Yesterday, I wrote about the 4 steps to success. The steps are not easy but they’re not incredibly hard either. In fact, they’re so simple that success seems like a given. Yet, time after time, we heard about people who fail. Not just that they try something and fail at it. But that they are failures. That they get into a rut and never get out of it. That they find themselves in a bad situation and never escape it. That they stop trying. That they give up and quit. That they lose their job and go on public assistance and never stop waiting for those weekly rations of bread and milk. That they lose their homes and take to the streets and spend the rest of their days asking for two coins to rub together to keep warm.
In reading Napoleon Hill’s book Think And Grow Rich, I came across a list he says contains the 30 major causes of failure.
- Genetic deficiency that is not easily corrected.
- Lack of purpose
- No desire to succeed
- Inadequate education
- No self discipline
- Poor health – ill health can result from disease or poor habits.
- Improperly trained as a child. Our parents exert the most lasting influence on their children’s character. It can take years to unlearn negative lessons learned during those formative years.
- Lack of persistence
- Negative personality traits
- Lack of controlled sexual urges
- Desire to get something for nothing
- Lack of decisiveness
- Incompatible spouse. The wrong choice of life partner, Hill says, is the most common cause of failure.
- Overcautiousness. Some risk-taking is implicit in success. The eagle has to leave the safety of the nest to fly.
- Incompatible business partners
- Superstition or prejudice
- Lack of passion for the business
- Lack of concentration
- Uncontrolled spending habits
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Inherited power. Not having earned it themselves, children of wealthy parents often lose their fortunes. Hill says, quick riches are more dangerous than poverty.
- Intentional dishonesty
- Egotism and vanity
- Guessing instead of thinking
- Lack of capital
In reading through the list, I realized there are several that seem to repeat the same theme. In grouping them together, I realized all 30 causes fall into just 6 categories:
- physical limitations
- lack of discipline
- lack of desire
- bad decisions
- poor attitude
The above 6 factors are the reason some people fail and then succeed and others just become failures. However, the list gets even simpler because we know of people who have overcome physical limitations and go on to be successful. Helen Keller was born blind and deaf and mute yet the world knows her name. Amputees have become blade runners and won Olympic medals. So we could probably take physical limitations off the list. Being born to neglectful parents didn’t stop Oprah. Having an unsupportive spouse didn’t keep Les Brown from gaining international fame.
There is really only one reason some people fail and never recover – a poor attitude toward change. Proverbs 24:16 says, A just man falls seven times and rises up again but the wicked will fall into mischief. As long as you never let yourself be defeated, you’re still poised for success. As long as you’re still trying, you’re not a failure. A good attitude means you never accept failure as the status quo so you do whatever it takes to rise up again. Learn whatever you need to learn. Change what you need to change. Let go of whatever negative influence has been causing you to fail. Train away your bad habits. Practice self discipline.
- Are there any characteristics on the list of 30 that describe you?
- How is your attitude towards change?
- How can you start working to correct it so you can be more successful?