9 Lies Unproductive People Love to Tell

9 Lies Unproductive People Love to Tell

People all around the world are out doing productive things right now.  You can be one of them if you choose to be.

The first step is to stop telling yourself these unproductive lies:

Reminder: We just released our new ebook 1,000+ Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently. It makes a perfect starter kit for the new year. Click here to find out more.

1.  I can’t.

Truth be told, the only person who can tell you “you can’t” is you.  If you hear these words echoing in the back of your mind, tune them out.

Your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them.  Self-doubt is the number one enemy of personal growth.  It is only when you shed your apprehension about your own capabilities and self-worth that you realize how much you are capable of, and that YOU CAN in fact do it.

In the end, your doubts and your faith have something in common.  They both ask you to believe in something you can’t see; you simply have to decide which one you want to believe.

2.  A good idea is all it takes.

Doing nothing gets you nothing.

An idea isn’t going to do anything for you until you do something with it.  In fact, as long as that great idea is just sitting around in your head it’s probably doing far more harm than good.  Your subconscious mind knows you’re procrastinating.  Work that you keep postponing to complete causes stress, anxiety, fear, and usually more procrastination – a vicious cycle that continues to worsen until you interrupt it with ACTION.

Progress is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action.  If there’s no action, you haven’t truly made any progress.  Read The Power of Habit.

3.  I’ll get that done tomorrow.

Successful people have a habit of doing the things today that lazy people plan for tomorrow.

The greatest enemy of productivity is the false belief that somehow tomorrow is a better day to get something done.  This is a cold, hard lie.  You’ll feel the same way tomorrow and this ‘better tomorrow’ will never come.

Your real problem, then, is not your ability today, but your mindset.  You must realize that ‘tomorrow’ doesn’t exist – it never will.  The only guaranteed opportunity you have is the one you’re living now.  This moment is life.  There is no day but today.

And if you do today what others won’t, and you’re lucky enough to see another morning, you will wake up with the ability to do what others can’t.

4.  I don’t feel comfortable yet.

If something makes you a bit nervous and uncomfortable, it means you’re doing it right and growing.  All productive growth occurs outside of your comfort zone.

Your uneasy feelings are just anxiety and fear attempting to get in your way.  Anxiety is nothing but an inner fear that repeatedly forces you to re-experience a failure before it ever happens.  It’s a wasteful illusion.  Accept the fact that your fears don’t stop anything bad from happening – they stop life.

So get comfortable with feeling a bit uneasy.  Your desire to succeed must overpower your fear of tragedy.  After all, random events in your life will always spark subconscious feelings of anxiety and fear.  How you respond is all you can consciously control.  Concentrate on that, and you’ll always be more productive.  Read The Road Less Traveled.

5.  My best work just isn’t good enough.

Whenever you get involved in a project that moves you, it’s natural to feel overwhelmingly critical of your work.  This happens because you have good taste for the work at hand.  You have a vision about how the end result should look, feel, or function.

There’s often a learning curve and a gap that exists between where your work quality currently is and where you expect it to be.  Your taste tells you that your current output isn’t good enough yet – it’s trying to be good, but it just doesn’t taste right yet.

But it’s this good taste you have for your work that got you into it in the first place, and the reason you want it to be a certain way.  This fact is priceless.  It’s called passion and drive.  Don’t let your desire to be better than you are deter you from the process of learning and growing into your best self.

You will get there eventually.  It just takes practice.  If you are still in this phase, understand that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is to keep doing your work.  It is only by doing more work that you will perfect your skill level and close the gap between your good taste and the quality of your output.

6.  It’s better to quit now and cut my losses.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal.  It is courage to continue that counts.”

Persistence is the mother of all productive effort.  Failures, small and large, happen every day to the best of us.  The strongest, most productive people aren’t the people who always succeed, but the ones who don’t give up when they lose.

In the heat of the moment when you feel like quitting, think about how far you have come and why you started in the first place.  Oftentimes you’re a lot closer to making a breakthrough than you think.  Some people give up their efforts when they have almost reached their goal; while others, on the contrary, conquer their goals by exerting, up until the very last possible second, more vigorous efforts than ever before.

Bottom line:  Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit – KEEP GOING!

7.  All pain is bad.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t completely escape pain – you can’t escape one of the essential constituents of growth.  But you do still have a choice; you can give in to pain and give up or you can work through it, persevere, and gradually grow into your most desired goals.

Pain is part of the journey; your evaluation of it and what you do with it is a choice.  Each painful problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem.

Ultimately, your greatest successes will be the byproduct of recognizing a painful problem that exists and turning it into an opportunity.

8.  Structure and consistency isn’t important.

Your ability to set clear, realistic goals and then to discipline yourself to work toward them every single day for a set time, will do more to guarantee your success than any other method of productivity.

It is this consistent, focused effort that allows you to go from ground zero to surpassing those who started long before you.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

9.  It’s too late.

Wrong, it’s never too late to choose differently and make something new happen.

It’s an obvious point to many, but sometimes you have to say it out loud:  “I will create a better future by creating a better me right now.”  This moment is a new beginning.  Complaining about squandered time and lost opportunities from the past is pointless; you can’t do anything about these things.

Your future is immediate.  Grab it with both hands and carry it forward with you.  When you come up on a roadblock and are faced with the choice of sitting down and doing nothing or doing something to make further progress, choose the latter.  Think, work, climb if you have to – keep moving your future forward.

Photo by: Deanaia


  1. Freda says

    Sometimes even the most positive, good-intentioned people stumble and need a hand. Your list is a nice reminder of the little lies and doubts we tell ourselves and the ways in which we can access the positive strengths we all possess. Thanks for this.

  2. says

    Lots of great wisdom here. This is a good post to keep revisiting over the course of time and grabbing bites until you’ve fully digested every last delicious morsel. Cheers!

  3. Wolfie says

    I wish it were possible to pour my entire heart out into words for you to feel my gratitude towards your past three articles. They said exactly what I needed to hear when I read them. I will settle for THANK YOU.

    Please keep writing and sharing your comforting words – they help.

  4. says

    It’s like we are unable to figure out our goal and stick to it.

    We live with the lure of vision, success stories of other people. We meet with our friends and discuss others success stories and share our emotions.

    What we fail to do is ask ourselves: What can I do that at least one single person would share with his friends?

    Thanks for the post!

  5. says

    “Successful people have a habit of doing the things today that lazy people plan for tomorrow.”

    Another great quote. Absolutely love it!

    But it’s your 5th point that really speaks to me today. As a beginning blogger, I suffer this one every day. I know how I would like my blog to look, I know how I would like my writing to sound. But I’m just not there yet. It can be frustrating at times.

    Thanks for reminding me to keep this in perspective. All new endeavors have a learning curve. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll eventually find the gap between where you are and where you want to be has shrunk to nothing more than a tiny crack.


  6. William Archie says

    Very powerful stuff; I procrastinate daily with the fear of failure. Thinking about the changes I want in my future scares me. Failure scares me. Not till I start believing I can do all and everything if my faith is strong, and until I am willing to stand on the concept that it’s all in my mind, will I achieve. Love this post, your writings are always positive and encouraging for my development. Great inspiration, thank U.

  7. Deb says

    I really like so many of your uplifting posts. I get stuck though with this one and have on others that seem to be written for fully functioning healthy people. I am in bed most of the time and can modify for my personal situation, but find it harder and harder to modify and even impossible sometimes as these are written with ones personal best thrown out the window. My personal best doesn’t include consistency and staying on schedule because my illness flares with a mind of its own and throws everything off, leaving me with no choice but to clear my schedule and get back in bed. Its discouraging. That’s no lie. Any advice?

  8. says

    @Freda, Bobbi, and Wolfie: You are welcome! Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your positive feedback.

    @Moses: Cheers to new beginnings! And I assure you, we aren’t spying on you. 😉

    @Ion Doaga: Indeed, we all usually do a lot more talking than we do DOING. There are so many opportunities for us to take positive action; we just need to get started. A good question to ask is: “When it’s all said and done, will I have said more than I’ve done?”

    @Charlene: Good luck!

    @Trevor: As always, thanks for your continued support. And… practice, practice, practice. When I look at my writing from 2006, I think it looks sub-par at best. 2007 was a little better, 2008 was decent, 2009 was even better, etc. Just keep writing; you’ll get there.

    @Naveen, Adam and shannoz: It’s inspiring to here that we inspire you. Thanks for the kudos. We love hearing from you.

    @William Archie: Fear is an illusion in your mind. You know this. Get started on a task that you feel uneasy about and it will suddenly get a lot easier – at least emotionally. Good luck.

    @Deb: It’s all about mindset. The truth is none of these concepts are directed toward a person of any specific age or physical ability. They pertain to all of us in our journeys to be our best selves. My best and your best (emotionally and physically) are completely different and 100% unique to us as individuals.

    If your best doesn’t include level consistency, because of a health condition, that’s OK. A little less consistency is normal for you – you need to give yourself the room to relax and reboot. But the concept of ‘trying’ when you are feeling good still applies. The question is: When your condition is not flared up, what can you do in these moments to bring you closer to one of your goals?

  9. says

    @Deb – I, too, have an illness (ulcerative colitis) which loves to flare up and leave me without energy or sometimes even the will to live. I was hospitalized six times in 13 months as a result. It’s embarrassing, it’s demoralizing…if I allow it to be. It really is about what you can do with what you have, how much you can accomplish when you’re not feeling sick. Please, if you read this and need to talk, contact me through my blog (which is linked with my name in this comment).

    This is such a profoundly wise article, truly. I found myself reading much of it aloud to my husband because we were just talking last night about how easily I let my doubts get in the way of what I want.

  10. dina says

    Continuity in social and private life is vital to productive living, I have the same strategy. Also, I know that I am ‘today’ and not tomorrow. Thank you for the reminders.

  11. Renee says

    Your website is such an inspiration! I look foward to reading your blogs and also from your ebook every chance I get.
    Just curious, do you guys follow astrology at all?
    Thank you for this.

  12. says

    Putting stuff off to tomorrow, that’s a big one for me. Sometimes I really do do it tomorrow, so that’s good. But sometimes, man, I gotta get started TODAY! At least get started! It’s tough, but it woudl be a better habit to be in. That’s for sure.

  13. says

    I’m sure most of us have told ourselves one or more of these lies. Anyone who’s interested in being a life coach or writer may say, “I’m not ready yet. I don’t feel comfortable.” Feel the fear and do it anyway. You have to put one foot in front of the other if you want to walk.

  14. michelle says

    Doing much better today :-) I am an anaylizer, its my nature… it does slow me down, but sometimes for the best. I just need to lose the fear to try things. Thank you for sharing the things that have helped you.

  15. Katie says

    This helped me make a huge decision in my life! Thank you very much for your ever inspiring posts! Now to complete my goals . . . :)

  16. says

    @Mrs. Jen B: Thank you for the kind words about the article. But more importantly, thank you for responding to Deb. I hope she reads what you wrote and connects with you.

    @dina: Insightful. I love the way you simplified these principles. Thank you.

    @Jennifer: Excellent. Good Luck! :)

    @Renee: Thank you so much for the kind remarks. Angel and I do a lot of reading. We have read a couple books on astrology, but don’t follow it. We use the concepts and content primarily for inspiration. Some of it is quite interesting.

    @Amandah: As always friend, thank you for the support. No doubt, every step builds on the next.

    @michelle: You’re welcome. Glad you’re feeling better. We all have our good days and bad days; we just have to remember to maintain a positive outlook and keep stepping forward.

    @JJ, RED13, and Janis: 😉 Thanks.

    @Katie: Get em done! Glad we could help motivate you. Best of luck to ya.

  17. says

    Hey Marc,

    This is awesome!

    You completely nailed it. We all have those thoughts and those doubts at some point in time. It’s a matter of how you manage those thoughts and flip them around to ‘I can’ :)


  18. Mark says

    Procrastination is one of life’s little pleasures. Nothing makes doing something else more enjoyable than doing something else when you should be doing something more important.

    This reminds me of the quotes from “Back to the Future”, with Marty saying, “What if they don’t like me. I don’t know if I can handle that type of rejection”, which are the words he’s heard from his father while growing up. When he returns to the present (1985), his dad says, “You can accomplish anything, if you put your mind to it.” Words he heard from Marty when Marty visited him in 1955.

  19. says

    @Marion: You’re welcome. Thanks for the kind remarks.

    @Brendan: Great point. Rephrasing negative self-talk from “I can’t” to “I can” works wonders.

    @Mark: Awesome insight. Thanks so much for sharing that quote. You just inspired me to download ‘Back to the Future’ on iTunes and re-watch it.

  20. Kevin Halls says

    Another uplifting article and very inspiring.
    I have been reading your articles for a while now and each one has a positive message. But what two main things I have taken to mind and have found to be the most effective in my daily life are that to never ever give up, and if you have a dream or a goal, don’t let anything or anybody stop you from achieving it.

    Simple I know, but if I keep using them both as my mantra I am confident whatever I want to do it will happen. So many thanks for your guidance.

  21. says

    I cannot thank you both enough for having the courage & faith to start this site and keep it going with such amazing advice/encouragement.

    I’ve been hanging off the diving board for the last year for fear of failure and this week has proven to me it’s time to let go (through your posts and other crazy things going on). I WILL fail if I don’t give it a shot, so I’ve jumped in and I’m scared but I know it’s going to be worth it.

    Thank you a million times over and please keep doing what you are doing (as long as you still enjoy it of course!).

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