The 10 Habits Of Unsuccessful People:
Last month I discussed different sorts of success – apart from the Financial Success that many of us class as “Success”- that people can experience. There are plenty of articles that discuss the habits of successful people, but who really believes that you can be successful simply by copying someone else’s habits? If that was the case, success would be easy. When I was growing up I didn’t know that many successful people. The father of one of my friends was a director of a publically listed company and drove a very nice Jaguar XJ and owned a house with a swimming pool (which in England is considered to be very posh), but apart from him, I was surrounded by a sea of blue collar and lower level white collar workers. Entrepreneurs were few and far between.
The first truly successful person I met was an entrepreneur in his fifties. Bryan* had managed to build his own industrial parts supply business from the ground up, and was financially very comfortable, but it wasn’t just his wealth that made him a success in my eyes. Bryan had a strong marriage, a great relationship with his kids and was “comfortable” in his own skin. He truly cared about others but didn’t feel the need to ingratiate himself to anyone. He was just as at ease negotiating with directors in the boardroom, as he was bantering with the workforce in the lunchroom. He wasn’t embarrassed about the wealth he had created, but he also didn’t flaunt it. Bryan knew how to live a full life, whilst at the same time not taking for granted that it would go on forever.
He had a phrase I remember well. Bryan said that learning to fly was easy. It was the art of throwing yourself at the ground – and missing.
In a similar vein, he would also say that the best way to be successful was to avoid being unsuccessful. He maintained that you should study those things that make you unsuccessful, unhappy, broke, fat, stupid and then, eliminate those things from your life. I like his concept of trying not to be unsuccessful. Because what is success?
You’ve probably read articles that discuss the habits of successful people. The problem with those types of articles is that they always seem to give you conditional promises.
But I believe we have to let go of the “if I do x, then I’ll be successful or happy” way of thinking.The following list of things that we shouldn’t do, in order to avoid being unsuccessful was put together by Darius Foroux.
He says that if you have one of these bad habits, not to worry, because no one’s perfect. If you have two bad habits, maybe you should worry – a bit. But if you have three or more? You might want to change — because one thing is sure: No one wants to be unsuccessful.
- They Are Always Distracted
Essentialism by Greg McKeown is one of my favorite books. McKeown shares the story of when he met his former classmate, years after graduating. He told McKeown that he was in between jobs and asked if McKeown could help him. Twenty seconds into the conversation the guy got a text and started looking down to his phone and started responding. McKeown says: “Ten seconds went by. Then twenty. I simply stood there as he continued to text away furiously.” After 2 minutes he gave up and walked away from the obsessive texter. Don’t live your life in the future or past, lost in thoughts and worry. If that guy from the example was present, he might have got an awesome job recommendation from Greg McKeown.
- They Only Talk the Talk
You know what’s better than talking about something? Doing it.
In 2010, Derek Sivers gave a TED talk called Keep your goals to yourself, where he presented scientific evidence that talking about your goals is counterproductive. We see it all the time in real life and on social media: “I’m training for a marathon.” “I’m starting a business.”
The crazy thing is how people react. They applaud you for announcing something. Let’s pause for a second: Saying you want to run a marathon and actually running a marathon are two different things, right?
In your brain, those things are actually not that far apart. Derek Sivers says:
“When you tell someone your goal and they acknowledge it, psychologists have found that it’s called a “social reality.” The mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it’s already done. And then because you’ve felt that satisfaction, you’re less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”
Be someone that does things, not someone who talks about things.
- They Spend Time with Losers
Spend enough time with losers, and you’ll become one. Apply this analogy to any type of person.
My wife Anita, says that if you want to know what someone is like, look at their five closest friends. Do you want to get fit? Hang out with fit people. You want to be successful? Hang out with other successful people. People feed off each other’s energy.
- They Complain about Everything
Having a bad day is ok—everyone gets irritable once in a while. But if you always hate everything, you’ll have a bad life.For some people complaining is like a competitive sport. Everyone has gripes and we know that bottling things up isn’t a good thing, so sometimes, it’s good to air your grievances and make yourself heard. Just don’t be the person who never stops grumbling about trivial matters.
Complainers especially hate people that are doing well. Why can’t you be happy for other people? You can still be cool and be positive. Give people some love, it won’t kill you. They even hate things that just ‘are’. “Ugh, it rained this morning, and my hair got all messed up. I hate rain.” Really?
- They Procrastinate
What’s the benefit of putting things off? I once asked my college professor to extend a deadline for an essay.He said: “I’m perfectly happy to extend your deadline by a week. The only thing I’m asking you is, ‘will your essay be better if you hand it in a week from now?’”My answer was “no”, so I worked my ass off to finish it on time. Only delay things when you’ll do a better job later. What’s the point of delaying something if you get the same outcome? Do it now, or do it better later.
- They Don’t Listen to Others
Unsuccessful people only love themselves. To be honest, we all love ourselves, but if you’re unsuccessful, you ONLY love yourself. We listen to others because we care about them. How else can you show you care? Everyone can give a hug, but not everybody calls you just to ask, “How are you?” Ask, listen, care, repeat.
- They Waste their Weekends
You might strive to be put-together Monday through Friday, but if you’re a total mess on the weekends, that could come back to haunt you.Wasting your weekends can ultimately set you up to look like a failure. If you spend your days off overeating, drinking too much alcohol, wasting money, and putting off tasks, you’re going to end up projecting the idea that you’re not a terribly successful person.
Plus, those vices will likely catch up to you on Monday.
- They Don’t Learn
Learning is one of the most difficult things in the world. It’s not a surprise that many people never read a book, never finish school, or never learn from their mistakes. Learning is a struggle.
But think about it: We live in the most exciting time in history for learners. The access to information has never been this easy. In the past, if your dad was a farmer, you became a farmer. Things were like that.
Now, you can be anything you wish — you just need to learn how to do it.
- They Are Not Nice
Somehow, people think it’s cool to be a jerk. Honestly, it’s way cooler to be nice. You don’t have to be a “ray of sunshine” all the time, just be a nice person. Try it some time, you might make a few new friends. And if you have difficulty defining what a ‘nice person’ is, you’re likely a jerk.
- They Are Quitters
I saved the worst for last. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, I hope it’s this:
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas A. Edison
There’s nothing I can add to that. Actually, there is: Never Give Up.
*not his real name
If you don’t feel that you or your business are as successful as you would like, give Jager Consulting and Coaching a call on (440) 385-6737.