What are some traits of a successful person?
I’ve read and listened to a lot of self-development material on what it takes to be successful and I see a lot of commonalities like work hard, don’t give up, etc.
One unique success trait that I hadn’t heard before, or at least not quite put like this, is the ability to “ignore feelings.”
Mike Matthews said these exact words when he was interviewed on the Business of Coaching podcast and it made me stop and think because he put it so bluntly.
Mike is a successful author and entrepreneur in the health and fitness space. He has written several bestselling books and runs a 7-figure website and an 8-figure supplement company.
What he meant by this statement is that feelings can be counterproductive to your goals because they are “too malleable” so your best bet is to go about things as if they didn’t exist. Like a robot.
If you think about it, this is true.
If your goal is to get into great shape, then the action steps required to do this involve training and eating a certain way. You set a plan of action to go to the gym every morning and follow a diet. You’re excited and gung-ho about it.
The first couple of days go well. Then one day, you wake up a little tired. Maybe you didn’t sleep well. It’s cold and rainy outside. All of a sudden, your feelings begin creeping in and influencing you. Your feelings say, “You didn’t sleep that well. Your body needs the extra rest. It’s okay to take one day off from the gym.”
The next day, your best friend invites you out to your favorite Italian restaurant for lunch. Your plan was to stick to your diet and eat some lean protein and veggies, but the lasagna at this place is so good. Your feelings creep in again. “You want to enjoy this experience with your friend to the fullest. It’s cool to have a cheat day. You can get back on track tomorrow.”
If you always succumb to your feelings, you’ll never get anywhere because your feelings are designed to keep you safe and comfortable.
But progress and growth in any area requires getting outside of your comfort zone.
Therefore, if you can learn do what you know you need to do in order to achieve your goal regardless of how you feel, then you are much more likely to stay on track.
In the podcast episode, there were other success characteristics Mike discussed in addition to ignoring your feelings that I found valuable, but this is the one that stuck out the most to me.
I highly recommend listening to the entire episode. It’s definitely worth your time.
Featured image by Clem Onojeghuo.
First published on Quora.