8 bad habits that successful people have said goodbye to

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Sure, you might be successful in the conventional sense. 

Maybe you have a healthy number of digits in your bank account; maybe you just purchased your dream car; maybe you have a trophy husband/wife and a mortgage. 

Regardless, you’re not perfect (nobody is.) Take it from me, there’s always room for improvement. 

Chances are, you’re still a few detrimental habits away from realizing your best self. 

Life is short, you may as well maximize your potential. 

In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the bad behaviors genuinely successful people need to swiftly toss in the bin. Once you get an idea, you can move accordingly. 

Let’s get to it!

1) Procrastination

Yes, you are well-intentioned, but the truth is that actions speak far louder than words. 

Perhaps when you have a work deadline, you often leave things to the last minute, a practice that can negatively affect your stress levels, productivity, and output. 

Be mindful of managing your time. 

Call yourself out when you’re mindlessly and incessantly scrolling through reels or Tweets (or whatever Elon Musk is calling it these days.) 

Regularly putting things off can be extremely troublesome. It’s also a habit that isn’t easy to break. 

But with the right mindset, it’s entirely achievable. 

Let’s face it, the vast majority of success stories are rooted in assertiveness and having priorities firmly set. 

Successful people are well aware of the value of time and are generally pretty efficient about making the most of it.

2) Multitasking

Here’s the thing: doing many things simultaneously might make you feel like a badass, but ask yourself, is your productivity affected by this ambitiousness? 

While it may seem like a good idea to get more done, it really takes a certain type of person to multitask at a consistently optimal level. 

Hence, don’t stretch yourself too thin–this is ripe territory for obvious mistakes and mediocre output. 

Successful people focus on one task at a time; they know the value of giving an assignment their full attention rather than spreading their abilities out. 

When I started my current job, it took me a while to find my rhythm. To reach my daily quota, I’d work on multiple assignments at the same time. 

Twenty minutes on one article, fifteen minutes on something else, thirty on yet another thing. 

And though I was generally able to meet deadlines in a timely fashion, my work suffered. I was making basic mistakes, and the quality was not quite up to standards. 

My boss called me out. I realized he was right, something needed to change. I responded by realigning my work routine. 

By prioritizing one assignment at a time, I was able to concentrate and really hone in on the little (and some big) details I previously overlooked.

I started making far fewer errors, and submitting work I could be proud to call my own. 

3) Negative thinking

Real talk: successful people have an understanding of how powerful a positive mindset can be. 

While they might remain pragmatists, recognizing the reality of their situation, they don’t unnecessarily dwell on negative aspects, maintaining their focus on solutions and opportunities. 

Negative thinking tends to overwhelm you; the stress has a profound effect on your physical and mental well-being. 

Hence, seeing the silver lining of each situation no matter how dire, will uplift you and reinvigorate the energy you give off. 

So start seeing that glass as half full, great things are bound to come your way.

4) Ignoring health

Some people tend to engage in destructive habits as an antidote to dealing with the rigors of daily life. 

They may drink, smoke, use recreational drugs, or ‘stress eat.’ You may be making decent money, but at what cost? 

There’s no point in pushing yourself to achieve great things if you aren’t able to fully reap the benefits. 

Truly successful people understand the importance of sustaining good physical and mental health and its subsequent effect on achieving peak performance. 

Things like regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a well-balanced diet are all routine for a  successful person. 

Your body is a temple, it’s constantly fighting for you, it’s time you started respecting it in kind too.

5) Avoiding feedback

In my past life, I had a taste of success.

I was the owner of numerous popular restaurants. One might even argue that my head got pretty big from time to time. 

For instance, when I’d get the inevitable negative review online, instead of taking it constructively, I’d get defensive, occasionally going as far as debating that client! 

Rather than rectifying the situation, I’d let my emotions get the best of me, losing a customer (and likely their friends and family) in the process. 

It still baffles me how foolish I was to engage in this rash approach. 

I now realize the importance of feedback, especially critical feedback, when wanting to get better. It’s a significant component of growth and improvement. 

This is why the most successful businesses and people actively might seek out negative reviews. For them, self-improvement is always top of mind, as it damn well should be.

6) Having a fear of failure

The genuinely successful people in life tend to have an appetite for risk (more specifically, calculated risk.)

They don’t play it safe by sticking to the rule book or copying others in their field. 

They’re unafraid to be original, which ultimately leads to innovation. If they’ve failed in the past, they take it as fuel to grow and come back stronger rather than quiver with fear at the prospect of faltering again. 

Once you embrace failure and all its lessons, you’ll see it as a necessary part of success. 

Sure, you can be an okay insurance salesperson or accountant by playing it safe, but if you want to achieve extraordinary things in life, you have to accept the fact that failure is always a possibility in any endeavor. 

Lifelong learning is a habit that successful people share. They’re constantly seeking to expand their knowledge and skills, with the understanding that there’s always something more to learn.

Remember, Walt Disney was rejected by numerous investors, eventually going bankrupt.

Yet unlike most people, he didn’t let those setbacks dampen his spirit for long. 

He had an unwavering belief in himself and his ideas. He used his rejections and failures as stepping stones to create the magical, world-renowned entertainment empire it is today. 

7) Not setting goals 

Granted, you can get lucky every now and then and stumble onto success. But as a general rule in life, you should have a clear, specific set of goals that you continually aspire to reach. 

Make use of the SMART goal system (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals) so you have a clean, coordinated strategy in place for working towards your objectives. 

I recently read online somewhere that if you dedicate your time and energy to achieving a goal, in six months, it will be so. 

Of course, the latter should be something well within your grasp, so becoming a multibillionaire or curing cancer is probably out of the question. 

But if, for, instance, you want to pay back a high-interest loan, by being systematic about it and making the right moves, you’d be surprised how much you can achieve in a matter of months. 

So start moving forward with the right mindset, with concrete goals in place–true success awaits.

8) Not building relationships 

No man is an island. The successful person is deeply attuned to this philosophy. 

They know that networking and relationship building should be a priority to achieve things of value in life. 

Okay, solitude is necessary every now and then but prolonged isolation isn’t healthy nor sustainable for business, health, etc. 

In fact, to truly thrive, collaboration and mutual support are almost always prerequisites. 

You can be a one-man or woman army, but in this case, expect a ceiling for your success. 

If you’re crafty about making the right relationships and fostering them, then you’re on your way to some exciting things. 

You can lack the education and qualifications for a certain role, for example, but if you are friendly with the right people in your field, you’ll be a standout candidate. 

A close friend recently graduated from one of the world’s most prestigious business schools. He told me that he didn’t learn too much from the actual lectures during his time there. 

Instead, he claims the most valuable thing he gained from that educational experience was the network he built, which has sufficiently set him up for success. 

Final thoughts 

In my experience, people who really hit the big leagues of success often share mutual secret ingredients: they’re pros at acknowledging the habits that hold them back and ditching them methodically. 

The thing is, this process will invariably take work, and thus to get better, you have to be up to the challenge.

Don’t expect a walk in the park, it can be a constant battle, especially when those habits are deeply ingrained; but getting over them is as rewarding a feeling as any. 

I promise you: saying ‘arrivederci!’ to procrastination, negativity, fear of failure, and anything else that stunts your growth is one of life’s most precious moments. 

Success isn’t merely about the climb, it’s also about shedding that unwanted weight that is hampering your movements. 

Have the right mindset and you’re already halfway to the finish line. Be realistic, and seek progress, not perfection. 

With the correct mentality, success is just around the corner.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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