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13 Common Bad Habits That Hold You Back From Success

13 Common Bad Habits That Hold You Back From Success

Habit-forming goes hand in hand with success. There’s no ‘if’s’ or ‘buts’ on this one; it is essential to create solid habits that align with your values for you to make a success in whatever area of your life you wish. Creating habits that will serve you is all well and good, but have you ever honesty sat down and assessed the areas that might be holding you back?

It’s almost as if you are sitting in your car, foot firmly pressing down the accelerator, but you are going nowhere. Until you release the handbrake you are not going to move. Bad habits are your handbrake and for every great idea you will need to release the handbrake. Below are 15 habits that are currently holding you back from getting exactly where you want to go.

1.Waiting for the right moment

There never really is a right moment, so waiting around for one is pretty much a waste of your time You have to pick your moment – the one that suits the direction you want to go in right here, right now.  Waiting for the right moment can be disguised as procrastination, or if I may say so, fear. If you live true to your values then every moment should be acted on within the best of your interests. In every second of each day you have total control of each moment so aim to make each one fit right with you. Be aware, take the opportunity and create, create, create.

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2. Needing approval from others

Once you understand that you are responsible for everything that has come and gone in your life you’ll realise that everything from here onwards depends on you as well. Taking action and having faith in your own decisions will make you a leader and therefore will not wait around for the opinion and approval from others.

3. The need to always be perfect

Striving for perfection is almost a form of self-harm.  It’s like being that dog in the cartoons chasing its tail. It’ll never happen, because perfection doesn’t exist. Think about it: when is anything ever perfect? Life is always yin and yang so you have to accept that striving for perfection can be damaging to your success. It brings with it unhappiness as there is always ‘something else to do’ when at times its better to be proud of your achievements thus far.

4. Too stubborn to let go

Ideas will come and go, so will good people, business colleagues, employees, partners… but for your creativity to blossom you have to find a way to allow these things to leave your universe as easy as they came in to it. Nothing lasts forever so learn that letting go will allow you the freedom of thought to make better of your life and move you further in the direction of success. Be careful not to create an emotional attachment to things, as they will become harder to let go. Know that the person, idea or whatever you are holding on to does not define you so there is not need need to cling to it. Lose the emotion, lose the stubbornness and make way for the new.

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5. Not apologizing for making mistakes

Apologizing can really hurt your pride, right? Admitting liability for things gone wrong is not something that we are too comfortable with. What about stepping out of your comfort zone and having a look around you? The people you value the most, and have the best connection with, are the ones that are honest and open to you. If you want to move on in business and in life and want to be respected learn that apologizing for your mistakes is vital in moving forward. People respect honesty and any trust barriers will be broken.

6. Not learning from people “less” than you

I was once told by good friend that “everyone has something to offer” and at times when I’ve felt like like I haven’t needed input from anyone else I have reminded myself of this and allowed myself to open my mind. The truth is there is no one “less” than you and once you accept that your stubbornness will disappear. This doesn’t mean you have to take in everything that everyone says, but listen and give people your time as you may find that you will discover a little diamond of information that you just needed.

7. Not willing to do something beyond your duties

A little more effort goes a long way. You’ve heard the saying “you get out what you put in” right? Well it’s true, and you’ll find that those that are super successful do not sit around and revel in their accomplishments, they are always figuring out how they can do more and continue excelling. This also extends to stepping out of your comfort zone a little and surprising yourself by doing something you don’t usually do. You’ll feel great about it too, and it’ll become addictive.

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8. Spending too long worrying about the outcome

We all worry at times but letting worry take over you is not going to propel your success. There is only so much in your control so you can do something about it but there are many things that are out of your control and therefore will not serve you to worry about.  put in the hard work and from there onwards relax and let be what will be.  if you worry you will clog up your brain power and lose your creativity to continue your creative work.

9. Comparing yourself to others

Success should be a personal matter. Each individual should define what success means to them and you have to be doing that yourself. Find what’s important to you and what success looks and feels like to you and be in total control of that feeling. Looking at others and always knocking yourself down because you haven’t achieved what they have or own what they own is unnecessary. You have your divine right to create the kind of success that you have worked for.

10. Not assessing your mistakes

Mistakes are part of life; we all know that, but if you’re making the same ones over and over again don’t you think that there is something going seriously wrong? It’s time to assess your mistakes honestly. Break them down and ask yourself honest questions, first of all why they may be happening and why you didn’t act differently from last time. This will help you find better solutions for the future.

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11. Not working on your weaknesses

I’m sorry to break the headline news to you, but yes, you have weaknesses. That’s a great thing, though, because for every weakness, you have a strong area. Once you identify your weak areas spend a short amount of time each day working on ways to improve them. For example, if you know you need to improve your anatomy knowledge for your work, spend 15-20 minutes a day reading up on areas that you find difficult to understand and slowly but surely you will gain a much better understanding of what you need to learn.

12. Spending too long doing the things you don’t like doing

Is this contradictory of the point above? It certainly isn’t. What I’m getting at here is different to point 11. If doing your accounts drives you mad and takes up far too much of your valuable time, then hire an accountant and the job will be done properly. People often think about the expense of getting others to do work for them but trust in others’ expertise and let your mind focus on the things that you do well.

13. Taking life too seriously

Life can get you down for sure, but when you feel like the world is caving in on you remember how wonderful life is and think about all the great people and moments that have contributed in bringing you to where you are today. Remember when you were a child and you used to run around with youthful exuberance free of pain, stress and worry? Sure we have a lot more on our agendas as adults, but bring yourself back to that feeling of freedom because at any one time when you feel yourself sinking you have the freedom to take off and act upon making things better.  Your success is important, but you have full control of making of it what you wish. Smile more, love more and great things will inadvertently come your way.

Featured photo credit: brian carlson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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