12 Bad or Negative Personality Traits That Hurt Your Life Success

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Everyone’s personality is unique, and knowing your personality traits can lead to more satisfaction, an ability to make better life choices, and more success in personal and professional spheres.

When considering what makes us successful, we often turn to our strengths and skills—but it’s important to also acknowledge any weaknesses or negative personal characteristics that could be hurting your career or life success.

Psychologists say that there are five attributes that make up everyone’s personality:

  • extroversion (sociability)
  • conscientiousness (organization and self-discipline)
  • agreeableness (level of empathy)
  • willingness to be open to new ideas
  • neuroticism (level of anxiety)

People are typically happier and healthier when they score higher on the first four traits and lower on the last.

So what is a negative personality trait?

These are characteristics developed over time that have become an integral part of your personality. These negative characteristics can be detrimental to your success and may cause problems in your life because they impact the way you think and behave.

In this article, we will look at 12 personality traits that are associated with a lack of personal and professional fulfillment and can hurt your life success.

Let’s get started.

12 Bad or Negative Personality Traits That Hurt Your Life Success

1. Rigid Thinking

Sometimes people think that the path to success involves managing people with rules and standards. While it is always important to plan, being able to adapt to unexpected changes and being open to suggestions plays a critical part in any role.

When you limit yourself with rigid decision-making, you may not be able to make adjustments along with an evolving environment. If you want to be successful, you will need to be flexible at times and creative in the solutions that you implement.

Successful people are often quick to adapt or let go of the status quo. They are eager to challenge themselves, and know that most of what they believe is probably wrong.

Adaptability is especially important for leaders who need to tackle problems facing them or their organization. Having a rigid personality can lead to:

  • Being judgemental of others
  • Arrogance
  • A need to control everything in the moment instead of focusing on the future
  • Only focusing on what’s wrong
  • Being overly critical

There is success to be found in encouraging other people to use their unique abilities to help build great organizations. By trusting each other, team members become more loyal and committed to each other and their success.

2. Impatience

Timing plays an important role in success–knowing when to jump at an opportunity and when to step back and evaluate your options. Making these decisions often requires having the patience to see the big picture before making a move.

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Patience is key, as it allows you to see the bigger picture before making a move.

Studies have shown the importance of self-control and how one’s ability to be patient can be a predictor of their success.

If you’re impatient, it can lead to making quick decisions without thinking them through. So while it is good to be eager, making snap decisions can derail you from success.

When it comes to achieving your goals, having the patience to face and overcome obstacles builds endurance and confidence, therefore increasing the satisfaction you get from achieving each milestone. This can help increase intrinsic motivation in your career, leading to greater success.

You don’t want to force your business to be ready to start before it actually is. Things need to be allowed an appropriate amount of time to properly develop, or they will fail. This goes for individual projects as well. Rushing through tasks leaves room for stupid mistakes.

3. A Fixed Mindset

The theory of having a fixed versus a growth mindset differentiates people who believe that talent alone leads to success and those who believe hard work will lead to improvement.

Those with a fixed mindset don’t believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work and they’re less willing to learn than those who have a growth mindset.

On the other hand, people who adopt a growth mindset believe their skills and abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

Ultimately, people with a growth mindset are more successful than those with a fixed mindset because they’re resilient and willing to learn.

People with growth mindsets embrace challenges, don’t give up when faced with obstacles, learn from their mistakes, and are inspired by other people’s success. With a growth mindset, inspiration can always be found to keep improving.

A fixed mindset is limiting and can hinder your ability to succeed. Having a growth mindset leads to success because making improvements increases motivation to continue to learn and develop.

4. Blaming Others

There are a lot of reasons that people look for an external source to blame when things go wrong.

Successful people always take responsibility for their actions–whether they are right or wrong. On the other hand, people who struggle in life tend to find a way to place blame on someone else.

Accepting responsibility is a critical component for success because it helps you work through and learn from your mistakes without feeling guilt or shame.

The truth is, mentally strong people don’t waste their energy feeling sorry for themselves–instead, they acknowledge their mistakes and move on.

Taking responsibility also builds strength of character as you become better at admitting your imperfections and taking the necessary steps to do what needs to be done to correct your mistakes.

5. Overconfidence

Having confidence and the ability to stand up for yourself is an important part of being successful. However, having overconfidence or being cocky is another beast.

Being cocky can lead someone to only talk about themselves and their own success without showing interest in other people’s perspectives or ideas.

Furthermore, overconfidence can reduce your sense of caution in making decisions. Many of these mistakes begin with an illusion of knowledge or control.

Overconfidence can also cause people to become too assertive or insistent. It is important to keep an open mind instead of assuming that your way is the only way. While you may not always agree with other people, it’s important to your success to be willing to listen and gain a new perspective.

6. Being Indecisive

A key element to being successful is being decisive because it can otherwise lead to inaction. Decision-making is a critical skill when it comes to success in life because it reflects your values and it can impact the direction of your career.

Depending on your role, you may need to make decisions that impact your colleagues or business. Consider how your lack of decision-making could potentially affect people negatively.

For example, if it’s your responsibility to choose new software for your firm, taking too much time with your decision could impact your team's productivity.

Eliminating indecisiveness in your life can increase confidence and efficiency, improve performance, and help you create stronger relationships, which can all result in greater success.

7. Apathy

Feeling indifferent, or having a lack of excitement, motivation, or passion for what you’re doing in life is a state of boredom that is emotionally and physically destructive.

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Long periods of apathy may signal being under-challenged, burned out, or bored, causing one to lose interest in their purpose.

If you’re stewing in apathy for a long period of time, you might be under-challenged, burned out, or bored in life. And because of this, you may simply stop caring about your purpose.

For example, you may lose a sense of enthusiasm or appreciation for your goals, which could hurt your self-esteem and sense of direction.

This mental lethargy could also distort your focus, hurting your concentration and ability to complete tasks, come up with new ideas, etc., leading to a lack of productivity and production.

8. Lack of Focus

We all have our moments of losing focus at work or days where we can’t seem to get on track. However, having focus is a very important hard skill to gain and keep a hold of, especially with all of the distractions that constantly surround us. 

When you’re unfocused at work, you run the risk of making avoidable mistakes and missing deadlines. Depending on your industry, focus can make or break your success.

For example, if you’re dealing with exchanges of other people’s money, a lack of focus could cost someone else thousands of dollars and cost you a client.

But no matter what, having a lack of focus could give you a reputation for being sloppy or distracted, so this negative personality trait can hurt your life success.

9. Being Argumentative

An argumentative person can be described as someone who is assertive, has firm convictions, and speaks their mind–which all sound like good qualities. However,  being argumentative can hurt your life success because, in general, people don't enjoy arguing.

Argumentative people experience more complicated emotions than just frustration when they’re having an argument, and they lack the knowledge or ability to regulate their feelings. This can be a big turnoff for other people, and it can even prevent others from wanting to work with you.

10. Lack of Self-Awareness

While certain skills such as experience, confidence, and having the ability to make tough decisions are all an important part of success, researchers have concluded that self-awareness is the key differentiator for leaders who are the most successful.

Self-awareness helps people reflect upon their skill sets so they can contribute to the success of a team. It is often a first step in setting goals because having self-awareness requires admitting when you don't have the answer and then creating a plan.

When we are self-aware, we can identify changes we want to make in ourselves as well as recognize our strengths that we can build upon.

Further studies have found that people with a high self-awareness score are able to succeed because they recognize their shortcomings and work to fill in the blanks by hiring people who are skilled in areas they’re not.

11. Perfectionism

Too much focus on perfectionism can hurt your success. While perfectionists may believe that they’re focused on producing high-quality work, their fear of failure hinders the required competencies for valuable work.

Furthermore, perfectionism can lead to procrastination because it is often caused by a fear of failure, which then gives way to indecision and inaction.

It can be difficult for perfectionists to try new challenges or work outside of their box because they get caught up in their mistakes. It is even common for perfectionists to become frustrated when results aren’t occurring as quickly or consistently as desired, which makes it more difficult to push forward.

12. Arrogance

Arrogance is a very off-putting personality trait that’s characterized by a sense of entitlement that alienates other people.

When you’re arrogant, you give off the impression that you already know everything, which prevents other people from offering to help you. No one is successful without receiving help or advice from other people, so arrogance is detrimental.

People who are honest about what they do and do not know instead of being arrogant are likely to be more successful. Being able to admit you don't know something and showing a willingness to find out can actually highlight your intelligence.

While being arrogant may be a coping strategy to make you feel strong in the short term, it is harmful in the long term because it contributes to loneliness, depression, and the absence of direction or success.

Final Thoughts on Bad Personality Traits

If possible, you should avoid displaying these negative personality traits. It is important to try to change your behavior if you identify with any of the traits listed because they can harm your chances at success.

Research shows that by changing your behavior, you can create new habits that can start to change your personality. The important first step is to address the issue.

For some good character traits that will be helpful in life to develop, check out this article on 35 Good Character Traits All People Should Develop.

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

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