What High-Achieving People Have Learned to Give Up
High-achieving people will tell you that they sacrificed to get where they are, but what, exactly, did they sacrifice? An article in Forbes magazine lists 18 things that high-achieving people routinely give up—and many of them are not what you would expect.
Number one on the list: a fear of uncertainty. The article notes that there really are no guarantees in life, so when you start a new business, you aren’t really giving up certainty for the reckless unknown. You’re giving up one kind of uncertainty for another—and the old one, which feels more certain, may be holding you back.
Two: Ignoring your feelings. Your feelings actually give you a lot of clues about your situation. Anger tells you where you feel powerless. Anxiety tells you when something in your life is off-balance. Fear tells you what you care about. If you treat your feelings as messengers, you might learn what you need to do next to move ahead.
Three: Pretending your problems don’t exist. The advice: make a spreadsheet of your debt, and list the habits you now are detrimental to your health. Think of who you owe apologies to and address your problems rather than sticking your head in the sand.
Four: Avoiding discomfort. This is kind of like number one: if you build your life around just the things that make you feel at ease, that is a fast track to complacency.
Five: Your unhealthy habits. Identify your worst habits and work on them, so you have a sound basis of health to build your life on.
Six: A victim mentality. Whatever your back story, don’t let it define your life. Don’t let your current circumstances do so either. What will make the difference is what you choose to do in response to them. Everybody struggles, but some are willing to act in spite of it.
Seven: Excuses. Justifying failure tends to leads to more of it. In life, you either do or you don’t, and the don’t option often, when looked at objectively, means wasting time. Your excuses make you feel better about why you aren’t doing what you know you need to do.
Eight: Learned helplessness. When you face many challenges, it makes you feel powerless in your fight against the world.
Nine: Defending your problems. You will often get advice on how to address a problem you’ve been complaining about. Do you consider it, or respond with an excuse for why it would never work? Defend your potential, not your problems.
Ten: Distractions. Everything that isn’t helping you move forward is a distraction.
Eleven: The need to be liked. Recognize that nobody is universally liked, for reasons that have nothing to do with you. There are a few people who won’t like you no matter what, and any energy spent trying to change that is taking away from more productive activities.
Twelve: Trying to do everything yourself. Nobody can take on every role, job and responsibility in your life. High-achieving people hire the right people, surround themselves with experts and rely on others. Refusing to rely on others wastes your energy.
Thirteen: Resistance. This is the normal response to stepping out of your comfort zone, but if you experience resistance to work, then something needs to be addressed. Too much hesitation may mean you aren’t on the right path.
Fourteen: Quick fixes and shortcuts. Whatever you are building won’t get built overnight, and you shouldn’t expect it to. Real change happens gradually. Try to do everything 1% better each day, and over time the effort will compound.
Fifteen: The fear of failure. This can hold you back in many ways; it makes you unwilling to take chances, or change your circumstances, or avoid learning opportunities and experiments that might prove useful.
Sixteen: Waiting until you “feel like it” to get started. Motivation isn’t something you wait for; you know you need to work through late nights and difficult days. High achieving people need strong principles and habits.
Seventeen: Envying those who have what you want. Envy will hinder you from getting those things yourself. The more you judge others, the more you put yourself in a box.
Eighteen: Waiting for your circumstances to change before you do. If you wait for a new relationship, or a new opportunity, or some change in life, then you might find yourself waiting forever. Life unfolds from the inside out, when we change our circumstances through focused effort.