I’m often asked what I think is the single most important factor for succeeding in life. At first, this used to confuse me. We all come from different backgrounds and go through different things. This makes it really hard to give a simple answer, applicable to all situations. Then again, there is one thing that almost all of us have in common. We tend to make excuses and try to rationalise our decisions after-the-fact. The more discussions about success and happiness I’ve had with people, the more I’ve noticed the prevalence of this.
And this is exactly what we’ll talk about today!
Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! I’m your host, Antoaneta, and in this post I’ll cover a topic that I believe is vital for anyone’s success today – making excuses. For those of you who are just discovering my blog today – Welcome! This is probably the best introduction to my content that you could’ve had!
So here’s the deal with leading a positive, productive, or, all in all – happy – life. You need to learn to spot the difference between the things that you can change and the things that you can’t. The former, you need to fix and the latter – you need to accept. If you adopt and strictly follow this rule, the quality of your life will improve tenfold!
It sounds really simple, doesn’t it? Well, I hate to break it to you, but … there’s a catch:
You can’t make excuses!
The more excuses you make, the easier it becomes to justify slacking around instead of working towards building the future that you want to live in!
And before you start making excuses, let me tell you something else – almost every aspect of your life is actually under your direct control. Yes, you heard that right!
If you ever let one of the things in this article get in the way of your dreams, you can blame nobody but yourself!
1. Your time is precious
The single, most important resource that we’ve got is our time!
Have you ever thought about just how wonderful and amazing we humans are? We’ve built magnificent cities, we’ve created countless pieces of art, we’ve explored the whole world, and we’ve even been to space!
And we’ve achieved most of this in the span of a couple of thousand years. Why, merely a couple of generations ago, pocket-sized computers and “video calls” were the stuff of science fiction novels. Can you even imagine what our grandchildren will be able to do?
The moral of the story is, that,
If given enough time, you can learn to do anything!
Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? But, there’s just one small, pesky problem, standing in the way of our mastery over the universe – we’ve all got a limited amount of time. Not only are our lives short and very busy, but we’ve also got a limited number of hours per day to work with.
And so, we come to my point – How you choose to spend your time is entirely up to you.
“I really want to learn how to do X, but I don’t have time.
But that’s nonsense, and, deep down inside, you know it as well as I do. If you really want to do something, you will make time. You can, of course, lounge around and watch TV shows or play video games all day long. Or, you could focus on improving yourself. Instead of wasting time on Netflix in your free time, you could be learning new languages, mastering new skills or expanding your understanding of the world around you.
Okay, but what about during your “not-so-free time”?
Well, let me ask you a simple question: Do you always give your work 100% of your focus and attention?
Please be honest with your answer. Don’t worry, your boss won’t hear you.
The sad reality is that few people today are really dedicated to their work, even during their actual “working” hours. For most, work is just another thing to check off their “places I need to be at today” list. The results of this are obvious. You might think that it really doesn’t matter, but it does! Your colleagues can see it, your boss can see it and even your clients can see it!
The simple, cold truth of the matter is that you’ve got as many hours in your day as everyone else in the world. Nobody, not even the most successful person on the planet has more time than you! But, unlike you, they’ve been putting all their hours towards achieving their goals!
2. Things can always change for the better!
It’s rarely as bad as it seems!
We can’t choose where we are born and what we’ve got to work with. But there are a plethora of examples of very successful people coming from difficult backgrounds. And, with the help of the Internet, you can read their stories, learn from their mistakes and get inspired!
As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that there are at least a couple of really successful people who started out in conditions which are far from perfect! But how did they make it? What’s their secret?
They didn’t give up, that’s how!
They didn’t allow their current situation to stop them from achieving their dreams. Instead, they changed their expectations of life and pulled themselves up to where they wanted to be. And they did all of that, by the sheer power of their will!
The moment you accept your life “as is” and just settle for what you’ve got, you’ve already lost! You tell your mind that this is how things are going to be from now on and you prevent it from looking for ways to improve.
Reality is negotiable. And it’s up to you to realise that.
3. Don’t be a quitter
There are always obstacles along the way
To expand on my previous point – Quitting is entirely up to you.
No matter who you are, what you do or how good you are at your job, you’re guaranteed to have a bad day every now and then. And here’s one of the major differences between successful people and everyone else – winners don’t quit! No matter how hard the going gets, you always have the option to keep going … If you choose to.
4. Find out who you are
Figuring out who you are and what you stand for is a really important step on the way to achieving your dreams. Having a greater goal, something to strive for, beyond the boring and grey everyday reality can really help you get through the tough times. The busy and stressful modern lifestyle that we all share leaves little time for reflection. It is really easy to get so overwhelmed by the never-ending cycle of sameness that you lose track of the bigger picture – the things that truly matter.
As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that at least half of the people you know have fallen into this trap. Broken down and devoid of energy, these are people content to just sit there and complain about their situation, without making an attempt to fix it. Coincidently, these are just the people that I warned you about in the previous point!
How do you avoid this? It’s actually really, really simple – just figure out who you are! Of course, you aren’t perfect. We’ve all got our flaws and weaknesses. But realising this also opens the door to positive change! By figuring out what you like and dislike about yourself, along with what you see as worthwhile and important, you can also understand who you’d like to be. Try to mould yourself into someone that you’d respect and look up to.
5. Be presentable
You never get a second chance to make a first impression
We all know that we “never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. First impressions are really important when trying to land a job or when interacting with clients. But there’s a lot more to that! The way in which you dress and present yourself has a huge impact not only on how people will treat and act around you, but also on your own confidence and self-esteem.
6. Fix your diet!
It’s time to stop eating junk!
You already know that fast food, snacks, sodas and similar junk are hazardous to your health, so I won’t bore you with a lecture on that. But have you ever thought about the other negative side-effects to ordering in?
Opting for the “easy way out” of cooking can be hazardous your discipline and self-control. Sure, you might not always feel like taking the time to make a meal, but believe me – it’s worth it!
7. Get some movement in your life!
A healthy mind in a healthy body
Exercise is also extremely beneficial for your health – both in the mental and physical departments!
Convenient as they are, all of the technological advancements that we’ve made come at a cost to our health. Modern lifestyles consist mainly of sitting around all day whether at work or home … and not much else. We get out of bed, sit behind the wheel and drive to work. Then, we sit behind the computer screen for most of the day, until the time finally comes to drive back home. Where we finally get to relax … by sitting in front of the TV or computer screen until it’s time for bed.
Hit the gym, go for a run or do some exercises at home and you’ll immediately notice a change in your outlook on life!
8. Improve your sleep
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Getting enough sleep is absolutely crucial for … everything in life, really. The length and quality of your sleep affect:
- Your physical capabilities – if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll get tired faster and you’ll make slower progress towards physical goals (working out, jogging, etc.).
- Your mental capabilities – less sleep makes it harder to focus and interact with people properly
- Your appearance – not getting enough sleep will not only give you bags under your eyes, but will also with your temperature and light tolerance levels, making you appear more irritable
- Your emotions – remaining calm and collected can be significantly harder if you haven’t had a good night’s rest
If you want to lead a happy and successful life, one of the first things that you should look at is improving your sleep.
9. Declutter your life
Decluttering is the name of the game here. As with most other things on this list, how well you maintain your environment has an impact on both you as an individual and on the people that you interact with. Without getting into too much detail, here are my top reasons to keep your workplace neat and tidy:
- Clutter distracts you from doing what you’re supposed to be doing
- Clutter can significantly slow down your work process
- Clutter can make you appear lazy
- Clutter can make it seem like you don’t really care for your job
- Clutter can be actively harmful to your health
Do a quick clean-up session and I bet that you’ll immediately notice the difference!
10. Educate yourself
I feel like I’m constantly repeating this, but educating yourself is absolutely crucial for your happiness and success in life. And no, I’m not talking about going to fancy schools or universities. I’m talking about learning things at your own discretion, in your own time. We live in the digital age – the time of the Internet. We’ve got access to the largest library of knowledge that’s ever existed on the face of our planet. And leveraging all of that information to achieve your goals is – you guessed it – all up to you!
Learning any language, mastering new skills, and connecting with any person, anywhere in the world, is a mere button press away!
11. Be kind to others
A little kindness goes a long way!
Our actions have consequences. Every time we interact with the people around us, we leave a mark on their life. Even the most insignificant of interactions can have a huge impact! This is exactly why I always advise people to carefully pick their friends. Ideally, you’d want to be surrounded by people who are happy, positive and uplifting. And that’s what you should strive to be as well! Why drag people down when you can prop them up? Inspire those around you and lead by example!
12. Pick your friends carefully
We all meet people based on the circumstances.
It all depends on where you are and how you go about it. But, as with all things, you’ve got complete control over this! It’s much better to keep a few trustworthy friends that are already ready to support you, than to associate yourself with a large group of people who shoot down your ideas. If you hang around with people who are sad, depressed and like to complain, chances are that you’ll also end up sad and depressed. Maybe it’s time you reconsidered who you let get close.
13. Take control of your finances
This might come as a shock to some of you, but how much money you make is entirely under your control! Yes, you heard that right – you make exactly as much money as you’ve decided that you have to be making. And before you get angry with me, allow me to elaborate.
When you’re an employee, you get paid a certain amount of money, based on how your superiors judge your contribution to the business. This is largely based on the following criteria:
- How much demand there is for what you do
- How easy it is to find people who are good at the given task
- How good you are at performing said task
- How much money you earn for the business
The more specialised a job is, the better the pay should be. And a good business leader knows this full-well. If are really good at doing something valuable for the business, and if finding an equally skilled replacement would be difficult, you can rest assured that your boss will be doing everything in their power to keep you happy. So, how do you make more money then? The answer is really obvious here – simply get better at what you do!
Well, would you look at that – it seems like we’re all out of time for today! As a matter of fact, this article ended up a lot longer than I originally planned, but there was a lot to cover and I’m not really a fan of one-sentence paragraphs. If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to dive a bit deeper into the points it touched upon, feel free to have a look at the Suggested Further Reading section below!
As always, please remember that my posts are entirely based on my own research and personal experience. I don’t claim to be an expert in any of the subjects listed here and I’d wholeheartedly recommend that you do your own research before committing to serious lifestyle changes.
If you enjoyed this post, have some questions, or think that I’ve missed something, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!
Until next time – Stay Green and Motivated!
© Lifestyle Tips by Antoaneta
Suggested further reading:
- A quick explanation on the importance of investing and how to get started with it
- Part 2 of my investing series – How to start on the property ladder?
- An introduction to Individual savings accounts in the UK
On the importance of reading:
On eating healthy
- Audio books on Audible – use Audible to listen to the books, if you don’t have time to read.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
- Money: The Top 100 Best Ways To Make And Manage Money – Ace McCloud
- Business Secrets from the Bible – Daniel Lapin
- The New One Minute Manager – Kenneth Blanchard
- Eat That Frog! – Brian Tracy
- Key Person of Influence – Daniel Priestley
- The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
- Keys to Success – Napoleon Hill
- How to Be Brilliant – Michael Heppell
- The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas J Stanley
- MONEY Master the Game – Tony Robbins
- Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom – Tony Robbins
- The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham
- The Wealthy Barber – David Chilton
- Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind – Harv Eker
- Think and Grow Rich! – Napoleon Hill
- I Moved Your Cheese – Deepak Malhotra
- How to Persuade and Influence People – Philip Hesketh
- Legacy – James Kerr
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
- Finding My Virginity – Richard Branson
- 24 Assets – Daniel Priestley