What to give up if you want to be successful


We are, to both our benefit and disadvantage, creatures of habit. We tend to get stuck in our ways quite easily, and it takes a lot of work to change them. And we often don’t realize that these behaviors are getting in our own way when it comes to things like achieving our biggest goals. Success is quite a unanimously shared goal because we all want to be happy, secure, proud, and respected. But the path there is often loaded with hurdles. There are surely more than enough obstacles posed by the outside world, and you aren’t doing yourself any favors by getting in your own way, so click through to see all the things you should leave behind to propel yourself forward.

A singular idea of successA singular idea of success

If you let other people define what success is, you’ll only be chasing after what they have. Instead, consider that some artists define success as completing and releasing their work, as opposed to it selling well. Some define success as being able to do what they love, and others want to hit a certain salary or see an idea through. Define what success means to you first and foremost.

An unhealthy lifestyleAn unhealthy lifestyle

Almost everything you want to achieve in life will depend on your health. Eat well and exercise, and you’ll have the right foundation to chase your dreams.

Downplaying yourselfDownplaying yourself

Being humble is a wonderful quality that we should all maintain, but downplaying yourself so that others will feel better about themselves or because you’re afraid of seeming arrogant is definitely something you want to leave behind.

Mindless scrollingMindless scrolling

This is a difficult one because social media apps are literally designed to keep you on them, mindlessly scrolling through an infinite feed, but they’re a huge time suck and they are completely demotivating, as so much of it relies on people showing off and comparing themselves to others.

Short-term thinkingShort-term thinking

Success involves having a vision and setting long-term goals. Short-term thinking can help start to establish successful habits, but, for example, if you only work out for the summer, it’s not sustainable in comparison to if you were working out because that’s part of who you are.


There will always be a reason getting in the way of your success, but in order to achieve success it’s essential to take responsibility for all of your actions, despite the hand that life deals you.


We’ve all been fed the capitalist idea that working more will get you ahead of everyone else, and the grind has been glamorized so much so that it almost seems appealing. But overworking actually just leads you to burnout, which will cost you more on your journey to success in the long run, and indeed might jeopardize it on the whole.

A fixed mindsetA fixed mindset

If the path you’re on isn’t leading you where you want to go, you have to be able to reroute. That could involve learning new skills or trying new methods.

The need for controlThe need for control

It’s important to make plans for the future, but it’s equally as important to allow room for life to happen—and to be prepared so that you’re ready to change your plans. Focusing on what you can actually control will save you a lot of energy.

The dream of overnight successThe dream of overnight success

Even the people who seem to have overnight success were likely working towards their goals out of the spotlight for ages before making it. Just focus on the work you need to do, and a much more sturdy success will come when it’s time.

Waiting for success to feel happyWaiting for success to feel happy

Success is a moving target, and so if you believe your happiness will only arrive when you achieve success, you’ll be unhappy for a long time. Focus on enjoying the journey and you won’t be so let down when the happiness you get from success inevitably fades or underwhelms you.


The thing with perfectionism is that it isn’t attainable, so while sometimes it feels like you’re chasing success, you’re actually just running in the same spot. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from getting yourself and your work out into the world.

Fear of failure or rejectionFear of failure or rejection

No one wants to fail, but it’s an inevitable part of everyone’s journey. It’s how you learn, and it’s why you must be resilient. We love to hear a good underdog story, but we’ll have to learn to live it!


This might sound like the opposite of what one might expect, but while multitasking can get a lot done, it also dilutes your efforts. Most successful people know the value in sticking to an idea, project, or task, and being fully present and committed to it.

Other people’s expectationsOther people’s expectations

When we try to meet other people’s expectations, we set ourselves further back on our own unique paths to our own unique ideas of success. Seek to exceed others’ expectations by defying them completely.

The need to be likedThe need to be liked

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone adored you and believed in you? Unfortunately we don’t quite live in such utopia, and everyone has their own acquired taste. That’s totally natural and should actually encourage you to be as authentic as possible because you don’t need to appeal to the masses.

The have-do-be paradigmThe have-do-be paradigm

Most people think they must have something (i.e. success) before they do something (write a book, start a business, etc.), which will allow them to be something (i.e. happy). But it should be reversed: first be something (happy), then do something from that healthy state, and then you’ll have the things you want (success).

Toxic peopleToxic people

Not only do they totally sap your energy, but they’ll want to hold you back from achieving your goals, sometimes because that’s easier than going after their own. You should surround yourself with people who are more successful than you.

Saying “yes” to everythingSaying “yes” to everything

You have to be very selective with what you put on your plate if you truly want to achieve your goals. Most successful people say “no” to many tasks and activities from colleagues and even friends and family if they don’t align with their goals.

Competition with peersCompetition with peers

We often strive for our goals under the myth that there is a limited amount of success available and we must compete with everyone else on the path, but that’s not actually true. This harmful capitalist-fed competition becomes a battle of who can slightly outdo the other for cheaper and cheaper until neither party is winning.

Copying others
Copying others

The way to get ahead is really to be authentic, unique, and niche, to provide something novel that you can be an expert in and that shifts the focus away from competition and towards genuine quality work.

Fear of criticismFear of criticism

The sooner you embrace criticism, the sooner you’ll get to where you want to be. Praise, while it feels good, isn’t very constructive, whereas criticism is like free advice. Plus, when it’s not constructive, you’ll know that you’ve achieved enough success to have haters, which means you’re intimidating enough to evoke a response.

Bingeing shows every weekendBingeing shows every weekend

When you work hard all week, it can be easy to convince yourself that you “deserve” a weekend of escape into your favorite series. While it’s, of course, essential to take breaks, think of it this way: you deserve to have healthy restful habits that also contribute to your success.

Not valuing what you have nowNot valuing what you have now

Of course success depends upon wanting more, but knowing that what you have right now is enough will ensure that you’re acting out of a stable sense of self, and that when you do acquire more you won’t succumb to the endless suffering of always wanting more.

Compartmentalizing your lifeCompartmentalizing your life

Though our lives can feel more and more robotic these days, humans are intrinsically holistic beings that need all parts of life to be aligned so as to really succeed. Don’t neglect one part, like relationships for example, in favor of a career, because you’ll inevitably find that it will seep into your work and throw the balance off.


Believing that something is too hard for you to achieve is putting a huge hurdle in front of yourself for no reason, giving you a disadvantage just for lack of an optimistic imagination. Plus, if you don’t believe in yourself, how will you get others to?

Seeking permissionSeeking permission

You can’t wait for someone to give you permission to chase your dreams, because it won’t ever come. You have to give yourself permission to go against the grain and change your circumstances, no matter what people say.

Reluctance to ask for helpReluctance to ask for help

No good business is run by just one person. Instead, a good business person knows how to ask for help and when to delegate. Your personal success might seem like an individual task, but success almost necessarily depends on other people.


Timing is important, and when it comes to things like selling your project, for example, it’s best not to be too early. But when it comes to starting, the answer is always now. You’re not behind, and it’s never too late.

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