Leadership

8 toxic habits to give up if you want to be confident and successful

"Fake it till you make it" is a well-worn business cliché for a good reason: Extensive studies show that confidence is highly correlated with success. After all, if you aren't your own best cheerleader, who will be?

Although some people appear to have a natural aura of confidence and success, evidence suggests that it's something almost anybody can build. The process starts with giving up the routines and mindsets that are dragging you down in the present.

Even mega-successful people like Sheryl Sandberg have encountered, and destroyed, what's known as "Imposter Syndrome" and self-doubt by shedding similar bad habits.

Check out how to ditch the habits that are dragging down your success and self-esteem so that you can fly higher.

Give up comparison

"Comparison is the thief of joy." –Theodore Roosevelt

Most of us are in the habit of comparing ourselves to others, and the result is often lowered self-esteem if they're ahead of us. We're all at different starting points and all have different circumstances, so this sort of comparison is useless and toxic.

Instead of looking at others' highlight reels, set goals just for yourself. The only person you should aim to be better than is your past self.

Elle Kaplan, Founder and CEO of LexION Capital
Elle Kaplan, Founder and CEO of LexION Capital

Give up bad body language

Most of us are guilty of getting into a "defensive" stance, like slouching and crossing our arms, when things get stressful and we start to feel less confident in the office. What you might not realize is that this makes the situation exponentially worse.

Studies show that poor body language can greatly reduce your confidence. The good news is that the reverse is also true: Adopting a "Superhero Pose," standing loud and proud, boosts self-assurance.

Give up on what you can't control

When things go astray in life, our natural reaction is to play the blame game with ourselves. Learning from your mistakes is one thing, but blaming yourself for outside forces is a different matter.

Successful entrepreneur Tim Ferriss avoids this by practicing "Stoicism" and only worrying about things that he can change. "This decreases emotional reactivity, which can be a superpower," he says.

Give up negative self-talk

Studies show we say hundreds of words to ourselves every minute. If you're in the habit of talking down to yourself, as many of us are, that's a lot of unnecessary negativity being thrown your way.

Your attitude does affect your success. So, although it's tempting to host a self-pity party, take the time to recognize when negative thoughts do happen, and make a concrete effort to stop them in their tracks. Trust me: a positive mentality pays off big in the long-run.

"The only person you should aim to be better than is your past self."

Give up scarcity mindset

We're often brighter and more talented than we give ourselves credit for, and the scarcity mindset is largely to blame. This mindset makes us think we're limited in our abilities or talents, or that there's only so much luck and success to go around, and it's been proven to lead to a less successful life.

Instead, studies recommend you adopt an abundance mentality to turbocharge your confidence and success. Rather than believing you're only talented in one area, remind yourself you shouldn't be afraid to tackle new challenges. The results will usually surprise you.

Give up on reliving your failures

As Barbara Corcoran once said, "The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves."

Although I'm a huge advocate of learning from mistakes, you aren't doing yourself any favors if you continue to dwell on them. Instead, try to heed Corcoran's advice and just move on.

Barbara Corcoran
Photo by Gilles Mingasson
Barbara Corcoran

Give up pleasing everybody

Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, attributes much of his mega-success to his "unshakable" self-confidence. And this all started with his realization that he didn't have to please others. "The people who care less about what other people think about them tend to have a better life. It's just liberating," he says.

You can't become an entrepreneur or change the game without bothering toxic people. In fact, the greater and bigger things you do, the less likely you are to please others. However, you won't have the confidence to do so if you're walking on proverbial eggshells.

Realize that the people worth thinking about should support you in your efforts, and the rest aren't worth thinking about.

Give up toxic people

"Surround yourself with people who lift you higher." –Oprah Winfrey

Who you surround yourself with can have a major impact on your life trajectory. In fact, it turns out that even sitting in the proximity of toxic people in the office can affect your success and confidence. The good news is that the reverse also holds true: letting people into your life who instill confidence will boost your self-esteem.

Even if you can't change your desk, finding mentors is a great way to seek out others who will point out the amazing traits you don't recognize in yourself. And finding one is a lot easier than you'd think.

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