10 Things to Give Up if You Want to be Successful
Everyone wants to be successful. Different people have differing criteria of success. While some pine for fame, others prefer wealth; they’re those who want to be respected above all else, and then there are people who define success as the peace of mind and ability to be free.
However you define success, dreaming about it and reaching that pedestal are two different things. What separates them is actually just one simple thing – the willingness to change one’s behavior and thought process. You must first admit that you are where you are right now because of the choices you’ve thus far made in life.
Like Marshall Goldsmith, the famous leadership thinker put it, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” He actually wrote a whole book on that. So, if you need to achieve that lofty goal, you need to get your thoughts in place, redefine mental models and pick up your act. Success is a result of choices. So, start choosing good from now on.
People who remain stuck with negative behaviors will never be a success and are destined to only dream of it. But those who are willing to learn about and understand where they go wrong, and are open to modifying them, will always be on the path to success. It’s just a matter of time for these folks.
And if you are such a person (of course you are, why else would you be reading this) who is willing to change themselves to be successful, understand the mechanics of success, whether in your career or personal life, then you have to give up the main ten negative attitudes mentioned below.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Your Abilities
Some people have a tendency to hold back their abilities just so that they don’t make other people feel inferior. Such an attitude will only keep you in a secondary position, never letting you get the taste of being a leader.
After all, being at the top means you have to outsmart everyone else competing for the position. When you hold yourself back, it is inevitable that you will never be ‘numero uno’. So, if you have a tendency to downplay abilities while in a team, then you should stop doing that. Use all your talents on whatever task you are assigned and come out on top.
There will obviously be people who don't like the fact that you are number one. But you don’t have to mind them. Instead, associate with those who appreciate your effort and value you for the talents you have displayed.
2. Get Rid Of Toxic People
There will likely be lots of toxic people around you who aim to keep you in your current state, never allowing you to be successful. Such people might be acting this way due to a number of reasons, ranging from jealousy to their own insecurities.
Whatever be their motivations, get rid of such toxic people and cut off all relationships with them. Maintaining any sort of contact with them is not only useless, but will also be counterproductive, and will hold you back from your goal.
Instead, develop relationships with people who value your growth, appreciate your success, and give you suggestions as to how to improve yourself. Surrounding yourself with such supportive people alone will give you a huge confidence boost.
Pro Tip I
Even better, surround yourself with people, the likes of which you wish to achieve, i.e. those who are better than you.
3. Avoid Being Fixated On Idealistic Standards Of Perfection
“Done is better than perfect.”
There is nothing perfect in this world. And this is something that many people who naively chase an idealistic sense of perfectionism need to understand. Without grasping this concept and being happy with achieving a realistic goal, you will only waste life on a wild goose chase, remaining in the same position at all times, never improving and becoming successful.
For example, imagine that you are an artist tasked with creating four paintings for a company with a deadline of 2 months. Once the client has agreed on your basic concepts, you should move on to creating the painting one by one.
But if during the process of creating the first painting, you come up with an idea to make it even better then you might think of adapting your painting to the new idea. Don’t do it. Since the client has already approved an idea, go ahead with it and complete it. Overthinking should be avoided.
If you think of implementing the new idea, then you might come up with yet another idea that is better than everything you had till now. And this stream of ideas will never cease and you will never be able to complete the paintings in time.
This will obviously hurt your reputation as a painter and people will opt not to hire you because of your inability to meet deadlines, thereby hurting your chances of being successful. So, forget about idealistic perfection, and instead focus on meeting achievable targets.
4. Don’t Create Excuses For Every Failure
Not everything you do will meet a successful conclusion. Many of the decisions you take in life will not only tank but can also drag you into depression. But remember to never create any excuse for such failures. Instead, accept a failure as it is, learn what went wrong, and try to adapt yourself so that you can fulfill your goal the next time.
For example, if your company assigned you the task of capturing 25% of market share in a particular locality, and you failed to do so, focus on what went wrong and how you can improve. Don’t create excuses like ‘the company did not assign required budget’ and so on.
It may be true that the company may not have given the required budget, but using that as the sole reason for your failure and overlooking personal shortcomings like improper planning and failure to lead will never turn you into a worthy successful person.
5. Stay Fit And Healthy
Be sure to keep yourself healthy and fit. If you pursue an unhealthy lifestyle filled with fatty foods and zero exercise, then success will be out of reach. Cut down on the junk food and start eating healthy, nutritious meals. Join a gym and get your body in shape. You don’t have to get a six-pack. You just have to be fit. And this will ensure that you have the energy to remain completely focused on your goal all day long.
Pro Tip II
Doing one good thing, however small, in a disciplined manner will lead to larger changes that will have impact on the rest of your decisions, and eventually, change the course of your life. For more on this, read about Kaizen, the Japanese method of taking small steps to achieve large goals.
6. Stop Blaming Others For Your Mistakes
Never blame others for your mistake. Never. Period. This is especially true if you are the leader of a team, and your group has failed in any of their tasks. In such a situation, if you pin all blame on your teammates, trying to justify your standing to superiors and stakeholders, then not only will you appear an unworthy leader, but you can forget about ever achieving success.
Being successful is not just about your own talent, it is also about the support of the team around you. No one achieves anything alone. Remember that. If you aim to be at the top, you will need loyal team members who will do everything they can to make you reach the top and stay there. And that loyalty can only be earned if you treat them with due respect, and of course, recognition.
As such, if during a failure, you squarely put all blame on them, they will only consider you an opportunist, and someone who is unworthy of their loyalty. Take full responsibility for the failure and give them credit for success. Even if your team members have committed certain faults, hold yourself responsible and avoid shifting blame.
This alone will be sufficient to earn respect, and your teammates will work even harder to make sure the next task is completed successfully.
7. Don’t Seek Validation From Others
"I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure--It is: Try to please everybody." - Herbert Bayard Swope
When you do something, focus on doing it well. Don’t act in order to please someone else and gain their appreciation. That is definitely not the attitude of a winner. Successful people don’t do things just because they will receive appreciation.
In turn, they do whatever they are tasked with the right way. And this makes them successful, eventually getting them praise from all corners. So, focus on doing the job at hand the best way possible, and you will have the mindset of a winner.
Pro Tip III
Only when there is truth in what you do, can you understand it completely, and improve upon it to achieve real success.
8. Avoid Being A Control Freak
Never be a control freak. When you are assigned with any specific task, split it into smaller tasks, and assign the best people for the job. Trust them to do their work properly, and guide them in case they make mistakes.
Avoid trying to control every single action assuming that only you can do the task perfectly. If you carry such an attitude, then you won’t have any good members remain on your team for too long since talented people do not like being constantly watched over and told what to do. So, give up such behaviors and learn to trust the people under you. By doing that, you will have a better chance at keeping the talented people in your team for longer and achieving success.
Success is a process. It has numerous components and one of the main parts is to attain the loyalty of a professional team behind you. This team will be critical in achieving your success.
9. Stop Expecting Life To Be Fair
Life is not fair. Don’t be naïve as to assume that when you do something right, you deserve and will receive a positive result. Unfortunately, the world does not work that way. So, give up on such silly notions.
Instead, look at any task ahead of you from multiple perspectives. Plan for all types of consequences, without being fixated on a lone positive outcome. And by doing so, you will always be ready to meet any consequences, no matter how wildly they differ from your expectations.
Think about scenarios where your planning goes wrong, and the results achieved are far from perfect. Plan on steps to undertake when such things happen, and you will be well-prepared. As they say, hope for the best, and plan for the worst.
10. Meet Problems Head On
And finally, don’t run away from problems. Don’t avoid them as if they don’t matter. That is a sure fire way to remain a loser all through your life. No one achieved greatness by avoiding problems. Be stoic about obstacles. Obstacles will reveal paths you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Great people are successful and are admired by many people as being a success because they faced all problems head on instead of running away from it. So, if your business is tanking, then have the courage to first acknowledge that your decisions were wrong.
If you acknowledge that the business is failing, then you can think of ways to reverse the situation. But if you don’t even accept that reality, then you are guaranteed to fail. A person with such an attitude will never amount to anything. Mainly because they can’t accept the reality in front of them, and keep on avoiding the biggest obstacles.
And even if they achieve success, they will not be able to maintain it. So, develop a character that confronts all problems that comes in the way of your goal, and you will have a better chance at being a successful person.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Winston S. Churchill