18 reasons for failure
Unwillingness to Take Risks
Success involves taking calculated risks. Risk taking does not mean gambling foolishly and behaving irresponsibly. People sometimes mistake irresponsible and rash behavior as risk-taking. They end up with negative results and blame it on bad luck.
Risk-taking is relative. The concept of risk varies from person to person and can be a result of training. To both a trained mountain climber and a novice, mountain climbing is risky, but to the trained person it is not irresponsible risk-taking. Responsible risk-taking is based on knowledge, training, careful study, confidence and competence which give a person the courage to act while facing fear. The person who never does anything makes no mistakes. However, he doesn’t realize that not doing anything is his biggest mistake.
Many opportunities are lost because of indecision. It is habit-forming and contagious. Take risks but don’t gamble. Risk-takers go with their eyes open. Gamblers shoot in the dark.
Lack of persistence
When problems seem insurmountable, quitting seems to be the easiest way out. It is true for every marriage, job and relationship. Winners are struck but not destroyed. We all have had setbacks in life. Failing does not mean we are failures.
More people fail not because they lack knowledge or talent but because they quit. The total secret of success lies in two words, persistence and resistance. Persist in what must be done and resist what ought not be done.
We think short term, not long term. That is limited vision. We are living in an age of instant gratification. There is a pill for everything, from waking you up to putting you to sleep. People want to take a pill to get rid of their problems. When people want to be instant millionaires, they take shortcuts and compromise on their integrity.
The desire to make a million overnight has made the lottery a flourishing business. Remember that instant gratification never thinks of consequences, only of momentary pleasures.
Today’s generation defines the ideal diet as one that will take off five pounds for good intentions. These are people who don’t want any more birthdays but want all the presents.
Lack of Priorities
People make substitutes where they ought not to. For example, in relationships, they trade money and gifts for affection and time. Some people find it easier to buy things for their children and spouse to compensate for their absence.
When we don’t have our priorities right, we waste time, not realizing that time wasted is life wasted. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done rather than going by our moods and fancies. Too much emphasis is placed on success and failure rather than doing one’s best.
How do you cope with defeat and problems?
Your response to this question says a lot about your character. One of the keys to solving this mystery to success is understanding. Some people have their mind set on money, power, fame or possessions. We have to understand our priorities.
Success does not come by reading or memorizing the principles that lead to success, but by understanding and applying them.
Looking for Shortcuts
There are two ways of getting rid of weeds in your yard. The easy way and the not so easy way. The easy way may be to run a lawn mower and the yard looks fine for a while, but that is a temporary answer. Soon the weeds are back. But the not-so-easy way may mean getting down on your hands and knees and pulling out the weeds by the roots. It is time consuming and painful, but the weeds will stay away for a longer time. The first solution appeared easy, but the problem remained. The second solution, was not so easy, but took care of the problem from the roots. The key is to get to the root of the problem.
The same thing is true of our attitude in life. Some people spread their attitude of bitterness and resentment and this attitude keeps cropping up in different parts of their lives. The problem with people today is that they want instant answers. They are looking for one-minute solutions to everything. Just like instant coffee, they want instant happiness. There are no quick fixes. This attitude leads to disappointment.
Selfishness and Greed
Individuals and organizations that have a selfish attitude toward each other and toward their customers have no right to expect growth. Their attitude is to keep passing the buck without regard for the welfare of others. Greed always wants more. Needs can be satisfied but greed cannot. It is a cancer of the soul. Greed destroys relationships. How do we gauge our greed index? By asking ourselves three questions:
Can I afford it?
Do I really need it?
If I have it, will it give me peace of mind?
Greed comes out of poor self-esteem, which manifests itself as false pride, pretense or keeping up with the Joneses. The way out of greed is to learn to live within your means and be satisfied. Being contented does not mean lacking ambition.
Lack of Conviction
People who lack conviction take the middle of the road; and guess what happens in the middle of the road? They get run over.
People without conviction do not take a stand. They go along to get along because they lack confidence and courage. They conform in order to get accepted even when they know that what they are doing is wrong. They behave like part of a herd. Some people consider themselves a shade better because they do not support the wrong; however, they lack the conviction to oppose. They do not realize that by not opposing they are actually supporting.
Lack of Understanding of Nature’s Laws
Success is a matter of laws and these are the laws of nature. Change is nature’s law. We are either moving forward or we are going backward. We are either creating or disintegrating. There is no status quo. A seed, if it is not planted in the earth to create, disintegrates. Change is inevitable. It is going to happen whether we like it or not. All progress is change but all change is not progress. We must evaluate change and accept it only if it makes sense. Acceptance without evaluation amounts to conforming behavior, a sign of lack of confidence and of low self-esteem.
There is a lot to be said about tradition. Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of a cancerous cell. It is negativity spreading all over. That is not growth, that is destruction. Growth, in order to be meaningful, must be positive. Success is not a matter of luck, but of laws.
Unwillingness to Plan and Prepare
Most people spend more time planning a party or vacation than planning their lives.
Confidence comes from preparation, which is nothing but planning and practicing. Winners put pressure on themselves. That is the pressure of preparing and not worrying about winning.
If we practice poorly, we play poorly; because we play as we practice. The difference between success and failure is the difference between doing exactly right and almost right.
A complete mental and physical preparation is the result of sacrifice and self-discipline. It is easy to be average but tough to be the best. No wonder the average people take the easy way.
Preparation is the necessary edge to succeed in any field.
Purpose + Principle + Planning + Practice + Perseverance + Patience + Pride = Preparation
Preparation leads to Confidence
Preparation means tolerating failure but never accepting it. It means having the courage to face defeat without feeling defeated, being disappointed without being discouraged. Preparation means learning from our mistakes. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. We all do. A fool is one who makes the same mistake twice. A person who makes a mistake and doesn’t correct it, commits a bigger one.
The best way to handle a mistake is to
- admit it quickly
- not dwell on it
- learn from it
- not repeat it
- not assign blame or make excuses
Pressure comes from being unprepared. There is no substitute for preparation, practice and hard work. Desire and wishful thinking won’t do it. Only preparation will give you the competitive edge.
Pressure can paralyze when a person is not prepared. Just like water gravitates to its own path, success gravitates to those who are prepared. Weak effort gets weak results.
Persistence is a name we give to
- a purpose
- positive attitude
- a plan .
- price .
- Do you have a clearly defined purpose?
- Do you have a plan of action?
- What effort are you putting into preparation?
- What price are you willing to pay? How far are you willing to go?
- Do you have the patience to withstand the gestation period?
- Are you willing to practice toward excellence?
- Do you have any firm principles to stand on?
- Do you have pride in your performance?
- Do you have the “can do” attitude?
Winners may analyze but never rationalize that is a loser’s game. Losers always have a book full of excuses to tell you why they could not.
We hear excuses like:
I’m born under the wrong stars.
I’m too young.
I’m too old.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m not educated.
I’m not good looking.
I don’t have contacts.
I don’t have enough money.
I don’t have enough time.
The economy is bad.
If only I had the opportunity.
If only I didn’t have a family.
If only I had married right.
The list can go on and on.
Not Learning from Past Mistakes
People who do not learn lessons from history are doomed. Failure is a teacher if we have the right attitude. Failure is a detour, not a dead end. It is a delay, not a defeat.
Experience is the name we give to our mistakes. Some people live and learn, and some only live. Wise people learn from their mistakes wiser people learn from other people’s mistakes. Our lives are not long enough to learn only from our own mistakes.
Inability to Recognize Opportunity
Opportunities come disguised as obstacles. That is why most people don’t recognize them. Remember that the bigger the obstacle, the bigger is the opportunity.
Fear can be real or imaginary. It makes people do strange things and primarily comes because of a lack of understanding. To live in fear is like being in an emotional prison.
Fear results in insecurity, lack of confidence, procrastination. Fear destroys our potential and ability. We cannot think straight. It ruins relationships and health.
Some of the common fears are:
- fear of failing
- fear of the unknown
- fear of being unprepared
- fear of making the wrong decision
- fear of rejection
Inability to Use Talent
Albert Einstein said, “I think I used about 25% of my intellectual capacity during my life.” According to William James, human beings use only 10-12% of their potential. The saddest part of most people’s lives is that they die with the music still in them. They haven’t lived while alive. They rust out rather than wear out. I would rather wear out than rust out. The saddest words in life are “I should have”.
Rusting out is not to be confused with patience. Rusting out is idleness and passivity. Patience is a conscious decision, it is active and involves perseverance and persistence. Someone asked an elderly person, “What is life’s heaviest burden?” The elderly person replied sadly, “To have nothing to carry.”
Lack of Discipline
Have you ever wondered why some people never reach their goals? Why they are always frustrated with reversals and crises? Why is it some people have continued success, while others have endless failures? Anyone who has accomplished anything worthwhile has never done so without discipline, whether in sports, athletics, academia or business.
Poor self-esteem is a lack of self-respect and self-worth. It leads to abuse of one’s self and others. Ego takes the driver’s seat. Decisions are taken more to satisfy the ego than to accomplish anything worthwhile. People with low self-esteem are constantly looking for identity. They are trying to find themselves. One’s self is not to be found but to be created.
Idleness and laziness are consequences of poor self esteem and so is making excuses. Idleness is like rust that eats into the most brilliant metal.
Lack of Knowledge
The first step towards knowledge is awareness of areas of ignorance. The more knowledge a person gets, the more he realizes what areas he is ignorant in. A person who thinks he knows everything has the most to learn.
Ignorant people don’t know they are ignorant. They don’t know that they don’t know. In fact more than ignorance, the bigger problem is the illusion of knowledge, which can mislead a person.
A fatalistic attitude prevents people from accepting responsibility for their position in life. They attribute success and failure to luck. They resign themselves to their fate. They believe and accept the predestined future written in their horoscope or stars, that regardless of their effort whatever has to happen will happen.