Things Successful People Simply Don’t Do

By Jake Schroeder
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Everyone wants to be successful in their personal and professional lives. However, many fail to achieve their true potential because they make major mistakes along the way. They don’t take time management into account or they focus on the wrong tasks or opinions.

Successful people realize what they need to focus on and what they don’t. Here is a list of things that successful people try their best to avoid in life.

Sleeping the Day Away

While it’s essential to get a healthy amount of sleep each night, successful people know they simply can’t stay in bed. There are only 24 hours in a day, and eight hours of sleep means a third of that is already gone.

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Instead of opting to sleep in, successful people get up earlier in the morning and set a schedule of what they want to accomplish. That means going to bed at the same time each night and rising early, ready to slay the day.

Caring About Everyone’s Opinions

Everyone is judged by their decisions and work. However, successful people are selective about who they allow in their circle and whose opinions they listen to. They place their trust in other people who have displayed competence and the ability to achieve results.

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However, they do not worry about the opinions of others who they do not know or do not trust. They also don’t care about how those people feel about them. It’s not that they wish them ill — they just know that obsessing about every opinion out there will get them nowhere.

Waiting for the Perfect Moment to Act

Many people decide to wait for the right moment to start a new business or find a new job. However, that mentality often leaves them waiting a long time. Why, you ask? Because there is no perfect moment to take action. There will almost always be something that seemingly stands in the way.

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Successful people are determined to take calculated risks and strike while the iron is hot. Instead of waiting around for everything to fall into place, they make a plan and execute it in order to reach their goals. If they fail, there’s always next time.


Fearing the Least Likely Outcome

Everyone has fears and worries, including successful people. However, the difference between successful people and those who fail to triumph is how they handle these fears. Not all fears are created equally.

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Sometimes our brains instinctively think of every worst-case scenario in life. Successful people are able to discern which fears and concerns are worth paying attention to and addressing and which ones are better worried about only in the rare event that they actually happen.

Taking Action Without Careful Planning

Impulsive and unsuccessful people make a lot of their decisions on a whim. They don’t take the time to plan out their goals or even consider what they need in order to make their dreams a reality.

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While successful people don’t wait for a perfect opportunity, they do plan to ahead so they can take the best course of action. They do preliminary research on their ideas and do their best to identify successful ways of achieving them.

Not Actively Correcting Their Mistakes

Albert Einstein supposedly once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. He didn’t actually say that, yet the sentiment rings true. Those who fail and then do not change their approach are doomed to fail again.

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Successful people may fail at hitting their goals, but they evaluate what went right and what went wrong. After that, they try again with different tactics. Mistakes are learning moments, but that doesn’t mean they should be repeated infinitely.


Letting Lazy People Bring Them Down

Sadly, everyone can’t come along with you on the road to success. Negative and lazy people in your circle may be fun for a while, but they ultimately only bring you down. Those who have achieved great things realize this.

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Instead, successful individuals surround themselves with the very people they want to be: positive, hardworking people who are making their goals happen in life. Spending time with people who make you think outside the box and inspire you to work harder help you reach your goals.

Getting Involved in Other People’s Drama

It may be tempting to get caught up in someone else’s life and drama. Some may want to help, while others may just be interested in poking around in other people’s lives. However, worrying too much about what others have going on can hurt you in the long run.

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As selfish as it may seem, successful people prioritize themselves and their own lives. Worrying about someone else can take time away from what you could be doing. Those who want to continue to succeed do not get wrapped up in melodrama that they can’t do much about in the first place.

Setting Unrealistic Goals

Successful people know that it’s essential to set goals. However, it’s important to set realistic ones based on your current workload, knowledge and abilities. They also don’t work toward dreams without specific aims.

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People who manage to accomplish great things in life set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-driven — SMART goals. If you want to increase your sales or salary, it's good to create small, attainable goals as you continue to move toward those greater objectives.. You can later change those goals when you achieve your first ones.


Pointing Fingers

People who fail often blame others for their own mistakes. They throw people under the bus to save their own hides or blame other circumstances for their own screw-ups.

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Successful people own up to their mistakes. They realize that errors happen to the best of us. Instead of blaming others, they apologize for where they went wrong, learn from their faults and move on. That not only earns respect from their peers but also creates the opportunity to learn.

Trying to Be Liked

Those who don’t succeed sometimes do so because they’re afraid of what other people think. They worry too much about the opinions of others instead of working their hardest to achieve their goals, and as a result, they go nowhere.

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Successful people are not typically people pleasers. Being disliked by others doesn’t bother them because they know they will always be hated by someone regardless of what they do. They do not let the opinions of others dictate their decisions or how they live their lives and so are free to succeed.

Feeling Guilty About Self-Care

It may seem like successful people work every minute of every day without any care for their personal well-being. However, successful people realize the importance of self-care.

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Successful people are as committed to their health and wellness as they are to their work. They don’t guilt themselves for taking a little time to relax with family and friends over the weekend or even a vacation. They know that it’s necessary to refresh and regroup in order to bring their best work to the table.


Shying Away From Challenges or Responsibilities

People who aren’t as successful often aren’t willing to go the extra mile. They aren’t eager to challenge themselves and instead focus on just sliding by with easy tasks that anyone can do. That is why they often remain stagnant in their careers and life.

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Successful people, however, are prepared to take on the hard tasks that others are not willing to do. They challenge themselves and take on new responsibilities and skills so that they can grow and become stronger individuals. That is why they ultimately reach higher heights in their lives.

Getting Distracted by the Little Things

The problem with many people is that they let the little things distract them. Between push notifications, calls and texts, there are a lot of opportunities to be distracted. Even without electronic media, it’s easy to waste time looking for something to wear in the morning or eat for lunch instead of adequately preparing the night before.

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These micro-distractions quickly add up, taking time from other tasks. Successful people realize that they can’t let the little things distract them from productivity. Instead, they prepare themselves for the day ahead and designate specific times to better focus on essential tasks.

Getting Things Absolutely Perfect

Successful people often have a lot of experience and talent in their fields. However, it’s easy to be nervous about beginning a new project if you feel like everything has to be just right with a first attempt.

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Those who triumph realize that their work doesn’t have to be completely perfect. Instead, they focus on just giving their all and taking the next right step. Instead of fearing the idea of being wrong, they allow themselves the freedom to make minor mistakes. Improvements can be made later if necessary.


Trying to Be the Smartest in the Room

Some people, especially those in leadership, may believe that their opinions and ideas are the only ones who count. However, it’s like the old saying goes: "If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room." Either that, or you’re a know-it-all who can’t bear to give others a shot.

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Successful people aren’t like this, though. They are open to new ideas from others and have no problem reaching out to smarter and more experienced people for assistance, especially if they’re all on the same team.

Spending Too Much Time on Phones

In this age, there are so many games, apps and social media networks available on phones. However, spending too much time on your phone can hurt you on your journey to success. Successful people realize that there is a time and place for everything.

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Successful people use their phones only to access relevant information for work or personal life. Instead of mindlessly scrolling online throughout the day, try putting it on Do Not Disturb while you focus on important tasks.

Justifying Where They Are in Life

Successful people sometimes hear from others who are skeptical of how they made it so far. They may question whether a person’s success was just sheer luck or simply handed to them.

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However, successful people do not worry about the opinions of others outside of their trusted circle. They understand that while luck and privilege are indeed real, worrying about such things is a surefire way to never achieve anything. It’s best to simply work hard and ignore naysayers.


Listening to Cynics

People who may not have achieved the things they wanted in life can sometimes be bitter and cynical. Successful people are likely to run into others who only want to continue on the status quo out of a belief that nothing better is possible.

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However, those who earn big wins in life understand that cynical people are often projecting their own insecurities and self-doubts onto others. They realize that just because an idea may have failed for one person, it may not be true for them — at least, not if they don’t take the exact same approach.

Mismanaging Time

People who struggle with time management struggle to achieve their goals. Plain and simple. They don’t realize just how valuable every minute of the day can be and so they always remain a beat behind.

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Successful people realize that time is a precious commodity. They realize that having a strategic plan on how to conquer their day is more helpful than just going at tasks blindly. They avoid serious time-wasters like social media.

Resisting Change

Change is an inevitable part of life, and to be successful, you must learn to go with the flow. Unsuccessful people stay stuck in the same old ways and are unable to see the beauty and potential growth in embracing change.

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People who achieve things in life know they will not continue to grow without embracing new ideas and circumstances. They are willing to learn new skills to stay ahead of the game in their field and are eager to adjust past practices to better accommodate new realities. Change is good … and often necessary.


Confusing Busyness With Productivity

Those who fall behind on completing tasks often get caught up in busyness. Busy people create unmanageable, unrealistic to-do lists just to boast about how busy they are. However, successful people would rather be productive than busy.

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They delegate or erase small tasks that would simply get in the way of them accomplishing bigger things. Instead of boasting about a jam-packed day, they focus on making time for the things that matter most. Simply being busy doesn’t mean you’re actually getting much of anything done.

Dwelling on the Past

Those who don’t reach their highest potential are sometimes stuck because they’re dwelling on past hang-ups or what could have been. It’s a serious waste of time beating yourself up over past mistakes instead of taking the time to learn from them.

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Successful people don’t dwell on the past, and that doesn’t just mean mistakes, either. They also don’t dwell too long on successes. To succeed, you have to focus on the present. You have to focus on the current tasks that need to be done for the next win.

Forgetting the People Who Helped Them Succeed

People who don’t get as far as they would like sometimes don’t want to give credit where it’s due. To get ahead in life, you can’t do it all by yourself. It takes other people working alongside you as well.

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Successful people know that they need others to do well, and they show gratitude towards those that help them regularly. It can be favors or gifts, or even a simple thank you or public acknowledgment. Regardless, they make sure that those around them know they are appreciated.


Thinking Positively All the Time

This may be a surprising thing to list here, since no one becomes successful without breaking out of negative thinking. However, there is also such a thing as an overabundance of positive thinking. Continually believing that everything will work out is a recipe for disaster.

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Successful people use neutral thinking, meaning that they accept the idea that whatever happens, good or bad, it happened, and they move on. Too much positive thinking can be a set up for failure and disappointment. Some ideas simply won’t work, and you have to be able to accept that.

Being Motivated by Money

In this capitalistic society, earning money is seemingly the end-all-be-all. People take on jobs that they don’t even like simply to make money. Nonetheless, the pursuit of wealth alone is a poor way to live. Successful people realize that money isn’t enough to achieve self-actualization.

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Instead, they fall in love with their work and the process of reaching new levels in their career or overall life. When you actually love what it is that you’re doing, you’re more likely to succeed. If you’re in it only for the money, you’ll probably fail at it.


Those who are not as successful may be tempted to put in overtime, thinking that it will help them achieve their goals. However, there is a difference between quality and quantity when it comes to work. Successful people know this all too well.

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Again, the point of work is to get the right tasks completed, not busyness for the sake of busyness. Besides, overworking can not only be harmful to relationships with loved ones, but it can also harm your physical and mental health in the long term.


Don’t Shy Away From Education

Those who may have had some success may be tempted to think they know it all. However, they won’t get much further than where they already are with that mentality. Successful people realize they must keep learning to continually climb the ladder of success.

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Successful people make it a point to learn new skills and new information that can be beneficial to their careers and overall lives. They do so by reading books, taking in-person or online courses and taking opportunities to learn more from others. No one can’t succeed without learning.


Those who struggle to reach new levels of success may be struggling with overindulging in life. This isn’t just about overeating at a buffet, though. You can overindulge when it comes to using credit or debit cards, binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix or even your work life.

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All of that can hurt both your professional and personal life in the long run. Successful people understand the importance of living a life of moderation. It allows for better control of emotions, wallet, diet and much more.

Taking Life For Granted

Ultimately, successful people appreciate the things that matter most to them in life. They consider what they have to be grateful for and are appreciative of their overall journey in life. It’s not about the money or even success. Instead, they value reaching their full potential and the journey along the way.

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To succeed, you can try to practice gratitude at least once during your day. You can consider everything you are grateful for, including big things like family or just another day on this earth to enjoy the little things like a flower in bloom or a bright, sunny day.