Why You Sabotage Your Success and Limit Your Potential

In my 20 plus years of teaching personal development to thousands of people, I’ve found that most people have two cardinal sins that limit their success.

So what are these self-sabotaging habits?
I’ve found that most people want to:

  • Always be right
  • Always look good

Does this feel familiar in your own life?

As you probably know from your own experiences, it’s nearly impossible to always look good and always be right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning this stuff in my own life.

The funny thing is that even though I’ve taught this stuff for two-plus decades, I still find myself experiencing these feelings as well. Just because I know the content, doesn’t mean that I am immune to operating in oblivious non-compliance with them at times.

In this post, I want to share a little more on these two statements so you can try to avoid them at all costs.

Two Self-Sabotaging Habits That Are Holding You Back

As I mentioned, the first one is always trying to be right. The other is to always look good in front of others.

So why are these such bad things in life?

Let’s start with number one, the need to always be right. Personally, I don’t know anyone, myself included, who likes being wrong.

So I pose the question, what is wrong with being right?

I’ve found that it depends on the situation and how the above mentioned “needs” are like kryptonite. Trying to always be right has made it tough on my relationships and therefore, my leadership abilities as well.

Now, are there times when being right is a good thing?

Of course!

For example, when I am accurate on a budget or when my mechanic correctly diagnoses my vehicle problems, that’s fantastic. But when I “need” to be right, I become destructive and it can be extremely detrimental.

Similar experiences happen when I always try to look good. When you’re always trying to appear polished in front of others, you often miss out on so many great learning moments.

Because here’s the thing. You can’t always look right. Sometimes, you will fail, stumble, and struggle. That’s just part of the process. As Les Brown once said, “You have to fail your way to success.” And you can’t do that when you’re always trying to look perfect.

Communication 101

Did you know that you are communicating something in every action and word that you speak?

When your communication becomes so strong that you “must” be right, the only place for anyone to join you is if they are wrong. And 99% of people don’t like being wrong.

For example, consider what happens in our relationships with loved ones when you are convinced that you are right and won’t even listen to another person’s perceptions. It almost always creates a difficult conversation where no one is the clear winner.

When we believe we are ‘in the wrong’, we may feel guilty, belittled, anxious, regretful, dumb, ashamed, inadequate, incompetent, not loved and so on. It’s a massive hit to the ego.

Oppositely, how does it feel to be right?

You probably feel strong, capable, powerful, righteous, and correct. You feel totally justified, superior which is a much better feeling than being wrong.

As you can imagine, the “I’m right, you’re wrong” can take shape in many different forms.

It might sound something like:

  • “Really”
  • “Never mind I will do it myself.”
  • “Why do you never listen to me?”
  • “Haven’t we gone over this before.”
  • “See, look what happened… I told you!’
  • “Here, give it to me, you don’t know how to do it!’

There are an infinite amount of ways of communicating the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ argument. Some of them are non-verbal as well.

Whether it’s posturing in a specific manner, rolling your eyeballs, criticism, or straight to persecution. I think that you can probably agree, it’s time for a change.

In fact, you might not even know it, but you could be playing this game with yourself. You might say things like:

  • “Why am I so stupid?”
  • “Why do I even try anymore?”
  • “What’s the point, I never do it anyway.”

Sometimes, a reminder that no level of stress you are under is a qualifier to grab this kryptonite. I know out of self-discovery and observation, which are a constant work in progress, that it’s just not worth it.

Life is all about constantly growing and developing as a human being. I am still learning and growing and have found that the more control I have over these needs, the better my outcomes. Getting control over the limiting beliefs about yourself and others is the key to continue to take back the power.

Wrapping Up

What are the beliefs you have that are causing you to be needy in the ways listed above? Who are the people in your life that are paying prices for these mistakes?

What are the things that you want to do that will never be accomplished if you keep touching the kryptonite? What do you really want to commit to being right about?

While these negative habits might be hard to face, it’s well worth the time. These two emotions can greatly limit your potential and hold you back from achieving greatness. Take some time and look inside yourself. I bet you will be able to spot times where these have held you back.

Doing this will increase your self-awareness and hopefully, avoid similar situations in the future. Move past these self-sabotaging habits and take control back in your life!