Thursday, February 27, 2014

Six Things to Avoid if You Want Success

Throughout my life, I’ve been lucky enough to hang around million-dollar athletes, history-making attorneys, world-famous musicians, and friends that you never heard of who change people’s lives for the better every day. The common bond between all of these people is the ability to live life to its fullest on their own terms.

While there is no secret to success, I’ve tried to learn from other successful people who have entered my life, even if only for a minute or two. Today, I’m sharing a few of those lessons. The universe offers boundless rewards and only your own thinking and behaviors can determine how much of it you reap. I’m not saying that I’ve perfected all of these, but I have witnessed the result of both positive and negative influences.

As individuals, each of us has a different definition of success. It isn’t necessarily monetary or fame—the process itself may define success. Whatever your goals, here are a few things to avoid that less-successful individuals typically let guide their life. Once we recognize them, we can make changes that will propel our lives to a different place.

Not Working on Yourself
The number one thing that I’ve discovered through the years is that successful people are continually working on themselves. They are constantly learning, developing skills, and growing within. You must spend time, effort, and money on yourself and your passion. How many seminars or classes have you looked into but decided that you couldn’t attend because of the money? Do you feel guilty when you take some time for yourself? In order to be successful, these patterns must change. Your investment in yourself will pay off exponentially over time.

Wild Goals Without Action
I always talk about dreaming big. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you dream big without taking action, then it’s just wishful thinking. Break down your big dream into bite-sized chunks so that you can actually work toward them.

“I have no control” Thinking
The way you perceive the world will determine your ability to succeed. If you believe you have no control over your life, then you won’t. The economy, your job—it’s everyone else’s fault. If you believe that, then you don’t have much chance at success. Successful people take accountability and work through the obstacles to achieve success. Believe that you have what it takes to work through anything.

Perceiving Others’ Worth Over Your Own
When you work on yourself, you develop your goals, values, priorities, and purpose in life. Without that, you perceive others’ worth as greater than your own. How can you move forward and achieve success if you don’t know your own goals and priorities? If you don’t know what your driving force is, you will unlikely put in the effort necessary to achieve success. Ninety-nine percent of the time … it’s not money. It’s something deeper and more rewarding than money.

Lack of Faith in Themselves
We all make mistakes throughout life. Making mistakes is not a sign of weakness. We learn and grow from mistakes. I’ve made plenty in my life. It’s how I react to those mistakes that determine how successful I’ll be. I know where my weaknesses are, but that does not mean that I don’t believe in myself.

Looking for the Easy Way
We see this a lot in the social media world. Everyone is looking for the secret or asking for something without providing something in return. Don't fall into this trap. If you are going to post something, don't sell me. Give me something to think about, laugh about or learn from. Successful people are respectful of others’ time and efforts. This doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out and ask for help; just don’t expect something for nothing. Show your appreciation. How many times have you clicked the "donate here" button on a website that you get great info from? No matter how small the token, you will be the one they remember in the future.

A common thread connects most of the items above—continually working on yourself. Look for your areas of weakness and find one or two things that you can change. Little by little, you’ll discover that you are getting one step closer to your definition of success.

  is the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling Young Adult novel, The Card and So This is Christmas. He's also a healthcare consultant specializing in helping healthcare companies and practices develop a social media marketing platform, and maximize cash flow. You can find him posting weekly to Indies Unlimited and occasionally as a contributor on Yahoo!
A version of this post was originally published by Jim Devitt on Indies Unlimited. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Yvonne, I really appreciate you stopping by. You're the best.

  2. Great post, Jim. Along with the 'I have no control' thinking, there's the "I don't have the time' excuse, but if you really want to do something, you can almost always find the time.

    1. Mel, you are so right. get up a little earlier, stay up a little later, just make it work. If something is worth it, you'll find a way.

      Thanks so much for popping in to comment!

  3. Good stuff, Jim. A lot of what you're talking about here can be boiled down to magical thinking -- which unfortunately doesn't work.

    1. Thanks Lynne. You're right, and unfortunately I see way too many Indie Authors trying to work with magical thinking. And thanks, it's really nice of you to stop in and comment.

  4. Perceiving others' worth over my own... guilty as charged ;) It's been a tough shift going from being in the classroom all day to freelancing from home. Once I realized how much I am externally motivated, it has helped me get a handle on how to deal with that tendency. Well that, and a great career coach too.

    1. What great insight, Jeri. It's so important to know yourself and how you deal with things. A great career coach doesn't hurt either!