are merely triggering hurdles that already exist within. They might be memories or beliefs we have about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can be trapped by our own self-sabotage.

What could happen if you knew about and prepared for these obstacles beforehand?

If you knew what you were up against, perhaps you could come equipped with just the right tools to get through anything that threatens your chance at success. Perhaps you could take an obstacle that felt like a mountain and turn it instantly into a mere molehill!

Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:

1. Perfection

One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone prone to perfectionism is going to find it difficult to remain on the road to success if everything has to be “just so” all the time.

Perfection is the killer of creativity, vitality, and accidental discoveries! There are so many instances of people fortuitously discovering things that we use every day.[1] If they had been so concerned with perfection, they may never have enjoyed the success of their “mistakes!” Plus, learning from our mistakes is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. Therefore, “perfect” will never provide a straight shot to success.

How can you stop going for perfection? Just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired, it takes practice to undo perfectionism.

Try the following:

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  • Try new things and let go of your expectations.
  • Don’t do everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens when you leave it for tomorrow.
  • Learn how to prioritize (no, everything isn’t equally important all the time).
  • If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, send an email with a typo in it!

Have fun with this and learn how to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of being human.

2. Fear

Fear is triggered when we have a thought or perception that we are not safe and secure. This is quite a useful tool when there is a real threat to our safety. However, when the threat is imaginary, fear can actually prevent us from doing the work we need to do to achieve our goals.

As with perfectionism, the best way to deal with fear is to become more mindful.

Here are some steps you can try in working through fear:

  1. Sit with the emotion of fear and notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
  2. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen and write down your answers.
  3. Visualize yourself experiencing your worst fears. How did you feel imagining your worst fears coming true?
  4. Ask yourself when you have felt this way before. How did you cope with it that time? What strengths could you use in your previous visualization?
  5. Imagine yourself using your strength with the imagined worst fear. How does it feel to know that no matter what happens, you have the tools and resources to handle it?

In this exercise, we’re trying to be okay with the emotion of fear. Fear is actually trying to help by keeping you “safe.” It calls upon memories of when you were threatened in your life. But when we spend all of our energy trying to prevent the feeling of fear, we make it stronger. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced our fears and triumphed.

Allowing the fear to be present and calling upon memories of making it through challenging times helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”

3. Lack of Clarity

Imagine that you are going on a trip and you need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you don’t know any details of the trip. You haven’t decided where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, or what you’ll be doing. How easy will it be to pack for this trip?

If we’re trying to run our careers or lives without clarity, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to be doing to get to our destination of success. So, how do we get clarity?

Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to just about any area of life. According to Sinek, when clarifying your “message,” you should start with your WHY.[2] In other words, why are you doing what you do? Once you are clear on your “why,” it will be much easier to figure out your “how” and your “what.”

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Let’s go back to the packing analogy. Perhaps your why for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest as you have been stressed out lately. That tells you that a quiet vacation might be better than one with lots of museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don’t want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by spending a few days at a nearby spa. Less travel means less stress. Looking at the spa, you see they have a 3-day retreat. Now, you know how to pack.

See how easily those details fell into place once you got clear on your “why”? Imagine what success you could achieve once your “why” is uncovered!

4. Making Comparisons

It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to other people. That’s how we know whether we’re doing things correctly or not and how we can continue improving. When we get into a habit of making comparisons all the time and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Jones’,” this can pull our energy down. And when our energy is down, so is our motivation to keep working toward our goals.

As with perfection, it’s important to be mindful about how much importance you’re placing on “keeping up” with what you think everyone around you is doing.

Want to stop sizing yourself up to others? Try the following:

  • Notice the feelings that come up for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
  • Ask yourself, “what information am I really getting from this comparison, and what’s helpful about it?”
  • Keep the helpful bits from that line of questioning and let go of the rest.

Remember that when you compare yourself to another person, oftentimes you are seeing the potential that already resides within you.[3]

5. Untamed Inner Monologue

How do you talk to yourself? Do you tend to say uplifting and encouraging things to yourself? Or is your self-speak often negative? An untamed inner monologue can serve as a great obstacle to many people.

Many people grow up with the idea that the inner monologue is what drives us to become better people. We get “tough” on ourselves to prevent laziness or sloppiness. If unchecked, the monologuing can quickly become negative and purely critical. Despite our intentions for self-improvement, this constant habit of pointing out what’s “wrong” with what we do and who we are can become a huge energy drain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, overcoming negative self-talk is good for our health.[4] Some of the benefits of maintaining a compassionate inner voice include lower levels of depression, better immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful times.

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Activities to develop awareness about your inner monologue and make it more compassionate include:

  • Keeping a thought diary (there are so many great apps for this!).
  • Reframing negative self-statements neutrally or compassionately.
  • Asking yourself what a trusted friend might say to you.
  • Thinking about what you might say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
  • Considering EFT Tapping or saying affirmations.
  • Allowing yourself to follow the inner critic down the worst-case-scenario path (this version might have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic’s imagination truly is).

6. Unclear Boundaries

So far, we’ve covered several ways that internal boundaries are necessary on the road to success. These include monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfectionism, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue.

How about those boundaries we need to clarify with other people in our lives? To be clear, boundaries are not about saying “no” to everything and cutting yourself off from everybody. Healthy external boundaries are about being communicating to others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and what your plans are.

If we have unclear boundaries with others, success will result only by accident, if at all.

People pleasers and empaths especially know how challenging it can be to set boundaries with others. The desire for harmony can be so strong for some people that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make the decisions rather than risk creating conflict.

The problem here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves that results in roadblocks to success. If you have trouble setting clear boundaries with others and you want to be successful, start building your muscles around this skill slowly.

Here are a few steps:

  1. Identify little things that you like and want.
  2. Tell people about what you like and want in your life.
  3. Notice what happens in your body when you say this out loud.
  4. Identify things you don’t like or want.
  5. Notice what happens in your body when you think about these things. (Your body is really smart when it comes to telling you what you don’t want!)
  6. Tell trusted people what you don’t like or want.
  7. Notice how it feels in your body to say this out loud.
  8. Practice saying “no” to something really small that you don’t want and work your way up to bigger things.

Without boundaries, it’s like being water and trying to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to create your own container and watch your success take form.

7. Unreasonable Expectations

It’s important to dream big. It’s how we allow inspiration and big ideas to come to the surface of our awareness. But if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we might be headed for some disappointment or even worse, the loss of our dreams!

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Setting reasonable expectations is the bread and butter of success. If you haven’t been introduced to setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it would be a good idea to try it out.

It might not always be possible to know whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you’re trying out a brand-new-to-you project. If the expectation is for a new project to work without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unreasonable. The consequences of this experience could be losing your drive to succeed.

If the expectations for a new project include the idea of bumps and glitches that hold seeds of learning and growth, then even the perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the positive benefit of fueling your motivation to keep working toward even more success.

Be mindful of where you set the bar—neither too high nor too low.

8. Unreasonable Definition of Success

What is your definition of success? Asked in another way, from what perspective are you seeking success?

It’s easy to think that success means achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. But there are so many ways to look at success. You might be missing out on some opportunities to really feel like you are shining in your life.

An unreasonable definition of success might be one that only allows for one specific outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then success is not the result. But if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we might find that success is much easier to come by than we previously thought!

To expand your definition of success, ask yourself the following:

  • What would need to happen to make me feel successful?
  • What else could happen to make me feel successful?

Keep brainstorming all the outcomes you could experience to create a feeling of success.

Final Thoughts

Being successful requires overcoming a lot of obstacles, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to tackle these obstacles one step at a time. In the words of Joyce Brothers, “Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

Reference

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