Life can throw us a lot of curves. Our childhood, our parents, physical challenges, early experiences on the job, all indelibly imprint us with bad behaviors that are hard to shake. A woman abused as a child, a man whose father told him he’d never amount to much, a person who lives with insecurity. Big or small, they damage our relationships, the quality of our work, and our chances for success. But there are three specific personality “quirks” that really set people back from achieving all they could become in life. I’m not a psychologist, and don’t have all the answers for fixing these problems, but I’ve discovered that if we can take a frank look at ourselves, and at least recognize the limiting behaviors, it helps us get started on the road to freedom.
Take a hard look at this list, and if you suffer from any of these types of behavior, stop blaming others, and put some effort into making real adjustments. Trust me — everyone else knows you’ve got it, so you might as well fix it.
1. Insecurity. Maybe you felt belittled or unworthy as a child, or fear you’ll never be good enough. Oddly enough, the real problem with insecurity is we tend to be overbearing. After all, the last thing we want is for people to recognize that we don’t know what we’re doing! As a result, we take charge, assume an arrogant attitude, order others around, and become a control freak in the office. You’re driving people crazy and the truth is, you actually look the opposite of the way you want to appear. People notice, so fix it.
2. Negativity. Perhaps the only way you were noticed as a child was finding what was wrong with everything. So today, you feel it’s your job to point out all the ways ideas won’t work. You feel a certain expertise at discovering flaws. Some people know they don’t have original ideas, but at least they can get attention by popping other people’s balloons. The truth is, no one wants to work with a killjoy, and after awhile, people hate even being around you. Objectivity and negativity are two different things. Trust me, the flaws with any project will appear soon enough, and encouragement is a rare commodity. We need people with positive ideas, not negative energy.
3. Refusing to listen. You don’t listen to other people because you’re thinking of what you’re going to say next. You have your own ideas, and the last thing you need to hear is someone else’s. But the truth is, people can see this behavior a mile away, and when you’re not really listening, we can spot it in your eyes. Besides, you’re only keeping yourself from wonderful insight and information. One of the greatest skills you can learn is the art of listening, and when you do, you won’t believe what you’ve been missing.