13 things successful people never do (so you shouldn’t either)

Success looks different for everyone.

There is no surefire road to success that looks the same for everyone.

But one thing is for sure:

There are some things successful people don’t do.

And that is what I’m going to cover in this article.

If you find that you have some of these habits, don’t worry. All you have to do to boost your chances of success is to stop doing them.

1. Fail to take action

It’s easy to come up with new ideas.

But what’s difficult is taking action to make those dreams a reality.

Successful people don’t suffer from “paralysis of analysis.”

They take action and get sh*t done.

They find out if their ideas are good ideas by testing them out and learning from their mistakes.

A successful person doesn’t take action without a plan.

But once they have a plan, they don’t waste time taking action and seeing if the method works.

According to Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, you must start and correct the course along the way:

“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Are you waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” do it and correct course along the way.”

As Brian Tracy says in his book, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, once you begin a task, you’ll be motivated to see it through:

“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. However, once you begin work on a valuable task, you seem to be naturally motivated to continue.”

2. Quit after the first try

Have you ever succeeded at something the first time you did it?

Everything rarely works out on the first try.

Successful people don’t get discouraged if they fail on their first go.

They know that it’s part of the process.

There is no such thing as overnight success.

The only way you’ll achieve something worth achieving is if you fail…multiple times.

Author Angela Duckworth has said that successful people have what is called a “growth mindset.”

Successful people understand that they are not limited to the skills and knowledge that they’re born with. They can change. They can improve their performance, despite failures and mistakes.

Each opportunity is taken as a chance to learn more and become a better version of themselves, moving forward.

Look at any successful person.

Eminem got rejected by dozens of record labels before he was signed.

J.K Rowling had her book rejected by several book publishers.

Henry Ford created two car companies that failed before Ford Motor Company.

They succeeded because they persisted through grit and determination.

If you want to be successful, you need to stick it out when things aren’t going your way.

3. Have no plan

If you wing it, you’re unlikely to be successful.

While taking action is essential, taking action without a plan is what successful people don’t do.

A successful person has a plan of how they are going to achieve their goal.

This doesn’t mean a successful person isn’t flexible. On the contrary, they need to be if they’re going to achieve their goal.

Being successful involves understanding that we live in a world of contingency; nothing always goes as planned.

Someone successful can go with the flow, ride the wave, roll with the punches. They’re not fazed when the train moves right off the tracks (as it often does).

Instead, they’re able to take things as they come and adapt their game plan according to their ever-changing circumstances.

It’s imperative to map out your destination before you start your journey.

4. Believe in luck

There’s no denying that luck comes into play when it comes to success.

But a successful person knows that you put yourself in a position to be lucky by putting in the work.

They don’t rely on luck. Instead, successful people show up and do the hard work first.

Afterward, good things will happen.

Even if other people call those things “luck.”

When you focus on giving your best effort in your job and your personal life, good luck no longer strikes as a form of salvation but a welcome bonus of good fortune.

According to Richard Wiseman, the author of the best-selling book, Luck Factor:

“My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

5. Stop learning

If you want to grow as a person, you can’t stay stagnant.

Successful people are always learning, which is why they’re not afraid to make mistakes because they see it as an opportunity to learn.

Without taking responsibility for these actions, nothing productive will come from it, which increases the likelihood of it happening again.

Successful people take responsibility for their mistakes and modify their behavior and systems to ensure that such things don’t happen again.

In fact, according to Shane Snow, bestselling author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success, successful people tend to prefer negative feedback to positive feedback:

“The research showed that experts—people who were masters at a trade—vastly preferred negative feedback to be positive. It spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.”

6. Think they know everything

Another reason a successful person is always willing to learn is that they know they don’t know everything. It’s impossible to have everything figured out.

Unsuccessful people tend to settle into a set number of beliefs, and they use these beliefs as their barrier from the rest of the world for their entire lives.

But successful people are always looking to understand things they don’t know.

They want to know the Whys and Hows that make up the world, no matter what the topic might be, and this comes from their innate sense of fascination and respect for everything around them.

A successful keeps an open mind and tries to see an issue from both sides.

There’s no reason to think black and white. It limits your thinking

They believe in shades of grey.

7. Speak negatively of themselves

How do you talk about yourself?

While it may seem obvious, people who succeed in life don’t constantly put themselves down.

The way we talk to ourselves is meaningful because it affects how we feel about ourselves, the things we can achieve in life, how others view us, and how we interact with the world.

There’s quite a large body of research that supports the importance of our inner dialogues.

In one study published in The Sport Psychologist, researchers found that athletes use self-talk for a “cognitive and motivational” boost. In contrast, independent research proves that motivational self-talk helps increase performance in young athletes.

So you see, how we talk and what we say to ourselves affect not only our chances of success, but it can also significantly boost how we pursue our goals.

Author and psychologist Charles Fernyhough explain:

“Inner speech has a lot of different functions. It has a role in motivation, it has a role in emotional expression, it probably has a role in understanding our selves as selves.”

Our thoughts become our motivation. And how we talk to ourselves plays a huge part in how we perform.

Successful people don’t put themselves down through negative self-talk. Instead, they encourage themselves to improve their skills and grow as a person.

8. Dwell on their haters

Everyone can’t like you.

And while sometimes it’s helpful to know what your haters are saying about you, a successful person doesn’t let haters plant the seeds of doubt in their mind.

They don’t try to prove them wrong.

Instead, they tune them out.

A successful person knows they’re doing amazing things with their life and continue to focus on their dreams and goals.

The fact that you have haters is a good sign that you’re doing something with your life.

9. Procrastinate

Let’s be honest for a second. We all procrastinate from time to time.

Social media certainly doesn’t help!

But successful people have learned how to overcome the habit of putting off what’s important.

If something needs to be done, a successful person will get it done without wasting precious time.

A successful person is always looking to push forward, and they understand constantly procrastinating won’t get them anywhere.

10. Blame others

Being a victim won’t get you anywhere fast.

When something goes wrong, an unsuccessful person will pin the blame literally on anyone else.

But that doesn’t lead to growth or taking responsibility for their life.

A successful person has integrity. They’ll own up to their mistakes and work on improving themselves, so it doesn’t happen again.

11. Bother gossiping

Gossiping doesn’t feel like time well spent for a successful person.

There’s not much point to it, and most of the time, all you’re doing is talking bad about someone else who can’t defend themselves.

A successful person realizes that another person’s private life is none of their business.
And when you engage in gossip, all it serves to make yourself more judgemental and toxic.

A successful person prefers to be compassionate rather than judgemental.

Rather than gossiping about people behind their backs, a successful person focuses on working towards the goals they’ve set for themself.

And that’s what being successful is all about: Completing the goals you set out to complete.

12. Constantly compare themselves

It’s natural for us to care about what other people think.

But successful people don’t compare themselves excessively.

They understand that life is complex and that circumstances are different for everyone, so it’s impossible to compare yourself accurately and fairly.

They also realize that they’ll never understand what someone else’s life is really like behind the curtains.

The only person a successful person, compares themselves to is their past self.

This is how they’re able to improve and avoid the self-deprecating emotions that come from comparing.

13. Not being organized

Time is our most precious resource. Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

If we aren’t allocating the time and energy needed to achieve a specific goal, it will never be finished.

The benefit of having an organized system is that it allows all the focus to be placed on the work itself.

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, all big things come from small beginnings, and it’s really your habits every day that determines where you’re going:

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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