This is a short (but important) list of activities and thoughts that drain both your time and your energy for all the wrong reason. If you dedicate resources towards any of the following, then you might be holding yourself back from your full potential.
1. The mistakes they’ve made in the past.
I’ve played many single-player games when I was young, and my perfectionism would always get the better of me. I would save the game every 5 minutes and whenever I would make a mistake, I would just close the game and go back “into the past” to where I did not make the mistake yet.
Though this seemed like a great feature, I was actually enjoying myself less because I was much more concerned with having a perfect journey through the game than with the game itself.
Of course, this “feature” does not exist in real life (luckily), even though we sometimes wish that we could turn back time for just a bit so that we don’t say or do something we think that we shouldn’t have.
Life is a journey of both ups and downs. You win some you lose some, it’s how the world works. You only really lose if you stop trying, because if you take every loss as a learning experience, then you’re always growing and eventually you will win.
When you do, remember to celebrate in your own way and repeat what worked. This way, you maximize the chance of getting more of what you want and thus becoming more and more successful.
As you can see, thinking or feeling bad about things that you’ve done or said in the past is not in this equation. The past is in the past, you can’t do anything about it, except learn from it and use that knowledge to grow.
2. Trying to impress someone.
Just because someone is more successful than you are in one or more areas of life, does not make them superior in any way, not even if they’re your boss at work. Nor do I think that we should do things just to impress our parents, friends, spouse, etc.
The only person we should focus on constantly impressing is ourselves. Trust me, the more days you have in which you just tear through YOUR own expectations, the happier you’ll become.
I know there are writers out there than can regurgitate 10,000+ words a day and still have some left over for after dinner, but if I write 2-3 articles per week, I’m more than satisfied with my output!
As a matter of fact, I’ve learned a lot from the people that are amazingly productive at writing useful content and use that knowledge to add more value to the lives of my readers, but not because I want to impress you, my mom, or the person I learned from.
I want to impress myself, so that every week I become a bit better as a writer. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else except the person you see in the mirror. If you’re just a tiny bit better at your craft today than you were yesterday, then you know you’re going in the right direction.
Equally important, you shouldn’t be too concerned with other people’s opinions either. They don’t like or agree with what you’re doing? Fine. It’s not their decision to make, nor their right to judge. Do whatever makes you happy and find someone to share your joy with. That’s all.
3. People that love drama.
A truly successful person is never a so-called “drama queen.” At least I personally never met or have read about any. The main reason is because successful people do their best to avoid such people as much as possible.
Why? Because they know that any problem or misunderstanding can be solved in a calm, peaceful manner. There is no need for screaming, getting offended or keeping grudges against others. As Eleanor Roosevelt said:
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
I’m sure that you know such people. It’s not that they’re bad or anything, they just don’t know any other way to feel significant, so they make a big deal out of everything they can. This way, you have less time to focus on things that actually matter, because you’re caught up with their nonsense.
You’re best bet is to either avoid such people completely or keep a safe distance, outside of their range of influence. Of course, you’ll never be free of them talking about you behind your back; but hey! You have more important things to do anyway!
4. Negative thoughts.
Don’t let your fears or doubts get the best of you. As a general rule, know that nothing truly worthwhile is ever easy. Each time you push yourself you will face a certain degree of resistance. This can be from other, as mentioned earlier, but it can also come from YOU. The harder you push, the stronger the resistance.
But this should not demotivate you. On the contrary, the more you embrace the fact that all important achievements are the result of a specific struggle, the easier it will be to follow your dreams, no matter how ambitious they are. Winston Churchill said it very well:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Each and every time you face a challenge, know that it’s an opportunity to grow, to become better. The more challenges you face, whether they’re internal or external, the stronger you become as a person. If you focus continuously on what you want, everything else will eventually fade away.
5. The Future.
Almost all of us have dreams, aspirations, and want certain things. But that’s why you write down your goals and make plans! You don’t stop and daydream; you get to work! The things you want will not just pop up in front of you without any effort.
Yes, successful people are future oriented, but they are also laser-focused on the present! They continuously ask “What can I do right now to get one step closer to my goals?”
That way, they use less than 5% of their time to figure out where they’re going, and 95% of the time to make calculated progress towards the things they want. I personally am guilty of daydreaming. I did it more more before, but I still catch myself sometimes.
I noticed that whenever I do it, my productivity goes down drastically. I think about the work instead of doing the work, which is not OK, especially when you want to achieve many things in a short period of time.
If you catch yourself doing any of the above: Please stop. There are hundreds, even thousands of people that read this blog on a weekly basis, many of which I might never meet, so if you stop wasting time and energy on these 5 things, it won’t help me, but it will help YOU.
You are the reason I’m writing these articles in the first place. I warmly encourage you to take whatever you think is useful and make a plan to implement it within your own life. Don’t just read. Practice.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I appreciate it a lot.
Creating a better tomorrow,