This man lives a successful life

You get depth instead of tips.

What does it take to be successful in life?

So a life in which you feel good.
A life in which you mostly do the things that you want.
A life that, when you look back, will see it as your meaningful contribution to the whole.

Or to put it another way: What do successful people do differently than you?

First of all: a lot of money and always working hard, definitely belongs Not to.

That has Bronnie Ware found out when she asked the dying what they regret most at the end of their lives. There were 5 things:

1. "I wish I had the courage to live my own life."
2. "I wish I hadn't worked so much."
3. "I wish I had the courage to express my feelings."
4. "I wish I had kept in touch with my friends."
5. "I wish I had allowed myself to be happier."


Nothing with a bungee jump, a Tesla Model S or a villa on the outskirts or whatever else might be on many people's bucket lists. Or not having met your dream partner. Or always having the newest iPhone the next day. Or being the first in the office in the morning and the last in the evening.

From a distance of the past few hours, none of these things count.

This of course also means that the many instructions from online marketers on how to become a millionaire with just a few hours of work are misleading. None of the people at the end of their life regretted not having made more money. That could sober you - and relieve you.

If you previously believed that you lack more money for more happiness and satisfaction, you are looking in the wrong place. Like Mulla Nasruddin (a fairy tale character with a migrant background) in this Sufi story:

Mullah Nasruddin was found by a police officer one night. Nasruddin knelt in front of the street lamp near his house and searched the floor for something.
"What are you looking for so late at night?" asked the policeman.
"Oh, I've lost my house key and I can't get into the house without it"replied Nasruddin.
The policeman also knelt on the floor and so they both searched the area around the street lamp together. But they couldn't find anything.
After a while the policeman asked: "Are you sure you lost the key here under the lantern?"
"No, actually I lost it back there by the bushes." replied Nasruddin.
"But why are you looking for him here then?"
"... because it's lighter here."

For a successful life, it is less important to look more hectically, but to look in the right place. Perhaps it is more a matter of trying less and leaving something out rather than trying to achieve what is supposedly missing with all your might.

Here are 13 recommendations for what successful people don't do.

Most of it has to do with stopping something.

1. Successful people have stopped mistreating their bodies.

The trend can be observed in all societies on earth: As soon as people feel better economically, they start to live unhealthily. They become overweight, eat more junk food, more meat - and exercise less because they drive many distances that they used to cover on foot.

Your body is the basis of everything. Treat him well. He is irreplaceable for a successful life in which you feel comfortable. The recipe for this is well known and pretty simple. You only need two things:

  1. Eating a healthy diet.
  2. Physical movement.

I will not give any recommendations here for proper nutrition or the optimal exercise program. Simply because that doesn't exist. General recommendations can be used as an initial guide. But as always in life, you can only find out for yourself what works best for you.

So what would be a first step on how to better treat your body?

2. Successful people do not follow other people's expectations.

When I didn't know what to do after secondary school, my parents advised me to do a banking apprenticeship. "This is something solid, you always have work there", was their rationale. I listened to them and was also quite good at it, but after a year as a bank clerk I was bored to death and hired as a computer operator at IBM. My parents were horrified.

Even when I quit after a year at IBM, I was reluctant to let go. And so it was with the advertising agency. When I told my then-wife that I was going to become an insurance agent, she didn't speak to me for a week. Read about my other professional situations here.

That means: If you want to shape and live your life, you have to disappoint others again and again.
Parents, partners, bosses, employees, friends - maybe even yourself, because you no longer feel like chasing after your demands. Failing others can be uncomfortable, especially if you are afraid of conflict and do a lot to be loved by others. But you are often disappointed by others - and survive that too.

So: think about your deathbed more often. What expectation could you bury so that you do not regret anything there?

3. Successful people do not act and justify it all the time.

Justifications usually have the function of shifting a perceived guilt - onto other people or the popular circumstances. But we are responsible for our actions - and also for our mistakes. This is why an explanation is always better than a justification:

  • “The error arose because I was given wrong numbers. I can't help it. " (Justification)
  • “The error arose because I took over the supplied figures without checking them. I will correct my mistake. " (Explanation)

Sometimes justification should keep us from apologizing. Through justification, we try to explain what we believe to be the right action to be without alternative. It should convince the other that we are right - we "Manufacture" our right itself.

But the other person will usually see through our rescue attempt as a maneuver and sense that something is wrong. We apologize to show that we made a mistake and regret the consequences. Preferably with the wording "I am sorry." And not with "Please excuse", or even worse: "You have to excuse me."

Justifying yourself never feels good because you have your back against the wall inside. It weakens you because you know you want to get out of it. And that costs you respect. Your own too.

So: stop justifying yourself.
When and with whom do you often do this?

4. Successful people do not believe in miracles but in the power of their actions.

“I can walk again!” “You always could walk. You are blind!"

An amazing number of people believe in miracles. In Germany even every second. So hopes for a positive turn in a difficult situation:

  • A passenger crosses himself on approach for landing.
  • Millions make a pilgrimage to Lourdes or to the Easter mass in Rome.
  • Many patients - and their doctors - believe in homeopathy.
  • Parents speak of the Guardian Angel when their child happily survived an accident.
  • Voters hope that populist candidates will improve their living conditions.
  • Lottery players hope for the big win - and that everything will change for the better.
  • Overweight people hope that the new diet will lead to the miracle of "losing weight while sleeping".
  • The SPD dreams of becoming chancellor with Martin Schulz.

Belief in miracles wants to sweeten two bitter laws of life for us:
That we cannot influence or even control a lot in life.
And that chance knows no justice.

What does this have to do with a successful life?
Well, overnight success is a myth. Even talent does not prevent you from the fact that only persistent practice leads to success. Even the “child prodigy” Mozart had piano lessons for many years before composing his masterpieces.

But practicing alone is not enough, as the critics of the 10,000-hour rule have found out. There are also genetic factors and the passion factor.

So, do more of what you want in your life because it gives you joy and gives you meaning.
What could that be?

5. Successful people have stopped wanting to be perfect.

"There's one missing!"

Nothing will ever be perfect no matter how hard you try. Or to put it more conciliatory: “Go for perfection. They are far enough away. "

Perfection is also unnatural and hostile to life. Because the error-free condition would mean a standstill. In a perfect world with just as perfect people without suffering, without hunger, without differences, any drive to do something would wane. Nature also makes “mistakes” all the time, that is, it deviates from the ideal. And only then does diversity and development arise.

The desire for perfection is a man-made construct. Mostly because we overestimate mistakes and interpret them as failures. We learn this painfully through the grading system at home and at school. (Here you can test if you are prone to perfectionism.)

Of course there are areas where perfection is desirable. When I have an operation, I don't ask the chief physician on the operating table either: "Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?" But as you know, that is a pious wish. Can you estimate how many patients in Germany die each year as a result of forgotten surgical material?

And for most things in life there are no criteria for perfection anyway:

  • What is the perfect partner like?
  • What must perfect parents do or not do?
  • How would a perfect head of government solve the refugee crisis?

So: relax. Stop wanting to be perfect. Do your best. That is usually enough. And sometimes not.So what?

6. Successful people don't want to play everywhere.

"How do you look like? Like me?"

"If you chase two hares, you will miss both," Bismarck already knew.

Successful people follow it. They do not experience this as a restriction, but as a permission to go deeper - instead of broadly. Of course, you can become a decathlete. But then you will never get as good as if you limit yourself to one discipline.

No matter whether you have a business idea, a hobby, a conversation or a partnership. If you are fully present in it and dedicate yourself completely to this matter, you will get further than if you get bogged down on several playing fields.

I had to experience this myself when I started drawing cartoon. Although I enjoyed it and many people liked it, I restricted it a lot. I felt that in order to really get better at drawing, it would have been necessary to limit another creative activity. The only thing that occurred to me was blogging. Both together would take too much time.

So, if you didn't play everywhere - what would you focus on?

7. Successful people know that they cannot control everything.

"On a scale from 1 to 10 - how difficult is it for you to let go?"
"Can I keep the scale?"

You can control some things in your life. But you have no control over most of them.
Being able to tell what belongs in which category is pretty important.

However, we often succumb to one Illusion of control. This is understood to mean the human tendency to believe that certain processes can be controlled, which can be proven but not influenced. For example, people who can choose their lottery numbers themselves estimate their chances of winning to be significantly higher than those who are assigned their numbers at random. The illusion here is the belief that one can influence a completely random result in some way by choosing the “right” numbers.

It is also an illusion of control when we Recognize patterns where there are none. That is why people believe that they can see “streaks of luck or bad luck” at slot machines or at the roulette table. Stock market gurus discover supposed patterns in the "technical analysis" of price developments. Conspiracy theories in the world economy and politics are also so popular because they feed the hope of gaining some control over important but difficult to influence developments.

When you can't control something, you have to trust:

  • Make sure the pilot isn't drunk or depressed.
  • That the drivers in the opposite lane are not staring at their cell phones.
  • That we wake up again tomorrow morning.

So: practice trusting yourself when you cannot control something but also cannot avoid it.
Relax with the phrase: "It will be fine somehow."

8. Successful people leave things that don't get them closer to their goals.

Being successful in life has a lot to do with clarifying what is really important to you.
And then reserve the necessary time for it. It helps to focus, otherwise you will get bogged down.

  • If you want a child, you will not be able to pursue your career in the same way as you would without a child.
  • If you want to write a book alongside your job, you will probably have to sacrifice some vacations.
  • If you want to meditate for 1/2 hour or do yoga, you have to get up half an hour earlier.
  • If you want more time to read books, you can watch less TV.
  • If you are doing distance learning at the same time, you have to cancel some party invitations.
  • If you want to see your son's most important years, you have to get out of the office sooner.

Even if you compromise to want two things at the same time, you have to learn to delimit yourself and your life more often. Have to No say about tasks, commitments, activities, or requests that are brought to you by others. That can be pretty uncomfortable. And it will only work in the long run if you know the goals for which you are making these sacrifices.

So, what goal would you give a lot for?

9. Successful people spend little time with people who do not get them anywhere.

As a student, I lived in a 3-man flat share, two of whom jogged every morning. Guess what I did after a month? The The people we surround ourselves with have a greater impact on you than you may realize. This is because we copy certain behaviors from these people. We are literally infected by our environment.

So create an environment that is more useful than harmful to you. That doesn't laugh at your ideas and ideas, but accepts them or maybe even shares them with you. Surround yourself with people you can learn from and who inspire you in a positive way.

Because sooner or later, the people you spend most of your time with will contribute to how you become.

So go over in your mind the people you spend time with and see how you feel about them.

10. Successful people forego wanting to be loved by everyone.

About the subject there is here is a longer article from me.

One learns to be overly nice in the family. As a baby you are born totally selfish. Believes the world revolves around you. And most of the time it works. But as the child gets older, it experiences that it has to adapt. In being with other people, with parents and siblings.

In many families, arguing or not being in a good mood is considered a serious sin:

  • "What kind of face are you doing again?"
  • "Anyone who screams is wrong!"
  • "If you are so nasty, I don't love you anymore."
  • "If you're so selfish, you won't have any friends later."

On the other hand, it can be that you learn that being kind and helpful are highly regarded and praised. As adults, they quickly feel responsible for making others feel good, but often only fantasize about what the other actually wants. They are good at putting their needs on the back burner, orienting themselves towards what others expect and being neglected in doing so.

Above all, they definitely want to be popular and have not learned to say "No!"At the same time, they also expect others to show consideration for them, but without letting you clearly state their own needs and desires.

So, stop wanting to be loved by everyone, because that will usually make you lose respect.


11. Successful people don't waste their time.

Do the following experiment. Take such a yardstick. Shorten it to three inches.
That is your very optimistic life expectancy. And now cut off as much on the left as you are old.
That is your remaining life span - statistically and, as I said, very optimistic estimate. Pretty short, right?

What do you want to do with this remaining time?

Wasted time is like high blood pressure - it doesn't hurt. That's why you sit in front of the television for so many hours, surf the Internet for a long time, constantly look at your smartphone - in any case, you often waste your time on something.

Take a look at the past five or six days.
What do you think of what was important? Where you felt comfortable. Where you spent your time wisely.
What you can think of probably has to do with relationships and with people. Or an activity that made sense for you.
How often are such times in your week?

Would you like more of this?
Then do you stop wasting your time?

12. Successful people don't think they have no choice.

There is always an alternative - and you can always choose. Okay, sometimes you only have a choice of two options, neither of which is exhilarating - but the choice remains. Your choice.

If you think you have no choice, you automatically become a victim and feel helpless.

An alternative that is easily overlooked is always open to you: You accept what is inevitable.
The mantra for this is: "It is like it is." And then you accept it.
You will immediately feel that something is relaxing in you. Because you don't fight it anymore. Because you no longer quarrel with it. Because you give up looking for a loophole. It is like it is.

So: For which situations in your current life does that fit right now?

13. Successful people stop riding a dead horse.

In other words, stop doing one thing the same way and hoping for a different result. This applies to, for example Conflicts in the partnership.

In the Hollywood film "Breaking Up With Obstacles" one can see how a relationship is successfully ruined. In a key scene, Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) tries to get husband Gary (Vince Vaughn) to help her wash the dishes. But he prefers to rest and play on the PC. Gary finally settles down to help her reluctantly - for lack of better arguments. But his wife is not satisfied with that. He should not only help her with washing up, but want to voluntarily. "I want you to want to wash up!"

Case in point of "Spontaneous Paradox". Communication researcher Paul Watzlawick used this to describe the phenomenon that by making a wish to the other one at the same time “prevents” the other from doing it spontaneously. A woman's harmless desire "Bring me some flowers!" becomes complicated when the man does this and the woman suspects that he is only doing it because she said so.

If you always do the same thing - with your colleague, your partner, your child - you will most likely get the same result as the times before. If you want something different, get off the dead horse and try something different - even if it seems strange and crazy to you. Jesper Juul explains here the fundamental errors in upbringing that many well-meaning parents make, for example.

So: what is your dead horse?

My conclusion:

There are many ways to be successful. That depends entirely on the definition of "success".
Accordingly, there are also many tips on how to achieve success. For me, this post is less about “doing” and “having” and more about “being”. Or as Erich Fromm put it: "The highest goal in being mode is DEEPER KNOWLEDGE, in having mode MORE KNOWLEDGE."

As you have seen, the causes of everyday problems are completely different from what you might think. Just as the reason behind your dissatisfaction is probably not a lack of money. Uncovering such hidden causes is mine 3-hour coaching.


You can find more case stories here:

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PS: All case histories are real, but alienated in such a way that it is not possible to draw any conclusions about my clients and confidentiality is maintained.

Do you also have a problem that you have not yet been able to solve?

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