1. “That’s impossible.”
Unless you’re talking about pigs literally flying (and hey, who knows what science will come up with, nonbelievers!), there is nothing that is impossible. You actually can do anything you put your mind to, with enough determination and effort. Sometimes, it just takes a new perspective.
But claiming that something is impossible when it totally is possible is just limiting your own potential for success.
2. “I can do it all by myself.”
You can do anything you set your mind to, but sometimes, you need the help of others. Teamwork is essential with certain tasks; or, sometimes, you just need the support of others to help you achieve. Only unsuccessful people think they can do everything all by themselves 100% of the time.
3. “That won’t happen for me.”
Say you want to apply for your dream job. But 100 other people around the country have applied, and only one person can get in. In a situation like this, this phrase is deadly.
Only unsuccessful people say this, because it’s a phrase that rationalizes letting go of your dreams and goals. One person will get that job. Why not you?
4. “Jane is so ahead of me in life.”
This is a phrase that floats through the head of many, myself included. It’s hard to see people around you who seem like they’ve just got everything together when you’re not even sure which way is up.
Successful people know that this doesn’t have to do with their self worth. Rather, it’s about what stage they’re in during life. Successful people just use those ahead of them as inspiration keep on going—not as a point of comparison.
These people are simply at a different stage than you are, or perhaps on a totally different path than you. Don’t compare your Chapter Two to somebody else’s Chapter Nine.
5. “I have a problem with that.”
Sometimes, roadblocks will come; a member of your team will need a few days to rest, or a business you’re working with will take longer than you expected to complete a task. Though it’s important to stand up for yourself, it’s also important to be flexible. Getting angry when things don’t go exactly to plan just drains you and the people you’re working with.
6. “Don’t forget the details.”
When an artist is drawing a model, she doesn’t start the whole piece by obsessing over the fingernails. She makes a rough sketch of the whole body first, then starts to make it a little more realistic, and then worries about little details at the end.
When a concept feels bigger than life itself, and you’re concerned about all of the little details, it will seem overwhelming to your teammates—and you’ll just be seen as nit-picky. Details are important, but they’ll come in time. Keep everything in perspective, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
7. “I like my own idea.”
You might have come up with a great idea, but someone else could have an idea to add to it that makes it unbelievably excellent. On the other hand, you might have a good idea, but an aspect of your idea doesn’t work and is holding it back. It’s important to be open-minded.
8. “I don’t need your input.”
Yes, you do. You always need input. Only unsuccessful people claim that they don’t need advice and constructive criticism. Why? Because successful people know that they aren’t perfect, and they thus value the opinions of others who may see a flaw or a hole in their plan.
9. “I already know that.”
So someone tries to help you out with a piece of knowledge you already know or have already noticed. What good will snapping back this quip really do? This is a statement that simply hurts the morale of the team. It’s never been constructive.
Successful people know that, and they avoid it at all costs. Something they might say instead is simply, “Yes, thank you.” You don’t want to frighten anybody into not giving you the constructive criticism you need.
10. “Let me check my schedule.”
Let me start this off by saying that you don’t want to burn yourself out. I’m not saying that you should say yes to everything that comes your way.
Rather, I’m saying that this statement makes it seem as though you don’t have time for someone. If someone needs to meet with you or is trying to help you, saying this phrase will make them feel as though they’re unimportant, and you don’t value their time—that you’re just trying to fit them into your already-crowded schedule.
A better response might be, “Yes, that would be great! Let me figure out the best day I can do that, and I’ll get back to you.” Positivity is key.
11. “You must be wrong about that.”
This is a statement successful people always try to avoid. It’s not only dismissing somebody’s point of view, but doing so immediately, without even looking into the problem. You know what they say about assuming!
This person came to you giving you this advice. They might be right—and even if they aren’t, they were simply trying to help you. A better response would be, “I’ll look into it—thanks for telling me.”
12. “I can’t.”
Again, this doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything. You’re only human.
However, this is a phrase that should be negated from your vocabulary when you’re trying to achieve a goal. It’s the same as “that’s impossible”— except you’re using it referring directly to yourself. If you don’t think you can, why should anyone else?
Simply saying “I can’t” is dismissing a whole realm of possibilities. If it’s something truly important that will help you to be successful, yes, you can. If not, say, “That’s something we can consider later in the game.”
13. “Nobody can see my work until it’s finished.”
As a writer, if someone asks to see my work, this phrase is at the tip of my tongue—but now, I hold it back. If you’ve got a good idea, great. But once you start to work on it, it’s important to let others you trust see it.
After all, a whole new perspective is important, because they might see a gaping hole in your plan that you didn’t—one that makes everything you did afterwards null and void.
14. “There’s no time for me to relax.”
Did you know Bill Gates loves to play golf? Warren Buffet plays the ukulele. Meryl Streep spends a huge amount of her time knitting. Leslie Knope has time to eat a lot of waffles.
Life might seem busy, but successful people know that it’s essential to allow yourself time to wind down with an activity that has nothing to do with your goals. It’s important to recharge and let your mind relax every now and then so you don’t burn out.
15. “It’s not fair.”
Only unsuccessful people use this phrase. Not only is this phrase harping on the negative, but it’s attributing any failures or botched attempts to outside sources—to fate.
It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not. And successful people know that sometimes, things don’t work out the way you think they will. But they move on and keep trying, while the unsuccessful plop down and pout.