What We Can Learn from High AchieversSubmitted by Bernhardt Wealth Management on October 22nd, 2018
We generally assume that high-achieving people have made sacrifices in order to obtain success. But what, exactly, did they sacrifice? A recent article in Forbes magazine lists 18 things that high-achieving people routinely give up—and some of them may surprise you.
Fear of uncertainty: If you think about it, there really are no guarantees in life, so when you start a new business, for example, you aren’t really giving up “certainty” for the “reckless unknown.” Instead, you’re giving up one kind of uncertainty for another. The old uncertainty may feel more comfortable, but it may also be holding you back from achieving your potential.
Ignoring your feelings: Rather than adopting unfeeling, steely determination, high achievers actually learn to carefully monitor their feelings. Emotions evolved to give us clues about our situation. Anger may be signaling a feeling of powerlessness. Anxiety can indicate when something is out of whack. Fear can tell you that you may be in danger of losing something important. Your feelings probably shouldn’t be your “board of directors,” but they can be important messengers.
Ignoring problems: High achievers don’t obsess over their problems, but neither do they ignore them. For example, maybe it would help you to make a spreadsheet of your debt and a schedule for paying it off. Maybe you should make a list of habits that are preventing you from taking an important next step.
Clinging to comfort: This one might seem obvious. Most of us have heard the maxim about ships that stay in the harbor and missing 100% of the shots you don’t take. And as everybody knows, “No pain, no gain.” High achievers know this instinctively.
Holding onto unhealthy habits: Most high achievers have a strong element of self-knowledge in the majority of their lives. Identify the habits that are keeping you from becoming the best you can be, and take steps to eliminate their control of your life.
Victim thinking: Successful people know that their backstories don’t define their future. Ditto for current circumstances. Instead, they focus on the choices they are making in the present and how those choices impact the goals they have for the future.
Excuses: Zig Ziglar famously called this the “loser’s limp.” Justifying failure tends to leads to more of it. As Yoda says, you either do or you don’t, and the “don’t” option typically involves wasting time or rationalizing a failure to try.
Learned helplessness: You may not conquer every challenge that comes your way, but failing to make the attempt will guarantee an increasing sense of helplessness. High achievers know that you don’t win every time, but even when you don’t, you learn something that makes future success more likely.
Defending your problems: When you get advice on how to address a problem you’ve been complaining about, do you carefully consider it, or do you respond with an excuse for why it would never work? High achievers defend their potential, not their problems.
Distractions: Everything that isn’t helping you move forward is a distraction.
The need to be liked: Guess how many people in your life are liked by 100% of the people in their lives? Zero. It’s useless to try and please everybody all the time. Some people won’t like you for reasons that have almost nothing to do with you or what you do. Be respectful, be fair, be honest, but don’t be paralyzed by the disapproving few.
The illusion of indispensability: You can’t do it all—accept that. High-achieving people hire the right people, surround themselves with experts, and rely on others whose gifts cover their weak spots. Refusing to rely on others wastes your energy.
Avoiding resistance: Resistance is the normal consequence of stepping out of your comfort zone. It also tells you that something needs to be addressed. Don’t avoid it; adapt to it and keep moving.
Quick fixes: Almost nothing worthwhile gets 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.
Fear of failure: The list of high achievers who have experienced monumental failure is long and almost axiomatic. Failure is usually not your worst enemy, but it is typically your best teacher.
Waiting until you “feel like it:” Motivation isn’t a gift from above; it’s a habit from within. The old adage about success being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration has it just about right.
Envying those who “have it:” Envy is an excuse for not getting what you want on your own power. The more you judge others, the more you put yourself in a box.
Waiting for the “right circumstances:” If you’re waiting for the “right” relationship, the “right” market environment, the “right” investors, or the “right” opening, then you might find yourself waiting forever. Life unfolds from the inside out when we change our circumstances through focused effort.