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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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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