6 things successful people never waste their time on according to psychology

Success is not just a matter of what you do; it’s also what you choose not to do.

Time is our most precious commodity, and how we spend it determines our trajectory toward success or mediocrity.

According to psychology, successful individuals have a keen understanding of this concept.

They don’t waste their time on frivolous pursuits or negative patterns. Instead, they focus on activities that enrich their lives and propel them towards their goals.

This article will explore some of the things that successful people never waste their time on, offering insights into how you can optimize your actions for success.

1) Mindless scrolling

In the digital age, it’s incredibly easy to lose hours of our day to mindless scrolling on social media platforms.

However, successful individuals understand the value of their time and choose not to waste it on such activities.

This isn’t to say that successful people completely shun social media. Rather, they use it strategically, leveraging it for networking, learning, and enhancing their work or personal lives.

They know that time spent mindlessly scrolling is time not spent on more productive tasks or meaningful interactions.

To illustrate, consider the concept of ‘opportunity cost’. This economic principle suggests that for every hour spent on one task, you’re potentially losing the opportunity to do something else more beneficial.

Successful people grasp this idea and apply it in their daily lives.

Therefore, instead of getting sucked into an endless cycle of scrolling, successful people make conscious decisions about how they spend their time online. They understand the power of digital tools but also acknowledge their potential to distract and consume valuable hours.

Making this shift doesn’t require drastic measures. It’s recognizing the trap of mindless scrolling and taking steps to avoid it.

Set boundaries for your social media use, allocate specific times for checking updates or responding to messages, and most importantly, prioritize tasks that contribute to your personal and professional growth.

Remember, success isn’t just doing more; it’s also consciously choosing not to do what doesn’t serve your higher goals.

2) Dwelling on past mistakes

Life is a journey punctuated by mistakes and missteps.

It’s easy to get caught up in the past, replaying our errors and ruminating on what we could have done differently.

But successful people know that dwelling on past mistakes is a waste of precious time.

As someone who has been through my fair share of failures and setbacks, I’ve learned that each one holds valuable lessons.

Instead of getting stuck in the past, I’ve found it much more beneficial to extract these lessons and apply them to future situations.

This shift in perspective turns every failure into a step towards success.

Self-compassion—the act of treating ourselves with kindness when we fail or make mistakes—is linked to greater resilience, optimism, and personal initiative. 

To quote the words of Thomas Edison, a man whose inventive spirit and resilience perfectly encapsulate this mindset: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

This is the attitude successful people adopt: they view mistakes not as a dead end but as a detour leading them closer to their goals.

3) Prioritizing others’ expectations over personal fulfillment

Successful individuals do not waste their time living up to others’ expectations at the expense of their personal fulfillment.

Instead, they understand the importance of aligning their actions with their values and passions.

Living a life dictated by external pressures can lead to a lack of authenticity and a sense of disconnect from one’s self.

Instead of chasing someone else’s dreams or meeting societal norms, successful people prioritize what truly matters to them.

This is a topic I delved into in my video on “The Illusion of Happiness.”

In it, I discuss how the pursuit of happiness, as defined by society or others, can actually lead to misery.

True contentment comes from within, by embracing life’s challenges, fostering meaningful relationships, and staying true to oneself.


If you’re interested in exploring more about living a life with more purpose and freedom, feel free to join the community of over 20,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel.

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4) Neglecting self-care

Success isn’t solely about achievements and external markers of accomplishment. It’s deeply intertwined with our well-being and personal growth.

Yet, in the relentless pursuit of success, many people neglect a crucial aspect: self-care.

Psychology underscores the importance of self-care in maintaining our mental, emotional and physical health.

It’s not a luxury or a frivolous indulgence but a fundamental need. Successful people understand this and never waste their time neglecting their own well-being.

They prioritize activities that replenish their energy, whether it’s taking time for physical exercise, practicing mindfulness, pursuing a hobby, or simply ensuring they get enough sleep.

They understand that to show up fully in their lives and contribute meaningfully to the world around them, they need to first take care of themselves.

In our quest for success, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly pushing ourselves to the limit, neglecting our needs in the process.

But this approach is not sustainable and can lead to burnout, stress, and other health issues.

Remember, your greatest resource is yourself.

In order to be able to contribute your unique gifts and make a positive impact in the world, you need to ensure that you are taking care of your own needs first. 

5) Engaging in negative self-talk

The language we use with ourselves greatly influences our perception of the world and our place in it.

Engaging in negative self-talk, such as harsh self-criticism or catastrophizing, can lead to lower self-esteem, increased stress, and a diminished sense of personal potential.

Successful people understand this psychological truth and steer clear of wasting their time on such harmful mental habits.

Instead, they cultivate a positive dialogue with themselves, one that reinforces their capabilities, acknowledges their efforts, and supports their growth.

This doesn’t mean they ignore their flaws or avoid constructive criticism. Rather, they approach their shortcomings with compassion and view them as opportunities for learning and growth.

This shift in mindset is closely tied to the transformative power of self-awareness and personal growth – a belief I hold dear.

By doing the inner work to confront our fears, challenge limiting beliefs, and cultivate self-compassion, we become more capable of creating the lives and the world we desire.

In fact, I talk more about this topic in my video on imposter syndrome.

It’s about embracing feeling like an imposter as a sign of deep self-awareness and a catalyst for authentic growth and empowerment.

Remember to be kind to yourself. The words you speak to yourself matter. They can either limit you or empower you. Choose wisely.

6) Avoiding difficult conversations

In our quest to maintain harmony in our relationships, we sometimes avoid difficult or uncomfortable conversations.

Whether it’s addressing a conflict, expressing our needs, or discussing sensitive topics, these conversations can feel daunting.

However, successful people understand that avoiding these discussions is a wasteful use of their time and energy.

Rather than dodging uncomfortable dialogues, they approach them with openness and courage.

They understand that these conversations are opportunities for growth, deeper understanding, and improved relationships.

Through clear and empathetic communication, they foster authentic connections based on mutual understanding and respect.

This perspective aligns with my belief in the profound importance of authentic relationships.

It’s through our connections with others that we find the courage to confront challenges and the joy of shared experiences.

The psychology of success

Success is often viewed through the lens of external achievements: wealth, status, and power.

But as we delve deeper into the psychology of successful people, a different picture emerges.

Success isn’t just what we accomplish, but also the choices we make, the habits we form, and the things we consciously decide not to waste our time on.

At its core, success is a deeply personal and individual journey. It’s aligning our actions with our values, embracing personal growth, and taking responsibility for our choices.

Remember, every decision you make is a step closer to or further from your version of success. The key lies in making conscious decisions that align with your unique path.

If you’re interested in exploring more topics like this and joining a community dedicated to living life with more freedom and authenticity, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.

Together, let’s challenge conventional wisdom and create our own definitions of success.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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