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Motivation

7 Reasons Why Smart, Hardworking People Don’t Become Successful

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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?

Melissa Chu is the founder of Jumpstart Your Dream Life, where she helps people get productive and incorporate positive habits into their everyday lives. You can download the guide that shows you how to achieve your goals (without giving up). So get started today. Download the guide here.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Jan Odegaard

    Jul 18, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Great article! Thanks.
    I find that very hard working / smart people never seem to get enough so success perhaps in their mind is never achieved. I also believe that their social skills (arrogance/lack of humility) can be a major factor blocking their way to success.

  2. Yvonne Pacella

    Sep 19, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you so much that was a beautiful writing and so true. I have suffered all my life with not being focused on just one thing maybe the fear of succeeding has been stronger than I thought

  3. Sourish

    Sep 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    What a brilliant explanation!! Although I am doing some of them, but will make immediate amends to my life to meet the rest. Many thanks once again

  4. Julie

    May 24, 2016 at 3:03 am

    This is totally me!

  5. Rob Malone

    May 18, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Great article.

    I have got to believe self-doubt to be one of the biggest sabotaging things for success. Most people are much more capable than they give themselves credit for.

  6. Allison Hayes

    May 6, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Awesome piece! So incredibly helpful!!

  7. Tim Denning

    May 3, 2016 at 5:05 am

    I know plenty of people Melissa who are very smart but if there psychology is not equally as smart, they end up struggling to find jobs. Thanks for your article!

    • Melissa Chu

      May 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Tim, yes often it’s not about just hard work or doing well academically. Many other factors are important to consider such as understanding people, finding a strategy that works, etc.

      Melissa

  8. Rishabh Jain

    Apr 30, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Well that’s pretty much the same case with me, i am running a successful blog but still i lack interaction with people around me that’s why i am exploring more ways to be successful.

    • Melissa Chu

      May 3, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Rishabh, connecting with others and learning how you can help them is key to helping yourself.

      Melissa

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Motivation

12 Tips to Propel Your Self-Motivation to It’s Highest Peak

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Motivation plays a significant role in your performance as well as the success of your career. There are many ways for you to get the motivation to do your job well and achieve the goals you have set for yourself. People derive motivation to work well from diverse sources including fear, rewards, growth, and development as well as from social influences.
Nonetheless, the best incentive to perform your duties comes from within you. Self-motivation is the drive to achieve goals without the supervision and the influence of other people. When it comes to meeting your desired results motivation and ability are paramount. They make things happen.

Use the following 12 tips to keep yourself motivated:

1. Set high but real goals

Set a real goal, dentify what you want to achieve and determine ways to go about attaining it. Divide your goal into various subgoals to make it easier for you. Setting personal goals keeps you focused on what you want to achieve both in the long-term and short-term. Whenever you face challenges, remind yourself why you are doing that task in the first place. Understand your abilities and do not set unrealistically high goals as doing so will set you up for failure and demoralize you. Clearly defined real goals are easier to focus on and monitor. They make it easier for you to measure your achievements as well as progress.

2. Seek feedback

Be open to any feedback, whether positive or negative as it is right for your motivation. Positive feedback makes you want to keep up with the excellent performance and even causes you to have the incentive to work even harder. Negative feedback might lead you to stress. And if it happens on a regular basis it most likely will lead to a depression. The key is how you treat your stress and depression. Take it as your best advisors to go forward. Take the negative feedback positively and let it give you the drive to want to improve your performance and surpass the expectations of your reviewer.

3. Get rid of unnecessary habits

Quite often you will find yourself doing things that get in the way of you achieving your goals. Maybe you have the habit of going to work with a hangover on Monday mornings after partying during the weekend. If you know that is what gets you down and makes you unmotivated, get rid of that habit. Minimize the things that distract you from working in top condition. Whenever you find yourself craving that beer, drink a glass of water instead. It is good for your health.

“Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” – Winston Churchill

4. Continue learning

Just because you are out of school does not mean you stop learning and adding to your knowledge. Surf the internet or take courses that can increase your expertise. The more informed you are, the more you boost the development of your brain. You are exposed to new ideas, gain new skills and you can reason better based on facts. Consider setbacks as an opportunity to learn. Never stop learning.

5. Celebrate all your achievements

Winning, no matter how small, deserves to be rewarded. Whenever you achieve your desired aim, get yourself a present. It could be that beautiful new dress you have been salivating for at the mall or even something big like a car. Rewarding yourself keeps you motivated to achieve the next big thing.

6. Take risks

You can never achieve something extraordinary if you stay in your comfort zone or keep doing regular stuff and not taking risks. Fear of taking chances limits your potential for growth and the rewards you could get by doing so. Not being sure what will happen next keeps you motivated to work on the task to achieve your desired results. Taking risks involves evaluating the rewards and losses you might encounter by taking on a particular challenge.

7. Take regular breaks

You are not superhuman. The only way for you to perform at the top of your game is to take a moment and rest. Studies have shown that working continuously with no rest may result in a decline in your productivity. Take a vacation and enjoy yourself without the pressure of work every once in a while. When you go back to the office you will come with renewed enthusiasm for work.

8. Treat yourself gently

Your friend bought that new house and you are still living in a rental. So what? Don’t compare your achievements with other people’s. We all have different goals and priorities. Accept the notion that there are people who are more affluent or smarter than you are. People are different. Accepting leaves you the space to explore other opportunities that are suited for you and focus on yourself.

9. Deal with your setbacks

Success is not a smooth path. On your journey to achieve your goals, it is nearly impossible not to encounter failure or other setbacks. Develop resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from unfavorable situations. Develop the skill to cope with challenges. Admitting your failures help you keep motivated to rise above the challenge.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

10. Set deadlines

Self-imposed deadlines keep you focused on your goals. You need to set realistic timeframes for each subgoal to push yourself to focus and achieve it without becoming overwhelmed. Once you accomplish a subgoal, you get even more motivated to meet your larger goal. Set dates to complete tasks and stick to them.

11. Procrastination is a motivation killer

Distractions and fear of failure are the main reasons we procrastinate. Face your challenges head-on. By putting things off until later, you might be delaying your success. Keep yourself motivated by doing things in time.

12. Impress yourself

You know who is the hardest to impress? Yourself. There are times when you doubt your ability to meet a particular objective. But with the right mentality and attitude, you can do things that can leave you wondering how you did it. Love what you do and have the passion for achieving your goals that does not depend on the bar set by other people. Doing impressive things builds your self-confidence and motivates you to do even greater things.

A self-motivated person is a good performer at his/her job. The above tips will help you focus on your work and stay motivated to be more productive at what you do and in so doing enable you to earn that promotion you have been yearning to get.

How do you motivate yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

The Real Hack Is In The Doing.

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I had a coaching call with a client recently and it was a trainwreck. I’m trying to get them to create content and they keep peering into the future. Instead of creating content they’re obsessed with:

  • Sales Funnels
  • When to monetize
  • How to convert inquiries into customers
  • What camera to use when filming videos
  • Writing a whitepaper

I told them this:

“Screw all of that. The key to success is in the doing.”

 

Your Ideas change over time.

When I first started blogging in 2014, I was doing interviews with entrepreneurs and turning them into blog posts. I had no idea what I was doing or even why I was doing it.

The blog posts sucked and sounded like press releases.

I hated the process.

None of the blog posts got any engagement at all. Hearing entrepreneurs talk about raising money and selling widgets was boring to me.

Then, one night at around 8 pm I wrote a blog post about changing my life. It was all the lessons I learned from studying personal development and it was nothing more than a brain fart.

It took about 45 minutes to write and was published with spelling and grammar errors all the way through it. This post got shared 84,000 times on Facebook alone.

All of a sudden, through focusing on the doing, I found something I liked.

“What starts as an idea changes over time and you’ll never predict where things will end up. Trust in the process”

 

Your beliefs change too.

I told my coaching client that his beliefs would change too. What he believes right now will change in the future. This will shape his creative side and his content most of all.

“Trying to predict where you’ll be in the future is like trying to predict when you’re going to die - it’s impossible to know”

My beliefs initially about what I was doing came from a very self-centered view of the world that was all about the cliché version of success.

I thought the nice car, suit, house and bikini babe was what mattered. Pretty quickly, as I produced lots of content and began reading, after not touching a book for more than ten years, I saw a different side.

My beliefs about the world changed and the idea of money went to last place. Add on a couple of near-death experiences like a cancer scare and my beliefs are now completely different.

I’m no longer trying to figure out how to suck out as much value from the world as I can for my own benefit. What I do daily is about a purpose far bigger than myself.

I told my coaching client this story because I believed the same was true for him. He’s trying to impact people’s lives by getting them to fall in love with the work they do.

Whenever he starts talking about this topic, I feel inspired. I told him that I say no to so many clients because I don’t believe in what they do.

I believe in what he does and that’s why I’m obsessed with getting him to focus on the doing.

 

You learn as you go.

People have this obsession with the idea that you have to do a course, be mentored, study for years (insert excuse) before you can start doing what you love.

This is a ridiculous idea and I challenge you to a duel if you think this way. As you continue the doing aspect of what you love, you’ll learn at the same time.

Even if you’re not conscious about the learning side, the doing will reveal way more than waiting for accreditation, permission or a mentor’s approval to proceed ever will.

Everything I know about social media, blogging, inspiring people and entrepreneurship came from the doing. Yes, there was deliberate learning along the way but that was always a distant second to the doing itself.

 

Consuming vs. creating.

My coaching client also suffered from the battle that is consuming vs. creating. He spent too much time watching what everyone else was doing and he didn’t spend enough time creating his own art.

He’s currently posting one video a week and I told him that’s not enough. He has it within him to do at least one video a day if he quits consuming everybody else’s content.

He also told me that he feels the need to respond to every comment he gets on social media. I told him this is nuts!!!

You cannot respond to every comment or email you get online. This time is better spent creating than it is pumping up your ego with “thank you’s” and “yes I know I’m so smart.”

 

The tools change.

I started blogging on WordPress and now I do most things on Medium and LinkedIn. If I’d become too obsessed with the tools, then I would have wasted the time I could have been spending refining my craft.

All the tools you use to execute on doing what you love will change, so treat them secondary to creating your unique art.

 

You can’t preplan the doing 9 times out of 10.

Your best work is often done when you’re spontaneous. For example, today is a public holiday in Australia and I wouldn’t normally write on a Wednesday.

I felt inspired this morning though, so I decided to jump on the computer and do some creating. Some of my best work (if I look at the stats) has been done on public days and times when I didn’t plan to create anything.

Over planning is a trap you need to avoid if you want to get down to the doing which produces results.

 

The doing is the hardest part.

The reason why many of you reading this are so obsessed with mentors, education, online courses and consuming someone else’s content is because all of these things are easy.

The doing is the hardest part. Being creative takes up all of your energy and putting your work out there to be judged is hard on your ego.

“Creating truly inspiring work takes every ounce of your emotions. You need flow states, time, resources and the belief that you’re enough to do the doing”

What stops us from the doing is either procrastination or fear. These two evils prevent you from the doing without you often realizing.

My coaching client wants to make a massive impact and he’s scared that he doesn’t have the ability. As his coach, I know he does and I’ve seen it.

The battle that exists in your mind daily is whether you should be doing the doing or settling for something easier (often this looks like the same thing but it’s not!).

Spending time doing the very thing that is hard, is how you leapfrog everyone else that never gets what they want and never lives a fulfilled life.

 

How do you win so frequently?

That’s what my coaching client asked me. He wanted to know how I produce so much content and have so many people watching online.

I told him the truth: I just spend as much time as I can doing the doing.

Everything else seems to take care of itself when I embrace this simple hack. You must become obsessed with the doing.

Spend a disproportionate amount of time doing the doing and you’ll produce the results that are 10X of what you think you’re capable of.

Are you ready to win?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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avoiding burnout
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun. (more…)

Zachariah Bourne is the Author of the upcoming book "Blissed Out". He’s a writer for Success Magazine and Huff Post and Co-Authors articles with Jacquelyn Denissoff. As a producer, songwriter and artist living in NYC, he uses music as a way to spread the message of positivity to the world. Follow him on Instagram or go check out his YouTube.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Jan Odegaard

    Jul 18, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Great article! Thanks.
    I find that very hard working / smart people never seem to get enough so success perhaps in their mind is never achieved. I also believe that their social skills (arrogance/lack of humility) can be a major factor blocking their way to success.

  2. Yvonne Pacella

    Sep 19, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you so much that was a beautiful writing and so true. I have suffered all my life with not being focused on just one thing maybe the fear of succeeding has been stronger than I thought

  3. Sourish

    Sep 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    What a brilliant explanation!! Although I am doing some of them, but will make immediate amends to my life to meet the rest. Many thanks once again

  4. Julie

    May 24, 2016 at 3:03 am

    This is totally me!

  5. Rob Malone

    May 18, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Great article.

    I have got to believe self-doubt to be one of the biggest sabotaging things for success. Most people are much more capable than they give themselves credit for.

  6. Allison Hayes

    May 6, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Awesome piece! So incredibly helpful!!

  7. Tim Denning

    May 3, 2016 at 5:05 am

    I know plenty of people Melissa who are very smart but if there psychology is not equally as smart, they end up struggling to find jobs. Thanks for your article!

    • Melissa Chu

      May 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Tim, yes often it’s not about just hard work or doing well academically. Many other factors are important to consider such as understanding people, finding a strategy that works, etc.

      Melissa

  8. Rishabh Jain

    Apr 30, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Well that’s pretty much the same case with me, i am running a successful blog but still i lack interaction with people around me that’s why i am exploring more ways to be successful.

    • Melissa Chu

      May 3, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Rishabh, connecting with others and learning how you can help them is key to helping yourself.

      Melissa

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Motivation

12 Tips to Propel Your Self-Motivation to It’s Highest Peak

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self motivation
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Motivation plays a significant role in your performance as well as the success of your career. There are many ways for you to get the motivation to do your job well and achieve the goals you have set for yourself. People derive motivation to work well from diverse sources including fear, rewards, growth, and development as well as from social influences.
Nonetheless, the best incentive to perform your duties comes from within you. Self-motivation is the drive to achieve goals without the supervision and the influence of other people. When it comes to meeting your desired results motivation and ability are paramount. They make things happen.

Use the following 12 tips to keep yourself motivated:

1. Set high but real goals

Set a real goal, dentify what you want to achieve and determine ways to go about attaining it. Divide your goal into various subgoals to make it easier for you. Setting personal goals keeps you focused on what you want to achieve both in the long-term and short-term. Whenever you face challenges, remind yourself why you are doing that task in the first place. Understand your abilities and do not set unrealistically high goals as doing so will set you up for failure and demoralize you. Clearly defined real goals are easier to focus on and monitor. They make it easier for you to measure your achievements as well as progress.

2. Seek feedback

Be open to any feedback, whether positive or negative as it is right for your motivation. Positive feedback makes you want to keep up with the excellent performance and even causes you to have the incentive to work even harder. Negative feedback might lead you to stress. And if it happens on a regular basis it most likely will lead to a depression. The key is how you treat your stress and depression. Take it as your best advisors to go forward. Take the negative feedback positively and let it give you the drive to want to improve your performance and surpass the expectations of your reviewer.

3. Get rid of unnecessary habits

Quite often you will find yourself doing things that get in the way of you achieving your goals. Maybe you have the habit of going to work with a hangover on Monday mornings after partying during the weekend. If you know that is what gets you down and makes you unmotivated, get rid of that habit. Minimize the things that distract you from working in top condition. Whenever you find yourself craving that beer, drink a glass of water instead. It is good for your health.

“Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” – Winston Churchill

4. Continue learning

Just because you are out of school does not mean you stop learning and adding to your knowledge. Surf the internet or take courses that can increase your expertise. The more informed you are, the more you boost the development of your brain. You are exposed to new ideas, gain new skills and you can reason better based on facts. Consider setbacks as an opportunity to learn. Never stop learning.

5. Celebrate all your achievements

Winning, no matter how small, deserves to be rewarded. Whenever you achieve your desired aim, get yourself a present. It could be that beautiful new dress you have been salivating for at the mall or even something big like a car. Rewarding yourself keeps you motivated to achieve the next big thing.

6. Take risks

You can never achieve something extraordinary if you stay in your comfort zone or keep doing regular stuff and not taking risks. Fear of taking chances limits your potential for growth and the rewards you could get by doing so. Not being sure what will happen next keeps you motivated to work on the task to achieve your desired results. Taking risks involves evaluating the rewards and losses you might encounter by taking on a particular challenge.

7. Take regular breaks

You are not superhuman. The only way for you to perform at the top of your game is to take a moment and rest. Studies have shown that working continuously with no rest may result in a decline in your productivity. Take a vacation and enjoy yourself without the pressure of work every once in a while. When you go back to the office you will come with renewed enthusiasm for work.

8. Treat yourself gently

Your friend bought that new house and you are still living in a rental. So what? Don’t compare your achievements with other people’s. We all have different goals and priorities. Accept the notion that there are people who are more affluent or smarter than you are. People are different. Accepting leaves you the space to explore other opportunities that are suited for you and focus on yourself.

9. Deal with your setbacks

Success is not a smooth path. On your journey to achieve your goals, it is nearly impossible not to encounter failure or other setbacks. Develop resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from unfavorable situations. Develop the skill to cope with challenges. Admitting your failures help you keep motivated to rise above the challenge.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

10. Set deadlines

Self-imposed deadlines keep you focused on your goals. You need to set realistic timeframes for each subgoal to push yourself to focus and achieve it without becoming overwhelmed. Once you accomplish a subgoal, you get even more motivated to meet your larger goal. Set dates to complete tasks and stick to them.

11. Procrastination is a motivation killer

Distractions and fear of failure are the main reasons we procrastinate. Face your challenges head-on. By putting things off until later, you might be delaying your success. Keep yourself motivated by doing things in time.

12. Impress yourself

You know who is the hardest to impress? Yourself. There are times when you doubt your ability to meet a particular objective. But with the right mentality and attitude, you can do things that can leave you wondering how you did it. Love what you do and have the passion for achieving your goals that does not depend on the bar set by other people. Doing impressive things builds your self-confidence and motivates you to do even greater things.

A self-motivated person is a good performer at his/her job. The above tips will help you focus on your work and stay motivated to be more productive at what you do and in so doing enable you to earn that promotion you have been yearning to get.

How do you motivate yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

The Real Hack Is In The Doing.

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I had a coaching call with a client recently and it was a trainwreck. I’m trying to get them to create content and they keep peering into the future. Instead of creating content they’re obsessed with:

  • Sales Funnels
  • When to monetize
  • How to convert inquiries into customers
  • What camera to use when filming videos
  • Writing a whitepaper

I told them this:

“Screw all of that. The key to success is in the doing.”

 

Your Ideas change over time.

When I first started blogging in 2014, I was doing interviews with entrepreneurs and turning them into blog posts. I had no idea what I was doing or even why I was doing it.

The blog posts sucked and sounded like press releases.

I hated the process.

None of the blog posts got any engagement at all. Hearing entrepreneurs talk about raising money and selling widgets was boring to me.

Then, one night at around 8 pm I wrote a blog post about changing my life. It was all the lessons I learned from studying personal development and it was nothing more than a brain fart.

It took about 45 minutes to write and was published with spelling and grammar errors all the way through it. This post got shared 84,000 times on Facebook alone.

All of a sudden, through focusing on the doing, I found something I liked.

“What starts as an idea changes over time and you’ll never predict where things will end up. Trust in the process”

 

Your beliefs change too.

I told my coaching client that his beliefs would change too. What he believes right now will change in the future. This will shape his creative side and his content most of all.

“Trying to predict where you’ll be in the future is like trying to predict when you’re going to die - it’s impossible to know”

My beliefs initially about what I was doing came from a very self-centered view of the world that was all about the cliché version of success.

I thought the nice car, suit, house and bikini babe was what mattered. Pretty quickly, as I produced lots of content and began reading, after not touching a book for more than ten years, I saw a different side.

My beliefs about the world changed and the idea of money went to last place. Add on a couple of near-death experiences like a cancer scare and my beliefs are now completely different.

I’m no longer trying to figure out how to suck out as much value from the world as I can for my own benefit. What I do daily is about a purpose far bigger than myself.

I told my coaching client this story because I believed the same was true for him. He’s trying to impact people’s lives by getting them to fall in love with the work they do.

Whenever he starts talking about this topic, I feel inspired. I told him that I say no to so many clients because I don’t believe in what they do.

I believe in what he does and that’s why I’m obsessed with getting him to focus on the doing.

 

You learn as you go.

People have this obsession with the idea that you have to do a course, be mentored, study for years (insert excuse) before you can start doing what you love.

This is a ridiculous idea and I challenge you to a duel if you think this way. As you continue the doing aspect of what you love, you’ll learn at the same time.

Even if you’re not conscious about the learning side, the doing will reveal way more than waiting for accreditation, permission or a mentor’s approval to proceed ever will.

Everything I know about social media, blogging, inspiring people and entrepreneurship came from the doing. Yes, there was deliberate learning along the way but that was always a distant second to the doing itself.

 

Consuming vs. creating.

My coaching client also suffered from the battle that is consuming vs. creating. He spent too much time watching what everyone else was doing and he didn’t spend enough time creating his own art.

He’s currently posting one video a week and I told him that’s not enough. He has it within him to do at least one video a day if he quits consuming everybody else’s content.

He also told me that he feels the need to respond to every comment he gets on social media. I told him this is nuts!!!

You cannot respond to every comment or email you get online. This time is better spent creating than it is pumping up your ego with “thank you’s” and “yes I know I’m so smart.”

 

The tools change.

I started blogging on WordPress and now I do most things on Medium and LinkedIn. If I’d become too obsessed with the tools, then I would have wasted the time I could have been spending refining my craft.

All the tools you use to execute on doing what you love will change, so treat them secondary to creating your unique art.

 

You can’t preplan the doing 9 times out of 10.

Your best work is often done when you’re spontaneous. For example, today is a public holiday in Australia and I wouldn’t normally write on a Wednesday.

I felt inspired this morning though, so I decided to jump on the computer and do some creating. Some of my best work (if I look at the stats) has been done on public days and times when I didn’t plan to create anything.

Over planning is a trap you need to avoid if you want to get down to the doing which produces results.

 

The doing is the hardest part.

The reason why many of you reading this are so obsessed with mentors, education, online courses and consuming someone else’s content is because all of these things are easy.

The doing is the hardest part. Being creative takes up all of your energy and putting your work out there to be judged is hard on your ego.

“Creating truly inspiring work takes every ounce of your emotions. You need flow states, time, resources and the belief that you’re enough to do the doing”

What stops us from the doing is either procrastination or fear. These two evils prevent you from the doing without you often realizing.

My coaching client wants to make a massive impact and he’s scared that he doesn’t have the ability. As his coach, I know he does and I’ve seen it.

The battle that exists in your mind daily is whether you should be doing the doing or settling for something easier (often this looks like the same thing but it’s not!).

Spending time doing the very thing that is hard, is how you leapfrog everyone else that never gets what they want and never lives a fulfilled life.

 

How do you win so frequently?

That’s what my coaching client asked me. He wanted to know how I produce so much content and have so many people watching online.

I told him the truth: I just spend as much time as I can doing the doing.

Everything else seems to take care of itself when I embrace this simple hack. You must become obsessed with the doing.

Spend a disproportionate amount of time doing the doing and you’ll produce the results that are 10X of what you think you’re capable of.

Are you ready to win?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

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