Becoming a millionaire is no easy feat. It takes discipline, focus and a set of core values that guide you around the emotions and stress of daily combat.
It's all too easy to get sidetracked by the latest new strategy for success — like social media or digital marketing or sales automation. You find yourself chasing tactics one after another, hoping that you will eventually get rich with one of them.
When one doesn't work, you throw it away, quickly adopting another new tactic. As you repeat that cycle, the idea of becoming a millionaire becomes blurry. What used to be very clear now seems frantically out of reach.
One thing successful people know is that getting ahead is as much about what you do as what you don't do. Here are eight things you have to give up to achieve success.
1. Not taking responsibility for your actions
In any area of your life, what you do has consequences. Sometimes those are good. Other times you are left with regrets. Actions have results. That's a universal truth. It never changes. You will always get the results deserved by the activity that you're doing.
You might not like those results, but you'll always get them. Which is a good thing.
You need to believe that what you do can make a difference. Hard work matters. A kind word matters. Honesty matters. Candor, personal responsibility and fairness — they all matter. Because the lifestyle you lead is what ultimately determines how rich and successful you become. Make sure you're doing the right things.
2. Being a know-it-all
Don't be that person that cuts everyone off mid-sentence. Listen to people. Don't interrupt your employees or your customers. Don't roll your eyes and stomp your feet while you wait for the person who is talking to stop. That's selfish and shortsighted. And besides coming off as completely arrogant, you are missing out on important lessons by acting that way.
Let's be honest, a lot of things you hear are unimportant: facts you already know, or criticism that is hurtful and unusable. But if you can listen long enough you'll hear some really important information that will help you succeed.
Listen for those moments. Ignore everything else.
Stop complaining. Stop being the person who has to help "keep everyone else's feet on the ground." That's just an excuse for you to whine and mope and be unnecessarily negative. No one likes a whiner. That's just the truth.
It impacts more than the people around you at the time of your whining. It directly impacts who you hire and how you manage your teams. If you whine, your people will whine. And the last thing you need when you're trying to win is an army of wimps and whiners. So stop.
"The lifestyle you lead is what ultimately determines how rich and successful you become."
4. Expecting life to be fair
Stop pretending like you're the only one who has bad, unexpected circumstances happen to them. Everyone lives in the same sometimes-erratic universe. You didn't get it any worse than anyone else. Enough already with the theatrics. Rich people don't get that way by sulking.
A lot of things that we like to call "unfair" are really outcomes of the decisions that we have made in the past. We make risky decisions and then cry "unfair" when our gamble doesn't turn out with us hitting the jackpot. That's unfortunate because there is a valuable lesson that could be learned if we stopped pouting and started listening.
5. Following the crowd
Idiots do stupid things. Sometimes a lot of idiots do the same thing together. And you can feel like there are so many people doing something that you are missing out if you are not doing it too.
The only thing you are missing out on are the results of idiot behavior.
But it's not always that extreme. Many times your industry is heading is a good direction and it feels safe to follow the leader. But instead of achieving greatness you get the "success left-overs" of everyone else in your industry who gets to the finish line first.
Take the time to go your own way. Have an idea of your own. Dedicate yourself to pursuing your own brand of greatness.
6. Burying your head in the sand
Success doesn't mean that you need to be perfect, or anything close. You just need to be honest about those mistakes and learn from the results that you achieve. It does you no good to pretend like you're more successful than you really are. It stops you from doing the things that would help you achieve your goals.
Becoming a millionaire isn't about having one giant brilliant idea and executing it. It's about taking tiny steps forward continuously. When you're right, you keep moving. When you're wrong, you change course and keep moving. Mistakes lead you towards success.
7. Blaming others for your mistakes
This is likely the most important lesson that you need to learn. You are going to make many mistakes if you attempt anything remarkable. You are going to hurt people, create disappointment and cause confusion and chaos. The best way to make these right is to apologize.
The best way to apologize is simply to say, "I'm sorry." No excuses. No drawn-out reasons. Just powerful words and an attitude of sincerity. And when you do, the results are mind-blowing. You solve problems faster, win the confidence of your clients better and make yourself more accessible to everyone around you.
You need to be tough if you're going to win at life. That means you're going to get kicked in the teeth when you least expect it and need to get back up on your feet. That's why you need to grow up. Instead of getting offended, insulted or misunderstood, you need to focus on the "real dramas." You'll know them when you see them. Whining and complaining aren't what big kids do.
Part of growing up involves learning from your mistakes, being more mature and getting better at making decisions. If you can't say that you are making better decisions and learning better lessons, then you know that you need to grow up. And fast.
Remember, being successful isn't always about advanced analysis. It is about the core values you let guide your day-to-day decisions.
Dan Waldschmidt is a speaker and business strategist who works with billion-dollar companies. He has been published by Business Insider, Forbes and CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal praised his blog as one of the most influential sales blogs.
This article originally appeared on CNBC Make It.