29 Dec 6 Habits That Hold You Back from Success
In the book Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Book of Eastern Wisdom, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”
So often we become inundated with mundane tasks that we establish habits that detract from our overall ability. These habits, if not corrected, become a prison on mediocrity that ensnares us, making it impossible to reach our true destiny.
So as you’re pursuing greatness, avoid these six habits.
1. Trying to Make Things Perfect
Knowing the difference between good and good enough is not as easy as it sounds. While you should always strive to do your best, realize that some tasks simply require completion, not perfection. And when you spend too much time perfecting a completion task, you waste time that could be spent doing something more important.
One example of this in my own life is when I send emails. I used to write multiple drafts of an email because I wanted the person receiving the email to take my message a certain way. And sometimes, your messages need to be perfect. But I found myself drafting multiple emails about things as innocuous as informing a co-worker that our meeting changed from 9:00 to 9:45.
Perfectionism in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But when it causes you to waste time on the unimportant, it’s a habit that you need to break.
2. Being Negative
No one likes to be around a Debbie Downer or a Negative Norman. These are the people in your office who only see the cup as half-empty. These people also tend to stay in the same position, seemingly unable to move from one level to another.
No one wants to be in the same position forever. One of the best ways to move from one level to the next, aside from performing exceptionally at your job, is staying positive in the face of adversity.
A positive attitude can go a long way with those you manage, your peers, and your supervisors. Your employees will see your attitude as faith in their ability to accomplish hard things. Your peers will see your attitude as confidence in your team’s ability to get the task done. Your supervisor will see your attitude and think of someone who is capable and competent.
3. Saying No
Did you ever see the Jim Carrey movie Yes Man? It’s about a man who was so used to saying no that it stopped him from living his life. He would find excuses to avoid friends and loved ones. He said no to so much that his friends stopped calling, his girlfriend broke up with him, and he was in danger of losing his job.
Jim Carrey’s character takes a self-help class that gets him to say yes to everything. Of course, this mantra takes him on a series of life-changing events that helps him be a better friend, a better partner, and a better employee.
If you are in the habit of saying no, you can find yourself in a position like the main character in this movie. You can miss wonderful growth opportunities. Even if saying yes doesn’t always lead you to bigger and better things, it can show your interest in the world around you.
So the next time your manager needs a volunteer for a special project, say yes and see where the opportunity takes you.
4. Seeing Things in Binary
There is a great line from a little-known movie that says, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” It’s not uncommon for people to see the world in black and white. But rarely are our choices so two-dimensional.
Not only do choices come in shades of gray, but they also come in a rainbow of other hues. By looking at life in black or white, you really miss out on the vibrancy of the greater picture. And when you can see those different color patterns, you will begin to appreciate the variety of choices available to you.
5. Losing Focus of Your Goals
Work is distracting. It is easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day things that zap your time. Whether it’s answering an onslaught of emails, addressing the needs of your employees, or managing the expectations of your superiors, it’s difficult to keep your goals a priority.
The most important thing to do when identifying the things you want in life is to write them down. This is the first step to setting a goal. If you never write your goal down, how can you measure it? Once you’ve written your ambitions down somewhere, review them periodically. That way they are always on the forefront of your mind.
The next step to achieving your goals is to prioritize your time so the right things get enough attention. If you spend your day sending and receiving less important emails, you will never get to the more important project.
Schedule time each day to work toward a goal, and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.
6. Doing Everything Yourself
No one is an island, or at least no one should be. When I was hired for my most recent position, the hiring manager gave me one important piece of advice: “If you try and do everything yourself, you will fail. Find qualified people to work with and trust them to do what you assign them to.”
I’ve taken his advice to heart. Since then, I have led a team of exceptional workers. Together, our team has accomplished a great deal of challenging tasks. We’ve revamped our new-hire training process. We’ve increased the quality and quantity of finished daily tasks. And we’ve made huge advances in an internal training platform we will be implementing later this fall.
By relying on capable colleagues, I have been able to do more than I originally anticipated. If you are in the habit of doing everything yourself, find capable people and delegate your workload.
The activities we repeat daily become our habits. Fill your life with good habits, and you will find yourself on the road to a positive destiny.