Your future self will thank you.

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It hurts me to see people unable to achieve their goals. But, I know life can be challenging, and our school system does not do a good job preparing us for real life.

Tom Bodett

In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.

So, it is important to learn how to chase greatness and avoid repeating other people’s mistakes.

Here are the reasons why most people fail in life.

Information Overload 🔗

There are unlimited options in the world today. With growing options comes increased choices. The more choices we have, our ability to act and succeed decreases.

In his book, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” psychologist Barry Schwartz confirms that “Choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them.” So, at one point, you need to stop learning and start doing.

Tom Waits confirms Schwartz’s thoughts, “We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.” So stop assuming that more information is better.

Information overload leads to choice overload, and choice overload leaves you in a constant state of fear of missing out (FOMO). This is a bad place because it pushes you to seek more information and question every decision you make.

How to stop information overload: 🔗

Read, write, and reflect daily, but to succeed in life faster, you have to answer these questions after every book you read, a podcast you listen to, or a deep conversation with someone.

  1. What did I learn today?
  2. How can I transform the information into a tool?
  3. How can I use the tool to succeed in life?
  4. Am I committed to using this tool daily?
  5. What is the smallest next step am I committed to taking?

Overthinking 🔗

Overthinking is an epidemic. There’s no vaccine for it, and FDA has not instructed pharmaceutical companies to find a cure for it.

Overthinking activates the automatic negative thoughts in your head. Instead of thinking of possibilities, you start thinking of limitations. That is why Jayson Engay has a clear rule for his life,

Don’t get too deep. It leads to overthinking, and overthinking leads to problems that don’t even exist in the first place.

The habit of overthinking destroys your decision-making process. Although sometimes you have to make an instant decision based on the available information, that does not mean that you act recklessly. It just means that you are ready to move forward.

The more you think about a decision, the more doubts seep into your heart and mind.

Five ways to stop overthinking: 🔗

  1. Distract yourself, shut down overthinking by involving yourself in an activity that brings joy to your heart.
  2. Practice meditation. It has been proven that meditation helps clear your mind by turning your attention inward.
  3. Kill the ANTs. Dr. Daniel Amen coined this term in early 1990. It means Automatic Negative Thoughts. He advises his patients to kill the “ANTs” as soon as they realize that negative thoughts control their behavior.
  4. Exercise mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being when your body and mind are in the same place at the same time. It is about focusing on the present moment without judgment.
  5. Think about the big picture. When you think about the big picture, your end goal will become more evident with every decision you make. This is because you stop dwelling on problems and focus on solutions.

Setting Too Many Goals 🔗

Everyone I meet seems to have too many ideas and too many goals. It seems that our culture is addicted to “More.” Everyone wants to do more projects, meet more people, and visit more places.

Having too many goals gets you stuck. It drives you to overthink and collect more information, leading to stress and confusion. Therefore, it is better to focus on no more than three goals and no more than one big project.

How to focus on your most important goals: 🔗

Dorie Clark wrote an article called, Don’t Bog Yourself Down with Too Many Goals and she gave a framework to avoid goal overload.

  1. Make sure your goals are aligned with your strategic vision. You should not have competing goals.
  2. Create a “goal timeline.” If you have three goals, you should craft a detailed timeline to help you choose which goal you should work on first. However, you should never be working on more than three goals.
  3. Identify a “keystone goal.” Once you define your most important goal, you should focus on completing first. Achieving this goal makes others’ dreams seem easy to accomplish.
  4. Force yourself to work towards the goal for a predetermined amount of time. Protect your deep work, and work on your goals every day to make progress.

Working in Isolation 🔗

If you want to succeed faster, learn how to work with other people.

The power of collaboration lies in combining talents. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

You want to work with people who have three kinds of skills: 🔗

  1. The ability to perform the technical side of the work that you are trying to accomplish. These technical skills can be computer programming or the ability to help you build a deck.
  2. The ability to work well with others refers to this kind of skill, emotional intelligence. For example, can you discuss difficult topics with respect? Can they control their emotions?
  3. The ability to envision a better tomorrow helps you achieve bigger goals.

Working in isolation leads to stress, anxiety, and loss of production. So, if you want to do more and be more, reach out to three people and offer to help them succeed.

You can also join an accountability group. There are many benefits to joining accountability groups.

  1. Weekly check-in. You meet once per week on Zoom or face to face and hold each other accountable about your goals. Accountability is a powerful tool that is often ignored in business.
  2. Sharing resources: When you exchange ideas with other people, everybody wins. You also can’t succeed in business or life without surrounding yourself with people willing to help you and hold you accountable.
  3. Motivation and inspiration. Business is competitive, but you can’t succeed without a collective mind. You need people to motivate you and vise versa.
  4. Problem Solving: When you face a big problem, you need to consult with other people who can help you solve problems faster.
  5. Camaraderie. Knowing that you are not alone is extremely important in life and business. Unfortunately, I think loneliness will be the biggest epidemic that the world will face soon.

Time Value 🔗

Unsuccessful people don’t value their time. They only focus on trading their time for money.

When you don’t value time, you become a chronic procrastinator. Later become your favorite word, and someday will become your favorite day on the calendar.

The importance of time 🔗

There is a story that makes the value of time so clear. I think it is appropriate to share it with you right now.

One day, a young man asked the Buddha, “What is the biggest mistake we make in life?” the Buddha replied, “The biggest mistake is we think we have time.” Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it wisely. You can’t save it, but you can invest it. And once you lose it, you can never get it back.

You will never be successful if you fail to use time wisely. In this article, I talked about 5 Habits To Work Smarter:

  1. Design your ideal year
  2. Create your ideal week framework
  3. Find your big domino
  4. Protect your deep work
  5. Understand Parkinson’s law

These five habits will ensure that you invest your time wisely and get it more done in less time.