A Guide to Overcoming Childhood Trauma
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This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are the biggest obstacles to success? What are some of the universal things people do that prevent them from achieving their goals?

Success doesn’t come without challenges. Knowing how to get past obstacles to success is key to living a life that’s inspired and purposeful.

Here are five common obstacles to success you should be aware of.

Common Obstacles to Success

Everyone encounters challenges on the road to success. Of course, every situation is different, and whatever roadblocks you face in your quest for success are uniquely personal. However, there’re some hurdles that can trip up virtually anyone. Here are five common obstacles to success.

1. Expecting the Quick Fix

As a quick-fix society, we have come to believe that success should come as quickly as all the other conveniences in our lives, such as fast food, overnight delivery, and instant hot water. But when it comes to achieving real success, there are no quick fixes.

Success comes from continued effort—daily hard work and discipline compounded over time. You can create the life of your dreams, but it won’t happen overnight.

2. Living on Autopilot

When we live on autopilot, we make multiple small, poor choices without realizing it. Over time, their effects compound and we end up in a bad place.

The goal is to become aware of the choices you’re making rather than existing on autopilot. With awareness, you can make a series of small good choices that lead to the behaviors and habits that support a happy, successful life.

3. Instant Gratification

Often, instant gratification obliterates any concern in your conscious mind for long-term results. For example, if eating a piece of cake instantly put 50 pounds on you, you’d put the fork down. But since the consequences of these small actions take years to show up, it’s easy to choose instant gratification over the correct behavior.

The first step is to wake up and realize the true ramifications of the bad habits we indulge in and know that even the smallest changes can drastically affect our life outcomes.

4. Lack of Consistency

When you want to change your life for the better, doing too much too soon can set you up for failure. Instead, set up a rhythm for success that you can stick to because this is about improving the rest of your life. Aiming for improvements you can make consistently is critical for success.

5. Outside Influences

We are all responsible for the choices we make, but it’s important to realize that those choices are influenced by powerful outside factors. We’re often unaware of these subtle external influences, but understanding and governing them can help us maintain our trajectory toward success.

While you can’t control everything, you can limit your exposure to “dirty water.” For example, you can’t avoid the tabloids at the supermarket register, but you can cancel your subscription. At home, you can turn off the news and instead record inspirational and educational programs that benefit the whole family.

5 Obstacles to Success and How to Overcome Them

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Darren Hardy's "The Compound Effect" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Compound Effect summary:

  • How small, daily actions can add up to big successes (or failures)
  • Why it's easier to rely on the compound effect over time instead of taking big action all at once
  • How it's possible to be better off starting with a penny than $3 million

darya

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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