For the longest time, I believed that if smart people worked hard and grew up in a reasonably nurturing environment, success would come eventually.
I looked at other people and thought, “Wow, that person’s going to go on to do great things.”
But as I grew older, I realized that’s not necessarily the case. A few people I know who are intelligent and have a strong work ethic have gone on to do notable things, while many others are doing fine. Unfortunately, there are some that drift along, unsure about what to do.
I then realized that there are a lot of factors when it comes to success, whether it means having a fulfilling career, having great relationships, or staying healthy. Yes, smarts are part of it, and so is work ethic. But there’s more at play than just these two factors.
Here are seven reasons why you might not be finding success even if you’re smart and hardworking:
1. You don’t reach out to new people
It’s easy to stick to people you’ve known for a long time. You know each other’s histories and can laugh at inside jokes together. The problem with old friends, though, is that the same ideas are recycled over and over again, and you don’t get to learn new perspectives outside of your bubble.
It can be tough to reach out at first to new people, but starting small can help. Aim for a low goal initially, such as introducing yourself to one person a week.
“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” – Lionel Messi
2. You are averse to change
Being in the same environment for a long time makes it hard to adapt to something new. The good news is that change presents a chance for opportunities and innovation.
Instead of resisting changes, see how you can make the best of them. Maybe you can cater to a growing businesses need or see a different perspective. Be open to new concepts and curious about the world around you.
3. You’re not willing to take risks
Smart people often choose the safe route. They might follow the same path as their peers or choose a career because it’s considered acceptable by their peers.
While this guarantees a degree of security, it can be mundane. I hear so often from smart people that they find their jobs unfulfilling and that they want to do something else, but are afraid to do so.
If you’re thinking about branching out into unfamiliar territory, consider what your life will be like decades from now if you opt not to pursue something. Will you regret it, or will you be happy with your decision?
4. You believe you deserve success based on credentials
People that worked hard in school are used to being at the top and told how much potential they show. This seems good initially, but there are some negative side effects.
I’ve heard people claim they deserve something because of their intelligence or where they went to school. They expect things to pan out automatically because of their credentials. Sadly, though, life doesn’t work like that.
In the real world, you don’t get results based on the work you put in. You get results based on the combination of hard work, strategic thinking, and some luck involved. You can increase that last factor by working on the first two.
5. You constantly go after whatever’s exciting at the moment
One thing I hear often from high achievers is that they hate wasting time. Smart people are all too aware of the value of their time, as time and effort spent on one thing means that they could potentially be missing out on something else.
While this is a strong attribute, it also means chasing the next big thing and not following through. Starting out in any field or endeavor is tough, and getting through the initial obstacles requires patience.
Focusing effort on one goal yields much better results in the long run than going after one thing, getting bored, and then going after something new.
6. You can’t commit to a decision
Being smart and working hard can open up numerous doors. Unfortunately, having too many options can be as restricting as having few choices.
An abundance of choices makes it difficult to decide what to do. As a result, it’s tempting to jump around and “see what suits you”. I knew someone who attended numerous graduate school programs, one after another. Over ten years later, she still can’t figure out what to do.
Rather than dabbling in many endeavors, I suggest testing things out first. Talk to other people and do the research before making a big decision, so that you know whether or not an option suits your personality and lifestyle.
7. You don’t believe in yourself
Surprisingly, smart people can underestimate their own abilities. They are their own worst critic, causing them to believe that they can’t accomplish as much as they can.
Smart people have high standards when it comes to their work. Whenever they work on a project, they tend to scrutinize and second-guess the final product.
This seems like a good thing on the surface, but it’s often more debilitating than helpful. Perfectionism can hinder people from progressing forward in their goals or starting on anything in the first place.
“It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.” – Russell Brand
So instead of letting fears of “what if” or “I’m not good enough” keep you back from something new, think of how you want your life to look like years from now. Getting started beats waiting for something to happen anytime.
What will you do today to get closer to your success? What are some things that have been holding you back?
20 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Motivated (Infographic)
Motivation is something we all strive to have, but can also be one of those feelings that’s hard to keep. Whether we’re attempting to reach a new fitness goal or trying to stay motivated in our role at work, sometimes that motivation just isn’t there. You feel motivated for a while – you’ll listen to podcasts, read books, keep yourself accountable – but then it’s lost. You feel so much energy at the start, then feel yourself slowly losing that inspiration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. (more…)
How To Create Everlasting Motivation To Achieve Your Goals
If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals. (more…)
8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About These 4 Motivation-Boosting Techniques?
If you’d like to learn how to increase your motivation so you can get more done during the day, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you heard the questions: “What drives you” or “What excites you?” These questions may come from well-meaning people but they make one problematic assumption – Our motivation depends on something external. As a result, instead of actively building structures that motivate, we find ourselves aimlessly looking for some outside factors that will motivate us. Instead of asking: “What motivates me?” We should be asking, what am I doing to remain motivated? The answer to this question lies in the doing, not motivation itself. (more…)
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