If you really want to be successful in life, stop doing these 12 things

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For many years, to me, success seemed like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I thought of it as something I’ll never reach. 

Because it was so far out of reach to me for so many years, I stopped trying at one point. I became a couch potato and gave up on life while working minimum-wage jobs and escaping reality through video games.   

But one day, I finally woke up again and decided that life was more than this. Life’s supposed to be worth living. 

But, in order to become successful, I had to stop doing the following things:

1) Procrastinating instead of taking action

Being a couch potato is comforting. You immerse yourself in entertainment and forget about the outside world. 

But when you delay things and escape reality, tasks pile up, stress mounts, and the mountain you need to climb seems unconquerable. 

Taking action, even in small steps, not only gets things done but also builds momentum and confidence.

I started learning about the skills that can propel me and transform my life. If I put my head down for a couple of years, I could gain skills that would take me from being a minimum-wage drone to an entrepreneur. 

And that’s what happened. I was able to leave the old leaking apartment with my family and move somewhere where the skies were more blue. 

2) Focusing on obstacles instead of solutions

Focusing on barriers and the things and skills you don’t have is your worst enemy. Challenges are inevitable, but fixating on the hurdles can cloud your vision. 

That’s why you need to direct your energy toward finding creative solutions. It’s the difference between being stuck and moving forward.

It’s all too easy to blame everyone and everything for your situation, but why not focus on the way out of it?

3) Thinking about past mistakes instead of learning from them

For many years, I kept thinking about the mistakes I’d made in the past. I just couldn’t let go. 

And that was obviously holding me back because whenever I wanted to do something productive, I kept reminding myself of the times when I tried something and failed. Often spectacularly. 

But it wasn’t until I learned to forgive myself that I realized mistakes weren’t setbacks; they were opportunities for growth. 

And so, I started to reflect on what went wrong in the past, extracted the lessons, and used them as a blueprint for improvement. It was a surefire way to evolve and let go of the past.

As was this: 

4) Surrounding yourself with negativity instead of positivity

One of the mistakes I’ve made was to hang out with like-minded people. Like-minded in the way that they were just as useless and inert as I was. 

They had this negative mindset that nothing could be changed and we’d be like this forever. No one was focusing on solutions or god-forbid, reaching for the stars. 

At the time, I didn’t realize that the company you keep shapes your mindset. Positive influences breed optimism, resilience, and a can-do attitude. 

I had to seek out those who inspired and uplifted me. Luckily, finding like-minded people isn’t that hard these days, at least online. And that’s often just as good. 

5) Holding onto self-doubt instead of embracing confidence

When you’ve never tasted success in your life, it’s easy to doubt yourself and think that you aren’t capable of anything.

You simply don’t have any confidence. That’s why you need to get some small wins just to get the taste for it. 

A couple of drops of blood in the ocean is enough to rile up the sharks. 

You start feeling assured, recognize your talents, celebrate your successes, and let that inner confidence lead you.

Win by win, you build up conviction and even charisma that you never had before. 

6) Sticking to your comfort zone instead of embracing challenges

Staying at home, watching TV, and playing video games is comforting. And if you’re good at it, you get that adrenaline and even admiration from others, something you’re desperately lacking in real life.

But that’s not real life, is it? You’re going nowhere with that. And sooner or later, you’re going to wake up and realize it. 

The sooner you do, the better for you.

Personal growth happens when you step into the unknown. Challenges, though intimidating, are opportunities to discover your capabilities. 

Once you learn to embrace the discomfort, that’s where you’ll thrive.

7) Waiting for the “perfect” moment instead of seizing opportunities

The perfect moment rarely arrives. Opportunities are brief, and seizing them, even imperfectly, propels you forward. 

Life is but a series of imperfect moments that shape your journey. If you’re waiting for the right moment to do something, you probably won’t ever see it arrive.

If you want to make something happen, the time for it is now. Not tomorrow, not next month, or the following year. 

8) Settling for mediocrity instead of striving for excellence

Another mistake I’ve often made in my life was to settle for mediocrity. I just didn’t care about excelling at anything. And it reflected in my situation.

Mediocrity is the enemy of progress. Strive for excellence in most things you do. When you pursue greatness, you’ll discover satisfaction you never knew existed and even open doors to new possibilities.

9) Complaining and making excuses

When you constantly complain, you’re perpetuating negativity. Everything becomes a roadblock instead of an opportunity. 

When I started my first business, I had no experience as an entrepreneur whatsoever. But that gave me an advantage because I still looked at things through the eyes of a customer instead of an owner. 

I could cater to buyers more easily because I was a buyer. I was the person I wanted to target. 

I could have made a thousand excuses about that situation and given up. But excuses only provide a momentary relief. 

Taking responsibility for your actions builds character and resilience. It’s the first step to positive change.

10) Overthinking instead of trusting your instincts

When you’re escaping reality, you’re trying not to think about it at all. But the opposite is to overthink things. 

You get paralyzed by it, and you also don’t make that crucial first step toward success. You think of all the what-ifs, and you scare yourself into staying in the status quo. 

But, many times, you simply need to trust your instincts: they’re often your subconscious processing information faster than your conscious mind. 

Overthinking muddles clarity and leads to unnecessary indecision.

11) Comparing yourself to others instead of focusing on your journey

Many of us compare ourselves to others. We see the perfect social media posts and believe that that’s someone’s actual life. 

But most of the time, these posts are just incredibly short glimpses into someone else’s lives. 

We don’t see what happens when they put their phone down and go through their everyday life. 

Behind one photo of a smile, there could be thousands of moments of blood, sweat, and tears that you don’t see. 

Simply put, comparison is a thief of joy. Your journey is unique, with its own set of challenges and triumphs. Focus on your progress, celebrate your wins, and learn from your setbacks.

12) Avoiding feedback instead of using it to grow

If there was something I hated the most, it was feedback and even constructive criticism for others. 

I always knew what was best for me, and no amount of friendly nudging could prove me otherwise. 

In other words, I was a cocky know-it-all. But okay, you’d expect that from someone in their teens or their twenties. But being like that in your thirties is just cringe. 

Unless you’re already successful, then it seems no one minds. In fact, they admire you for it.  

Still, even for them, feedback is a valuable asset. You need to embrace it as a tool for improvement. It’s not a critique of your worth but a guide for refining your skills and evolving.

Three steps toward success

Here are my three steps that will make you successful no matter what the term means to you:

Set clear goals

Success begins with a roadmap. Define your short-term and long-term goals. Be specific and realistic. Having a clear destination helps you channel your efforts and stay focused.

Take consistent action

Goals without action are just dreams. Break down your tasks into manageable steps and consistently work towards them

Small, regular efforts accumulate over time, resulting in significant progress. Consistency is the key to turning aspirations into achievements.

Learn and adapt

Success is often a journey of continuous learning. Embrace new knowledge, be open to feedback, and adapt your strategies based on experience. 

Mistakes are stepping stones, not setbacks. Each challenge is an opportunity to refine your approach and get closer to your goals.

If you need to pivot, so be it. Many successful people and companies do it all the time. 

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.


Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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