Let’s be real.
You’re not as satisfied with yourself as you wish you were.
You wouldn’t be reading this article if you were.
You see those people you aspire to be like everywhere…
Those confident people who live life by their own rules and create the life they want.
Those happy people who always seem to have a smile on their face. Those successful people who always seem to be planning their next big move.
They light up every room they enter. Women flock to them like magnets. They live amazing lives. And people like you just watch them in awe.
Every day, people everywhere fantasize about becoming the confident, happy person of their dreams. The problem is, they either don’t know what the first steps are to getting there, or they refuse to put the work into getting there.
Most people look for some quick fix to their problems, like some simple quote to tattoo on their arm, thinking that “living by” or a singular “golden rule” will change their life.
The truth is – happiness, success, confidence – these aren’t just some simple events that just happen – they’re all processes in life – and it has just as much to do with what we aren’t doing as what we are doing.
There are a bunch of little passive tendencies and bad habits that are holding you back from becoming the best version of yourself.
I’ll level with you – just about everybody knows these things aren’t “good” traits to have, but they rarely realize how detrimental it is to their growth.
If you’re lucid enough to already recognize what your problems are – you’re beating half the crowd already. Most people don’t even know the tendencies they have that are hindering their growth.
They don’t fully understand the consequences of allowing these bad habits to fester like a disease in their character.
Luckily for you, the first step to becoming the best version of yourself is recognizing these traits – and I’m going to spell them out as clear as day for you.
Once you’re able to recognize these tendencies that are present in your subconscious – you won’t be able to forget them.
You’ll be so anxious to kick these habits that you’ll see your mindset positively change right before your eyes.
So without any further ado, here are the 13 toxic habits you must drop to reach your true potential.
1. Non Stop Complaining
This one’s a no-brainer. If you consider yourself a grown man that is out of the age-range that we classify as “toddler,”… STOP WHINING.
Life isn’t fair.
Get the fuck over it.
Complaining has zero positive impact on your life.
You waste valuable time, you put yourself in a negative state of mind, make yourself really unattractive, and repel people like magnets because frankly…
No one else cares, nobody wants to hear about it.
Not your best friends.
Not your mom.
Not your girlfriend.
What your “harmless” whining does is create a victim mentality in your head, which leads to an undeserved sense of entitlement.
People who let this sense of entitlement dominate their psyche tend to avoid the realities of life – stopping growth right in its tracks.
The reality of life is – no matter how special and unique you think your problems are, there are millions of other people who are going through the exact same shit as you, and millions more who are going through worse.
The sooner you can recognize this truth, the sooner you can reclaim control of your life.
And the sooner you will develop the motivation and backbone to fix your own damn problems.
Take a second to appreciate every single advantage that you were blessed with, and realize that there are thousands if not millions of people who would kill to be in the position that you’re in today.
People have accomplished far more with far less than you…
So quit bitching and own your problems like a man.
2. Excessive Partying or “socializing”
Ah, I bet you were hoping this point wouldn’t be on the list. I was the same way. Pure denial.
I used to be the definition of excessive partying. Half-ass my work week, constantly thinking about letting loose and getting completely wrecked that weekend.
Friday night finally comes (and goes) in a drunken haze. Lay in bed hungover all day Saturday. Get smashed again Saturday night. Lay in bed hungover all day Sunday. Better yet, hair-of-the-dog it and hit Sunday brunch. Crawl into work Monday, thinking about nothing else but blacking out again the next weekend.
You might not think you’re an “alcoholic” per-say, but if you center your life around something that you can’t do without (i.e. getting smashed every weekend), it’s a form of addiction. And there’s no such thing as an addiction that won’t hinder your growth.
And forget about labels for a second. You don’t have to be a straight up “alcoholic” or have an “addiction” for it to be bad for you – grow up and take a hard look at yourself. If your behaviors aren’t beneficial to your goals, have the courage to put an end to it.
I’m not saying you have to stop drinking and occasionally going out with your friends. But you should definitely be able to identify if your constant partying and drinking habits are a detriment to your growth and a distraction to your goals.
Let me tell you from personal experience that freeing myself from the constant need to get drunk or high every weekend was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.
I literally felt like I was not only adding extra days to my life health-wise but adding extra hours to my weeks efficiency-wise.
You aren’t in high school anymore.
Don’t be someone who lives only for the weekend. Do the fucking math. That would make you someone who lives for 2/7’s of their life.
I’m no mathematician but that sounds like a pretty shitty ratio of life enjoyment.
There’s some unspoken idea in our society that leads us to believe that we are “entitled” to going crazy on the weekends. Because we work five days a week, we get to let loose on the two days we get off.
It’s a really unhealthy, un-motivating mindset.
You should be finding out how to make every single day of your life something you’re more excited for than getting shit-faced without an obvious goal. A lot of people don’t even realize that they’re living for the weekend… Don’t be one of those people.
Your liver will thank you. And so will the women in your life – trust me, they’ll notice. If you want to take it one step further – learn to become the best possible version of yourself and a hundred times more fun and social with this 30 Day Challenge.
3. Putting Too Much Clout On Other People’s Opinions.
Listen, we all need mentors and friends. But don’t get to the point where all you do is take others’ advice just because you feel the need to please them.
Or even worse, you only take their advice so that if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted – you can just cop-out and avoid taking full responsibility for your choices.
Or even worse than that, you still feel the need to ask people for permission to do things.
Listen, no one’s going to grant you permission to follow your wildest dreams.
A common example – most people feel the need to have their parent’s blessing to pursue something.
Your parents love you – but the only things they have in mind for you are safety and comfort.
Your dreams sound insane and risky to them…
They would probably feel more comfortable with you taking that safe desk job that’ll allow you to eat and sleep comfortably.
Recognizing the fact that your goals and your parent’s goals for you won’t always align is a huge, uncomfortable stage of growth that just about everyone has to go through at some point.
Make your own decisions, and bear the risks and consequences that come with them. No one makes every decision perfectly. But no one knows you better than you, so quit relying on everyone else to make your decisions.
Choose your own path. Accept failure when it comes, recognize it, analyze it, and move on. The earlier you can recognize these uncomfortable truths, the better. I wish I had known a lot of these things a hell of a lot earlier.
Speaking of accepting failure…
4. Making Excuses and Blaming Others For Your Own Failings
When I was in the 3rd grade, my friends and I were in a really intense dodgeball battle against the 4th graders. It was super important. Our pride as 3rd graders were on the line.
It was really coming down to it. Everyone was screaming and going crazy on both sides. Somehow, I heroically got one of their best players out – the crowd (when I say crowd it was probably like 6 girls and a teacher) went wild.
The rest of the game, that best player, let’s call him Jake, kept tormenting me. Screaming at me, making fun of me, saying stuff behind my back – typical 4th grader.
I got rattled. And subsequently received a painful ball right to the face. He broke up laughing and got all of his friends to join in on the laughing.
In a pissed off rage, I did the unthinkable, I yelled an unspeakable word back at him –
The “crowd” went silent. He immediately ran off to tell a supervisor.
I was so fucked…
I got called over to the supervisor, who happened to be a really cool guy that ended up being one of the bigger role models in my easily-molded youth.
Before he could say anything, I started spouting off every excuse in the book. Blamed every 4th grader who’s name I could remember. I knew if I didn’t somehow get the blame off on someone else quick, my mom was going to get mad at me and ground me (we all know that’s basically the end of the world).
He quickly told me to shut up. He told me to quit blaming everyone for everything. Quit making excuses. Everyone heard me say the bad word. Quit being a coward. (Him calling me a coward was already pretty off-putting.)
Then he gave me some unexpected advice:
Accept the consequences with a smile.
Laugh about it in front of Jake. Accept failure and its consequences because it’s going to happen a lot in life – and if you do it like a boss, everyone will respect you more, you’ll stand out amongst the rest, you’ll be in a better state of mind to figure out how to conquer the problem better the next time – but most importantly – it’ll piss Jake off even more.
That lesson has stuck with me ever since.
An essential step of growth is being able to own up to our failures.
Failure is good. Failure is a part of life. Failure is an evolutionary step designed to make you a better person.
The problem is it doesn’t feel good for a short amount of time – while avoiding taking responsibility does. But if you never accept the problems as your own, you’ll never learn the lesson that that mistake was supposed to teach you. Excuses and blame are just cop-outs that may sometimes work for you in the short term – but will never help you in the long run.
But if you never accept the problems as your own, you’ll never learn the lesson that that mistake was supposed to teach you. Excuses and blame are just cop-outs that may sometimes work for you in the short term – but will never help you in the long run.
Every failure makes us stronger. So own it like a boss. Take it in stride. You need to have the self-discipline to police yourself into taking failure head on. If you do, you’ll fully be able to analyze what went wrong, and you’ll never make the same mistake twice.
If you don’t, all you’re doing is running in circles.
5. Labeling Everything
A huge problem we have in our world is that people tend to think that the world works in black and white. Good and bad. Right and wrong. (Need an example? Go look at any political conversation on twitter.)
The truth is that life is complicated
It’s a million shades of gray compounded by a million more variables that change every situation.
The more we try to oversimplify people and situations into groups and labels, the more ignorant we become to the reality of how complex life really is.
Our brains tend to label things because it’s easier. Classifying people and situations into broad abstract groups is lazy.
Imagine with me for a second – for the rest of your life, you had to wear a nametag.
You could only put one thing on that name tag – either your race, your job, your religion, or your political affiliation.
Wouldn’t feel so good right? You’re way more of a unique individual with a rich personality full of diverse experiences that led you to become the person that you are today.
And so is everyone else.
People aren’t just Democrats. Or Republicans. Or black. Or white. Or drug addicts. Or plumbers. Or whatever. You get the point.
It took a million unique circumstances for someone to get to that point. The more you learn to be empathetic towards people’s situations, the wiser and more open-minded you’ll become.
6. Jealousy & Comparing Yourself to Others
In today’s age of social media, it’s becoming increasingly hard to avoid comparing ourselves to other people. No matter what you do, you’re always looking at the person that’s ahead of you – whether they’re making more money, partying more, getting more likes, driving a better car, whatever.
Life isn’t a competition.
Not a fair one, anyway.
Everyone has their own distinct path to follow and pace to go at.
Somebody who just became a CEO at 24 might die at age 50.
Somebody that’s 50 might have finally received their college degree.
Somebody who’s been playing piano since they were 5 may never play piano again even though they had more potential talent than the professional at 30 who makes a living off of it.
Everyone has different goals, different problems, different advantages, and different mindsets – to compare everyone like we’re all running the same race would be insane.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, and knowing it takes constant reminders.
(One of my closest friends just became the first person in our group to buy a house – I won’t lie, when I first heard about it, I got SUPER flustered. “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?”)
Here’s the core key you need to remember:
The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
Become a better version of yourself every day, and you’re on the right track. Don’t compare yourself to other people – they’re playing a completely different game than you.
Instead, learn to be happy for the successes of other people. I’ll admit, this is a hard thing to do if you’re the jealous type.
If this is something you struggle with, stop spending so much time on social media, and more time outside, focusing on yourself and your goals.
Realize that EVERYONE on Instagram is flexing, trying to make their lives look as perfect as possible.
We tend to forget that no one posts pictures of their problems, insecurities, and everyday struggles. We build these people up to be perfect in our mind, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
So stop putting people up on a pedestal. All of your favorite celebrities fail and trip and fart, just like the rest of us. The shit you see on TV and social media isn’t the real world.
Concentrate on yourself. Again, if it helps, realize there are a million people who would kill to be you and the position that you’re in. Appreciate every blessing that you’ve been given, stop focusing on other people’s lives rather than your own, and get to work.
7. Bullshit Goals That Aren’t Your Own But “Societies”
Are you becoming a doctor because you want to be a doctor or because your daddy wants you to be?
Listen, you need to make goals that are your own, not just to please the people around you.
Life is fleeting as hell – YOU ONLY GET ONE. Are you seriously going to spend the best years of your life chasing someone else’s goal?
Will you really let them put you in a box and determine the rest of your life?
Take a step back and ask yourself the most basic questions – “what do you want in life?” “How do I define success?”
If what you’re doing doesn’t follow your core as a man, have the courage to give it up. The sooner you do, the sooner you can stop wasting time and start living your own life independently.
Wasting the prime years of your life following someone else’s goals should give you massive anxiety. Nothing breaks me up more than watching those videos of old people saying they regret the biggest decisions they made in their youth because they were scared of taking control of their life.
Declare your independence now, or wait until you’re old and dusty to realize you never lived a real day of your own life.
8. Toxic Relationships
Friends, family, lovers, it doesn’t matter who they are. If the people you hang around with aren’t helping you become the best possible version of yourself, you need to ditch them. We beat this quote over the head on this site, and for good reason:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” -Jim Rohn
Surrounding yourself with people who are just “fun” or “comfortable” is a trap. “Fun” and “comfort” are for kids who don’t have real goals yet.
Surround yourself with people that make you think. People who challenge you. People who take you to new places. People who see things in fresh perspectives. People who care about your passions and goals. People who inspire you. People who work their asses off for their own goals.
Seek out mentors and innovators that you aspire to be like. Trust me, you’re not going to become the best version of yourself by simply reading these articles on the internet, keeping it to yourself, and then going back and hanging out with the same people who bring you down.
No one can succeed on their own. We all break down from time to time – find those people that will help you get back up.
The nasty truth about this one: Sometimes you have to be selfish when it comes to this.
You don’t owe it to people to please them if they’re holding you back
I get it – it’s tough sometimes. You feel like you’re being a bad friend, and you don’t want to be “disloyal.” But ask yourself if spending your time doing the same dumb shit all the time is worth you not reaching your full potential.
(spoiler, it’s not)
9. Your Need for External Validation
Say this to yourself
You need to stop spending so much time trying to impress people and their ridiculous standards. Here’s that over-used but extremely relevant quote that seems to be flying around everywhere:
“There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” – Nigel Marsh
The only validation that will make you really feel accomplished and fulfilled is your own. Ask yourself what it’s going to take to reach your own goals and your own vision for your future. Maybe you aren’t at that point yet – no problem. You may not have reached your goals yet, but you’re DEFINITELY enough for everyone else.
You’ll find that even if you do waste all your time and energy trying to gain other people’s “validation,” it’ll feel empty once you get there. There’s nothing to it. Many times it’s a never-ending game with no real goal or reward.
There’s always someone who won’t think you’re good looking enough, or skinny enough, or ambitious enough, or strong enough.
Gaining other people’s validation is like living your life trying to jump through hoops like a dog rather than climbing a ladder to your own goals. The second you jump through one of them, three more are going to pop in their place.
Those hoops are standards that they probably don’t even care about. Just passing judgment they never even gave a second thought about in the first place.
Set your own goals for yourself, work hard to reach them, and impress yourself.
This is your world. They’re just living in it. Be the person they need to impress.
10. The Luxury of Criticism
If you’re spending your time criticizing people that don’t affect your life in any meaningful way, it means only one thing – you have too much free time and not enough goals and ambitions.
It’s the god damn DEFINITION of “first world problems.”
There are people in our world who work their hands to the bone, 20 hours a day to have just enough to feed their families.
They don’t have the luxury of criticizing people who affect them in no way.
If you find yourself seriously getting worked up about the fact that Instagram models are making more money than you, or that a TV show that you don’t even watch is too inappropriate, or that your favorite restaurant has to cater to vegetarians now –
You have too much free time my friend.
Busy yourself with worthwhile goals and hobbies that matter to you, and you’ll find that all that stuff you used to get worked up about actually doesn’t affect you at all. There ain’t enough time in the day for you to get mad about stupid shit like that.
You don’t have (or want) the luxury of criticizing people.
11. Believing You’re Not Up to the Challenge & Overthinking Everything
Your mindset is the most powerful tool at your disposal – this can be both a positive thing and a negative thing.
The good news is that you get to choose which one it is.
When you choose to be confident and believe in yourself, there really isn’t much that can get in your way.
But just the same, when you allow self-doubt to enter your mind, you won’t even give yourself a chance to succeed. NOT A CHANCE.
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford
You’re in control of the conversations that go through your head. The second you start allowing any sort of self-defeating talk into your psyche like “you’re not good enough” for something, guess what:
It’ll become true. Your mind is powerful enough to will something into existence.
At least give yourself the chance to try before you force yourself to fail, right? Don’t deceive yourself into believing something is harder than it is. You have no idea what you’re capable of, so stop hindering yourself from discovering what you can really do.
If obnoxious-ass Lavar Ball can have so much confidence that he literally wills his son onto the Lakers, you can muster enough self-confidence to conquer your everyday goals.
12. Leaving it to Others to Make Decisions
When I was a kid, I used to think “adults” had everything figured out. I would never have to take the lead on a situation, even if I knew the right answer. There would always be “someone else” to take the lead, to raise their hand in class, to take the reins of a situation.
Growing up, I learned the painful truth that most adults are just older kids. They’re just as clueless, just as scared, just as satisfied to let other people take the lead.
Don’t be one of those people.
Be the person that takes initiative. Enforce a leader mentality in your head – know that your opinion carries as much sway as anyone else’s.
Realize that the “leaders” that are supposed to run the world comprises of everyday people like you.
This will make you stand out like crazy against the hordes of nervous sheep waiting for someone to tell them what to do.
“Indifference” isn’t a neutral trait. It’s a negative trait disguised to be harmless.
“Not caring” doesn’t make you cool. It makes you seem like a beta with no ambition.
Letting other people make all the decisions doesn’t make you “nice” or “chill” or “laid back.” It makes you seem like a pussy who will let anyone walk all over them.
If this wasn’t already obvious, women like men who make decisions without hesitation. Here are some less obvious things that attract women like no other.
Women want a leader. So lead.
Don’t be the guy who makes his girlfriend choose where to eat every day.
Doesn’t matter who you are – everyone has procrastinated on doing something important before.
The amount of disservice that procrastination does for you and your goals is monumental.
The longer you procrastinate or avoid doing something – the more time you have to think about it. And that is not a good thing.
Like I said earlier, your mind is extremely powerful. When we procrastinate, we tend to slowly build the event up to be worse than it really is. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to do it and the more painful it actually becomes. You’ll find when you train yourself to take action quickly, it often isn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be.
Right now is the least painful it will be to do whatever it is you’re dreading.
On top of that – we’re all grown adults with busy lives. Convincing yourself that you’ll make time to do something later is a lie.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of yesterdays.” – Meredith Willson
On a more critical level – the last thing you want to procrastinate on is chasing your dreams. You can make every excuse in the book.
“I’m not good enough yet.”
“I need to wait for the right time.”
“I have too much going on right now.”
I’ve experienced this first-hand. My whole life I’ve said I wanted to start writing – start a blog – start an online company. But I kept convincing myself that I wasn’t ready – that I wasn’t smart enough to do it yet. I wasn’t a good enough writer. I didn’t know enough about business.
On top of that – I had other friends who had already started blogs already, which made me feel even further behind the pack – which, counter-intuitively – made me procrastinate even more.
I would often tell myself that I wasn’t procrastinating. I was just a perfectionist – I wanted my product to be absolutely perfect before I released it.
Yeah that was bullshit. I was scared.
Anyways, after a combination of self-reflection, depression, and anxiety pushed me to quit my jobs, I ended up traveling to SE Asia for four months to “find myself” (cue everyone’s eye-rolls).
In the middle of Indonesia, at one, dark, lonesome part of my trip – I decided to say “fuck it.” I was just going to make some makeshift website – write a bunch of my thoughts out – and just share it with the world.
The response I got blew my mind. I thought maybe 2 or 3 family members would read it – instead I got tons of responses, applauding me for taking the leap, applauding me for finding this new hobby and talent.
The bittersweet thing was, I knew I had this hobby and talent for years. But I had wasted so much time overthinking it and procrastinating. I was kicking myself like crazy for not having started earlier.
All of the insecurities I allowed my mind to manifest were all bullshit. All figments of my imagination.
Sometimes, you got to turn your brain off. Your brain doesn’t like doing scary stuff outside of your comfort zone.
Procrastinating makes it a lot harder to turn that part of your brain off. You’ll picture all the reasons why you shouldn’t do something. Whether they’re true or not – it doesn’t matter.
There will ALWAYS be reasons not to do something.
I was waiting for some divine intervention to tell me that IT WAS TIME for me to become a writer. Some once-in-a-lifetime miracle sent from God to tell me NOW was the time to act.
Repeat this with me.
THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
No one is going to give you permission to follow your dreams. Nothing is going to drop out of the sky to tell you that you’re perfect for the job or that the time to chase your dreams is now.
The only way to start is to start.
You get permission to follow your dreams the second you make the simple decision that you are going to do it. You are the divine intervention that you’ve been waiting for in your life.
Trust me, the second you make the decision to chase your dreams, you’re going to think –
“I can’t believe I waited so long to do this.”
But you’ll be happy knowing you didn’t wait a second longer.
Remember that confident, awe-inspiring person from the beginning of this article?
YOU are that person. You just don’t know it yet.
Everywhere you go, you’ll feel people’s eyes drawn to you.
You’ll feel perpetually confident in whatever you set your mind to.
None of the small things will bug you.
Men will ask you what your secret is.
Women will be drawn to your confidence.
You have a ridiculous amount of potential, and you know it. Those happy, successful people that you admire so much – you really aren’t so different from them.
People say learn to be satisfied with the person they are. I say fuck that. Strive to become a better version of yourself, every single day. Why? Because it is 100% in your power to do.
Ditching these bad habits are going to take you far out of your comfort zone. That’s the point. If you’re serious about becoming the best version of yourself and truly living a happy and fulfilled life – you’re going to be ditching your comfort zone quite often. Get used to it.
Stop waiting for life to throw you a bone, and start taking the first steps to reaching your potential.
Grab life by the horns and choose to be the kind of person you dream about being.
You won’t regret it….