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15 Phrases Unsuccessful People Always Use That You Need To Avoid

15 Phrases Unsuccessful People Always Use That You Need To Avoid

So, you have a great idea.

Awesome!

But if you want to make that idea into reality, that’s not all you need to succeed.

Whether you’re going to make it or not doesn’t only depend on your wits and good ideas. In fact, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The other 90% is your state of mind, your resolve, and your communication with others. Successful people know this—and that’s why you’ll never hear them say any of these 15 phrases.

1. “That’s impossible.”

Unless you’re talking about pigs literally flying (and hey, who knows what science will come up with, nonbelievers!), there is nothing that is impossible. You actually can do anything you put your mind to, with enough determination and effort. Sometimes, it just takes a new perspective.

But claiming that something is impossible when it totally is possible is just limiting your own potential for success.

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2. “I can do it all by myself.”

You can do anything you set your mind to, but sometimes, you need the help of others. Teamwork is essential with certain tasks; or, sometimes, you just need the support of others to help you achieve. Only unsuccessful people think they can do everything all by themselves 100% of the time.

3. “That won’t happen for me.”

Say you want to apply for your dream job. But 100 other people around the country have applied, and only one person can get in. In a situation like this, this phrase is deadly.

Only unsuccessful people say this, because it’s a phrase that rationalizes letting go of your dreams and goals. One person will get that job. Why not you?

4. “Jane is so ahead of me in life.”

This is a phrase that floats through the head of many, myself included. It’s hard to see people around you who seem like they’ve just got everything together when you’re not even sure which way is up.

Successful people know that this doesn’t have to do with their self worth. Rather, it’s about what stage they’re in during life. Successful people just use those ahead of them as inspiration keep on going—not as a point of comparison.

These people are simply at a different stage than you are, or perhaps on a totally different path than you. Don’t compare your Chapter Two to somebody else’s Chapter Nine.

5. “I have a problem with that.”

Sometimes, roadblocks will come; a member of your team will need a few days to rest, or a business you’re working with will take longer than you expected to complete a task. Though it’s important to stand up for yourself, it’s also important to be flexible. Getting angry when things don’t go exactly to plan just drains you and the people you’re working with.

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6. “Don’t forget the details.”

When an artist is drawing a model, she doesn’t start the whole piece by obsessing over the fingernails. She makes a rough sketch of the whole body first, then starts to make it a little more realistic, and then worries about little details at the end.

When a concept feels bigger than life itself, and you’re concerned about all of the little details, it will seem overwhelming to your teammates—and you’ll just be seen as nit-picky. Details are important, but they’ll come in time. Keep everything in perspective, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. “I like my own idea.”

You might have come up with a great idea, but someone else could have an idea to add to it that makes it unbelievably excellent. On the other hand, you might have a good idea, but an aspect of your idea doesn’t work and is holding it back. It’s important to be open-minded.

8. “I don’t need your input.”

Yes, you do. You always need input. Only unsuccessful people claim that they don’t need advice and constructive criticism. Why? Because successful people know that they aren’t perfect, and they thus value the opinions of others who may see a flaw or a hole in their plan.

9. “I already know that.”

So someone tries to help you out with a piece of knowledge you already know or have already noticed. What good will snapping back this quip really do? This is a statement that simply hurts the morale of the team. It’s never been constructive.

Successful people know that, and they avoid it at all costs. Something they might say instead is simply, “Yes, thank you.” You don’t want to frighten anybody into not giving you the constructive criticism you need.

10. “Let me check my schedule.”

Let me start this off by saying that you don’t want to burn yourself out. I’m not saying that you should say yes to everything that comes your way.

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Rather, I’m saying that this statement makes it seem as though you don’t have time for someone. If someone needs to meet with you or is trying to help you, saying this phrase will make them feel as though they’re unimportant, and you don’t value their time—that you’re just trying to fit them into your already-crowded schedule.

A better response might be, “Yes, that would be great! Let me figure out the best day I can do that, and I’ll get back to you.” Positivity is key.

11. “You must be wrong about that.”

This is a statement successful people always try to avoid. It’s not only dismissing somebody’s point of view, but doing so immediately, without even looking into the problem. You know what they say about assuming!

This person came to you giving you this advice. They might be right—and even if they aren’t, they were simply trying to help you. A better response would be, “I’ll look into it—thanks for telling me.”

12. “I can’t.”

Again, this doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything. You’re only human.

However, this is a phrase that should be negated from your vocabulary when you’re trying to achieve a goal. It’s the same as “that’s impossible”— except you’re using it referring directly to yourself. If you don’t think you can, why should anyone else?

Simply saying “I can’t” is dismissing a whole realm of possibilities. If it’s something truly important that will help you to be successful, yes, you can. If not, say, “That’s something we can consider later in the game.”

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13. “Nobody can see my work until it’s finished.”

As a writer, if someone asks to see my work, this phrase is at the tip of my tongue—but now, I hold it back. If you’ve got a good idea, great. But once you start to work on it, it’s important to let others you trust see it.

After all, a whole new perspective is important, because they might see a gaping hole in your plan that you didn’t—one that makes everything you did afterwards null and void.

14. “There’s no time for me to relax.”

Did you know Bill Gates loves to play golf? Warren Buffet plays the ukulele. Meryl Streep spends a huge amount of her time knitting. Leslie Knope has time to eat a lot of waffles.

Life might seem busy, but successful people know that it’s essential to allow yourself time to wind down with an activity that has nothing to do with your goals. It’s important to recharge and let your mind relax every now and then so you don’t burn out.

15. “It’s not fair.”

Only unsuccessful people use this phrase. Not only is this phrase harping on the negative, but it’s attributing any failures or botched attempts to outside sources—to fate.

It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not. And successful people know that sometimes, things don’t work out the way you think they will. But they move on and keep trying, while the unsuccessful plop down and pout.

Everybody fails. But you’re only truly failing if you don’t get back up and try again.

Featured photo credit: lifeis_caps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

Creativity also emphasizes values.

“The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

1. Cultivate Focus

In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

How to cultivate focus?

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Take a 20 Minute Walk

Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

2. Build a Structure

When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

How to build a structure?

Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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3. Find Motivation

There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

How to find motivation?

Connect to Your “Why”

Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

How to become an expert?

Make a Mastery Training Plan

Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

3. Review your progress

Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

5. Create a Conducive Environment

A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

“a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

How to create a conducive environment?

Add or Subtract Stimuli

Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

The Bottom Line

Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

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Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

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