The top 5 things successful people never do (and why you shouldn’t either)

There are many roads to success. But although it’s clear which route we should take, detours, junctions, and roundabouts may slow us down or even lead us the opposite way if we’re not careful.

There are many things we can learn from the people who have already made it. With so many out there, we know success is as common as summer rain. 

Yet, reaching our own success seems almost impossible sometimes, doesn’t it? 

To help you find your way to success, here are the top five things successful people never do and you shouldn’t either.

1) Don’t procrastinate

Successful people understand that time is a valuable resource that can’t be reclaimed once lost. 

That’s pretty obvious, right? Yet, many of us spend the time we could dedicate to further ourselves on meaningless tasks like scrolling TikTok, watching Friends for the 100th time, or watching football the whole weekend. 

When you procrastinate, tasks pile up, leading to a last-minute rush to complete them. This can result in lower-quality work and increased stress and anxiety, ultimately reducing your overall productivity.

Plus, consistently putting off tasks can erode your self-esteem and self-confidence. You might begin to doubt your abilities, further perpetuating the procrastination cycle.

Successful people, on the other hand, don’t procrastinate. They simply prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. 

To overcome procrastination, they break tasks into smaller, manageable steps and set deadlines for themselves. 

For example, if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, they do it immediately. This quick win creates a sense of accomplishment and momentum.

By taking consistent action, they maintain momentum and achieve their goals more efficiently.

But achievers also have someone who holds them accountable. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a boss or a board of directors. It can be a colleague, mentor, or simply their sense of pride, among many other things. 

If you have an issue with procrastination, reflect on why you’re doing it. Is it due to fear of failure, lack of interest, or feeling overwhelmed? Understanding the root cause helps you address it effectively.

Identify and minimize distractions in your environment. Turn off notifications, close unnecessary tabs, and find a quiet place to work.

Imagine the satisfaction of completing a task and the benefits it will bring. Visualizing success can boost your motivation to start and finish the job.

As I mentioned, procrastination often stems from a fear of failure, too. So, let’s expand on that more. 

2) Don’t let fear of failure hold them back

Fear of failure can paralyze progress and prevent us from taking risks. I won’t lie to you. I’ve had it many times in my life, and, in fact, I have a fear of failure before any bigger project I undertake. 

For many, fear of failure leads to avoiding new challenges or opportunities that involve risk. This discourages them from getting out of their comfort zone and exploring their full potential.

When you let fear control your decisions, you’re more likely to stay stagnant and resist change. 

Growth and progress only come from embracing new experiences, even if they come with the risk of failure.

Still, I don’t let it hold me back, and neither do other successful people

They recognize that failure is an inevitable part of any journey toward success. They embrace failure as a stepping stone to growth and see it as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons

This mindset shift allows them to approach challenges with resilience and adaptability, encouraging them to bounce back stronger from setbacks.

How many people in history have never tried new approaches, experimented with different ideas, or thought outside the box because they had the risk of failure?

Who knows how many creative and innovative things the world has never seen because of this overwhelming fear? 

3) Don’t let negative self-talk intimidate them

Negative self-talk greatly influences our confidence and self-esteem. It involves irrational worries and self-doubt that result in elevated stress and anxiety levels, affecting our overall mental health.

There’s also one nasty and not often-mentioned thing about it. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

If you constantly tell yourself you’ll fail, you might not put in the effort needed to succeed, confirming your negative beliefs. 

Think about that for a moment. 

Doers and achievers know how important their internal dialogue is and actively replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. 

They cultivate a strong sense of self-belief by owning their strengths and achievements. In turn, this positive self-talk boosts their motivation and helps them maintain a can-do attitude, even when faced with challenges.

If you have to deal with negative self-talk, start by paying attention to your thoughts. Notice when it arises and identify the patterns and triggers that lead to it.

When you notice you’re thinking negatively, challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself if they’re based on evidence or (ridiculous) assumptions. 

Often, negative thoughts are unfounded, and you can and should replace them with more rational ones.

Do what I did: create a list of positive statements about yourself and your abilities. Repeat these affirmations regularly to reinforce positive self-talk.

4) Don’t ignore feedback

Constructive feedback is one of the most beneficial tools for improvement. If you ignore feedback from colleagues, mentors, or even your friends, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

You see, feedback gives us valuable insights and perspectives we might not have considered. 

Ignoring it means missing out on opportunities to learn and grow from others’ experiences.

Others can often see things about you or your work that you might not notice yourself. Ignoring feedback can keep you unaware of your blind spots, preventing you from addressing potential issues.

Plus, feedback often highlights areas where you can innovate or find better solutions.

So, embracing feedback, whether positive or negative, is a crucial part of personal and professional development.

Successful people actively seek feedback from various sources to gain different perspectives on their work. 

Above all, they remain open to criticism and use it as a guide for refining their skills and strategies. 

By incorporating feedback into their journey, high achievers continuously refine their approach and stay ahead of the curve.

They also make sure they don’t do the following. 

5) Don’t stagnate too long

When you’re too comfortable for too long, you stop growing as a person or as a business. 

In a rapidly evolving world, staying stagnant in terms of knowledge and skills is incredibly detrimental and even dangerous to your way of life. 

Just look at the rise of A.I. 

If your profession or position is at risk of getting pushed out or made obsolete, you better start thinking about alternatives now and not in two or five years when it will probably already be too late.  

Successful individuals are committed to continuous learning. They don’t wait for things to happen and then react to them. 

They regularly read books, attend seminars, take courses, and stay curious, which allows them to adapt to new challenges and remain relevant.

They also look for new challenges, pushing their boundaries and encouraging personal development. 

Imagine a software developer who stops learning about new programming languages and technologies. 

Over time, their skills become outdated, making them less competitive in the job market and limiting their ability to take on innovative projects.

They understand that complacency leads to a plateau in their progress. By embracing change and pursuing fresh experiences, they remain adaptable and innovative. 

This willingness to explore the unknown allows them to discover new talents, insights, and opportunities that contribute to their overall success.

I also love mentioning the example of Kodak, once a leader in photography. They failed to adjust to the digital era. 

The company stagnated in its traditional film business while digital photography emerged. As a result, Kodak’s market share declined, and it filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

After a decade of pivots and trying out cellphones, tablets, and a digital currency, KodakCoin, they now provide software and tech for commercial printing. 

Final thoughts

Okay, so these are the five most important things successful people don’t do. Do you think avoiding them is important to success? 

Do you battle with some of these just like me and often think that hard work alone won’t be enough to make it?

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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