If you’re underachieving in life, these 7 personality traits could be why

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Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: underachievement means different things for everybody.

If your goal is to become a millionaire, having no business or investments to speak of could be considered an underachievement.

If you want to stop worrying so much and just live a pleasant life, getting stuck in the same unhealthy habits is as much of an underachievement as any.

But there’s a silver lining. When you’re underachieving, it means one thing – there’s still a lot of space for growth.

All you need to do is take the first step: recognize which personality traits are holding you back and what you can do to turn things around.

So, without further ado…these are the 7 personality traits that might be the crux of the problem.

1) Laziness: You live a life of convenience

When I was working on my fiction novel three years ago and got stuck in the middle of the story, the convenient thing to do was to give up.

I felt no motivation to move the story forward. Just the thought of writing made me roll my eyes and go, “Ugh.”

Now comes the point when I’ll say I immediately got my act together and pushed through, right?

Except that’s not what happened. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months.

And I did not write a single word.

After about half a year, I realized that my dream of becoming a published author was slipping through my fingers. Six months had passed – six months in which I could have finished the whole thing.

It was then that I really did pull my socks up. I started writing again, and you know what?

Sitting down and opening the Word Document was actually the hardest part. The writing itself was fun and fulfilling.

As I’m writing this article, my published novel is sitting on my bookshelf. If I never overcame laziness and the urge to choose convenience, it wouldn’t exist.

What’s your goal? And why are you procrastinating on it?

Only when you push through will you make it your reality.

2) Impatience: You want it all right here and right now

If there’s one thing writing a book taught me, it’s that success is painstakingly slow.

All those success stories you see online? Those rich influencers, wealthy business owners, full-time authors, and famous artists?

They didn’t get to where they are overnight. Many of them – especially if they are self-made – went through years of trial and error, years of self-doubts, and years of pursuing their goals alongside other responsibilities.

We tend to think that success is loud. It’s the flashing news stories, the Instagram highlights, the glowing hair, the designer clothes.

But true success is quiet. It’s working late into the night or getting up an hour early in the morning; it’s choosing the hard way day after day; it’s believing in yourself when no one else does.

The truth is, most people give up too quickly. If you don’t give up, you’re bound to reach your destination eventually. It might not look exactly as you dreamed it, but it’ll be worth it nonetheless.

3) Pessimism: You see obstacles at every corner

And when is it that people tend to give up most, you may ask?

When they encounter a challenge.

Following your dreams is all fun and games until you actually have to do something hard.

Well, I’ve got news – nothing worth having is ever easy. And if you want to have a great time going after your goals, your mindset requires a tremendous shift.

Instead of seeing everything as an obstacle that’s “too hard” or “beyond you” or “impossible”, view each problem as a challenge that’s “doable” and “a simple distraction” and “totally possible to overcome”.

Need perfect grades to get into your dream university? Study harder.

Don’t know how to draw even though it’d skyrocket your marketing strategy? Take an online course.

Want to achieve financial independence but you’re too young to start a business? Learn as much as you can about accounting, business management, and investing so that you’re fully prepared when the time comes.

There’s always something you can do to progress further in life. But you’ve got to open your mind to more possibilities than just one or two.

Which brings me to point number four…

4) Rigidity: You don’t give yourself enough options

It’s either A or B. Y or X or Z.

But what about the rest of the alphabet? What about that silent K that could change your life? Are we just going to discount all the other opportunities out there?

Ever since I learned to cultivate an abundance mindset, my life completely changed. It was then that I realized I could do almost anything I wanted.

All it required was to:

  1.  change my beliefs about what I deserved (more on that later)
  2.  approach my problems creatively and with an open mind
  3.  work hard

Here’s a real-life example: I write for a living. Back when I was a teenager, I couldn’t even fathom this was a viable career option. Everyone told me there was no money in writing, and I believed them.

They were wrong.

The moment I opened my mind to all the different possibilities of writing – for instance, writing non-fiction articles instead of just fiction books – was the moment my chances of success increased a thousandfold.

If you love something, you can find a way to make it work. The internet is at your disposal. Everything you need to know is right at your fingertips.

Open your eyes.

5) Perfectionism: You have a 100% or 0% mindset

Chances are, you won’t get it right on your first try. And that’s not some proof of your inherent incapability to reach your goals – in fact, it’s kind of the rule of success.

Hear me out.

Making mistakes is the best way to learn and achieve your full potential. If you never stumble, are you really giving it your all? Are you really pushing your limits?

When I’m at the gym and lifting weights, the last two reps usually make me want to cry. My arms shake. My face is all red. I might not even complete the full motion – sometimes, I manage about 80% and then fail.

But that 80% is exactly what my body needs to grow stronger. That final push is what shows me there’s a potential for more.

The same applies to almost anything in life. You might not get it 100% perfect, but few of us ever do.

Remember: 1% is always better than 0%. When you add one dollar to a jar every day for a month, you’ll have thirty dollars. When you add nothing, you’ll have…yep, nothing.

6) Envy: You compare yourself to others

When someone’s at 80% and you’re at 40%, it’s easy to compare and feel bad.

“Look at that girl’s muscles. Mine look like nothing in comparison.”

“Ugh, that guy has so much money. I wish I lived such a luxurious life.”

While comparisons can be quite effective to a certain degree – you might feel competitive as a result and push yourself a bit harder, for instance – they ultimately stem from your own insecurities.

How do I know?

Because I used to feel like that. Envy, negative self-talk, sighing over your own misfortune while other people are seemingly doing so well – been there, done that.

But then I grew in confidence. When I look at someone successful now, I don’t feel any need to compare myself to them. Instead, I feel inspired.

“Oh wow, that girl must have worked so hard to get those muscles! If I keep my routine up, I’ll get there, too.”

“That wealthy guy’s written a book about his experiences – I better read it so that I can learn from him and build my own wealth.”

Focus on your own journey. If someone has something you want, learn from them. Then apply their lessons to your own life and circumstances.

7) Stubbornness: You stick to faulty beliefs about yourself

The reason I used to envy others was that I didn’t quite believe I could ever reach their level of success. I watched from the sidelines, limiting my potential in the confines of my mind.

But the harder I worked, the more opportunities I could see for myself. Slowly but surely, I let go of many self-sabotaging beliefs that were holding me back.

Can you see yourself in some of these?

“I don’t deserve to be successful or loved.”

“I’m not able to cope with that amount of success.”

“People like me don’t get opportunities like that.”

“If I try it and fail, I’ll prove to myself how much of a failure I actually am.”

…if your answer is yes, remember that these are beliefs that can be changed. At the end of the day, they’re thoughts – and thoughts do not define you. Because thoughts are malleable.

So, repeat after me:

You deserve to be successful and loved. You’re able to cope with anything that comes your way. You’re the type of person who achieves anything they set their mind on. If you try and fail, you’ll learn from your mistakes and keep going.

But if you don’t try at all…you’ll always wonder what if.

Denisa Cerna

Hi! I’m a fiction author and a non-fiction freelance writer with a passion for personal development, mental health, and all things psychology. I have a graduate degree in Comparative Literature MA and I spend most of my time reading, travelling, and – shocker – writing. I’m always on a quest to better understand the inner workings of the human mind and I love sharing my insights with the world. If any of my articles change your life for the better… mission accomplished.
Get in touch at denisacerna.writing@gmail.com or find me on LinkedIn.

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