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Six Things You Should Stop Doing Today

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2018 GraduationMay 5th, 2018
Countdown to May 2018 Graduation!


Genna Armanini (Human Services, ’13) recommended this article, from Forbes Magazine.  Thanks, Genna!  I love the header, which is also the name of a book by the author of this article: “Action Trumps Everything.”  Just the cover speaks volumes…

Have you read it?  Any recommendations?

The blog article follows:

 “We all have “to do” lists that help keep us focused on the things that can make us more successful.

Having a “things not to do list” can accomplish the same thing, and actually could be more effective.

With that by way of background, here are six things that you want to stop doing today.

1. Whining. No one goes through life unscathed. We all have problems. Complaining about them doesn’t make them go away, and worse it is a very short step from complaining to feeling like a victim. If there is a way to turn the problem into an asset do so. If there isn’t, work hard to play the best hand with the cards you have been dealt.

2. Waiting. Why would ever want to be the passenger in your own life, when you could be the driver? Sure, it is easier to react to situations as they come along and hope to make something good out of them. But why be passive? Take the initiative. Take a small step toward your goal and see what happens. Waiting for the phone to ring or someone to get back to you is frustrating and nothing is happening while you wait.

3. Planning (when you can’t). This one is similar to waiting and it is equally bad. Yes, there are limited situations where planning is a good idea. If you know tomorrow is going to be remarkably similar today, then it makes sense to plan. For example, having a detailed plan makes sense if you want to introduce an existing product into a market similar to one you are already in. But most situations today are not that predictable. When you are facing an unpredictable future don’t plan. Act. Take that small step we talked about in point number 2, and see what happens.

4. Add stress to your life. If you have a career, as opposed to a job, you are always going to have too much to do. Too many meetings. Too many memos. Too many things you are going to need to check off your list. And things beyond your control are going to go wrong. They’ll cancel the plane (invariably after you have already boarded.) The computer will crash. There will be a huge traffic tie-up as you are trying to get to that important meeting.Those things are inevitable. Don’t add to them by making your life harder than it has to be by leaving yourself 20 minutes to do something that you know should take an hour. The takeway here: Don’t leave things to chance. Eliminate every variable you can. Delegate the stuff you are bad at (you will be amazed how much stress that will reduce. (And do listen to your mother. Sleep more and eat healthier.) In short, stay out of your own way.

5. Contribute to the drama, tension and roadblocks. There will be people all around you who like to complain, gossip, whisper and roll their eyes. It makes them feel better for some reason. But it is never productive. Don’t join them.

6. Be overly self-reliant. Yes, you are a hard-charging, smart type A. But no, that doesn’t mean that you always have the absolutely best answer to every question. Calling on other smart people occassionally is a good idea.

Eliminating any or all of these six self-imposed hinderances should improve your life…and that is something you never want to stop doing.

Paul B. Brown is co-author of Just Start published by Harvard Business Review Press.”

Image courtesy


  1. Kristin Dawson says:

    Thank you for posting this article – it has some great tips for ways to think “outside the box”. I am reading Kristin Neff’s book “Self Compassion” as part of an assignment in Professor Arbore’s Counseling class this semester and would recommend it highly to persons who would like to add one more tip to this list – stop beating yourself up! .I see so many stellar NDNU students working, volunteering, raising families and contributing to their community – and yet it feels to them as if they are never doing enough. Or doing it all “perfectly”. One way to reduce stress and “stay out of your own way” (as the article above states) is to practice self compassion.

  2. ndnupsp says:

    Great point; thanks, Kristin! And thanks for the additional book recommendation, too!

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