Most of us have spent a considerable amount of time studying success habits. We read books, listen to cd’s or podcasts or learn at the feet of mentors and coaches.

This is good!

However, solely studying the elements of success only gives us half of the lesson. I believe that it’s just as important to, at the same time, identify and learn the mindset and actions of the unsuccessful. The lessons are out there but we sometimes avoid confronting them from the fear that they might be infectious, and we might contract the habits of failure simply by acknowledging them.

Over time, with astute observation and much trial and error, I believe that I’ve identified over thirty ways that one can insure a lack of success. Here are just a few items from that list.

  1. Be a repeat offender: Some of us make mistakes but then take the time to analyze exactly what happened, analyze how it will never happen again and then move forward. We successfully learn from the error. Others make mistakes and learn nothing, simply to make the mistake over and over and over again. A repeat offender never learns and improves.
  2. Hanging with the (wrong) buds: We are what we think about most of the time. We become our environment. If you spend time with friends, relatives or colleagues who are negative then you will become negative. Unsuccessful people are surrounded with negativity and do nothing about it. Be aware of who you spend time with and make changes if necessary. You’ll see immediate improvements in your attitude and your income.
  3. Waiting for something to happen: Just ask yourself if you’re responding to the issues and challenges of life or you’re anticipating the challenges and being proactive with your life. There’s a big difference. If you’re waiting for the phone to ring or for something to happen so you can try to fix it then you’re deeply mired in a reactionary state of mind. You’re living a life as a fire fighter, not useful unless there is a fire to put out. Sure, you’ll make mistakes being proactive, but at least you’re taking some action and making things happen rather than waiting for them to happen.
  4. You’re always late: Unsuccessful people are always late, and, they always have an excuse. In most personal and business situations, being late represents disrespect for time. Being late implies disrespect for your client/prospects time and it is perceived that you have no respect for your own time. Being late represents disorganization and a lack of planning. Being on time, in turn, shows respect for all involved, personal organization and pride.
  5. Entitlement: If you honestly believe that the world owes you something, please take a moment and sit down. I’m about to give you some important advice. Ok, ready? Here you go. The world owes you nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. You must earn whatever you have, no matter how old you are. You must be tenacious, disciplined, skilled and focused. You must be willing to learn for your lifetime. You must be goal driven and hungry. If you’re not, you have no one to blame but yourself.

I’ve mentioned this before but a favorite saying of one of my most wise mentors was, “The world is full of educated derelicts. Knowledge is not power. The application of knowledge is power.”  Many of the most successful people I know have achieved their success simply because they were willing to go one step beyond what others were willing to do. They work harder, they’re willing to adapt and change, they’re disciplined, and they never, ever stop learning.  An unsuccessful life is not something that you’re born with. It’s not in your DNA. It is a choice.

So, what choice have you made?

Leave a Comment