You ever see someone else’s success and wonder why that didn’t/hasn’t happened for you? I’m guilty of this comparison game. Often times, we think they won some type of “talent lottery” that gave them an advantage we weren’t given.
Sure, there may be the occasional leg up someone has that you don’t, but generally, those rarely impact success. If I give you a million dollars to build a business, but you blow it all on Skittles and Red Bull, did you ever really have an advantage?
In business and in life, it’s more worthwhile and important to focus on that which we can control rather than being concerned with what we can’t control. The fact is there are many things in life you can’t control…
- Other people
- The economy
- The weather
- Who your parents are
- Where you were born
The list goes on and on. So rather than whining about what we can’t control, it’s more beneficial to focus on what we CAN control. Because what we can control will ultimately have a greater impact on our success (or lack thereof).
As host of the How Did You Get Into That podcast, I’ve interviewed a lot of different successful people in a variety of industries. And I’ve noticed a few key things that they all have in common. From what I’ve learned from them, here are 23 reasons you’re not as successful as you could be….
1. You aren’t hustling – You just aren’t willing to outwork others. You aren’t willing to stay up a little later or get up a little earlier. Every single successful person I know works their butt off to connect with other people, better themselves in business/life, improve at their craft, and out-hustle others. If you don’t know what to do next, then figure it out, but sitting and wishing that life hands you a golden ticket is a bad plan.
2. You’re scared – I get it. I’m scared too. Author Susan Jeffers says to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” The fear never goes away. It’s always lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to punch you in the face. It’s not that successful people don’t experience fear. It’s that they’ve learned fear gets really quiet in the face of action.
3. You’re negative – Negative people drive me crazy. “I hate my job…I hate my boss…I hate my coworkers…I hate my life.” Ugh. Quit your complaining and get over yourself. If you don’t like the way your life is going, then shut up and fix it. But at least save the rest of us the pain of having to listen to you whine about it.
4. You lack goals – You’re just stumbling and fumbling through life, wishing and hoping it all magically works out. You would never take a road trip like that. You wouldn’t just get in the car and start driving without a sense of direction or destination and just hope you magically end up somewhere you want to be. Life doesn’t work like that. But you just keep wandering aimlessly and let us know if you find that yellow brick road.
5. You blame others – You don’t have the right parents. Other people just don’t understand you. Nobody is giving you a chance. Your boss is a poppy-pants, meany-face. Your lack of success couldn’t possibly have anything to do with you. It’s everyone else’s fault right? Because that makes total sense.
6. You’re flying solo – I can assure you no successful person did it on their own. When you surround yourself with successful people and allow others to speak into your life, that’s when growth happens. You and I have blind spots. We need other people to help us be strong when we want to be weak. Whether that be joining a mastermind, building relationships with others in your industry or working with a coach, you can’t be successful if you try to block the rest of the world out.
7. You feel entitled – News flash: You’re not guaranteed jack squat in life. If you’re just sitting back in life’s Lay-Z-Boy and waiting for success to fall into your lap, you better get comfortable. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, what gender or race you were born as, or how many years you’ve worked at that company. Quit thinking you are owed something. You’re not. Shut up and start hustling.
8. You overthink – You may not be successful, but you sure like to think about it. You plan success better than anyone else. You’re the most successful ‘success planner’ there is (I’m not sure if that’s really a thing). It’s too bad all your time spent learning and planning will never actually be put to work. Stop analyzing and start doing.
9. You don’t believe it’s possible – Even if you had everything you needed to be successful (which you already do), somehow the universe has conspired against you to make sure it doesn’t happen. You’re just destined to be picked last. Success is reserved only for a select few, and unfortunately, you didn’t make the cut right?
10. You don’t take risks – To be successful, you’re going to have to take some risks along the way. Often times we think of risks as being these life-altering choices that are bound to fail. You don’t have to take on “bet the farm” type risks. A risk is starting a side business in an attempt to make an extra $100 per month. A risk is emailing someone to tell them you admire their work. A risk is starting a blog to share your story with others. A risk is doing something just on the outside of your comfort zone. But as long as you stay nestled in that comfort zone, you’ll never be successful.
11. You waste time – Successful people don’t ding around. They’ve got work to do. They don’t sit around staring at the TV, screwing around on social media or wasting time on video games. Checking Facebook, watching your favorite show, or playing Angry Birds are not evil things. But if you spend more time reading about or watching other people’s pretend lives instead of creating your own real life, you’re wasting time.
12. You’ve settled – You aren’t looking to the future or how you could improve your place in life. You think you’ve reached as high as you’re capable of, so now you’re stuck. You think small and can’t see beyond today.
13. You’re lazy – It’s one thing if you’re hustling but doing the wrong things or going the wrong direction. It’s something totally different if you’re just flat out lazy. It’s ok to be lazy every now and then. When I’m on vacation at the beach, I can be pretty lazy. But when it’s time to get to work, you shouldn’t need someone to light a fire under your butt to get you going. It’s possible you’re not successful cause you’re just lazy.
14. You make excuses – It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s the government. It was the economy. The wind changed directions on you. A wise philosopher once said that “Excuses are like arm pits. We all have them, and they all stink.” There’s no excuse for lacking hustle, settling for complacency, wasting time, feeling entitled or blaming others. So knock it off with the excuses, put on your big boy underwear, and take ownership for your own life.
15. You don’t really want it – You say you want it but let’s be honest…you really don’t. You like the idea of success because it seems fun and glamorous and sexy, but you don’t really want it. You just like to daydream about it, look at Instagram pics of what it might be like, and whine to others about why you don’t have it. But there’s no way you’d actually put in the work necessary to earn it.
16. You’re not growing – When was the last time you read a book? Not smutty romance novel crap, but like an actual book that helped you get smarter? When was the last time you took notes on something you learned and actually tried to apply it to your life? Have you ever turned on Netflix to watch a documentary instead of another episode of House of Cards? Ever watched a video on YouTube that was educational and not just pointless and stupid? Didn’t think so.
17. You won’t start – Starting would require you to do something. And that sounds like work. No thank you. It’s so much simpler to just think about it, plan it out, and talk about it, but you won’t actually do it. Starting requires risk. Starting means you have to get out of bed early in the morning. Starting means you gotta leave your comfort zone. And we’ve already established you’re too lazy to do any of those things.
18. You’re waiting for perfect conditions – You’re waiting for all the stars to align or for the double rainbow to appear. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to happen. When’s the best time to leave your job? When’s the best time to start a business? When’s the best time to have kids? There is never a perfect time for any of these situations. Stop waiting for something that’s never going to happen.
19. You aren’t sacrificing – One of my favorite quotes comes from personal finance guru Dave Ramsey who said, “If you live like no one else, then later you get to live like no one else.” This was something my wife and I often reminded ourselves of when we were getting out of debt years ago. We didn’t eat out. We didn’t take trips. We didn’t buy new clothes. We knew if we made the sacrifices then, it would set us up for success in the future.
20. You’re too comfortable – You’ve got a seemingly steady, safe, secure, comfortable job. Your life is on cruise control. You’re just along for the ride. You’re so comfortable that you’re not even aware of the people flying past you in life. When you get comfortable, you get stagnant. When you get stagnant, you stop growing. When you stop growing, you start dying. Goodbye success.
21. You’re ungrateful – Did you wake up this morning with a roof over your head? Do you have food in your cabinets? Do you have indoor plumbing and running water? Do you own a TV, phone, or computer that costs more than many people in the world make in an entire month? Then quit your complaining and be a little more grateful for what you do have. Why would you be entrusted with more (influence, success, money, etc) if you can’t even be thankful for what you have been given? For a slice of humble pie, visit this site.
22. You don’t take care of yourself – Part of being successful means taking care of the body, mind and soul you’ve been given. You don’t pay attention to what you eat or put in your body or mind. The most exercise you get each day is rolling out of bed in the morning. The fact is when you take care of yourself, you perform at a higher level. Your mind expands to see what is possible. You feel stronger and ready to take on the world. But you just go back to those Skittles and Red Bull and let me know how that works out for you.
23. You’re waiting for permission – There is no permission fairy. You don’t have to sit and wait for someone to tell you how you can and can’t live your life. Stop waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to start a business or quit your job or leave that unhealthy relationship or move to a new city or start living life on your own terms. You’re not in elementary anymore. You don’t have to keep raising your hand waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to get up and go to the bathroom. Just freakin’ go.
I don’t say any of this just to be a snarky punk. I say all of this because sometimes we need a kick in the pants. We need to be smacked upside the head and told to grow up.
If your life sucks, it’s because you decided to let it suck. If your life is great, it’s because you decided to make it great.
Stop living with a victim mentality acting like you’re just trapped in your current circumstances. The person who has the ability to change your life is you. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to make your life better. So knock off the complaining and whining and start doing something with your life.
Make it happen captain. You’re awesome.
Image via: Chris Potter