The Top 13 Things Successful People Don’t Do

Published: Jan 24, 2019
Modified: Mar 25, 2020

By Farrah Gray

There are zillions of articles on the must-do's of successful people. But there are also things that successful people don’t do, and these can be just as important as the “do’s” on your path to success.

Successful people don’t:

  1. Spend time feeling sorry for themselves. They take responsibility and don’t complain. After a setback, you’ll hear them say, “Oh, well.” Then they move on.
  2. Cringe at change. They instead embrace change and consider it a challenge. To them, an environment filled with the possibilities of change is the best to work in because it is energizing and can bring out the best in people.
  3. Acquiesce their power. They understand that their strength revolves around the way they respond to situations. Power means keeping control of your emotions and actions, and that is not something you want to put in anyone else’s hands.
  4. Spend time or energy on stuff that is out of their hands. A successful person doesn’t often whine about long lines, traffic, or other nuisances. These are things they can’t control, and they realize that spending precious time and energy thinking about them is fruitless.
  5. Fear risk. It’s not that they will recklessly jump into something; they take calculated risks. They weigh the benefits verses the risk before they either go all in or step away.
  6. Worry about what others think. That’s not to say they won’t speak up or defend their position. They just tend to be fair and even kind as they navigate their way through a situation where someone could get upset. It’s called "finesse."
  7. Make the same mistake twice. Successful people learn from a failure or loss and don’t let it happen again. They won’t try to get different results from the same actions.
  8. Live for glory days. They don’t dwell on things that happened long ago and far away. They make their biggest investment in creating a fantastic present and amazing future!
  9. Give up. Ever! They consider failure a chance to improve, not give up. For them, failure is a learning experience that will contribute knowledge toward eventually reaching their goal.
  10. Envy others. This is a big no-no. Successful people do not resent other people’s success. They show genuine happiness and use the success of another to fuel their own quest.
  11. Avoid time alone. Actually, they enjoy some alone time to reflect and plan ahead. While a successful person does enjoy the company of others, he/she can also be content to sit alone and read or rest.
  12. Expect quick success. They are in it to win it, and they understand that could take years. Patience is indeed a virtue! They don’t expect immediate results, whether it’s with a weight loss program or a business venture.
  13. Think they are owed something. Just because they have a college degree or have achieved a certain level of success, they don’t feel that the rest of the world owes them anything—whether a big salary, fancy title, amazing benefits, or free lunch. They are always ready to work long and hard for what they want.

You can learn more about how to succeed in these AMA seminars: 
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®

Moving Ahead: Breaking Behavior Patterns That Hold You Back

About the Author(s)

Farrah Gray Raised in the impoverished South Side of Chicago, Farrah Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. At 21, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Allen University. He was named as one of the most influential black men in America by the National Urban League. For more information and to get a copy of Gray’s eBook Comfort Is the Enemy of Achievement, visit