10 phrases you’ll never hear successful people say

Think about success, what comes to mind? We all see it differently, but getting there usually needs grit, sweat, and a dash of cleverness.

Sure, you’re trying your best, but sometimes we all have sneaky thoughts that trip us up. And you know where these thoughts sneak out? In our daily chit-chat.

Successful people avoid certain phrases like the plague. Why? These phrases can make us feel stuck or like we’re just spinning our wheels.

So, if you want to shoot for the stars in your life or job, you need to know about these no-no phrases that successful peeps just don’t say:

1) I Don’t Know/I’m Not Sure

You’ll hardly ever hear successful people saying, “I have no clue” or “Not really sure.”

I mean, would you trust your work pals or even your boss if they kept saying these lines when the pressure’s on?

Using these phrases can make it seem like you don’t have your act together or you’re stepping back from problems, instead of diving in to sort things out.

No one knows everything, even those at the top of their game. But instead of throwing up their hands and saying “I have no clue,” they get busy finding answers, doing their homework, and sizing up the situation.

They’re all about tackling challenges head-on and finding solutions, not letting what they don’t know slow them down.

2) It’s All Your Fault

Successful people often shoulder a lot of responsibilities and have teams relying on them. They’re often top-notch leaders; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be where they are now.

That’s why you won’t catch them saying, “This is all your fault.” To me, that phrase is a cheap way to stick the blame on someone else, letting you off the hook as a leader.

Successful people don’t take the easy way out by blaming their team. As leaders, they know the buck stops with them, and they need to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

To me, leaders who throw their team under the bus are just too scared to own up to their own slip-ups.

A successful person is straight-up about mistakes, takes responsibility, and doesn’t point fingers or make excuses for their own goof-ups.

I learned this when I goofed up a presentation for potential clients. I’d put my heart and soul into that slide deck, so I was relieved when my boss okayed it.

But then our potential partners found flaws in the plan and asked questions I couldn’t answer.

I was already pretty shaky, but my boss stayed cool and fielded the questions. I said sorry to him later, but he shrugged it off. He even said it was partly his fault for not checking more thoroughly.

3) I Can’t Do That

Something else I’ve noticed about successful people is that they don’t go around saying, “I can’t do that.”

I reckon it’s because they don’t throw in the towel easily, especially after battling through tough times to hit their targets.

They’re all about staying strong and tackling problems head-on, instead of admitting defeat before they even start.

Saying you can’t do something just sounds like you’re waving the white flag. It also makes you seem unreliable and like you’re not willing to stretch yourself and grow.

Successful people would rather take a crack at something and mess up than just say they can’t do it.

I get it, the stuff you have to do can feel like a mountain, but they’ll tell you to take a deep breath and tackle challenges with a can-do attitude.

4) I Don’t Have Any Choice

Successful folks believe in always having options, so you won’t hear them say, “I don’t have any choice.”

Even if they weren’t thrilled about making a decision, they’ll stand by it.

Saying you didn’t have any other option can make you seem like you’re ducking out of owning your decisions, which comes off as untrustworthy and defeatist.

Successful people know they’ve got a lot of people relying on them, so they don’t want to let these folks down.

That’s why they own up to their decisions, no matter how they turn out.

5) This is How We Always Do Things

Most successful have reached their goals because they dared to do things no one has ever done before, even if others try to bring them down.

Needless to say, they’re usually innovative, always seeking progress and learning new things for growth. Maybe this is why I’ve never heard them say phrases like “This is how we always do things.”

People who say these phrases are usually afraid of change. They cling to the old ways because it’s their comfort zone, writing off new ideas without hearing about them first.

While traditional practices can still work, times are still changing – the next thing you know is that they fail to give you the intended results anymore, and you’ve been left behind.

Successful people crave growth, so they’ll always hear out new ideas.

6) I’ll Try

You won’t hear successful people giving wishy-washy answers like “I’ll  try.”

They’re all in, all the time, and they won’t settle for doing something halfway.

Saying things like this makes it seem like you don’t believe in yourself and don’t want to be held accountable if things go sideways.

Even when they’ve already achieved so much, successful people stay hungry and fired up about what they do.

They’re big on making solid decisions, so they won’t use lukewarm phrases like “I’ll give it a shot.”

They’re prepared for any speed bumps they might run into and are always ready to learn new stuff.

7) I Hate My Job

Work is still work – even if you love it, there’s always a part of it that’s a drag.

We all dream of kicking back and taking it easy sometimes. But I’ve never heard successful people say stuff like, “I hate my job,” even when they’re loaded up with stress.

I don’t think they all jump out of bed excited about work, but I’ve never seen them wave the white flag and sink into a pit of negativity.

Successful folks don’t have time to whine or mope about how tough their job can be.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they’d rather roll up their sleeves and tackle challenges head-on.

I saw this firsthand when I saw my boss under a lot of pressure during busy times at work, but he never griped about it, not even once.

8) I Give Up

A lot of successful folks credit their wins to the knockbacks, hiccups, and blunders they’ve faced along the journey.

That’s why when a fresh problem pops up, they don’t say, “I’m giving up.”

Their past experiences have made them tough as nails, ready to face any challenge that comes their way.

So when things get tough, they’re always on the ball, thinking of ways to solve the problem.

I get it, facing hurdles and stumbling blocks can knock the wind out of you, leaving you doubting yourself, feeling anxious, and down in the dumps.

I know that thoughts of giving up can creep in. I used to feel like that too, but my mentor, who’s one of the most successful people I know, told me to never throw in the towel.

He believed that just because you’ve had a setback, doesn’t mean success isn’t on the horizon.

Throwing in the towel means you’re admitting defeat.

9) I Don’t Need Your Help

Like I said before, successful people often carry a heavy load, with a lot of people depending on them.

Sure, they’re pretty capable, but I’ve never heard them say, “I don’t need anyone’s help.”

Standing on your own two feet is awesome, but it can sometimes backfire, especially at work where being a team player or a strong leader is crucial.

Some folks refuse help from others because they see it as a sign of weakness.

On the flip side, successful people are all about getting help where they can.

They’re pros at divvying up tasks because they know it’s the quickest way to get the job done.

10) I Should’ve–/I Could’ve

We all have those moments of what-ifs and regret, even the folks at the top.

But what sets successful people apart is that they don’t dwell on it and they definitely don’t say things like, “I should’ve” or “I could’ve.”

They don’t beat themselves up about the past or let it knock them down.

Successful people work hard not to get hung up on stuff they can’t change, choosing instead to focus on the here and now.

They own up to their past decisions, learn from them, and move on, rather than trying to dodge them by saying, “If only I had–” or “I wish I’d–.”

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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