Who is your biggest enemy? What happens most often to keep you from achieving your potential or from fulfilling your purpose on earth?
Too often your biggest enemy is yourself. It’s not the competition or the economy or the weather or the neighborhood or your mother or your high school English teacher or the person in the next cubicle who keeps you down or some past event or phantom enemy that keeps you down. It is YOU that keeps YOU from achieving because of some nasty, negative, nutty habits you have acquired over the years.
Here are 15 really stupid things people do that keeps them down:
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#1: Negative self talk. If you make a mistake in a social situation, do not spend the rest of the night and the next three days beating up on yourself. You are NOT an idiot. You’re a human who makes mistakes. Minimize the mistake and amplify the things you did right. Excessive self-criticism tends to backfire, because it leads us to focus on our so-called failures instead of the small ways that we could have improved.
One writer suggests you give your inner-critic a nasty name like “the old hag.” Here are a couple of other suggestions I came up with: “bad news Bobbie” or maybe you could call it “My Poo-poo Pundit who poo-poos everything I do.” Then you tell it so “shut up and get out of my head.” Then say something nice about yourself.
#2: Negative expectations. Are you the kind of person who expects the worst in every situation? Have you noticed that when you do, you often get precisely what you expected? Walk into a room and expect everyone to ignore you and you will do almost everything in you power to remain unnoticed.
Work to overcome negative expectations and project positive behavior, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many good things will happen to you.
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#3: Destructive Relationships. I do not know why we abide destructive relationships, but lots of people do. They simply put up with nasty, mean, spiteful, even wicked people. Are you in a destructive relationship? Here are a few clues that you are:
a. Everything is your fault.
b. You’re always the giver.
c. Your partner lies to you.
d. Your friend denies obvious truth.
e. Your friend has some addictions or abusive behavior
Only one cure for abiding destructive relationships: GET OUT OF THE RELATIONSHIP ASAP.
#4: Gossip. I cannot think of anything good that comes from gossip, can you? It is wrong, no matter what substitute word you might come up with to take the sting out of it. Spread a few malicious rumors and you will not only hurt the person you are talking about, but you will look like a real scoundrel.
Petty people gossip; important people discuss noteworthy ideas. Whether you gossip about your friends or about your next-door neighbors or about someone at work, you will always come across as a small-minded, untrustworthy, meddlesome person who has not learned proper social etiquette.
Perhaps the worst thing about gossip is that once you speak it out, you cannot take it back. The simple rule is to think before you speak.
#5: Critical spirit. Do you criticize everything and everyone? I’ve known a few people like that and they are very unpleasant to be around. It doesn’t matter how well the steak is cooked and how nicely the meal presented, they will find something wrong with it. It doesn’t matter how hard someone tries, there is no way they can perform well enough for the person with a critical spirit.
Drop the critical spirit and find something good to say. You’ll feel a lot better and you will become much more popular in the process.
#6: Anger. Now here is a great way to lose friends offend other people: Get mad at them; lose your temper at them; give them a good cussing out. That will win you a lot of friends, right? Wrong.
Stop being angry. Find a reason to be happy. Someone once said, “Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
#7: Jealousy. When your best friend gets promoted and you don’t, when your neighbors move to a better neighborhood, when the guy in the next office gets a new car, when your buddy has a 48” flat screen TV and yours is only 40”, and on and on. There are a thousand reasons to be jealous and every one of them leaves you brooding and depressed, so give up being jealous of everyone else’s success and start celebrating their success instead.
#8: Procrastination. Do I have to define this word for you? You know its meaning and you know its impact on your daily life. And what is that impact? WASTED TIME and LOST OPPORTUNITY. I like what author Victor Kiam said about procrastination: “Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.”
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Here are four tips that might help you begin to accelerate instead of procrastinate: 1. Give yourself some personal rewards for the completion of important tasks. 2. Ask someone to monitor your progress – to hold you accountable. 3. See clearly the negative consequences of procrastination, and 4. Start today.
#9: Fear of failure. Fear paralyzes and when you fear the embarrassment of failure, it brings all progress to a screeching halt. The cure is to understand that failure isn’t final – it is only a stepping stone to success. No one who succeeds does so without first failing sometimes many times. Don’t fear failure, embrace it as a great learning opportunity.
#10: Fear of success. Have you ever been on the verge of success or a significant breakthrough and suddenly you become irritable, agitated and miserable? The fear of success comes from feeling unworthy or perhaps from the possibility that once you are successful you will be someone different than you are today. I say, get over it and go for the biggest success you can go for.
#11: Almost anything excessive. It could be too much food, too many parties, too much drink, addiction to really bad stuff as well as addiction to really stupid stuff like obsessive SmartPhone fiddling or email checking. Too much of almost anything is not good for you. Search your daily activities and see if there is something that you over-do, something that keeps you down and either cease and desist from it or moderate it back to normalcy.
#12: People pleasing. Do you try to be who someone wants you to be? Are you afraid to rock the boat or speak your mind? Do you find it easier to go along with the crowd than to declare your independence? Is it hard for you to express your feelings when they are different from others? Do you want everyone to always get along? If so, you’re a people pleaser and it is holding you down. Once again, check yourself for this self-destructive behavior and take action to develop mutually beneficial relationships not one-way people pleasing associations.
#13: Laziness. Here is a real nasty negative nutty thing people do to keep themselves down; they are lazy. We have, I am afraid, created generations of people who do not understand the value of work and the meaning of sacrifice. If that is you, let me tell you this: The world does not owe you a living; instead, you owe the world the best you have to offer and I think that in your heart of hearts, you know what I am saying is true.
#14: Resentment. One of most personal and private emotions is resentment. What I find interesting about resentment is that it has almost no effect on the person to whom it is directed. It resides exclusive with the owner. I like what Dr. Drew from Loveline said, “Resentments are like swallowing poison and expecting the other people to die.”
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If you have been treated unfairly or wronged by someone you cared for, you react internally, you feel the pain of their words or actions, you resent them. If left unchecked the anger, bitterness and hostility that is resentment will intensify and ultimately destroy you.
What to do about it? Change your thoughts about the person or persons you resent. Move from anger to calm, from hostility to friendship, and from bitterness to geniality. It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be fantastic.
#15: Victim mentality. The end result of unresolved resentment is a victim mentality. What is a victim mentality? It is when you blame everyone else for what happens to you. If you think your failure to get ahead is because of the way your mother raised you or the economy or the idiots at the office or the stupid people who live in your town or any other inane reason you can think of not to be responsible for your own misery, you have a victim mentality. If you want to be kept down, never promoted, seldom invited, always dissed, keep thinking like a victim. I promise you, people will treat you like one because that is precisely how you see life.
So what to do about these nasty negative nutty things you do that keep you down? Give them up. Try something new! Walk in a different direction. Think different thoughts. Use new, powerful, uplifting words. Call on your better angels and slap down those negative nasty nutty things that keep you from becoming the wonderful, successful, useful person you know resides within you. And start today.
Can you think of another nasty negative nutty thing people do to keep them from achieving their potential? I would love to hear from you!
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Thanks! Ron Ross