What’s the one thing successful people never do #blindpost

by Jeff Hilimire on July 19, 2013

This is a blindpost from the article, What’s the one thing successful people never do, by Bernard Marr. Sticking with the blindpost rules, I didn’t read his article until I finished my post.

In fact, do me a favor and before you read this, think about what you think might be the answer. What do YOU think the one thing successful people never do is? Then share that with everyone in the comments of this blog so we can bat it around.

It was tough to think of the one thing that people don’t do. Much easier to think of things that people DO that make them successful. I started by making a list of things that might work but quickly whittled that list down:

Make huge mistakes. The really successful people are always taking chances, and not just small ones. Here are some of my big mistakes. It’s mistakes that allow for success to happen, and if you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

Doubt themselves. Nope, they do that. They always bounce back, but they can doubt themselves at times.

Quit. If the timing is right, they quit. They don’t quit because the going gets tough, but they might quit if the experiment isn’t working or they can no longer change the place they work, etc.

Support and nurture those around them. While I wish this was the case, we’ve all heard of people that absolutely bully and tear down the people around them to make them or their company great. Ever heard of Steve Jobs?

Then it hit me…

Successful people never…do it alone. They always have people around them that they can rely on, that help them focus and keep them pointed in the right direction. That could be terrific partners (like these guys – Raj, Danny and Raghu). That could be mentors (like this guy). Or it could be family that supports them (like these people).

That’s not to say some don’t try to do it alone, but in my experience they’re never as successful as they could be. There’s no chance I would have had the success I’ve experienced without the people I linked to above. No chance. Do I believe in myself? Sure. But do I believe I am better when I’m surrounded by people I can trust, by people that add to my skills, by people that believe in me? Damn straight.


Ok, so I finished this post and then read Marr’s article to see what he said. He says that successful people never “give up”. I think it depends on what you mean by “give up”. There are times when successful people have to give up because there are immovable objects that prohibit them from succeeding. It can be the very act of giving up that allows them to be successful. There are tons of examples of entrepreneurs that started one thing, realized it wasn’t going to pan out, shut that thing down and started the new thing that made them famous.

What do YOU think the one thing that successful people never do?

Feel free to read more blindposts if you’re interested.

  • Dave

    I think that is still not a giving up path. They did a pivot but still at it. Didn’t go back to corporate America for example. Also, I would say that they are not lazy but always thinking, working, expanding themselves, and others. Persistence does pay off. Another one is not take risks as something they don’t do – no risk no reward. And, as we used to say at 360i dot com days, they are good at dodging icebergs!

  • Steve

    My first thought was dwelling on mistakes made– i.e. living in the past. Mistakes will be made, as you said, but learn from them and move forward. Key is- always move forward.
    I like your thought Jeff- the most succesful leaders have teammates, not subordinates. Having great people who share your vision is crucial.
    Although I agree with Mr. Marr’s post (and it somewhat parallels my thought), it is a basic conclusion. If any of the people listed in the piece had stopped what they were doing for any reason, we wouldn’t know their names.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    DW, yes! I remember you talking about dodging icebergs back in the day. If you ever want to write more about that I’d be thrilled to post it on my blog. Bet you have some good stories to go along with it.

  • Kevin Smith

    My guess was that successful people never settle. But I suppose, whatever your guess, it ultimately depends on your definition of “success”

  • Laurie

    I’ve yet to meet a successful person that allowed others opinions to discourage them.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    “Never settling” is a terrific one. I could argue it over what I wrote. Damn dude, you might have one-upped me.

  • Donovan Panone

    Successful people don’t just talk about ideas. They find ways to move those ideas into action.

  • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

    I think successful people never try to play the victim. They don’t blame circumstances or the people around them when things don’t turn out as planned. They take responsibility/ownership and actually use those learnings for their next project or endeavor.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    “Never play the victim”. Terrific, you’re 100% right DH.

  • EJ

    I’ve observed that successful people (in life) avoid a negative attitude and don’t entertain negative responses to circumstances…even the worst of circumstances. Successful people intuitively understand that embracing negativity limits your own options and opportunities as well as those (i.e. your family, your team) around you. If you can’t be positive for yourself…who will?

  • EJ

    Jeff, just read your list and totally agree with the ‘not doing it alone’ but partnering with people you trust. In addition, I’ve noticed how important cultivating and leading stakeholders is in large, matrix organizations…like IHG. This isn’t a negative or positive statement…just a reality in most large organizations. In my view their is a huge, success-impacting difference between just managing stakeholder and actually leading stakeholders to a shared success.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Thanks, EJ, totally agree. I was talking to a colleague yesterday about the difference between “leadership” and “management”. Sounds like you’re talking about something similar and I’ve seen that as well in regards to managing against shareholder value vs. truly leading. It’s a slippery slope and it requires bravery and commitment.

  • EJ

    Agree with your application of the ‘leadership vs. management’ challenge above. Executive’s typically focus their organizations on short-term business priorities and goals. It seems most timeframes are getting shorter and shorter…somewhere between business planning for the next calendar year and next quarter’s results. I think it’s always been the exception when companies truly invest in long-term planning, dreaming or visioneering over a 7+ year period.

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