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The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success

The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success
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Success. What is it and why is it that some people seem to be blessed with success all the time and others just aren’t?

It’s not magic. There are simple traps that many of us fall into that hold success just out of reach.

First of all, let’s define the word “Success”. According to Miriam Webster online there are two very different definitions of “Success”. Here they are.

Success:

“the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame”

“the correct or desired result of an attempt”

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If you want wealth, respect, or fame, the first one is for you. If you have a particular aim or goal in mind, definition number two applies.

In either case, success can be achieved by anyone, but you must be cautious, as there are some very real traps that can keep you from achieving your goals and success. Here are the main ones:

1. Ignorance

It sounds simple enough but you would be surprised at how many people are rock-headedly ignorant and think they know it all! Thinking you know it all already is a sure way to keep from learning anything about what you need to know to be successful. The people who are the most successful in their chosen fields have decided that they needed to learn everything they could about their field, and they never would have done so if they had already thought they knew it all.

I have seen people who are stone cold failures and still will not listen to anyone who tries to help them learn something. It is sad really because their situation will never change until they decide that there is something to learn, and then set about trying to learn it.

2. Too much useless or false information

This is a big problem because the question arises: “How do you know if information is true or not?” There is soooo much false information out there, so it can be difficult‒if not impossible‒to tell which information is true.

Well, I am here to give you a valuable piece of information and it is this: if you use the information as recommended and it works, it is true. If not, you either did not use It correctly or it is wrong. Try it out and see if it works. Then you’ll know.

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Another way of deciding whether information will be useful is to look at the source of the information. Is it credible? Has the person who is giving you the information had measurable success with it? These are simple quick and easy tests you can run through to see if information is valuable.

For example, imagine that a person is trying to sell a learning method. If they have a lot of successful students who can learn and apply the information and then become successful with it, you can bet that the claims they are making are true.

3. Being superficial

Whether you are studying for your field or working in your field, put your heart and soul into it. While learning, learn everything you can. While working, do everything you can. Find out about all the inner workings of the various aspects of your job. Be very curious and ask yourself why things are the way they are.

Remember, your work should be something you are passionate about. If you are not, your chances of success are limited. The passionate people are the ones who draw others to them and take the time and expend the effort necessary to get ahead. The absolute worst thing you can do is work just for a paycheck.

4. Taking shortcuts

This is similar to my last point except that even passionate people can be tempted to take shortcuts. Remember! If there is not enough time to do it right, there is even less time to do it over! Sit down and do the job properly. This is true with every job in life. Put your attention on it, send the distractions on their way and get it done right.

5. Listening to naysayers

You know those annoying people who come to you saying, “It can’t be done.” or, “Its been done before.” or, “What makes you think you can do it when so many others have failed?”

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These people are simply trying to stop you for reasons that they are not saying. Perhaps you being successful when they have failed makes them wrong in some fashion. Perhaps they are just jealous. Perhaps they have been listening to too many other naysayers. In any case, this has nothing to do with you. Their failures are their failures and have nothing to do with your success.

6. Settling for “Plan B”

Plan B is the plan that you were told you should have to “fall back on,” especially if you have chosen a career in the arts. I don’t know where this idiocy came from because when you look at it, there is art all around you. There are movies and films and music everywhere. It stands to reason that someone somewhere is paying for it.

If you have a passion for something other than a “real job” go for it! Find those who are successful and find out what they did to be successful, and then do that! It really is that simple. There are steps to success in any field and most people who are successful in their fields are willing to help an enthusiastic person find their way. Find out the steps that lead to success and take them.

7. Not keeping your focus.

It is so easy to get distracted in this day and age. Everywhere people and various media outlets are desperately trying to get your attention. A lot of what they are pumping out is really interesting too!

More than ever we have to manage our distractions and be ruthless about not allowing them to take over. Schedule your time for the things you know are distracting but do not lead to your goal. You don’t have to give up your favorite distractions but you do need to manage them and keep them from eating all your time and energy.

8. Failing to write out the steps you need to take daily to move forward toward your goal.

This is so important, and it ties in nicely with my last point. Distractions can easily creep in when you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to actually do to move forward.

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In my line of work, I have so many projects and I love taking on more. If I don’t write down a “battle plan” of the things I need to get accomplished every day, I can pretty much call that day wasted. I will get up and fog around the house doing nothing of value until I realize that it is time for my afternoon appointments.

If I have a battle plan or a “To Do” list, not only do I get more done, but I can look at it at the end of the day and see how productive I was. This aids morale because you are as happy as you are productive in life. When you see that you have gotten a lot done, you are a lot more motivated to do more.

9. Underestimating the amount of effort required to achieve your goal.

It is sometimes very difficult to know how much effort you need to expend to really get moving on a path toward success. In that case, it is safer to overestimate than underestimate. Assume that you will be working your buns off. If that large of an effort is not required, it will be a pleasant surprise. If it is, you will be ready.

Any goal that you are going after will require effort and in most cases, lots of it. If you are ready for it and willing to expend your effort smartly, you will succeed.

10. Thinking that someone else’s definition of success will work for you.

At the beginning of my post, I gave you two definitions of “Success,” but there is another definition that is infinitely more important‒your own, personal definition of success. Sit down and write it out exactly. What does success mean to you? Without a clear idea of what you are going after you will not be able to reach it. If you know exactly what you want, you will know with each and every action you take whether or not it is taking you closer to your goal.

Once you do that, look at the traps and make sure you are not falling into them. They can be insidious, meaning they can sneak up on you. Be aware and keep a copy of this article in hand and refer to it every so often.

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Write me and let me know how it is going. You can put your note or questions in the comments section and I will respond.

Good luck!

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Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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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)
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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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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