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Traps and Detours to Avoid on Your Way to Success

It’s easy to see what successful people do. A bit more challenging, though no less instructive, is to notice the things successful people avoid. The caveat here is: Your definition of success may not be the same as that of your neighbor or colleague. As the aphorism tells us, one person’s medicine is another one’s poison.

Many people measure success by the attainment of popularity or profit. Whether it’s landing your dream job, shedding excess weight or balancing your work and personal lives, a sense of success comes from accomplishing some aim or purpose.

You know better than anyone on the planet what it is you wish to achieve. Successful people know what they want and have a high level of persistence. Getting from here to there can be a twisting road with many obstacles. It’s easy to become discouraged. If you avoid these 9 habits, you’ll be more apt to reach your goals:

  • Using socially acceptable excuses to quit. It’s easy to come up with reasons to quit. Socially acceptable excuses are those your peers will let slide. But is that what you really need? Sure, there are occasions when it is best to walk away or let something go. Be sure taking the easy way out does not become your default. It is a trap. Hold yourself accountable.

  • Neglecting habits to support plans. We’re either moving in the direction of our success each day or away from it. Our habits ensure whether or not we’re making consistent progress or not. Take note of what occupies your attention each day.

  • Relying on luck. The Universe does have its mysterious and seemingly magical ways. But relying on serendipity or luck to avoid work and responsibility is a certain path to disappointment and frustration. Doing the minimum necessary will yield minimum results. A more effective alternative is to have such a good plan and do so much that you’d have to be incredibly unlucky to fail. Borrow the military’s idea of overwhelming force. Bring more resources to the fight than you think you’d ever need.

  • Moving without an endpoint. The journey matters. However, success requires a known destination. You can’t accidentally end up on the summit of Mt. Everest. Any significant achievement requires that you clearly understand your objective. By all means be diligent. Be diligent with a purpose.

  • Lacking a realistic timeline. In your enthusiasm, be careful about being too aggressive with the timeline when you set a goal. It’s easy to overestimate what can be accomplished in a certain time period. If you overestimate what you can do in the short term, you’re likely to become discouraged.

  • Giving up too soon. This is the biggest reason for a lack of success. If you never quit, you can’t fail. Sooner or later, things will work out. Keep going!

  • Fearing your own success. It might sound crazy to be afraid of success. But it often comes wrapped in greater responsibility and pressure. More people are watching you. There can be a certain amount of stress associated with success. Just remember the discomfort of your stumbles and bumps along the way. There’s a good chance they were your teachers that prepared you to meet the challenges of new achievements.

  • Fearing failure. Failing can be hard on the ego. Try to remember, the most successful people have failed the most. Failure, and the debilitating feelings it triggers, is often self-imposed. When we feel we’ve fallen short or failed others, most people are too preoccupied dealing with their own struggles to notice. Take it easy on yourself.

  • Being pessimistic. A negative mindset creates negative results. When you expect a poor outcome, you won’t do the work necessary for success or try to find solutions. As soon as self-defeating thoughts creep in, rein them in. Keep your mind filled with positive thoughts and images.

  • Being uncomfortable. Every time you try something new, you can count on a level of discomfort. You have to deal with uncomfortable feelings all along the way. Learning to work through these feelings is part of achieving success.

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