“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
When we think about how to achieve success, we often focus on the skills and habits we should add to our lives. But sometimes the key to success actually lies in our ability to give up certain habits and behaviors. So starting today…
- Give up the habit of waiting. – The way you spend your time defines who you are. You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when; you can only decide how you are going to live right now. Trust me, a year from now you will wish you had started today. Read The Now Habit.
- Give up the excuses. – Sooner or later you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have. When you let go, forgive, and move on, you in no way change the past, you change the future.
- Give up trying to be perfect. – Sometimes we try to show the world that we are flawless in hopes that we will be liked and accepted by everyone. But we can’t please everyone, and we shouldn’t try. The beauty of us lies in our vulnerability, our love, our complex emotions – our authentic imperfections. When we embrace who we are and decide to be authentic, instead of perfect, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness, and real success. There is no need to put on a mask. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. You are perfectly imperfect just the way you are.
- Give up doing things you know are wrong. – Nothing is more damaging to you than doing something that you believe is wrong. Your beliefs alone don’t help you grow and thrive, your behavior and actions do. So always do what you know in your heart is right, for you.
- Give up feelings of entitlement. – Nobody owes you anything. When you approach life with the false sense that you are owed things, you will naturally become less productive and constantly find yourself disappointed by reality. When you are grateful for what you have, and see positive things as bonuses, versus owed entitlements, you will earn great successes gradually as you grow. Read The Road Less Traveled.
- Give up relationships that want you to be someone else. – The best kind of relationship is the one that makes you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself.
- Give up letting others decide what you can and can’t do. – In order to live your own authentic life, you have to follow YOUR inner GPS, not someone else’s. When others say, “You can’t do it!” or “That’s impossible,” don’t lose hope. Just because they couldn’t doesn’t mean you can’t.
- Give up being a helpless victim. – Yes, it is unfortunate that sometimes bad things happen to the best of people. Life can be unfair, unkind and unjust. However, being stuck in a victim mentality does not nurture your ability to move onward and upward. You’ve got to stand back up and take positive steps to heal and grow.
- Give up worrying about past failures. – Accept your past without regret, handle your presence with confidence, and face your future without fear. You are today where your thoughts and actions have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts and actions take you. Read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
- Give up blaming everyone else. – Either you own your situation or it will own you. Either you take responsibility for your life, or someone else will. Blame is a scapegoat – it’s an easy way out of taking accountability for your own outcome. It’s a lot easier to point the finger at someone or something else instead of looking within. Blame is not constructive; it does not help you or anyone else – nobody wins in the blame game. The amount of energy and stress it takes to place blame elsewhere takes away from your ability to move forward and find a real solution.
And remember, the road you are traveling may be the more challenging one, but don’t lose faith. Don’t listen to the doubters, don’t let setbacks keep you down, and most of all, don’t give up on yourself.
It’s okay if you don’t know how much more you can handle. It’s fine if you don’t know exactly what to do next. Eventually you’ll let go of how things ‘should be’ and start to see all the great possibilities in front of you. This is your life – grab the wheel with both hands and keep steering yourself in the right direction.
Photo by: Toni Blay
I love this list. I love all your lists. One of the best parts is the language used — so simple, to the point, and direct. The cherry on top for me was the timing of this article. Thank you. 🙂
Paul: I understand what you’re saying. I’m no expert but I think there may be some confusion about responsibility and guilt.
To me, to be ‘responsible’ suggests accountability, ownership, and acceptance of my influences as well as limitations. It is also an acceptance of consequences. And so, it’s a recognition that I am accountable, and that what I do — or don’t do — will carry consequences that I will have to live with. Being responsible is taking all of those into consideration, including the ‘live with’ part as it is part of being responsible for myself and my own well-being.
Guilt, on the other hand, is more….negative (?). It is an effect of doing something knowing it’s wrong, or inappropriate, or even a knee-jerk reaction, without a forethought. Guilt is more a result of failing to be responsible for others or self, or both.
In a nut shell, responsibility is action, where guilt is a reaction.
Theo Cade says
I love number 7. Don’t wait to be picked. Pick yourself!
I love the “give up being perfect” tip. For a perfectionist, that’s a big hurdle. A friend of mine, also a reformed perfectionist, told me something once that completely changed my entire approach. He said something like “there’s nothing wrong with having high standards and striving for them. But trying to be perfect when it’s an imperfect world and we’re imperfect beings, is insanity. Don’t feel like you have to ditch your desire for high quality and getting the best out of yourself and life, just realise that perfection is impossible”. Gold! Bernadette 🙂
Excellent post! I will definitely read the books suggested. Totally need it to get myself motivated again for grad school! Thank you.
This post is wonderful and gives me confidence. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.