Obstacles to success
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1. Apologizing for Being Sorry


I know you think you're being polite and sparing people some sort of discomfort, but sometimes there's simply nothing for which you must apologize; or, worse, the apology only calls attention to a crime so slight no one would have noticed otherwise. It's not really courteous. It's actually kind of irritating, and, I'm sorry, but if you're one of those over-apologizers, you just really need to stop.

2. Sloth-Inducing Sneakers


For a while I was running. A little bit, then a little more, then actually a respectable distance, a few mornings a week. Then I stopped. I wasn't sure why I stopped, and I didn't investigate the question for hidden meaning. But after complaining to a marathoner friend about how running had made my feet hurt, she said, "You know, you probably just need better shoes." Turns out, if you're under 80 years old and 15 minutes of glorified speed-walking makes your arches ache, all you need to do is buy a pair of well-fitted sneakers. Who knew? Actually, everyone. Of all the many excuses not to get into shape (I can think of so many, including: bad weather, not having the time, the existence of pie), the wrong equipment is a particularly lame and self-defeating one.

3. You Don't Know How to Answer the Question, "If I Were to Give You Any Job in the World, What Would You Want to Do?"


It's corny but it's also true that this catchy musical number is essentially the best career advice ever given by people in swimsuits. Right? How else are you gonna make a dream come true?

4. Using the Beige (When You're a Warm Beige)


We would never suggest that something so superficial as makeup, or the lack thereof, might hold some secret power over your fate. But we all know that when you're more comfortable in your skin, you feel better in general, more you. The thing that makes those makeover shows so fascinating is the moment when the subjects see how much better they can feel: "That foundation in the wrong tint was making me look older!" "That dark lip liner did look unnatural!" Ask that tell-it- like-it-is friend—you know you have one—to tell you like it is.

Next: The reputation you should avoid

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