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7 blunt tips for underachievers

Tough love.

  1. STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP
    You can’t change the past. You can change your present to affect your future. Stop worrying about the things you haven’t done, the mistakes you’ve made, the opportunities you’ve missed. Look forwards.
  2. STOP LOOKING FOR HACKS AND SCHEMES AND TRICKS
    Guess what? That new project management software won’t solve your problems. Nor will the latest hack of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”.

Nor will the new time management system. And the life hack to save you three minutes on the task you do once a month has just wasted hours of your time in research and implementation. Analysing is often much less efficient than you think.

The new plan to revolutionanise your life and fill your bank account probably won’t work because you’ll give up on it after a few weeks.

Try just getting on with things instead. Try just doing something you’re good at and doing it really, really well.

  1. BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO
    There’s a big difference between…
  • What you’re good at
  • What you think you’re good at but aren’t
  • What you want to be good at but aren’t yet

A lot of underachievement is brought about by denial. You convince yourself you’re good at something which you aren’t, but can’t bring yourself to admit it.

Instead of ploughing away with a pretence of competence, stand back and accept your flaws. Nobody is good at everything. Make changes, outsource, stop. Whatever it takes.

But be honest with yourself. Just because you want to be an artist or a writer or an insurance salesman or a business owner doesn’t mean you have a right to be.

You do, however, have a right to be whatever you’re willing and happy to work hard enough to achieve.

  1. UNDERSTAND WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ACTUALLY IS
    For you, personally. How can you become proud of yourself? What will it take to make you happy? Other people can point you in the right direction if you’re honest with them, but ultimately you have to work this one out for yourself.
  2. TAKE SPECIFIC, MEANINGFUL ACTION
    Don’t tweet that you’re about to start doing something, Do it. There’s an argument that sharing your dreams makes them less likely to happen anyway.

Work out the specific actions you need to take to start changing things. If you want a new job, create a list of companies to approach. If you want to start a new blog, create one in the simplest, quickest way and JUST START WRITING. Better still, just start writing anyway and worry about the website once you’ve done a few thousand words.

Get on with it.

  1. EMBRACE YOUR STRENGTHS
    So many people simply refuse to admit or accept what they’re good at. It’s not arrogant to be proud of a skill you’ve nurtured and developed. When you consider how many people are struggling through daily life, unable to escape the drudgery, it’s almost arrogant and selfish NOT to be proud of it.

Stand up, be proud. Be successful. Be strong.

  1. HAVE A CUP OF TEA / CRY / SHOUT
    Go away from your computer now, for fifteen minutes. Make tea, cry, shout, be angry, do some yoga, shut your eyes and focus on your breath. Whatever you need to refocus your mind. Tell yourself: “the mistakes I’ve made in the past do nothing more than make me stronger in the present.”

Then sit down (or walk) somewhere quiet and calm and interruption free. Or talk to someone you can trust if it helps. Confronting yourself honestly and openly about your life, about who you are and where you want to go, what you want to be – it’s tough.

That’s why most people don’t do it.

Instead they ‘choose’ to drift through life in a morbid haze of underachievement and denial.

You’re not going to do that though, are you?

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