Get All Access for $5/mo

10 Things Successful People Never Say Cast out self-destructive thoughts before they prevent you from tasting true success.

By Deep Patel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

David Lees | Getty Images

So you want to be successful? Perhaps you're inspired by the self-made entrepreneur touting her Rolex collection. Or perhaps someone's exotic car collection on Instagram has motivated you to kick your professional self into high gear.

If you're after financial success, the first thing you must recognize is that it stems from a particular mindset that views building a successful business or striking it big within a traditional corporate environment as a game.

The world's wealthiest people don't need to work, and yet they continue to log long hours. Why? Because to them building large business empires is a central component of their identity. Since it is a part of who they are, they won't stop hustling even when they've made it big.

If you want to embody the headspace of a successful person, it can be helpful to learn not only what they advocate for, but also what they avoid. Here are 10 things successful people never say.

1. "I'll do it later."

Procrastination is for the weak willed. Successful people are brilliant at managing their time, and putting things off until later is not a part of their daily habits.

Instead, the world's most successful professionals have a prioritization system. If a task is necessary, successful people will do it at once. If it's not, they'll delegate it or simply ignore it.

Related: 6 Steps to Go from Procrastinating to Productive

2. "I give up."

Michael Jordan once said, "Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." This is precisely the attitude that successful people embody.

Giving up is not something that the world's most successful business people tend to do. Certainly, successful people fail. Steve Jobs was once voted out of Apple and Jeff Bezos launched the unsuccessful Amazon Fire phone. However, Jobs later returned to transform Apple into the world's wealthiest company, and Bezos didn't let a flop deter him from green-lighting other tech products like the highly successful Echo.

Learn from failure, but never give up.

Related: 6 Proven Strategies to Rebound From Failure

3. "It's not my fault."

Great leaders are known for taking ownership. Passing blame to other members of your team is a sign of a mediocre professional. By taking ownership, leaders inspire those around them to do the same.

Claiming responsibility for things that go wrong, even when you were only peripherally involved, is a sign that you are thinking as a leader. In order for entrepreneurs to be successful, they must be able to motivate those around them to do their best work.

Related: 7 Common Mistakes Young Leaders Often Make but Don't Have to

4. "I'm satisfied."

Successful professionals tend to set high standards for themselves. Since successful people take ownership, focus on working on important things and rarely give up, they seldom feel a sense of satisfaction.

Instead, they are constantly on the lookout for their next business opportunity, or for ways to improve the businesses they are already involved in. An internal drive to continuously achieve success motivates the world's most successful people to achieve further triumphs.

Related: Jeff Bezos Knows the Difference Between Content and Complacent

5. "I'm young, and have plenty of time."

Time is a funny thing. One minute you feel as though you have all the time in the world to achieve your goals, and the next you realize you're well behind where you had hoped to be.

Successful people tend to feel a sense of urgency with regard to professional success. Their impatience compels them to take decisive actions that help them to seize the day. This drive enables successful people to avoid procrastination. It also steers them away from feelings of satisfaction, since there is always more to accomplish and little time to do it.

Related: 5 Secrets to Recognizing an Industry Ripe for Disruption

6. "I hope I make it big someday."

Channel your inner Yoda and remember that "there is no try." Similarly, there is no room for hope when working to make it big. Instead of hoping, do. Dedicate yourself to working on projects that have a good chance of success, and that are associated with a palatable level of risk.

If you focus on working on the right projects, you won't need to hope for success. Instead, you will have created success through your own actions.

Related: Helping and Inspiring Hope Distinguishes Exceptional Leadership

7. "I could never be my own boss."

Leaving the stable confines of your cubicle to launch your own business can be daunting. But it is often what's required to become truly successful. Most corporate careers are tracked. In order to advance, a combination of tenure, politics and results is necessary.

The best way to add lighter fluid to your career is by becoming your own boss. And yet, many people have doubts about their ability to work as a solopreneur, let alone lead a team. However, to be truly successful, becoming a self-made business owner is exactly what's required.

Cast your doubts aside, and focus on working on your weaknesses and developing your strengths. Take the professional plunge and become your own boss. You'll probably surprise yourself.

Related: 5 Essentials for Succeeding When You Become Your Own Boss

8. "I'm not talented enough to be successful."

Even the most successful people have occasional doubts about their abilities. But it's what they do with their doubts that sets them apart.

When most people have doubts about their abilities, they bury them deep inside and avoid confronting them until they cause a serious professional setback. However, when successful people have doubts, they develop themselves to become better professionals.

It's always a good idea to take stock of strengths and weaknesses. Once you do, develop a plan to improve yourself.

Related: Build Your Business on Your Strengths, Hire Your Team to Cover Your Weaknesses

9. "There's no such thing as a new idea anymore."

It can be easy to think that everything has been done before, and that your small-business idea would be nothing revolutionary. However, you must recognize that new business ideas crop up every day.

Often these ideas apply solutions that have worked in one industry to another industry. Take cloud-based music services like Spotify or marketplaces like Uber as examples. These businesses used existing technology and business models, but applied them to industries that lacked innovation.

Related: How to Train Your Brain for Maximum Creativity. (Here's What the Science Says.)

10. "I'm an imposter, and one day people will figure it out."

During her TED Talk from 2010, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared that she suffered from bouts of "imposter syndrome." This is the feeling that, at some point, peers will realize that you aren't as talented as they originally perceived you to be.

This is a natural feeling for those who have recently found success, but it is also dangerous. You must find the strength to build your confidence and work through feelings of being an imposter. Otherwise, as Sandberg says, it can crush an otherwise promising career.

Success requires commitment, prioritization, energy and passion. While you must be a skilled professional, you must also maintain a particular mindset. One that motivates you to tackle big goals through perseverance and dedication.

Cast out self-destructive thoughts that may prevent you from tasting true success. Instead, focus on achieving professional goals that will have the biggest impact on your career. And do them as soon as possible.

Deep Patel

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Serial Entrepreneur

Deep Patel is a serial entrepreneur, investor and marketer. Patel founded Blu Atlas, the fastest-growing men’s personal care brand, and sold it for eight figures in 2023, less than 18 months after its launch.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.