Henrik Angelstig

The 3 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results How to find the root cause that's stopping you from achieving your goals

If you only work hard, have a positive attitude, and stay disciplined, you will achieve success.

These three virtues are important in any endeavor. They also only show one side of the coin. Success is actually achieved through two steps. And hard work, positive attitude, and discipline are all part of the second step. 

The first step is to follow a good recipe

Success is just like baking a batch of cookies. Combine a specific set of ingredients in a specific way and you will get a certain result. Whatever outcome you want to accomplish, there is a recipe for that. 

There are three reasons why you might not be getting the results you want:

  1. You are using the wrong recipe

If you want to accumulate $1,000,000, then working a 9-5 job, being frugal, and investing in the stock market likely won’t get you there anytime soon. 

  1. You are missing a core ingredient to your recipe

If your goal is to run your own restaurant some core ingredients you probably will need are: 

  • Popular location
  • Attractive menu
  • Great customer service
  • Financial viability

What if you chose to start a restaurant without one of these ingredients? Like trying to bake cookies without flour, your restaurant will likely fail. 

  1. You don’t put in enough hard work, positive attitude, and discipline in the baking 

Even with the best recipe no cookies are going to bake themselves. How much you make your recipe count is up to your work ethic. 

The three virtues of hard work, positive attitude, and discipline are incredibly important. But they are only the second step of the path to success. Following a good recipe comes first. 

Imagine that you tried to accumulate $1,000,000 with the above-mentioned approach. Frustrated by your lack of progress, what if you then decided to work harder, adopt a more positive attitude, and become more disciplined? 

You would get more of the limited success you already had. 

Every recipe has an upper bound of success. The three virtues can only scale your results towards that limit. But no further. And for each core ingredient you fail to include, the success limit of your recipe is reduced. 

In which areas are you not getting the results you want? 

Now ask yourself: What is my process failing? 

  1. Are you using the wrong recipe? 
  2. Are you missing ingredients? 
  3. Have you not put in enough effort? 

You must know the cause before you can prescribe the solution. Since you are reading this, then lack of work ethic is likely not your problem. 

If you are uncertain about your recipe then study other people who have already achieved the success you seek? Read books. Check your friends and associates if they can connect you with someone. Ask people you admire if you can buy them a cup of coffee where they can tell you their story. If you are just curious to learn, they will be happy to help you. 

Which recipe will you choose to improve?

Why Am I Busy Without Getting Anything Done? Do this for 10 minutes every day and you will transform your life

If I work longer I will get more done. 
If I get more done I will make more progress.

It is hard to argue with the simplicity of this reasoning. You need to complete tasks to reach your goals, and you can obviously complete more tasks in 8 hours than you can in 2 hours. 

I have a friend who has been very successful with this formula. He has studied for three years to earn a bachelor’s from Ross School of Business. He then worked 16-hour shifts for weeks during an internship at Barclays Capital, which landed him a full-time job offer with a substantial salary. 

Mission accomplished!

Until he realized that what he really wanted was to become a Navy SEAL. He has now turned down his plans of a finance career and will instead spend the next year building his strength and stamina. 

We are so obsessed with being busy. Doing something. Anything. But we seldom stop to ask: “At the end of the day, will this work matter?”. A more accurate formula for productivity would be

Work Completed Value of Work = Value Created

When the value of your work is zero, you eventually have to trash everything and start over. If you work 90-hour weeks to get a job offer for a career you will never pursue, it is just waste. If you do anything that does not get you closer to the life you want, it is waste. 

True productivity is about increasing the value of your work. This is done by reflecting on your work. This habit of reflecting, to find ways to work smarter instead of harder, is what distinguishes the most high-performing individuals from the rest. When was the last time you paused to ask: 

  • Does this project really matter?
  • What value problem am I trying to solve here?
  • How will I know if I am successful?

We typically view such quiet thinking as waste because we do not have any tangible results to show for it. It seems so unproductive. 

Until we realize that we are already wasting 40% of our days on meaningless work and that we should have made a switch five months ago. 

If you want to give the habit of reflecting a try, then follow these steps: 

  1. Take out your phone. 
  1. Set a repeated alarm to sound 10 minutes before you go to bed every day. 
  1. When the alarm goes off, sit down somewhere quiet with no distractions. Have a pen and paper at hand or a blank document open on your computer. 
  1. Let your mind drift to whatever area of your life that you feel most needs your attention right now. To get you started, here are some questions you might ask yourself:
  • What problems have I not given enough attention to? 
  • Why did I decide to start on this path? 
  • Is this path going to get me to where I want? 
  • What problem am I trying to solve with this project? 
  • Is there a better way to get the same result? 
  • How will I know if I am successful?

Capture your thoughts in writing.

  1. When 10 minutes are up, you may stop. 

Reflecting 10 minutes a day is arguably the most productive habit you can adopt. Unless you give yourself space to think, you continue operating in the same limited universe. Until you know what matters, the only way you can achieve greater results is by sacrificing more of your time. Your time becomes the commodity by which you bargain with life. 

Would 10 minutes of daily reflection be worth it to you?