7 habits of unsuccessful people who never get ahead in life

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Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon the odd Instagram post that promises you a six-figure weekly income once you click the “link in bio.” 

It’s human nature to feel a little enticed by these digital ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes no matter how far-fetched or too good to be true they may seem. 

Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work this way. 

Other than winning the Powerball, there are minimal dramatic shortcuts to achieving genuine success in life. 

The vast majority of us will only get there almost exclusively through our habits. 

And the opposite is true: we exponentially increase our chance of failure in life if we have poor habits. 

The choice is yours. 

In this article, I’ll walk you through the habits of unsuccessful people who never get ahead in life. 

Hopefully after reading this, you’ll have a clearer idea of what habits to avoid. Let’s get to it!

1) They give up easily 

Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” 

Most people get so discouraged by the slightest inkling of failure, they’ll give up–or they won’t even try. 

It’s a shame. 

Any person with extensive real-life experience will tell you that failure and risk will always be distinct possibilities when pursuing anything of value in life. 

By giving up at the first sight of failure instead of persevering, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. 

How you bounce back from shortcomings will define you, your personal growth, and your level of success for the rest of your life. 

If you tend to use failure as an opportunity to come back stronger, then you’re in good shape. 

Remember, one of the greatest athletes to ever live, Michael Jordan didn’t even make his high school varsity team. 

He used that rejection as fuel to become the best at his craft. 

You always have the potential within you. You need a shift in your mentality. 

2) They never set goals 

Generally speaking, successful people don’t often just wing it through life. 

They always have a clear, achievable set of goals that they work to methodically achieve. 

When you have goals, you tend to wake up with more purpose and clarity. 

Sure, you can lounge around and chill; but in the back of your head, you almost intuitively know when to get in gear. 

Every day, you will motivated to progress to making those goals a reality.

And when you finally reach them? There is no better feeling in the world. 

So set clear goals. Give yourself a reasonable timeline. Document and celebrate milestones. 

You got this. 

3) They procrastinate 

My brother is a chronic procrastinator, a condition he is perfectly aware of and rightfully labels “a disease.” 

My brother also has limitless potential. 

He’s one of the brightest, most creative, most capable people I know in life. 

Yet his potential has never been fully realized almost solely because of his procrastination.

Sometimes, if someone doesn’t proactively remind him and push him to move, he won’t budge, getting swept away by distractions and laziness. 

It can be frustrating for him and the people close to him. 

I won’t sugarcoat it: procrastination sucks and can be the primary reason we remain unsuccessful in life. 

So stop delaying tasks and responsibilities. 

Do what can be done today, instead of leaving it for tomorrow.  

Manage your time efficiently. Mindfully call yourself out when you’re being unproductive for prolonged periods. 

Not only will you feel better about yourself (and less overwhelmed), but you’ll also be a step closer to becoming successful. 

4) They have a negative, defeatist mindset 

I know people who see the glass as perpetually half empty; people who, when dealing with any novel situation or opportunity, will inordinately focus on what could go wrong, instead of getting excited or optimistic. 

A negative mindset can be a huge factor when it comes to achieving greatness. 

Yes, it’s great to have a realistic picture of risks, but when you consistently focus on obstacles rather than solutions, this can be debilitating and demotivating. 

And the chances of efficiently accomplishing the task at hand become minuscule.  

5) They refuse to learn and resist change

If there’s one thing that is certain in this world it’s that change is constant. 

People who stubbornly cling to ways of thinking or doing things because that’s “the way they’ve always done it,” are naturally limiting their growth opportunities.

Think of the most successful and innovative companies in the world, from Apple to Nike. 

Do you think these titans achieved such towering heights by not evolving? 

I think we both know the answer. 

They’ve grown and dominated their industries precisely because of their approach to new ideas, feedback, improvement, and so on. 

They’re highly adaptable, embracing change and development rather than shunning it. 

On a personal level, being able to adapt takes a certain degree of intellectual humility–an admirable trait. 

So stop resisting and start being more flexible with how you approach life. 

It will pay off. I guarantee it. 

6) They evade accountability 

There’s no such thing as a perfect person. 

No, not even Taylor Swift is perfect. 

So start owning your mistakes and taking accountability for yourself and your existence, failure and all. 

I’ve noticed that people who are content with being average in life tend to consistently evade responsibility when the time comes. 

They’ll seek to blame external circumstances or other people for their shortcomings instead of taking the heat. 

If your goal is to be successful, this shouldn’t be. 

None of the great leaders of the world deny their mistakes. They constructively acknowledge them and move forward. 

They won’t take being occasionally wrong as a reflection of their inherent worth as people. 

The bottom line: mistakes make you human, so stop being ashamed of them.

7) They’re irresponsible with money 

When I opened my business a decade ago, I got my first real taste of success and financial freedom. 

It was a shiny, fun world I had never truly experienced. 

I was overspending on what I now realize were useless, overpriced things.

Sometimes, I was downright reckless. 

I didn’t budget and I barely saved. I just thought the money, the cash flow, would keep coming. 

A rude awakening was all but inevitable, but I got so caught up in the lifestyle, I didn’t think about it. 

I just wanted instant gratification, blocking everything else out. I was hooked. 

When my business finally crashed, I was left financially desolate with a ton of debt to pay off. 

In other words, I was broke. It was a dark period for me. 

Thankfully, I’ve since learned (I’m still learning) how to responsibly deal with finances; and since I made the shift, more and more opportunities have surfaced. 

Coincidence? I think not. 

Final words 

Remember, success is always within your grasp if you want it to be. 

But you have to want it badly enough. 

This means having the discipline and self-control to maintain positive habits. 

Take it a step at a time. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Growth is linear, after all. 

As long as you have goals and you’re actively working towards them, you’re in an admirable place. 

Soon, these habits will be almost automatic to you. 

When you reach that point, you’ll be unstoppable. 

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Hack Spirit! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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