Doug Dvorak's Blog

Seven Ways You’re Jeopardizing Your Own Success

It’s never good feeling like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. In Greek mythology, Atlas is doomed to spend eternity carrying the crushing weight of the sky on his shoulders. While this is not a responsibility any of us will ever actually have to bear, it sure does feel like life is doing that to us sometimes, doesn’t it?

The liberating news is that we do not have to endure such burdens. We have the ability to make the most of the life that has been given to us. Each of us have something unique to offer the world and as long as we don’t make a habit of getting in our own way, a happy healthy life is achievable.

Below are seven ways we tend to mess things up for ourselves along with some suggestions about how to stop doing it:

You think money equals success

People frequently associate success with owning designer clothes, fast cars, large mansions, and even the latest iPhone. This is problematic since it can cause you to lose reasonable perspective on life. Success isn’t measured by how much money you have in the bank, but by what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve influenced the people in your life. One person can be a role model and have little to their name, while another can be a menace to society and be worth billions. Don’t give up and think you’re a failure because money is tight. Take care of yourself first, then focus on finding a profession that truly makes you happy. The money will follow.

You’re jealous of others

If you let jealousy consume you, you’ll be too busy focusing on the lives of others to do anything to improve your own. Successful people are self-aware enough to acknowledge their own flaws, but they take pride in the achievements of their peers because it gives them something to strive for. Jealous people constantly measure themselves against someone they envy, which ultimately holds them to an unattainable standard. You need to stop yourself from rolling your eyes every time someone else brags about anything positive happening in their life, such as a promotion, high grades, or a great vacation. These folks have put in the time and effort to get where they are now, and so can you, as long as you take the time to figure out what drives you.

You don’t apply yourself

What percentage of your day is devoted to checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and watching television? Do you channel surf more than you search for ways to develop your skills? The time you waste doing nothing is time that could be used to move closer to your goals. Everyone who has ever achieved greatness reached a point where enough was enough. Daydreaming is a creative technique to imagine your future accomplishments. But wishing for a successful business will not make it appear. Map out the skills you need to master to get where you want to be and start working on them. As soon as we stop taking in new information, we inevitably stop developing as people. Don’t let effortless pleasures make you complacent.

You doubt yourself more than you praise yourself

Being your own worst critic serves no purpose. By making it a practice to celebrate even minor victories, you can change your belittling self-talk into a joyous sense of self-worth. Many successful people have experienced self-doubts at some point, but they learned to silence that inner critic and succeed. You should not let invasive thoughts convince you that you are unable to do things because this is simply not the case.

You’re holding onto the past

Remember when you stumbled over your own shoelaces? Did that nasty fall and scraped knee mean you never wore shoes again? Of course not! You simply learned how to tie your shoes more effectively and watch where you were going. Try to remember that painful events in your past have no bearing on today. You won’t get very far in life if you don’t own your shortcomings, learn from them, and then move on without holding grudges. Grudges are extra baggage that will do nothing but slow you down.

You give up easily

If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had abandoned his dream, America would be a very different place today. His determination changed our lives, and your hopes and aspirations need to be given every chance to come true as well. Mistakes are learning opportunities not confirmations of a goal you’ll never achieve. If something is difficult, dig in and work harder rather than walk away. Like a runner who doesn’t stop running until they cross the finish line, you need to keep your eyes on the prize to keep you motivated as you put in the work to achieve your objectives.

You don’t think like a leader

While not everyone is a leader, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think like one. If you go to work every day but aren’t motivated by anything other than the paycheck, it may be time for you to find a new job. You can’t expect to be successful if you blindly follow the orders of others. Given that no two people have the same idea about what constitutes a successful life, you must define success for yourself.


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