There is lot of advice on what we should be doing to be successful. This essay instead focuses on things we should avoid. If you avoid the following then you will not only find success but your success will be more meaningful:
1. Worry about things not in your control
A lot of energy goes in our thoughts. If we put our energy into non-productive thoughts then we take it away from thoughts that could be more productive. If you catch yourself spending too much time worrying about something, ask yourself the question: What can I do about it? If there is something you can do about it then force yourself to put this down on paper and elaborate your ideas. If nothing can be done then force yourself to stop thinking about it. Or better still discuss your worry with somebody else who may help you think of something you may be be overlooking to solve the issue.
2. Aspire for things that feed your ego
We spend a lot of our energy spinning on a wheel of ego-driven desires. It makes sense to step back and question our motives. Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? What do I want to get out from this? Many of our actions are done with the false belief that when we satisfy the needs of our ego then it would make us happy. Be warned: Feeding the ego is like feeding a bottomless well. Ideally our actions and energy should go only in the following three directions:
i. To meet our very basic needs for food, shelter, and security.
ii. In the search of the deeper Self.
iii. In the service of others.
3. Compare yourself with others
When we compare ourselves with others we put ourselves on this dangerous path of trying to get what they have. This may come from the ego that cannot see itself lower than somebody else. Or it may come from a false belief that may see others as happy and think that one may gain similar happiness when we have what they possess. True happiness comes from within, and not by being one-up over others. Resolve to stop wasting even an iota of energy in trying to compare oneself with others.
4. Unable to hold opposing thoughts in your head
It is easy to be blindsided when we are unable to treat our ideas as mere hypothesis. When we get too attached to our ideas we are in danger of going on the wrong path for too long. Instead if we cultivate humility and are prepared to discuss opposing ideas openly and to test things out to prove our ideas, then the danger of a painful correction down the road may be avoided. The ability to bear the discomfort of having opposing ideas in your head is a key skill that you must cultivate to be successful.
5. Wish bad things for somebody
Our egos cannot take it that somebody else is happier or more successful than us. If others seem to flaunt their possessions or hurt us we want to retaliate. Without knowing it we then commit to spend our energy to bring them down. We spend endless hours in gossiping or conspiring to show the person in poor light. Not only is this a lot of wasted energy, it can easily prove to be counter-productive. The ability to hold on to hurt caused to our ego without retaliating is very important to our long-term happiness and success. This is because action arising from a hurt ego is the single biggest source of drama and wasted energy in our lives.
6. Have too much clutter
It is easy to wander in a mall and pick up stuff that may not be necessary. Every time you get an urge to buy something ask yourself: Do I really need this? Can I do without it? Having too much stuff adds to clutter and causes loss of focus. If you have something then you have to take care of it. Why waste energy on things that one does not need? The ability to focus is important to success. Do not allow your energy to be diverted in different directions. Simplify and reduce clutter and you will see that it will become easier to focus and succeed
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