Extremely Successful People Don’t Do These 5 Things

Alyssa Atkinson

Avoid them at all costs to achieve your goals.


Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

I was in my final semester of college. I saw this chapter of my life rapidly coming to a close. Everyone assumed I would graduate, get a job in engineering, and work a typical 9–5.

That was the normal, safe thing to do. After all, engineering is a pretty high paying career. But it wasn’t what I wanted, and I knew it in my heart. I wasn’t ready for it, at least not yet. I had these big dreams and goals in my mind that I just couldn’t shake.

And with time running out, I decided to act on them. I took a couple hundred dollars and invested it in clothes and vintage toys. Thus, my small online shop began.

And my dreams of being self-employed and setting my own schedule started to become a reality. But I was young and inexperienced.

I made the mistake of working myself into the ground. I often got up at 4 am, and I justified my actions by telling myself that I didn’t need much sleep.

Over the past year of self-employment, I’ve learned a number of crucial things that you should avoid in order to be as productive and efficient as you can with your time, and achieve higher levels of success as a result. Here they are.

1. Play It Safe

Business can often be risky. But without risk, you likely won’t even have a chance at achieving something truly great. Sure, a typical 9–5 job might be safe and secure. But it isn’t near as fun as building your own business from scratch.

I’ve worked 40 hours a week at minimum wage before. I wasn’t always self-employed. Who knows, maybe I’ll work for someone else again one day.

But I can tell you that I enjoy working for myself so much more.

And it wasn’t without risk that I made it happen. I invested money to buy inventory and build my online reselling business. It was scary at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I made after college.

Not only has it kept me afloat, but it has also allowed me to pursue other passions on the side, like writing on my blog.

If you too have a big dream that you want to pursue, don’t be afraid to take the leap. It might turn out better than you ever could have imagined.

2. Doubt They Can Do It

Successful people have faith that their plan is going to work out. Often, they are a little over-confident. This doesn’t mean they don’t have self-doubt at times. But, they are able to see past it.

When I first started my business, I could feel with every fiber of my being that it was going to work out for me. And that confidence inspired in me a tenacious work ethic that helped me make it happen.

The same goes for my writing. I have confidence in myself as a writer, and I think it shows in my work.

If you are doubting your ability to succeed at something, you are already putting yourself at a disadvantage. Instead, remind yourself that you can and will succeed. A positive mindset will help you immensely on your path to achieving your goals.

3. Set Uncertain Goals

Successful people are aware of how important it is to set highly specific goals. The common acronym used today is S.M.A.R.T., which means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

While it’s ok to have great big dreams, in order to actually make them a reality, you have to have goals in place to help you get there.

“A goal without a plan is just a dream.” — Dave Ramsey

For example, when I was in college, I wanted to get as close as I could to graduating with a 4.0. Rather than focusing on the end goal, I concentrated on the semester that I was in.

I carved out time for each class I was taking.

Photo by Max Saeling on Unsplash

I made sure to put extra effort into the topics that were hardest for me, like circuits and C++ coding. And when I graduated four and a half years later, I had reached my goal and earned a 4.0.

Therefore, if you want to be successful, you have to set goals that have a very specific plan tied to them. This will help you actually achieve the end result you desire.

4. Ignore the Details

Focusing on the fine details of a product or service is what truly distinguishes it from everything else on the market. Successful people know that the details are incredibly important if you want to create a profitable business.

So, successful people spend time perfecting these details. Take, for example, a car with safety technology. As a consumer, you want to know that technology has been tested and works.

If you can trust that the automatic braking and lane redirect features truly are the best, then you’ll be more likely to purchase that car above others for its state of the art safety features.

In order to stand out from the rest, you can’t ignore the details.

5. Work Extreme Hours

Successful people know how crucial sleep is for thinking clearly. They are more efficient with their time, so they get more done while working shorter hours.

I used to grind late into the night doing school work in college. That bad habit stuck with me when I started working as well. But, over the past six months, I’ve gradually gotten away from that mindset.

Now, I’m doing much more with the time I allot for work. I even have free time to spend on my passions, such as writing on Medium almost daily.

If you too are putting in extremely long work hours with few results, try focusing on quality rather than quantity. You might find that you are far more productive as a result.

Final Thoughts

For years, I thought that I had to spend every waking moment chasing my goals. But that just isn’t true. When I finally shifted my mindset away from the quantity of time I was putting in, I started seeing far better results in the quality of my work.

You don’t have to run yourself into the ground in order to find success. You simply have to work smarter and be more efficient with your time.Avoid the mistakes I’ve mentioned, and you’ll be climbing the ladder of success in no time.

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - nomeatfastfeet.com | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC

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