What bad habits will prevent me from being successful? part 2


IN our last column, published last December 14, in this section, we tried to answer Vanessa J’s question: “Many of your columnists have written about what it takes to be successful.  But there is another side, and there are things we may do that may prevent us from reaching our goals. May we ask you to share this with us?”

We replied that I recently came across two very interesting articles: “13 Things Whiny, Pathetic, Unsuccessful People Never Stop Doing Ever” by Bill Murphy Jr. and “7 Things Really Successful People Never Do” by Minda Zetlin.  Together, they give us pause to think about these self-destructive behaviors that can prevent us from achieving career success and personal happiness.

Murphy has been writing about common habits of successful people, and the reaction of his followers on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In got him thinking about the other side.  “We aspire to be really successful people, he writes, “but do we avoid the bad habits that unsuccessful people demonstrate?”  This article is about “those woefully pathetic souls —and we know them—who squander every opportunity, and then complain loudly about how their lives are turning out.”

Zetlin observes that “there are good habits and not so good ones.  And then there are habits that will actually prevent you from achieving success.”  This, she said, comes from the personal finance site GOBankingRates, which recently used Steven Covey’s bestseller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as a starting point to take a look at behaviors really successful people won’t tolerate.

Collectively, they come up with quite a list that we can keep in mind as we navigate the workplace and our daily lives.  “Great leaders don’t give in to these bad habits,” Zetlin said, “and neither should you.”

In last week’s column, we listed Procrastinating, Blaming, Minimizing, Consuming, Talking…and talking and talking, Assuming, and Naysaying as traits that can make us whiny, pathetic, and unsuccessful.

We will discuss other things that really successful people never do in this column:


1 Malingering.  These are people, Murphy said, who “talk big about the things they’re going to accomplish.  And then suddenly, they’re sick, got a cold, or a phantom health issue they have to care of.”

In short, they are not able to participate, and “they never win gold, silver, or bronze – they’re perpetually in the DNF [did not finish category].”


2 Loafing.  “Relaxing is important,” Murphy said, “but the ridiculously unsuccessful among us are the slothful lurches who seem always to be lying down, letting time pass by, and accomplishing nothing.”

On the other side, successful people will always tell you the importance of hard work in attaining their goals.


3 Equivocating.  These are people who blow hot and then blow cold and you are never sure that they will deliver what they earlier committed.

As Murphy would say, “You were counting on them to do something for you? [Oh, you must have misunderstood.] You were sure they were passionate about their dreams? [You must have been reading into it.] No matter what these people say, you can be sure they will be backing off it later.”


4 Safeguarding.  These are the seguristas who are frozen with fear to take risks.  “There are legitimate times to cut your loses or be cautious,” Murphy said.  “However, the chronically unsuccessful among us are so cowed by the fear of losing what little they have that they never have the courage to try anything great.”


5 Sour Graping.  These are those who always find a reason not to be able to accomplish their tasks, and it’s never them.  Whatever it is they couldn’t accomplish, Murphy said, “They later spout off a reason—they really didn’t want it, it wasn’t really important to begin with, he or she wasn’t that great anyway.”


6 Quitting.  Whatever goal they might have for themselves, “they decide later that it’s too hard, or it’s too unlikely to succeed, or it’s just not worth the effort,” Murphy said.

“It’s pathetic,” he added. “By definition, truly unsuccessful people can be trusted to do only one thing: Consistently fail.”

We hope our column has been of help to you, and good luck in your work.


PR Matters is a roundtable column by members of the local chapter of the UK-based International Public Relations Association, the world’s premier association for senior professionals around the world. Millie Dizon, the senior vice president for Marketing and Communications of SM, is the local chairman.

We are devoting a special column each month to answer the reader’s questions about public relations.  Send your comments and questions to [email protected].

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Millie F. Dizon is the senior vice president for marketing and communications of SM, as well as the chairman of the local chapter of the United Kingdom-based International Public Relations Association (Ipra), the premier association for senior PR professionals around the world.PR Matters is a rotating column of members of the local chapter of the Ipra.PR Matters is devoting a special column each month to answer readers’ questions about public relations. Send your comments and questions to [email protected]


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