3 popular “success tips” that actually backfire and hold you back

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We all want to be successful, whatever that means to us. But it’s hard. And of course it is, if it wasn’t hard everyone would be successful. So we think maybe, just maybe, a few tips couldn’t hurt. Right?

Actually, yes, some of them do hurt. Because some of the most common success tips are myths that backfire and get the opposite results. Here’s 3 of the tips you should not follow.

1. Visualize yourself where you want to be...

Sounds like great advice, right? You have to be able to “see it” if you’re going to make it happen. It just seems so logical. And, after all, isn’t “visualizing” success what all successful people do?

Apparently not!

Tests show that these types of visualizations have the exact opposite effect. Our brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s visualized, which is why nightmares can be so horrific. So the more you visualize, the more satisfied your brain feels and the less motivated you become to actually do the thing.

Instead, create an achievable expectation of yourself. To write for an hour each day. Or paint once a week. Or whatever. Make a plan, set a time and expect yourself to work the plan. Step by step. Day by day.

2. Seek an accountability partner…

We lazy humans need our feet held to the fire, right? Like, if you tell your best friend about that novel you’re going to write, she’ll ask you about it over and over until you get off your butt and do it, right?

Wrong again…

A series of tests show that when you share your dreams, you’re less likely to work on them. Much like the visualization myth, the lazy mammal brain gets the same buzz from sharing a goal as we do from actually accomplishing it. The more you talk about it, the less likely you are to actually finish it.

Instead? Keep your goals secret. Write them down. Plan tiny steps that are workable. Share what you’ve done, not what you’re “going to do.”

3. Feedback helps you grow…right?

It’s best when people guide you through the process of building expertise, right? Feedback is good for you. You’ll learn from it. Right?

Nope again. In most situations, tests show that feedback causes confusion and makes it more difficult to make decisions instead of less difficult. Doesn’t even matter if it’s positive or negative feedback, it still hampers discernment.

Several popular books disagree, but what don’t people disagree on? Opinions are subjective to begin with. If you like feedback, go for it. If you don’t, and they make you question yourself, feel welcome to ignore them!

Thanks for reading and have a great day…

Top writer. Featured in NYT, Forbes. https://lindac.substack.com/

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