23 Ways to Sabotage Yourself and Keep Success at Bay

Success. Who needs it? Think about it for just a second and I’m confident you’ll agree with me. Many people fight to be successful without thinking about just how much it will cost them. Become successful at your craft and you will have more demands on your time, more people wanting to connect with you, and more money. Everyone knows that having too much money isn’t the way to happiness! Plus, you’ll have to keep working on your craft and beating yourself up to be innovative. You might even have to write a book or travel somewhere to tell people what you’ve learned that made you successful. Public speaking? If that’s not enough to keep you from jumping onboard the “success train,” I don’t know what is.

Fortunately for you, I’ve got your back! I have some foolproof ways to maintain mediocrity and anonymity. Just follow these steps to nowhere (more like a sidewalk down a back alley than stairs to victory) and you’ll be okay. I mean, you might have occasional bouts of dissatisfaction and misery in addition to the whole no success thing, but you’ll survive for the most part.

1. Be Impatient

The clock is ticking! Look around, there are so many people that are already accomplishing stuff. Most successful people demonstrate patience in the process, but you don’t have time for that. Get impatient, expend minimal effort in accomplishing something that you expect to last 30-40 years. Put in a couple hard days of work or a few weeks of effort and then get frustrated because the results aren’t what you are looking for. This is the formula for stagnation and it will ensure you don’t ever have to deal with success.


2. Be Selfish

Think about yourself first. Don’t spend much time thinking about your audience. This is about you and your pursuit of your craft. It would be rude of your audience to even expect that you pay attention to them. It’s not about them, it’s about you. Just keep that in mind and everything will be decent, at best.


3. Be Lazy Today

You know that you have a lot to get done if you’re going to be successful. So don’t do anything. Maybe just load up the car with your messenger bag, make your way to your favorite coffee shop, order some coffee, and spend a few hours browsing the web. Read some stuff about hustling and how you need to work hard. Watch a bunch of Gary Vee, and then realize that you’ve got to get home and put the kids to bed. After that, be sure to catch a few episodes of your favorite TV show before heading to bed!


4. Set Huge Goals

You know what, do everything I just said in #3, but at some point during your coffee-fueled web browsing, write down an EPIC list of goals to accomplish in the next 30 days, 6 months, and year. Make them MASSIVE (and don’t forget to be impatient). That should cover ya!


5. Undermine Your Peers

This one comes naturally to many people. It’s evident in statements like, “That’s not that hard,” or, “I could do that if I wanted to.” The goal is to minimize the efforts and talents that have allowed your peers to achieve their level of success. You aren’t trying to be successful, and you know deep down that it’s not good for them to be successful either. Making snide comments and justifying their actions and accolades by downplaying them and NOT being happy for them will eventually awaken them to the folly of their ways and save them from success.


6. Be Jealous

This is another invaluable strategy. Did someone you are connected with gain traction and “level up?” Harbor jealousy. Fixate on their success and how you actually deserve to be where they are. Do not, under any circumstances, congratulate them, be happy for them, or wish them the best. These things have a tendency to backfire you right into positivity, and that’s just one more thing you need to avoid on this journey to no place.


7. Be Stingy

Too many people have built communities surrounding their work by being super helpful and providing a TON of value. Giving people more than they expect is one of those age-old principles that typically results in business success. You don’t want that.


8. Hustle (without a plan)

This is such a fun word, hustle. People around the world have latched onto it as the ultimate “hack” that will enable them to attain their dreams and accomplish their goals. In order to leverage this hack for your purposes, you need to be sure that you are hustling without a plan. I like to call this floundering…Being busy simply for the sake of being busy is exactly how you stay on that treadmill rather than getting on an actual path. So, check emails and social media. Spend a ton of time looking for that perfect quote or IG-worthy photo. Take and retake and retake that vlog post before ultimately abandoning it.


9. Inflate Your Value and Contributions

The trick with this one is to boldly think you are doing more for people than you are. What will really help is to develop a superiority complex so you think that all of your efforts are better, greater, and more important than those the people that will be consuming your efforts. You are better than your audience, never forget it!


10. Run Away from Conflict

The point of this exercise is to avoid the shackles of success. When you start to journey towards success, you will encounter difficulties. This is how the greats realize that they are on the right track - not what you want. Instead, when you begin to have trouble with something, stop. Don’t keep fighting through until the conflict breaks or you overcome the adversity. Just avoid all that mess to begin with.


11. Save Important Stuff for Later

Here’s the thing, important stuff is often difficult. If you read #10, you’ll be aware that “hard” is not what you want. So, focus your hustle on other stuff. Don’t sit down and put together an editorial calendar or contact people to collaborate with on a project. Go check your email, clean your fingernails, walk the dog, whatever! Some people say, “save the best for last,” I say “save the important for last (if ever)!” You’ll be a lot happier if you procrastinate. It’s so much easier!


12. Don’t Learn New Things

Close that mind, you might catch a cold! But seriously, if you want to avoid personal growth (a known precursor to success), be careful to get into a rut. The deeper the rut, the better! Don’t read about the basics (like consistency and patience), don’t implement foundational practices, and don’t strive to grow. Remember, stagnant = safely mediocre.


13. Don’t Know WHY

Knowing WHY you are here, your purpose, is really the first step to growth and success and all of its oppression. If you have accidentally stumbled onto your WHY, quickly pick up a couple exciting hobbies that you might viably be able to leverage into a more time-consuming monster - frequently known as a “side hustle.” It is very important that your WHY, if it must be defined, be defined as broadly and generically as possible. The more fuzzy and ethereal your purpose, the more likely you will become distracted along the journey to success and end up back at the beginning.


14. Expect More Than You Deserve

Older generations feel this comes easily to most Millennials. Maybe it does, but if it doesn’t come naturally to you, cultivate it. Look at those that have been working on their craft or their career for 10, 15, 20 years, and expect to be just like them tomorrow. Look at programs, businesses, your audience, and mentors, and expect them to place the keys to success in your hands. DEMAND that they do so. Demand they respect you, buy your services or goods, and sign up for your newsletter. The more demands that you can brainstorm, the better! In this, you want to use a “shotgun,” quantity over quality approach. It doesn’t have to be the best demands, just a ton of them.


15. Don’t Stretch Yourself

One thing to remember when making all of these demands, don’t agree to help out or change anything yourself! Getting outside your comfort zone isn’t something that will be required on your journey. You can just stay in the same place with the same skills, same circle of friends, and same approach. Stretching yourself might actually make you a bit more flexible and result in accidental progress so be careful to avoid that mistake!


16. Don’t Serve Others

We’ve touched on this in indirect ways earlier, but the takeaway is that you are in this for yourself. You aren’t here to help or change anyone’s life. You are here because you do...something...and other people need to know about it. So just constantly remind people that you are an artist, or writer, or speaker, or hustler, or whatever, but don’t ever help them with anything. Doing so might inspire some goodwill with them and they might inadvertently mess you up down the road by reciprocating and doing something good for you.


17. Do Everything the Hard Way

Do you remember that old adage, “Work Smarter, Not Harder?” Well, you want to do the opposite of that. Flip that saying back upon itself and, “Work Dumber, More Lazily.” I mean, if that doesn’t scream, “STAGNANT!!!!” I don’t know what does! Don’t give into the temptation to automate anything, streamline any processes, explore newly emerging tools that might assist you, or collaborate with others that have different strengths than you. Trust me, just don’t!


18. Don’t Provide Too Much Value

Value falls into the category of “Don’t give it, no matter what!” Age-old principles of business are built on the foundation of value. Providing value to your audience or customers is what attracts them to you. It makes them appreciate and respect you. Too much of that and you have a thriving business. Best to avoid providing value entirely. Create for yourself alone, be stingy with your value, and enjoy your peace and quiet. It’s like a vacation from your audience! Who doesn’t like a vacation, right?


19. Charge for Everything

If lacking value is a jab, charging for something that isn’t really valuable to begin with is the knock out punch! If a peer seeks to connect with you to collaborate or something, don’t fall for that mess. They are very possibly looking to build a mutually beneficial relationship and those are death to your independence. Don’t ever give anything away for free. Charge for advice, for behind the scenes looks at your work, for scaled-down versions of your products, everything. If it doesn’t have a price tag on it, it might accidentally provide value. Don’t take that chance!


20. Only Share Perfection

That being said, be sure that you only present FLAWLESSLY executed versions of your work. I mean, you shouldn’t share anything that hasn’t been edited thoroughly a dozen times, polished until it shines like the sun, and has no flaws anywhere. Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a second, that sounds like a great way to make a name for myself!” If you are, we aren’t on the same page. You need to set the bar so high for every single product or piece of content that you produce that nothing will ever make it perfect enough to share. This is the ultimate excuse for delaying the actual release of anything. “Oh, I’m still perfecting it! I’ll be sharing it eventually” That will keep people (and success) waiting on you for as long as you want to string it out! Just keep finding reasons not to share your work, don’t practice in public, and don’t set reasonable standards for yourself. DEMAND perfection!


21. Be Mediocre at Tons of Stuff

If that’s not really clicking for you or if you want to double down to ensure you never get to “perfect,” become a jack of all trades and a master of none. Keep all aspects of every project in-house. Do the design, the writing, the video, the photography, the coding, the marketing, everything. Do it yourself! This will allow you to never fully understand any single aspect of your business because your mind will be pulled in dozens of ways all the time! It’s a genius way to move backwards without feeling like you are actually sabotaging yourself. Win-win!


22. Don’t Invest in Yourself

We’re nearly to the end! The fact that you’ve made it this far is actually quite concerning because it’s telling me that you have some intestinal fortitude and aren’t afraid to keep reading you might find helpful. If you are willing to invest level of effort into this, it’s feasible that you might actually put in some effort to improve yourself. Don’t! Investing in yourself goes back to that whole personal growth thing, and will challenge you to become better and more engaged in your craft. Again, doing so will result in increased success. That’s not what we’re going for here!


23. Never Share a Mistake

Authenticity is huge these days. Being transparent and working to peel back the curtain for your audience is something that is highly valued. Don’t do it. Behind the scenes is behind the scenes for a reason. It shows mistakes, ugliness, or how things really are before you’ve perfected them. Sharing mistakes, being authentic, and being available to your audience inspires trust and makes them like you. Wrong approach. What you want to do is share only the sparkly, pristine versions of fakeness. This is what the truly unsuccessful do most of all. It hides the fact that you’ve not accomplished anything and puts on a false front that looks and smells decent. It takes work to accomplish this, but if you will put in the time, you won’t actually have to accomplish anything in real life. After all, that’s the goal, right!?

There you have it!

The most comprehensive list of ways to lose that I’ve ever written. I’m sure that there are other tips that need to be added, feel free to leave those in the comments - I’d love to hear them!

Here’s to mediocrity and lack of progress! Wishing you all the best of both...