I used to be pretty desperate for attention. I’d pester all kinds of successful people in emails, phone calls, even letters in the mail, so they’d work with me and help me with my work.
But no one ever really helped me. And now that it’s been several years since then, I can see why: I kept doing the following five things.
1. Have A Bad Attitude
A bad attitude guarantees you’ll never achieve massive success.
Your success depends heavily on who you associate with; most people don’t realize you repel successful people if you have a bad attitude.
Your level of talent and “potential” is irrelevant if you’re surrounded by people who don’t help you realize it.
Most people adapt to whatever environment they find themselves. Since most people’s environments are set up to produce mediocre results, most people’s lives look mediocre.
True success starts with attitude. In the words of James Allen, “As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains.”
If you believe you’ll be successful, you’ll condition your mindset to attract success. But if you have a lazy, negative attitude towards your growth, odds are you won’t experience much success in anything.
Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association. Who you spend time with has an enormous impact on your attitude, and therefore, future success.
2. Complain Instead Of Taking Responsibility
If you want to consistently become friends with highly successful people, start taking responsibility for everything in your life.
Very few people in the world are living life on their terms—a life defined by freedom of choice, meaning, and fulfillment.
This is because so few people are willing to take full responsibility for their life. Grammy award-winning performer Kendrick Lamar once wrote, “I want the credit if I’m losing or I’m winning.” This mentality is not common, because it’s risky—what if you lose? There’s no one else to blame.
Have you taken full responsibility for your life? Are you in charge, or is someone else calling the shots?
If you complain more than you take responsibility, you’ll repel successful people. This is because successful people take responsibility for everything in their life. As best-selling author Hal Elrod once wrote, “The moment you accept total responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the day you claim the power to change ANYTHING in your life.”
If you complain about things in your life you can control but don’t want to—your income, your mindset, your behaviors—it’s like broadcasting over a megaphone, “I want things to be given to me, and I won’t stop complaining until that happens!”
Not a good look. Successful run from people with those messages.
Don’t complain; instead, take responsibility for everything in your life.
3. Gossip And Make Fun of Others
If you want to achieve massive success in your life, you’re going to need the support of other successful people. No one can go the distance alone. As the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go with others.”
These relationships dictate the success—or failure—in your life.
And if you’re a gossip and constantly make fun of others, you’re not going to have great relationships, which is a death sentence for your future.
I used to be a gossip, especially at my old job. I hated myself for doing it, but it was one of the only ways I felt I could connect with my coworkers.
I wanted to get raises and promotions and be respected by my peers, and I thought I could get there by bad-talking others behind their back. But the problem was, once you talk behind someone’s back, people start to wonder if you talk about them behind their back.
Successful people avoid gossip and mean-spirited criticism. My relationships have gotten way better since I stopped gossiping and focused on helping people instead.
4. You Take More Than You Give
When I first started writing, I used to send silly emails to all kinds of high-profile authors, speakers, podcasters, and influencers, basically asking them to promote me. It was selfish, and no one ever got back to me (for good reason). No one likes dealing with a taker.
“The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers,” Adam Grant wrote in Give and Take. If you’re always trying to take more than you give, you’re not going to end up successful. Remember, you need successful people around you to succeed, and you’ll repel people if you always take and never give.
A funny thing about giving—you have to actually be able to give something. I used to get angry at people who wouldn’t accept my help when I offered it. But looking back, I wasn’t really offering anything, just some generic, “I can help with projects or whatever.”
I get these requests all the time in my inbox. One guy recently asked me to promote his book to my tens of thousands of readers, and offered to “scratch my back if I scratched his,” promising to promote my book to his readers.
Know how many readers he had? Around zero.
I didn’t bother responding.
Don’t take more than you give. Work to actually be able to give something of value and successful people will be more willing to accept your help.
5. You’re Stingy With Your Money
Years ago, I went to a few “entrepreneur meetups” at a fancy downtown hotel.
At the time, I wasn’t making any money from my writing—most of the other members were making thousands of dollars a month in their personal businesses.
I remember they asked me what online tools I was using, what platforms and providers I had for my email, website, and products.
Well, I had nothing. I used the free version of everything. I didn’t have any products. I had nothing in common with them, because they had invested in themselves and their business, and I was stingy and didn’t buy anything.
Look, you don’t have to spend your money on all kinds of unnecessary junk to look successful—in fact, that’s a guaranteed way to end up broke!
But if you’re stingy with your money, if you never invest in yourself and your learning and your business, successful people probably aren’t going to want to do business with you.
When you start spending money on yourself and others, that will change you. You’ll stop seeing money as a finite, scarce resource and start seeing the benefits of investing in yourself and others.
This is exactly what successful people do—they build relationships by using their resources to help those around them.
Don’t be stingy with your money. You can’t afford to be stingy.
Years ago, I didn’t really know any successful people. I was stingy, selfish, and confused why I was stuck, just like everyone around me.
Now, I’m blessed to know a ton of high-level professionals who are truly successful in their life. I’ve learned a lot from them, and learned how to actually cultivate relationships with highly successful people.
Have a good attitude no matter what. Don’t gossip, help others. Don’t be stingy, work to build value so you actually have something to give.