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15 Reasons Why You're Not as Successful as You Should Be

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Mar 16, 2015


Do you sometimes feel like you should be more successful? Like you should have achieved more by now? Many of us feel like that sometimes. The reason you might not be as successful as you should be is because you might have picked up bad habits that do nothing but drain you of time, energy and happiness. Here are top reasons why you aren’t as successful as you should be. Consider these points a wake up call to push us in the right direction and help you live out your best life in business and life itself.


1. You live in your own head.


Everyone who has ever achieved success did it with action. They began where they were. You don’t achieve success by dreaming only and doing nothing. Get out of your head and pursue your dream. Don’t let fear and doubt steal your greatness. Dream big, but don’t stop there. Do what you have to do to make that dream come true. If you are only just sitting in place thinking of success and never actually doing anything about it, you are wasting your potential and will always feel like you can be more, but sadly never actually be more. As Ghanaian youth leader and author Israelmore Ayivor says, “You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.”


2. You cling to your comfort zone.


We all have that place in our minds and life situations where we feel safe and sure about things. A place where we do the same things and get the same results. While this comfort zone seems safe and assured, living within it only leads to stagnation. Nothing ever grows in a comfort zone. If you want to really grow and develop, you need to stop playing it safe. Burst that comfort bubble and take your chances. The purpose of life is to live it—and to do so to your fullest potential. That means taking risks. If you’re always doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always be who you’ve always been. Get out there and try new things. Follow your heart. Be comfortable being uncomfortable and don’t give up


3. You are not sure who you are and what you want to achieve.


Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the critically acclaimed classic combat guide The Art of War said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles." Even in the battle with mediocrity you need to know yourself to win. Knowing yourself starts with knowing exactly who you are (your gifts, skills etc.) and what you want to achieve in life (your dreams and desires). Set clear, specific and measurable goals that align with your abilities and that lead to your ultimate goal. This way you will remain motivated until you get there. If you don’t know who you are, where you are coming from and where you are going, you will take any road and that road will take you anywhere and leave you feeling shortchanged in the end. 


4. You refuse to accept reality (or adapt to it).


Life is in a constant state of flux and sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want. It’s important to adjust and stay grounded in reality through it all. If you don’t accept the reality of things in your life and change or adjust your actions accordingly, you will lag behind and feel like you are not as good or as qualified as you should be. So be flexible and adapt. Embrace the inevitability of change. If you don’t get the result you expected, accept it and learn from the experience. That’s the beauty of having tried—you learn from trying. The magnitude of your happiness and success will be directly proportional to the magnitude of your realness and adaptability to new and emerging realities, interests and goals.


5. You are distracted by social media.


I know that you need to be on Facebook and Twitter for your business (we all do), but when you spend endless hours on social media mindlessly thumbing through updates that make no difference to your life or business, you have fallen victim to one of the biggest time sucks known to man. Research actually shows that the average American user spends 3+ hours on social networking each day. That’s a lot of time you’re never going to get back, and which will ultimately make you less productive. Remove distractions from your life and stay focused on your core goals.


6. You think you’re working hard, but you aren’t.


It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are working hard if you spend the whole day at your workstation. But, are you really getting any work done? Look carefully at how you are spending your time and track how and where you’re expending your energy during work hours. You may be shocked to learn that a huge chunk of your day is wasted not just by mindless internet browsing, but also by chronic interruptions and way more breaks than necessary. If you don’t get work done when it out to, you become less productive and ultimately less successful than you should be.


7. You don’t start your day with a purpose or plan.


Highly successful people clearly define their short and long-term goals, and also plan their day ahead. They know exactly what priority tasks they need to tackle first thing in the morning. This way they are able to take full advantage of the morning “Golden Hour” when you are mentally, physically and spiritually recharged. If you don’t rise early, plan ahead and assess whether you are moving toward your goals, you are groping blindly for success. Change tact and start each day with a morning ritual that sets you up for a productive day, whether it is meditation or reflecting on your goals.


8. You don’t end your day with gratitude.


Studies show that those who take a few minutes every night to reflect on the good things that happened to them that day sleep better. And how well you sleep determines your energy level the following day. Moreover, reflecting on the positive things of the day and being grateful before bed helps you unwind, improves your mood and motivates you to keep going. Author Melody Beattie said it best, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Count your blessings each night before bed and you’ll significantly boost your happiness and success.


9. You surround yourself with negative people.


Jim Rohn observed that, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you surround yourself with negative people all the time, you will eventually absorb their negative energy and ooze toxic traits. However, if you associate with positive, hardworking people more, you will expose yourself to a positive energy and be inspired and encouraged to live full out and achieve great things. Choose who you surround yourself with wisely.


10. You live in the past.


If you live in the past and dwell too much on what was, you deny yourself the ability to fully be present in what is. This negatively affects your productivity and leaves you feeling less happy and performing sub-optimally. Accept that the past has already happened, learn from it and move on. That way you grow from strength to strength. If you have suffered in the past, recognize that you are here today and you can make tomorrow better. Failure and setbacks are a part of success. Nobody ever truly succeeded without failing at least a few times. The trick is to learn from your setbacks, rise up again stronger and keep trying. Failure is only guaranteed when you quit.


11. You are too preoccupied with pleasing people.


Nothing destroys the spirit and makes you feel unworthy and unsuccessful more than constantly comparing yourself to others and trying to please people all the time. If you are a people-pleaser, just stop it. You cannot please everybody and shouldn’t even try. If someone makes a judgment about you or your way of doing things, it doesn’t make it a reality unless you agree with it. The buck stops with you. Be the master of your own destiny. Listen to and learn from others, but make your own decision.


12. You allow yourself to be victimized.


Many of us are too timid. We shy away from trying and let people walk all over us when we try. If you’re always quiet, passive and allowing people to take advantage of you, they will do it ruthlessly and mercilessly. And you will always feel and be less successful than you should be. Be strong and aggressive. Don’t be a pushover. Stand up for what you believe in boldly. Demand more and say “No” to anything that doesn’t align with your values and dream. In the hyper-completive world that we live in today, you cannot give people free reign to take advantage of you when and how they want.


13. You underestimate the power of play and fun.


The old adage holds true even today, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Don’t neglect taking time off from work to relax and have fun. Fun and play sprinkled with strategic effort towards set goals is what has helped high profile people like Richard Branson become as successful as they are. Make time for fun, rest and relaxation—it’s never wasted time. Besides, what is the point of working hard day and night everyday if you are only left feeling exhausted and frustrated afterwards? Life is never that serious.


14. You take your loved ones for granted.


Your loved ones play a crucial role in your life. If it is not giving you moral support, it is keeping you grounded in reality and giving you the motivation you need to succeed. Taking them for granted is a big, big mistake. If you take loved ones for granted, you’ll be left feeling lost, unhappy and unfulfilled in life. Spend quality time with those you care about and create fond memories with loved ones, including your spouse, family members and friends. Success starts from within. It begins from home.


15. You stopped learning.


When you stop learning, you limit your own growth and hinder your progress towards becoming the best person you can be. And learning entails extracting lessons not just from books, but from your own experiences (both good and bad) and also from the advice and experiences of others, including your juniors and business competitors. Therefore, be open to learning new things. It will help you improve your own life and the lives of others. After all, as Robert Ingersoll said, we rise by lifting others.

See Also: 9 Things Exceptional Writers Habitually Do So Well.


David K. William is a web writer, publisher and designer. Everything he writes is inspired by life experiences and study. David is also founding editor of Follow him @DavidKWilliam.

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