When we first meet someone who has achieved a degree of success, it is only natural to ask him or her how he or she got there. We focus on the positives and the forward thinking, as we rightly should. However, it is just as important to find out what they DID NOT do.
1. Chronic Pessimism
If you were truly focused on achieving success, why would you waste time complaining? Instead, develop a zero tolerance policy when it comes to whining and negativity in others. We tend to take on the characteristics of the groups and people with which we associate. Surround yourself with positive influences. Successful individuals avoid negativity for they have learned that it is detrimental to reaching long-term goals.
If you are faced with a situation, you do not like, do not complain, and find a way to change it. Take charge, be a leader and actively search for a solution or workaround. Remember, pessimism only creates a vicious environment and wastes time, neither of which is constructive.
Honesty is the best policy. Successful people understand that dishonesty breeds harm. Untruthfulness clouds reality, impairs good judgment, and eventually will hinder your ability to make good decisions. In the grand scheme of things, dishonesty generally starts out as small compromises, which grow to compromise and eventually destroy your credibility as a person.
Similarly, successful individuals should not tolerate situations or people that call into question their own integrity. When you actually accept a life with compromised integrity, or choose to permit people into your sphere of influence who engage in questionable practices or business ethics, those relationships can slowly gnaw at your self-respect and degrade your personal principles.
3. Toxic Influencers
Who is in your sphere of influence? Are you surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging, dynamic go-getters? On the other hand, have you noticed that the people around you are angry, negative, bitter, and unmotivated? Successful people refuse to become bogged down and trapped in toxic relationships. They focus on the positives in life and when faced with adversity, they actively search for a solution, rather than griping about it.
At some point, we all must deal with a negative personality. When this happens, either we may allow that person to sink us, or we can learn to take control of the situation. We learn to maintain boundaries and keep the toxicity at a distance from ourselves. We learn to redirect conversations or we take what is arguably the smartest route; simply ignore negative people. If you are focused on achieving success, learn not to waste your valuable time and energy on accommodating complainers or allowing yourself to be yanked into their negative black holes.
4. Procrastination and wasting time/energy/resources
In the movie “Back to the Future” the principal, Mr. Strickland, had a particular label for students who did not work hard or caused trouble: “Slackers.” We laugh at the characterization, but the truth is that slackers are seldom successes. They waste time, money and energy. They “put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” Success is not achieved by merely snapping our fingers. We have to work hard and prepare for the long haul. That does not mean that we cannot take down time, rather it means that we should not be undisciplined or engage in wasteful activities.
How many people do you remember from school that were frantically trying to finish an assignment right up to the moment class started because they put it off or lost the homework? Alternatively, they spent the weekend partying and by the time they “got around” to doing their homework, household chores, it was late Sunday evening. Successful people avoid this careless behavior, because they understand that these habits flush valuable resources (time, money, energy) down the drain. Be organized, eliminate your clutter, do get into the habit of “doing today, so that you can do even more tomorrow” and develop accountability partners to keep you on track.
It is one thing to waffle between burgers or pizza for dinner, but it is quite another to be unable to make a decision for your business. Successful individuals understand that indecision is a career killer and can have just as negative an effect on their personal lives. There is an old axiom that states “he who hesitates is lost” and entrepreneurs recognize that opportunities seldom present themselves frequently or one right after another. Taking action and being bold is necessary for success and sometimes those actions have negative consequences. That is ok, because those are learning experiences, which lead to growth. Indecisive people often do not have clearly defined goals because they treat their future with ambivalence. Successful people take charge of their futures by creating defined goals, making decisions to achieve those goals, and actively pursuing options.
I have never met an individual who achieved any success by developing any of these bad habits. As such, take care to guard yourself from going down these five roads, and thereby increase your chances of success in your business endeavors.