Photo by Guille Álvares on Unsplash

7 Things You Must Stop Doing if You Want to have a Meaningful Career

Ricardo Viana Vargas
4 min readJan 21, 2021

During the past two months, I dedicated time and effort to support young professionals on their first steps on their career with the What Matters video series’ release. As part of my volunteer work, I recorded four episodes about what I learnt during 25 years of a global career. I received great feedback, relevant questions, more than a million views from around the world.

We spoke about what to do to have a fulfilling career in detail. The series is coming to an end, and I want to share my final advice: what we must STOP doing if we’re going to progress.

To achieve both success and fulfilment at work and life, these are the lessons that I share with you from my life.

1. Try to be someone you are not

In a day and age, where you can portray yourself as anyone in the online space, choose to be yourself. You may want to please someone or be part of a specific group, but that garb you put on for some time may be superficial and temporary. Social media networks amplify an image of you that is publicly available to anyone. Every time you click on the send button, the information is out in the universe to those who seek to know you better.

What to do: Manage your reputation to show the best self of you and how you are a unique individual. Your online image is only a reflection of you, so work actively to improve your true self, as an employee and a leader.

2. “Anything goes”

I have noticed that some people will agree to any project or assignment they are assigned to. What that shows is a lack of understanding and interest to deliver results. It shows that the person does not really care about their own reputation or its impact on their career. Moreover, it is not honest.

What to do: What are you passionate about? Think critically, ask questions, and understand the unsaid needs behind the project. The people you come in touch and entrust you with an assignment matter.

3. Assume you know more than others

Do you over-estimate your knowledge about certain topics? If you do, it may hinder your ability to learn new things from others. Assuming that your perspective is the most important one, comes in the way to discover new angles.

What to do: Learn things that you love and do not know. If you disagree with someone or something, try and understand what is behind this different thinking.

4. Be too focused on one technical skill

Learning a new skill is not only reserved for further professional success. Being focused is great, but if you get too entrenched in a specific field, it may not help you apply to another one when needed. Skills take time to master, so make sure you create options and mind-space for new concepts.

What to do: Learn about new topics regularly and tap the vast content available to humanity on the internet. For example, besides learning about project management, I spend around 1 hour every week exploring astronomy. In the same week, I watch cooking classes. I spend time reading from a different political perspective. These new skills make me more aware and expand my horizon about various concepts.

5. Compare yourself to others

Have you silently envied a recent promotion of a colleague or wondered why they achieved success instead of you? Comparing yourself to others devalues your experiences and makes you less fulfilled.

What to do: Everyone has a different starting point and a journey. Comparing your life to others is not only unfair but also not useful to progress ahead. Think about your passion, your roadmap and zap distractions like these.

6. Only think about today

Our experience with COVID-19 has taught us a lot about the fragility of life. Over the years, I’ve realized that while we plan, life happens. Unforeseen events can disrupt and distract. It is easier to fall in the trap that we must only think about the short-term.

What to do: While we should not be paranoid about changes, we must be ready to adapt and equip ourselves with new skills that will allow the development of options. And options are everything.

7. Forget those who helped you in your journey

You have accomplished a lot. Behind your success, there are a lot of people who recognized your talents and abilities. They trusted you. Who are the people that inspired you to believe you could become who you are today?

I hope you are staying in touch with them!

What to Do: It is essential to be grateful to everyone that has supported you to get where you are today. And when you have the chance, give back to those who are coming behind you. Help them start building their passion, their options, and their roadmap to a meaningful life.

This article is part of a personal project I am working on called “What Matters”. It is a series of four YouTube videos about career, passion, options, and success that aim to help young professionals and those facing unprecedented professional challenges during the current times. You can access the series here.

Do not forget to hit the bell icon to subscribe.



Ricardo Viana Vargas

Passionate about transforming ideas into action ◆Principal — Macrosolutions ◆ Board Member ◆ Author ◆ Venture Capitalist #projectmanagement #transformation