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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.

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Featured photo credit: lifeis_caps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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