8 habits of unsuccessful people who are often left behind in life

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We all want to be successful.

But there are just some people who seem to sabotage every opportunity they get to achieve it.

And it’s unfortunate because they have all the ingredients for success—they’re smart, talented, ambitious… And yet, they don’t go anywhere.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll probably find that it’s not big actions that lead them to failure, but the small daily habits.

Want to know what they are?

Here are 8 habits of unsuccessful people we all should avoid doing:

1) They make excuses

Lots of it.

And I don’t mean legitimate reasons like illness or unforeseen circumstances that are out of their control.

I’m talking about excuses like:

“I was busy,” when they actually spent the whole day playing video games.

Or, “I had a nasty headache,” when it only lasted for five minutes because they took meds anyway.

The sad thing is that they make excuses even to themselves. 

If they realize that they’ve fallen far behind on their deadlines, they’d tell themselves, “Well, life was hard. It’s not your fault.”

And so in the end, they don’t take accountability for their actions (or the lack of it) and just go on doing the same thing over and over.

Their life becomes a tale of excuses for why nothing is ever achieved.

2) They can’t commit

They say they’re committed… but they can’t follow through. Or they start to do something, but then they jump from one thing to another.

They make promises they can’t keep—both to themselves and others.

They’d tell their boss that they’ll finish their presentation on Monday… but then they turn it over on Friday night.

They’d tell their partner that they’ll take them to Disneyland… but that plan never makes it out of fantasyland. 

For any kind of success to happen—career, relationship, etc—consistency and commitment are necessary. 

And somehow, that’s the kind of work that unsuccessful people aren’t willing to put in.  

3) They wait for conditions to be perfect before they start

You wonder why they still haven’t done the things they said they’d do…

So, you ask them about it and all they say is “I’m still getting ready,” or “I’m still waiting for the right time.”

They’re not big believers of the “Just do it” philosophy.

…or they are, but they’re just so scared of failure that it paralyzes them and stops them from even trying.

What they don’t realize is that failure-proof isn’t possible. 

There’s just no such thing!

All we can do is prepare a little… and then take the plunge.

4) They procrastinate

“I’ll write them an email tomorrow.”

“I’ll start exercising next week.”

“I’ll meditate when I’m not busy… maybe when my exams are done.”

Even if the task is very simple, people who are left behind in life often struggle to do the things they said they’d do.

If this is you, you can turn your life around by learning how to overcome procrastination.

Otherwise, that list of tasks is just gonna keep piling up, and it’ll be harder for you to catch up. And before you know it, you’ll be 50 with goals and dreams still unfulfilled.

5) They’re incapable of self-reflection

What is success?

It’s being able to live the life you truly want.

And if someone doesn’t regularly reflect on what their life purpose is, what their goals are, as well as their strengths and weaknesses…

Well then, they’re bound to end up doing pointless things.

Even if they’re the most hard-working person in the world, if they don’t pause to reflect, then they’re no better than a hamster on a wheel—running and running, and never getting anywhere. 

We should learn to be intentional with our actions and decisions in life—and this requires a good amount of introspection and learning about oneself. 

6) They say “Yes” to a lot of things

There are those who remain unsuccessful because they can’t commit.

But there are also those who do the exact opposite—they can’t achieve success because they overcommit!

They overestimate their capacity to multitask, so they say “yes” to requests from their client, boss, friends, family, the store owner at the corner of their street… you name it!

They think they can do it all! 

This probably stems from a fear of missing out, or their inability to set boundaries.

And it’s sad to see them not achieve anything because they’ve spread themselves too thin.

Success is achieved with focus.  And that means being able to say “no” so you can conserve your energy for the things that truly matter. 

7) They involve themselves in drama

Having toxic relationships and drama can ruin anything—make that EVERYTHING!

Even if a person’s talented, smart, and hard-working… if they love to gossip and create drama, they’ll never get far.

No one wants to work in a toxic environment

So, if the people around them notice that catfights seem to start whenever this person is around, they’d naturally want to  keep their distance.

Instead of collaborating with them, they’d go with someone else.

And of course, drama does more damage to one’s personal life.

If someone carries drama wherever they go, they won’t be able to build happy and fulfilling relationships.

The drama will eventually make their relationships toxic, and they’ll find themselves always having to start over. 

And this is the reason why people with toxic traits are left behind in life.

8) They self-reject

They apply for their dream job…but then, they won’t show up for the interview.

You see, in their mind, they’re already SURE they’re not going to get the job. So, why bother putting their pride on the line?

They just got their crush’s number, but they won’t even send them a simple “hi.” 

Because what if they won’t reply? Better back away now than suffer this insurmountable rejection. 

This is rooted in poor self-esteem.

They have a crippling fear of rejection that they’d rather reject themselves first before others beat them to it.

In other words, they let their ego get the better of them. They forget that we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take.

Final thoughts

Some habits are caused by things that are beyond one’s control.

There are certain conditions—like ADHD or depression—that make it hard or even prevent us from performing simple tasks.

So, if you suspect that someone you know has these conditions, remember to treat them with kindness. Better yet, encourage them to find ways to deal with their condition.

However, I see more people who are completely capable and yet, are left behind in life because they possess almost all of the habits above.

Fortunately, this, too, is totally manageable.

All they have to do is to start unlearning these habits. It takes time, definitely.

But just like with most things, with patience and dedication, anything is possible. Even undesirable traits can be slowly replaced with successful habits.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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