I have a painful secret to divulge.
I wasn’t voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by my graduating class. It still hurts.
Back in school, it was really clear which students were the real go-getters, the people who seemed to have all their ducks in a row. I knew people who were already planning out their college applications and future career paths at age 15!
Most people, however, were like me.
We wanted to finish school then get out into the world and see what it had to offer. Later, we’d plan out our lives once we figured out a path that felt right. And most people did just that.
But there were a few people who you really worried about, and for good reason, I think.
Some of them seemed so disorganized or completely uninterested in doing anything productive that I don’t know how they planned to get through life. A whole lot of how they did things suggested that they were going to really struggle.
If someone displays these 14 behaviors, they’re destined for failure in life unless they can make big changes and turn things around.
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” goes the old saying.
And yet, almost all of us are guilty of letting things slide at least a little bit.
The problem with procrastination is that it compounds. Whatever you don’t do now will be added to the pile of things to do tomorrow, and tomorrow, if you skip something else, the pile gets bigger and bigger until it’s completely unmanageable.
To avoid this massive problem, we have to embrace “anticrastination,” getting things done before they become an issue, not after.
2) Making excuses
People who constantly make excuses are destined to fail because this behavior indicates something really crucial that they’re doing – avoiding responsibility.
It doesn’t matter what the excuse is. There are only real, valid reasons why things don’t get done or why they get messed up, or there are real reasons why they don’t.
Making excuses is a form of lying to yourself and saying, “It’s not me who’s the problem; it’s the circumstances.”
If a person consistently does this, they’re disempowering themself and setting themself up for failure.
3) Not following through
I have to admit that this is one of the big things that I struggle with.
For me, it’s because I have so many things I want to do that I end up starting tons of projects all at once. They end up getting interrupted, and that leaves me with a whole lot of loose ends.
I do eventually get things done, though. It just takes a while.
But a lot of people keep starting things and not pushing them through to completion. They either lose motivation or lose confidence in themselves, and then their momentum disappears.
By not finishing things they start, they’re continually failing all the time.
4) Taking on too much at once
One thing that many people do that really causes them grief is biting off more than they can chew.
They might commit to things because they want to look good, or they feel pressured. Or they might have low levels of self-confidence and so they have a really hard time saying no.
They let their boundaries be ignored by others who take advantage of them.
In the end, they’re left with too many things to manage and too much stress – the perfect mixture for burnout and breakdown.
5) Wallowing in negativity
When you have stress in your life and things piling up all around you, it’s easy to start being a Negative Nellie.
But getting too far into negativity really has major consequences for both your happiness and your success.
Most people want to avoid someone who’s always spreading doom and gloom, so it will be harder to make and keep friends. People also won’t want to work with someone who has a negative attitude, so that really limits your chances of making partnerships and deals.
Negativity is not the path to success, that’s for sure.
6) Wasting time
We all know what the biggest time wasters are in our modern world.
Now that we’ve always got electronic devices on our persons, we can so quickly fall down rabbit holes and burn through time that we really can’t afford to waste.
Social media and gaming are both designed to be addictive and can drain away more time than you can imagine. That can often leave people struggling to get even the basics done in life, let alone gaining ground or moving on up.
7) Avoiding risk
People who keep in their comfort zones and never risk anything think they’re playing it safe.
But they are actually taking some of the biggest risks imaginable.
They’re risking not enjoying the full beauty of life but not experiencing new things. They also risk missing out on opportunities to grow, learn, and develop. And if they’re not careful, they’ll end up getting left behind.
8) Making assumptions
“Don’t make an assumption. You’ll make an ass out of yourself, and the ump will shun you!”
Someone got that old saying a bit messed up.
Comedy aside, assuming you know something when you don’t or assuming things will go a certain way without really having proof is in itself a pretty risky way to live your life.
Rather than checking, doing research, or making sure they’ve got facts, many people just assume they know what’s what.
Well, that’s a surefire way to get yourself into trouble when you find out you were wrong and should have checked first.
A whole lot of failures are based on making incorrect assumptions and not doing due diligence.
9) Cutting corners
When I hear the phrase “cutting corners,” I always think of building contractors physically cutting off bits of building materials to save money.
Silly, I know, but cutting corners is such a silly thing to do.
It means not doing things correctly on purpose, either to save money or time or just because you’re lazy.
It’s why bridges collapse and electrical fires happen.
If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for failure, I don’t know what is.
10) Not listening
Listening to other people is an incredibly useful skill and one that many people seem to be lacking.
A lot of folks talk way more than they listen, and this leads them into a lot of problems.
They miss out on important facts, but more than that, they miss out on the subscript when people are talking. There’s a lot that goes on behind the surface meaning of people’s words that you won’t catch if you’re not carefully and actively listening to them.
11) Playing the blame game
One of my first jobs ever was working at a gourmet cookie store.
Sounds great, right?
Except I was alone in the evenings, and I was worked off my feet doing all the tasks that the day shift workers hadn’t bothered with.
I worked incredibly hard, but I ended up getting multiple warnings for mistakes and incomplete orders I hadn’t messed up.
It was clear that the day workers were blaming me for all their muck-ups, and in the end, I quit the job, and the shop lost a really hard worker.
Playing the blame game rather than taking responsibility is a strategy that’s bound to backfire at some point and bring nothing but failure in life.
12) Trying to go it alone
You know what else is a really poor life strategy?
Trying to do everything on your own.
Sure, there are things that you might do well, much better than anyone else. Perhaps you’re an incredible artist, for example.
However, it’s doubtful that you’re also a genius at framing pictures, marketing and selling them, and packing and shipping them too.
There’s a reason why different people specialize in different things, and someone who thinks they’re the best at everything should prepare to be disappointed.
13) Envying others
When other people succeed, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t, right?
The world is full of opportunities, so if someone takes one, you have to look for another.
But if, instead, a person gets stuck in envying other people, they’ll forget to go out and look for their own successes and will be destined to be unhappy.
14) Not building strong relationships
One of the behaviors that contributes most to failure in life is not building connections with others.
No one can do everything alone in this world. We need other people’s strengths to make up for our weaknesses.
We need their support to help us through tough times.
So, people who don’t focus on building and maintaining relationships are going to find themselves in trouble.
If someone displays these 14 behaviors, they’re destined for failure in life.
But there’s still hope and time to fix things. Making just a few behavioral changes can help people turn things around and bring them some success in life, instead.
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