The Three Habits That Keep People From Success

The Three Habits That Keep People From Success

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to pretend to be some life guru a la Tony Robbins or anything like that. The reality is that I’m a 28 year old Millennial that’s trying to figure crap out just like the rest of us. Life is hard, and anyone who tells you it isn’t is straight-up bogus.

But with my “reach” through this site (which is quickly getting closer to 100,000 people every month), I’ve been exposed to a lot of different viewpoints and conversations lately. Whether it has been readers from CNBC and Yahoo or the tens of thousands that have seen my Facebook sponsored ads, I’ve taken something away from every interaction.

People are surprisingly candid online. It’s honestly shocking. I’ve seen everything from detailed financial situations from people I don’t know to explicit life stuff that I personally don’t think I’d be comfortable sharing. Out of all of those things, I’ve noticed trends from people that aren’t getting what they want out of life (or more importantly feel like they aren’t getting what they deserve).

Here are three habits you should avoid if you want to get ahead:

1. Fear

I don’t think I could do what you did“.

I can’t try something like that, it’s too scary“.

That’s not safe enough for me“.

Whether it’s aggressively trying to be better at money, or something as big as switching careers, I’ve found that the vast majority of people let fear guide their decisions (and life) rather than intuition, reason, and courage.

If your job freaking sucks and you hate waking up every day, you can do something about it. If you are continually crushed with credit card debt or keep finding yourself struggling to get by because of your decisions…you can change something.

I don’t think everyone should quit their job to run a website like I did. I don’t think everyone needs to live through the awkwardness of moving in with their in-laws. But I DO think that people need to step out of their comfort zones as often as possible.

2. Complaining

I see complaints all the time. People are so mad that the government loaned them too much money. They are mad at the job market for Millennials. They’re mad at me for saying new cars generally aren’t a stellar investment.

The problem with complaints is that nobody gives a shit. The market doesn’t care about your wants; it only cares if you can produce. That’s true for so many things in life, and once you understand that reality it truly makes everything a little more simple.

If you find yourself complaining a lot about your situation in life, you might want to focus that massive amount of effort into doing something that actually matters. If you find yourself AROUND someone that complains a lot, remove them from your circle as quickly as possible.

3. Downplaying how special life is

We really get caught up in some stupid crap sometimes, don’t we? I think social media exaggerates this, but I’ve seen the most ridiculous arguments about things that don’t matter at all.

Every day you wake up, you’re in the bonus round. Period. I don’t know if it was experiencing the loss of someone very close to me last year or if it’s just a product of getting older (30 is looming), but I truly wake up and try to appreciate everything I have.

Every. Freaking. Day.

It takes effort, but I can guarantee that it’s the biggest reason I’ve been able to achieve the amount of success that I have in the past two years. Life is finite. It’s fleeting. It’s special. I keep that with me as much as I can.

That’s why I’ve done crazy things that most people are afraid to do. It’s why I try to catch myself when I want to complain.

The overall message here is that having a positive outlook and habits matter. Not just for your money, but for your sanity as well. There’s something to be said for being successful, but there’s much more to be said about being successful AND happy in my opinion. If you truly want to be successful, you have to walk the walk every day of your life until you get there.

Question for you:

What do YOU think holds people back from success?


Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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32 comments… add one
  • Mimi Jan 11, 2017, 7:56 am

    Bobby, fear is it! Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of shame, fear of what people think, fear of failure, fear of success, etc etc etc.

    Here is what I say to fear:
    We all experience fear. It is how we control it, or completely block it out, that counts. The best thing to do is remember that if we had fear when we were babies, we would never had learned to walk. The fear of falling down (failure) was not with us then. We didn’t know to worry or fear that. Sooooo, we must adapt that same lack of fear. As in learning to walk, and we fell down a lot before we finally took off, we must remember that if we fall down, we can certainly get up. Many people who are successful now had many failures first. It is part of life.

    Then again, some people are meant to have the courage and balls to get up and try again, and some just complain and stay down. You have to ask them; are you a victim in life, or are you a survivor in life?

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 9:31 am

      I totally agree – we all experience fear! Quitting my job was THE scariest thing I’ve ever done. I woke up in the middle of the night after I did it and had a full-blown panic attack (first one I’ve ever had). But…that goes away, and then you have to figure out how to make it.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Jan 11, 2017, 8:07 am

    It’s funny because all of these habits are the opposite of being positive and intentional. I’m trying to make an effort to stay positive, especially when life tries to get me down.

    I think mental barriers get in the way of people’s success. That can take the form of fear or even stereotypes. For example, I was really resistant to the idea of walking to work. In our city that’s a sign of poverty, and plus I was a prissy person who liked showing up to work in a dress and heels. I finally ate a slice of Humble Pie and it all worked out. In fact, walking to work saved us at least $10 in car costs each time I walked to work (after the cost of a car + gas + insurance).

    You just have to get over the “Oh, I am so not doing that” mentality. Doors start to open after that point and you realize things aren’t ever as bad as they seem.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 8:50 am

      That’s a sign of poverty in your city? That seems so strange! I’m sure you’re saving a ton of money now!

  • Ms. Montana Jan 11, 2017, 8:18 am

    The complaining drives me nuts. I am putting together an offer on my site, but one of the rules is “NO complaining!” Or excuses. It’s a waste of my time and theirs. Obstacles are great. I can work with obstacles. Because for those, we can find solutions. I’m great at looking for solutions. But people addicted to complaining and making excuses rarely want solutions.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 8:51 am

      Haha I love that! Yes, I’ve learned that some people just don’t want solutions as well.

  • Mrs. Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 8:36 am

    I think the number one thing that holds people back is fear. The fear of failure. Unfortunately, this fear gets stronger, the older people get. Speaking from experience as a young Gen-Xer. The more obligations people take on, family, children, etc., the most they are responsible for the well-being of others. Quitting a full-time job with a dependable salary and good health benefits suddenly becomes almost impossible with a family. Take it from me, take the chances in life when you have all the time in the world on your side. When nothing is holding you back and no one is depending on you…DO IT!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 8:52 am

      I agree – I knew I would be more afraid to take the leap of running my own business the older I got. That’s one of the great things about having mentors that are older than me! Gives you perspective.

  • The Accountant Jan 11, 2017, 8:44 am

    Number 3 is so key. It’s coming up on 10 years since my best friend from college passed away in a car accident and in the short time I knew her, she understood and appreciated life so much more than I did. We were both on the swim team, and she never once complained about how hard practice was or joked about quitting. She was so thankful that we were college students (she was the first in her family to go), and more importantly college athletes, and she was able to realize that not everyone got the chance to do what we were doing. She never took one second for granted. I keep that in the back of my mind when I’m having a horrible day, and I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be able to even wake up because she doesn’t get to do that. It’s what keeps me going. Great post!

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 8:54 am

      Thanks! Yeah it’s just something that’s hard to describe if you haven’t lost a close one yet. But realizing how good things actually are is so important. I think if people just started there they would be much happier!

  • Deryl Jan 11, 2017, 9:17 am

    Great post!!

    4. Comparing ourselves to others–this is a TRAP!

  • Mike B. Jan 11, 2017, 12:10 pm

    I just offloaded my new car through a peer-to-peer rental program. You would be proud, M$M! I credit a lot of this decision to your posts here, and overall message. Thanks for helping this older millennial out with his finances. No more car-lease payments!

  • Financial Panther Jan 11, 2017, 1:28 pm

    The thing that holds people back from success is just not getting started! How many of us read blogs and think, we want to start one too. Then what percent actually go around and do it? This is basically true for anything in life. We’re always telling ourselves we’ll get started tomorrow, and then every day, tomorrow becomes the next day and so on and so on. Step 1 to success is just getting started right away!

  • Ace Trainer Tojo Jan 11, 2017, 7:14 pm

    I know a bunch of complainers only complain because things frustrate them. They never change them because they are actually comfortable with their situation most of the time. They would rather be somewhat comfortable with some complaining every now and then than take the risk to have it fixed.

    For me and my credit card relationship, I am afraid to cut myself off cold turkey. Instead, I have been slowly winning myself off of them. Last year was about regaining control. This year has been about slowly limiting my use. I know it’s slower, but it eases the fear. It has been making it easier to take a bunch of little brave steps instead of that giant leap. I’m not much of a leaper.

    • Millennial Money Man Jan 11, 2017, 7:51 pm

      Sounds like you’re getting close. Everyone is different, just doing something puts you ahead of most.

  • Mike Jan 11, 2017, 7:18 pm

    Great advice. I try to do one thing every week that scares me. Last night it was water polo. First time trying team sports since I was 14.

  • Mrs. COD Jan 11, 2017, 7:51 pm

    I’m nodding yes firmly to all of these, but especially #3. Life is a gift and it’s so brief. The brevity of life is what should also prompt us to avoid fear and complaints and do all in our power to make our lives the best they can be!

  • Centsai Jan 11, 2017, 9:28 pm

    This was a great article and I especially agree with you that fear and complaining hold you back from achieving success! Another one I can add to this list is having an entitled mindset. People just assume they can get anything they want (financial or nonfinancial ) and that needs to stop. Knowing that you have to work hard to earn what you want allows you to succeed!

  • Nancy Hoyt Jan 11, 2017, 9:39 pm

    Great article Bobby. You are wiser beyond your years. Always a leader, never a follower!

  • Jason Ritchie Jan 12, 2017, 11:29 am

    Attitude, especially in entry-level work or beginning something new. The people that succeed are the ones that look at things and say “I’m thankful I have this opportunity. I’ll learn what I need to learn, keep in mind that it’s not forever, and then move on”. The ones that look for every possible negative and then broadcast them via forums or social media are the ones that will be complaining about how awful things are from the exact same place they started out in. Or in a new place they’ll never move up from.

  • Jeff Jan 12, 2017, 3:54 pm

    i heard a small business coach say: ” Do it Scared!”
    That stuck to me. Do it while your scared…a little.
    THAT is a great motivator. The next time, will be better than the first and so forth.
    Good stuff!

  • Dara Lin Jan 31, 2017, 11:11 pm

    It always fear the one who keep us moving forward to our dreams and goals. But if we keep on believing and embracing it in a positive way it gives us fuller, more rewarding life and key to succeed in life. Thanks for this article an encouraging one. 🙂

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