Five Habits You Should Stop to Be More Successful

3 min read

Success comes from hammering away at your craft until other people take notice. And then keep doing it at a high level until people appreciate what you have to offer. And then, unless you’re extremely fortunate, continuing to work at it even more.

You can do this. Trust me. But it’ll help if you start avoiding these five hazardous habits.

Maintaining a “me against the world” attitude.

You have a mile-wide chip on your shoulder. Nothing has ever come easy. But you’re going to hit paydirt, no matter the odds or who stands in your way. 

I get it. I operated like this for much of my life. 

And this tactic can work in the short term. You might win a game or overcome a personal challenge with this outlook. You can power through a crappy week at the job or a semester of tough classes like this. But when it comes to sustainable success, the angry outsider approach will likely hurt your chances.

To triumph in the long term, try becoming a leader. Leaders don’t hold grudges, put everything on their shoulders, or alienate themselves. Leaders take a firm yet measured approach, know they don’t need to do it all solo, and find value in networking and connecting with others.

An independent nonconformist may score some individual victories. But to find continued success, abandon the lone wolf mindset.

Hating what you’re creating.

I’ve been blessed to forge a bit of success in a few different areas. And one impactful thing I’ve noticed from climbing these different ladders is that there’s a common phenomenon among achievers, regardless of what field they’re in. 

It’s an unspoken rule that if you aspire to be a real _________, you’re supposed to hate your handiwork. This negative self-dialogue transcends genre. Creatives, coders, corporates, and countless others practice this masochistic behavior.

If you have this habit, please stop. And not just because it’s annoying. 

There’s a lot of hours, energy, tears, and doubt sitting between you and your goals. You aren’t going to traverse this gap by panning your work. You aren’t getting a promotion by dissing your efforts. You won’t evolve into a better parent by dwelling on past mistakes.

Fighting your way through the bullshit to accomplish goals takes a massive dose of audacity. If you want to be triumphant, you better love whatever you’re doing or developing – especially if you want other people to feel the same.

Trying to find the easy way.

You can keep looking, but there are no cheat codes, magic bullets, or secret hacks.

Success – however you define it – is a byproduct of hard work and persistence. But it’s easy to cop out and assume other people have all the breaks. It’s easy to think they have benefits that you don’t like natural talent, extra money, and key connections.

But your competition likely doesn’t have all these advantages, either. They just do the tasks you won’t do. They’re simply willing to work harder than you.

Instead of searching for shortcuts, put that effort into tackling what needs to get done. Push yourself and stretch your boundaries to reach your potential, and then reach even further. That is a form of success in itself.

Hang onto Plan A too long.

You have a dream. Let’s call it Plan A. It’s flawless and epic and there’s no way it’s going to fail.

But if it does crash, don’t stubbornly clutch onto the smoldering wreckage. Burn your Plan A and move on. You can’t be afraid to switch to your backup plan if your initial strategy falls apart.

Sometimes we treat Plan B as if it’s an inferior option. Like it’s a consolation for missing out on the ideal scenario we first imagined. But let’s face it –Plan A doesn’t always pan out. When that happens, if we’re able to take Plan B as seriously as A, we still might find success.

Don’t let the demise of a seemingly foolproof strategy discourage you. Sometimes you need to ditch Plan A and dive into Plan B. Plan B may not be what you initially envisioned, but if you’re familiar enough with making sacrifices, it could lead you to the same destination. 

Waiting for luck to arrive.

Becoming successful isn’t a matter of luck. It’s about persistence.

Every Olympian is an athlete who didn’t stop competing when they came up short. Every published novelist is an author who didn’t stop writing even after they received numerous rejection notices. Every entrepreneur is a risk-taker who didn’t allow uncertainty to prevent them from building a new venture.

Luck is a variable you can’t control. But you can harness your effort. So use effort to power your perseverance and make progress towards your aspirations.

Stop waiting for some unlikely windfall. Uncross your fingers and put your hands to work. 

One oft-forgotten secret about success is that it’s just as much about what you’re willing to give up as what you want to achieve.

You likely have behaviors you do involuntarily that hinder your chances to get what you want. These drawbacks can be persistent in their ability to deter your success. But don’t fret – you possess enough willpower to overcome these obstacles. Identify what habits hold you back and make the necessary corrections to maximize your potential.

Adrian Potter Adrian S. Potter is an author, engineer, consultant, and public speaker. He writes poetry, short fiction, essays, and articles on a variety of subjects including creativity and personal growth. He is the author of the poetry collection Everything Wrong Feels Right. Adrian’s words have appeared in Roads & Bridges Magazine, LILIPOH, North American Review, and Kansas City Voices.

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