YOU’RE AFRAID OF WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU
Don’t throw away the best parts of you because you’re listening to what the worst parts of the world have to say. Only one person’s opinion matters: yours. Hold on tightly to your integrity and your values. If you make sure that they’re your foundation, you’ll find it a lot easier to shrug off any criticism that comes your way.
Don’t suppress who you are because of what is, at the end of the day, nothing more than external noise. Try to filter it out, just as you would filter out the racket made by the bulldozers tearing up the street outside.
If you’ve prepared yourself mentally for the sort of nonsense that’s going to come your way, then it’ll be easier to face if and when it does show up. You can take everything negative that’s thrown at you, and use it as motivation. Don’t be afraid of saying no. If you set clear boundaries, people won’t be offended, but they will respect you more.
YOU’RE SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE
Your environment is dictated by the people you surround yourselves with. Positive people create a positive environment. So be careful about who you spend your time with, because it will determine who you are. Your circle should be filled with people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. They should fill you with positive energy. If their company leaves you feeling drained, or undermined, you should ask yourself whether they’re someone worth spending time with.
Never be afraid to ask for help, or seek out the support and advice that others can provide. Life can be tough, it can be challenging, so why make things harder than they need to be by trying to do everything on your own? The single most important choice you will make in life is your partner. No human being will have a greater effect on your journey. Make sure you find someone who shares your values and ambitions.
True friendship isn’t about blowing smoke up each other’s arses. When you’ve got the right people around you, they’ll know when you need support – and when you need to be told that you’re heading in the wrong direction. Don’t gossip. Don’t talk shit about others behind their back. Do you need me to explain why
YOU’RE NOT FOCUSING ON YOU
You cannot make any progress in life if you don’t focus on yourself. You won’t be happy in life if you don’t focus on yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s not self-indulgent. It’s absolutely fucking necessary. There’s only one person on this planet who’s responsible for your success and happiness: you. But the opposite is true too: you should never feel as if other people’s success and happiness are your burdens to bear.
Before you focus on yourself, you need to work out who you really are. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you need to do to realise your potential? Remember that it’s never too late to begin this process of breaking down your emotions and start self-reflecting. Your focus on yourself should always be aimed towards a progressive outcome. It’s not an excuse to sit on the sofa in your pants. And it should never prevent you from fulfilling your responsibilities. If you show the rest of the world that you value yourself, then the rest of the world is far more likely to value you too.
YOU’RE MAKING THE WRONG KINDS OF PLANS
If you don’t make any plans or set yourself targets, you’ll lead an aimless, unsatisfying existence. You’ll struggle to ever make the sort of progress you need. Be as clear as you can be about what you want to achieve. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to construct a path to success. You must have a why as well as a what. That’s what will keep you going when times get tough.
Don’t chain yourself to rigid long-term plans. You should always remain alert to the new opportunities that life will throw up. Don’t be afraid of making abrupt shifts in direction or focus. Prioritise your instincts over schedules and tick lists. A plan is only ever as good as the work you’re willing to invest in it. If you’re not ready to graft, you’re never going to reach your goals.
YOU’RE A FOLLOWER, NOT A LEADER
If you live your life as a follower, not a leader, then you’ll for ever be living life on somebody else’s terms. Be a decision-maker, not a decision-taker. Be a leader in your own life. Look out for your interests. Take responsibility. Demand the highest standards and the greatest levels of commitment. Do everything a good leader would for their team … but do it for yourself.
People will try to influence you to do things that they say are in your best interests. But if you take a step down that path and it doesn’t feel right to you, then that’s a sign that it probably isn’t right for you. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. Perhaps you’re not yet the person you want to be, but then who is? We’re all works in progress. But what you cannot do is pretend to be somebody you’re not. You’ll never get anywhere worth going by imitating other people. Stay true to yourself.
YOU GIVE UP TOO EASILY
When you quit too easily you’re just piling up regrets for the future. Don’t let a minute’s relief be the prelude to a lifetime’s pain. Whenever you find yourself struggling and tempted to give up, use your own past as an inspiration. Remind yourself instead of what you’re capable of. Remind yourself how resilient you are, how many problems you’ve overcome, how many solutions you’ve come up with.
Don’t make yourself vulnerable to the temptation to quit by failing to anticipate potential problems. The more you prepare for the possibility of bad things happening, the better you’ll be able to respond when they do. If something is hard work, that very often means it’s worth persisting with. The achievements we value most, the achievements we are most proud of, are almost always those we’ve worked hardest for. Nobody has ever been given a gold medal for something that’s just fallen into their lap.
Don’t shy away from difficult or complex things. Not only are they more rewarding once you’ve completed them – you’ll learn so much more from failing at something that challenged you than you ever would from succeeding at something you found piss-easy.
YOU’RE TOO AFRAID TO MAKE DECISIONS
You should never forget that every decision you duck is just a regret that you’re storing up for later. You might think you’ve dodged something, but you’re deceiving yourself. One day, that failure will bite you in the arse. Don’t make decisions any harder than they need to be. Don’t spend too much time agonising over consequences, don’t draw up endless lists of pros and cons. Trust your instincts. If you think something is right, jump in.
The consequences of not doing something are almost always worse than giving it a go. Even when a decision you take doesn’t work out, there is so much you can learn from the experience. That failure will make you far stronger than hiding away on your couch ever could.
So if you make the wrong call, don’t worry too much – it’s not the end of the world. But be humble. Be honest with yourself, and take any criticism you receive on board. Usually, when stuff goes wrong, you’re left with a pretty clear idea of how you might do better next time. That’s crucial information – don’t ignore it. Don’t get bogged down with anxiety over inconsequential decisions. Our lives are full of enough stress as it is, so why add to it?
YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
You can build your self-belief by making small commitments. Every time you make a commitment, you’re giving yourself tangible proof of what you’re capable of. The more commitments you make, the more your self-belief will grow.
Too often our low self-esteem is the result of the negative way that we talk or think about ourselves. The only reason we think we’re a piece of shit is because that’s what we tell ourselves all day long. You should look to change the record as soon as you can.
When somebody tells you that you’ve got room to improve they’re not writing you off, and they’re not telling you that you’re worthless. They’re trying to help you because they believe in you. The correct response isn’t to sulk or to let it affect your self-belief – it’s to show them that they were right to have faith in you!
YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ALREADY
Don’t make the mistake of thinking of education as something that only takes place in a classroom. There are so many different ways to acquire knowledge. So find out what works for you. heoretical and practical knowledge both have their advantages. But ideally you’d combine both. If you can combine the four corners of the classroom with the four points of the world, you’ll be unstoppable.
Be humble. Be the sort of person who knows enough to know that they don’t know enough. And never feel afraid of admitting your ignorance. It’s OK to ask questions, it’s not OK to try to blag your way through life. Praise is great, but you can’t learn from it. So embrace criticism. It’s a crucial part of growing and learning. If you ignore it you’ll be shutting yourself off from an important element in your personal development.
YOU STILL BELIEVE THAT PERFECT IS POSSIBLE
The sooner you get the idea of perfection out of your head, the better. The question we should ask ourselves isn’t, ‘Is it perfect?’ It should be, ‘Can I make it work for me?’ It’s important to set yourself high standards, but if you expect perfection from yourself you’re guaranteeing you’ll be unhappy. Perfection doesn’t exist. Progress does. That’s what you should be aiming for. That’s what we should all be better at celebrating. If you’re only even a little further on than you were yesterday, then you’re moving in the right direction.
If you spend your life waiting for the perfect opportunity or working away at your plan until it’s perfect, you’ll never get anywhere. Don’t use the quest for perfection as an excuse. Get out there. Make mistakes. Create something. Because waiting built nothing. Our concept of perfection is relative. So is our understanding of success. Find out what success means to you, then hold on to that idea. Don’t fall into the trap of judging your achievements by other people’s standards.