We’ve always looked up to amazingly successful, impactful professionals and entrepreneurs. And we’re defining “success” here as achieving what matters most to you, individually and authentically – not as some objective measure of outer wealth, accomplishment or achievement. Notably, there are many written articles highlighting the way they (people who are living fully on their terms and absolutely loving it) think, react, interrelate, problem solves and lead.
While it is good to apply these lessons to your own life, it is more important to avoid certain negative actions and mindsets that others, less successful people habitually get lost in. Here are 6 self-limiting, negative behaviours successful people avoid:
1. Resisting change
For one, successful people don’t break themselves against what is or drown in the changing tides. They go with the flow. They follow the trends and embrace them. But more importantly, they are flexible, fluid and nimble. They react to what’s in front of them and improvise deftly. Those who are unsuccessful complain what is appearing before them and stay stuck in the past or in what they “expected,” complaining about how life is not what it should be and why it feels so wrong.
2. Putting off investing in themselves
You will see this behaviour over and over in those who feel thwarted and unsuccessful – they are extremely reluctant to invest time, money and energy in themselves and their own growth. They are comfortable only when putting other people’s needs ahead of their own. They’ll make any excuse for why now is NOT the time to invest in themselves or commit to change. They feel guilt, shame and anxiety over claiming “I’m worth this.” Successful people don’t wait – they spend money, time and effort on their own growth because they know without a doubt it will pay off – for themselves and everyone around them. Which leads us to the next point:
3. Honouring other people’s priorities over their own
Successful people are very clear about their top priorities in life and work. They won’t be waylaid by the priorities and values of others. In short, they have very well-defined boundaries and know where they end and others begin. They say “no” to endeavours and behaviours (and thinking) that will push them off track. They know what they want to create and the legacy they want to leave behind in this lifetime, and honour that each day.
While most may argue this as a selfish act, it actually just enforces their mindset of knowing specifically how they want to use their talents and passions in the world and commit to living out their visions (and very often, these visions are about being of service to others).
Related: 6 Power Lessons From Bill Gates
4. Engaging in “below the line” thinking
“Below the line” thinking refers to a particular mindset that shapes how you view the world in a limiting way. It leads to your believing that what’s happening to you is outside your control and everyone else’s fault – the economy, your industry, your boss, your spouse, etc. Below the line, thinking says, “It’s not fair what’s happening, and I don’t have what it takes to overcome these challenges.” Above the line thinking, on the other hand, says, “I’m accountable for my life and my career, and I have what it takes to navigate through this successfully. If I fail, I’ll still wake up tomorrow exactly who I am, and will have learned something important.”
5. Mistaking fantastical wishful thinking for action
While successful professionals pursue outcomes that flow organically from their current actions, unsuccessful individuals attach to fantasies that may relieve them momentarily of their situational pain but have no basis in reality. For instance, someone walks up to you and share, “I really hate my job and desperately want to leave. I’ve been wanting to write a book and become a performing artist for several years now.” But when you ask if they are writing or performing currently, more often than not, the answer will be, “Uh…no.”
You can’t write a book if you’re not writing anything, and you can’t perform on stage if you haven’t developed any skills for it. It’s critical to take bold action toward your visions, in order to create success. Successful people develop huge goals too, but they crush them down into smaller, digestible action steps that they then build on, which leads naturally to the end goal they’re pursuing.
Related: 5 Career Advice To Keep In Mind
6. Remaining powerless and speechless
Successful people are in touch with their power and are not afraid to use and express it. They advocate and negotiate strongly for themselves and for others, and for what they care about, and don’t shy away from articulating just how they stand apart from the competition. They know how they contribute uniquely and the value they bring to the table. In addition, they don’t wait to bring up concerns – they tackle challenges head-on, speaking about them openly, with calm, poise and grace. They don’t hide from their problems. Ultimately, they don’t perceive themselves as hapless victims.