2 Toxic Behaviors Holding Good People Back

Angel Chernoff

When you spend a decade working with and coaching thousands of people from around the world, you really can’t help but observe what works and what doesn’t work over the long haul. One thing I’ve learned: It’s not intrinsic characteristics or good fortunes that have the greatest influence on whether or not you’re happy and successful in the end. It’s your behavior.

What do I mean by “behavior?” How you react under stress. Whether you decide to meet your commitments or not. How you communicate and interact with loved ones. Your attitude toward bosses, colleagues, employees and customers. How hard you’re willing to work to do a job right. Whether you’re focused and disciplined or scattered-brained and distracted. And the list goes on.

Now, I admit to having known some pretty dysfunctional people who did well for themselves for a little while. But sooner or later, usually when the pressure is mounting and things aren’t going so well, they exhibit self-destructive, toxic behaviors that bite them in the rear. And sadly, they often take others down with them.

If you want to thrive in life, you might want to take a good, hard look in the mirror and see if any of these behaviors describe you, and then take small, consistent steps to self-correct if necessary…

1. Believing and insisting that life is simply too hard and too unfair

The truth is, it’s just as easy to create positive habits as it is to create negative ones. It’s just a matter of how you spend your time. You can spend it doing things that bring you closer to your goals, or you can spend it seeking immediate comfort. People complain, “It’s too hard to exercise every day!” But exercise and movement are joyful, natural conditions that make us feel incredible. It’s not hard – it’s just that people get in the habit of not exercising.

If this sounds like you, break the habit. Realize that you are where you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past, and your future depends on the choices you make today. You can choose to sit, or you can choose to run. You can choose to watch another sitcom, or you can choose to read another chapter in a great book. You can choose to act on opportunity, or you can choose to sleep in. There’s nothing hard or complicated about it, other than the way you’re thinking about it.

2. Procrastinating on everything, again and again

Lack of confidence and discipline, mixed with unrealistic expectations of rapid success, fuels long-term procrastination. Many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create and indulge in conditions that make success impossible – a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle. The best thing you can do for yourself is to break this cycle – stop saying “I wish,” start saying “I will,” and then go do something about it.

The world isn’t going to dominate itself. If something doesn’t have space in your day, it probably won’t happen in your life. Knowing isn’t enough; you must apply! Willing isn’t enough; you must DO! And if all you can do right now is a little bit, do it. Those little bits will add up. Value that is built over time, in small increments, tends to be value that also lasts for a long time.

And of course, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone. We are all in this together. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and keep our lives on track.


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