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If you are striving to obtain success in life, eliminating certain unproductive behaviours and mindsets is imperative.
Before we start layering the beneficial habits, it is required to eradicate any unhelpful or even unproductive ones.
In this post, I will be discussing 20 things that you need to stop doing as soon as possible if you wish to become successful in business and life in general (the principles apply to pretty much any field).
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1) Trading time for money
If you are a regular reader, then this should not come as a surprise.
One of the most fundamental pillars of success is being compensated based on the amount of value you provide, and not the amount of time you have spent working on something.
Your time is limited and capped, both within a specific day, but more importantly, during your lifetime.
As a direct result, working for someone else on an hourly basis is one of the most inefficient things to do.
Sure, early in your career you might need to do that in order to get some cashflow rolling and to obtain experience and technical knowledge.
However, in order to reach the next milestones, you need to ditch the employee mentality and venture on your own.
2) Living the good life before you deserve it
I heard a hilarious term recently: $30,000 millionaire!
It’s that person who earns roughly 30 to 40k a year but acts like a millionaire in front of their peers.
Someone who maxes-out their credit cards, leases everything and hangs out at trendy bars in order to impress and ultimately score with the opposite sex.
I laughed hard at this because it is so accurate!
Look, unless you have accumulated enough wealth that can comfortably sustain your lifestyle, the good life needs to wait.
Take a hint from the wealthiest person, Jeff Bezos.
When he first became rich, Bezos upgraded his Chevy Blazer to a Honda Accord. He continued to drive a Honda long after becoming a freaking billionaire!
This shows amazing discipline but also a deep understanding of how money and capital works.
3) “Helping” others before you have helped yourself
Helping people is noble. Humans are wired to take pleasure by helping fellow humans; it is written in our DNA.
However, this benevolence needs to come from a position of abundance.
Think about it.
What is better? To deviate your focus from becoming successful in order to assist a small group of people that might ask for your help (and never use it), or first become successful and then have the resources to help much more people, with more efficiency and potency?
This is exactly the case of Warren Buffett. In 2006 Buffett donated the bulk of his fortune the Gates foundation to fight disease and reduce inequity.
This vast contribution had an enormous positive impact on the world, as described by the words of Bill and Melinda Gates.
4) Procrastinating and fucking around
One of the most characteristic phrases to hear from somebody that tends to procrastinate is that they are going to “start someday”.
Take for example the typical wannapreneur who has a bunch of life changing ideas, and he is ready to take over the world but will get started as soon as something gets outs of his way.
It might be the kids going to college. Or getting a raise at work. Or moving to a different city.
This is textbook entrepreneurial fuckarounditis.
Listen. There will never be a right time. You need to start NOW!
5) Caring about what other people think of you
Humans are social animals. For evolutionary reasons, we care deeply about what other people think of us.
Unfortunately, this creates a huge problem in modern society.
Many people are hesitant to commit on their venture because they are afraid of being criticized by their peers for their idea or effort.
Even worse, they are scared that if their attempt fails, they will be humiliated.
Listen. The opinion of random, non-successful people should be irrelevant to you.
If you are not convinced by me, read the thoughts of one of the most successful entrepreneurs that have lived, Felix Dennis:
“If you wish to be rich, you must grow a carapace. A mental armour. Not so thick as to blind you to well-constructed criticism and advice, especially from those you trust. Nor so thick as to cut you off from friends and family.
But thick enough to shrug off the inevitable sniggering and malicious mockery that will follow your inevitable failures. Not to mention the poorly hidden envy that will accompany your eventual success.”
6) Taking advice from clueless people
One of the most irrational things I have encountered is that incompetent people will be sharing advice (unsolicited advice, most of the times), when in fact they have no clue what they are talking about.
There is a psychological bias that causes this and it is called Dunning–Kruger effect:
“In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.”
You definitely have come across a person that fits that description.
It is the guy that yells, “I will tell you how to make money”, yet it is painfully obvious that he has NOT made any money, and that he is not going to, anytime soon.
To wrap this up:
Would you take weight-loss advice from obese people? Probably not. Same thing for success.
7) Thinking for the short-term
Another field that our own biology and evolution fails us. Humans have evolved to optimize for the short term.
Our ancestors were not thinking long into the future.
Why? Because that future might not even come.
It was much more useful to think about the short term. Example: what the hell am I going to eat tomorrow?
In modern times though, it is absolutely critical to plan for the long-term.
I will let Jeff Bezos speak again:
“My own view is that every company requires a long-term view.”
Same thing for every venture that you might embark upon. It takes 10 years for an “overnight success”. Adjust your thinking accordingly.
8) Living an unhealthy lifestyle
Reaching success in a competitive field requires massive amounts of effort and stamina.
It is then obvious that in order to make it in this demanding marathon, you need to have a healthy lifestyle that will provide you with the energy to carry through.
You will be much more efficient and effective when you are healthy.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you live in” – Jim Rohn
The main pillars are known: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress. Take care of them.
9) Losing time on “motivational” material
There are so many “motivational gurus” out there, it sickens my stomach.
I get even more upset because the vast majority of these people are making their money out of selling that dream.
There are motivational quotes, images, videos, songs, ringtones (?), and the list goes on.
Look, I understand that we are emotional creatures, and that change is only triggered by emotion.
The problem is that motivation is fleeting. What you need to do is to create the environment that will allow you to gradually change your identity.
Unless you change your identity, nothing is going to happen.
Use the motivational and inspirational material to pump you up, but then leverage that energy and enthusiasm into creating an environment that will allow you to sustainably work towards your goals.
10) Thinking you are entitled to anything
Oh my. Another favorite of mine. People that believe that are entitled to benefits and rewards just because they made a token effort.
The most typical example is graduates that think that society and the world owes them just because they managed to get a degree!
If you entertain any thoughts similar to the ones I just described, I have some harsh news coming:
No one cares about you!
This might sound bitter and crude, but it is the truth, and the sooner you realize it, the better you are going to be.
People only care about you only in relation to what value you are going to provide them.
This is especially true in business.
No one cares about your product launch. Unless you can deliver them tangible value, they will ignore your precious product and just move on.
Society owes you nothing. You need to provide value in order to get rewarded.
I know that many of these items might cause you negative feelings, and I know that many of these are rooted in deep beliefs you built being influenced by society and authority figures.
The thing is, if you want to become successful in life, you need to critically examine your beliefs and see what is really productive and what not.
Stay tuned for the second part, coming next week!