Have you ever read the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill? If not, you should definitely take a look.
Despite being 80 years old, published in 1937, this is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. It features numerous takeaways about success where readers can gain ideas on how to make oneself the best possible way.
While most people are interested in learning about how to succeed, there are only a handful of people that can understand and learn about failure. Anyone that can learn about failure is a path forward in becoming successful.
The 30 causes of failure from Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich
1. Unfavorable hereditary background
The first on the list and the toughest to overcome, on why people fail is the lack of brainpower or a disability of some sort. This essentially means that an individual is not naturally intelligent, takes all measures to try and improve their knowledge and become smarter, but yet, still have a disadvantage. There’s not much you can do about it, but there are ways that you may be able to bridge this weakness, such as asking others for help or joining a Master Mind group.
A Master Mind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring group used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.
This is the only one of the 30 major causes of failures that one cannot be corrected so easily.
2. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life
In order to be successful, you must have some type of goal to aim for. If you don’t have a well-defined purpose, then you don’t have anything to aim at, therefore, the direction you take is unidentified.
This is why this is the second on the list, and affects 98% of the common population (per the author’s analysis). Most failures in life are because individuals don’t have a purpose in life.
Tony Gaskins, a motivational speaker, said it best, “If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
3. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity
Any individual that wants to be successful needs to put in the effort to rise above mediocrity. If you’re not willing to pay the price or want to get ahead of life, then you’ll be destined to fail.
4. Insufficient education
In the book, Think And Gro Rich, Napoleon Hill explains that the most successful people are the ones who self educate themselves or “self-made”, not the ones that have the highest education.
Any lack of education can be overcome by true ambition and passion.
Schools cannot teach you experience, “men are paid, not merely for what they know, but more particularly for what they do with that which they know”.
5. Lack of self-discipline
Who says becoming successful was easy? It takes a lot of discipline, and discipline comes through self-control. In order to gain control of yourself, you must control all negative qualities.
Self-mastery could possibly the hardest job you’ll ever tackle. The author states, ‘If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” Have you ever encountered a time when you negative thoughts, and the more you think about it, the more it consumes you? These thoughts are the result of not gaining self-control, and is a recipe for failure.
You must develop your mind and become your own best friend so you can conquer yourself this way. Practice being in control of one’s actions and words.
6. Ill health
No one can enjoy their successes without the presence of good health. Napoleon Hill has outlined some of the reasons that cause poor health, but can be mastered and controlled.
- Overeating of foods not conducive to health
- Constantly having negative thoughts
- Over-indulgence in sexual activities
- Lack of proper physical activities
- Inadequate fresh air and impro
7. Unfavorable environmental influences during childhood
Many people fail because of the environment they grew up in. Most people who have criminal tendencies acquire them as the result of bad environment, and improper associates during childhood.
People often let these types of circumstances dictate their future.
Even though we can’t change the past, we can certainly do something now. You can surround yourself with a positive environment that can help shape your future.
Many people go through lives as failures because they wait too long for the “right moment” to do something. Often times you’ll hear people “regret” not doing something earlier at a younger age.
The fact is, there will never be the right time to start doing something that you want to do.
9. Lack of persistence
Those that retreat that first sign of failure are bound to fail. Success can only be obtained through perseverance.
10. Negative personality
Hill describes that failure happens when people have a negative personality and are often negative towards other people. People that often repel others through a negative personality have no hope to be successful. Success usually comes through the application of power, and power is attained through the cooperative efforts of other people.
11. Lack of controlled sexual urge
The author claims that sexual energy is among the most powerful stimuli that can move people into action. And knowing how powerful this is towards our emotions, it must be controlled transmuted and moved into other channels.
Without control of these sexual urges, one might be self-destructive.
12. Uncontrolled desire for “something for nothing”
The gambling world has driven millions of people towards failure. This is usually an example of people wanting something without having to give anything in return. This uncontrolled desire is a recipe for failure. One should learn the importance of exchanging values, instead of wanting something for nothing.
13. Lack of a well-defined power of decision
Another major cause of failure is being indecisive. People who can make decisions quickly and change them slowly, if need to be, are usually successful. Indecision and procrastination are quite similar where they’re both one and the same.
14. One or more of the 6 basic fears
We often fail because we typically have one of these six basic fears in our lives:
- Fear of poverty
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of ill-health
- Fear of jealousy
- Fear of old age
- Fear of death
Possessing any one of these basic fears that we humans have can be one of the major causes of failure. Fear is a state of mind, and more often than not, we can master this to help us grow and go-forth our passion and dreams.
15. Wrong selection of a mate in marriage
This is usually the most common cause of failure. Marriage is a relationship that brings people intimately into contact. If the relationship is disharmonious, it will likely be the result of one’s failure.
Usually, this kind of failure will bring misery and unhappiness, therefore it is important that you choose the right partner or spouse and maintain a harmonious relationship.
Over cautious is similar to being under cautious. If you want to get ahead in life, you must take risks. If you don’t take any risk, then you’ll only be able to take whatever leftovers there are after everyone else has chosen. Life comes with many elements of chances, so take as many opportunities you can get.
17. Wrong selection of associates in business
We tend to usually emulate those we associate ourselves with, therefore, choosing someone you want to work with is important. One should choose someone who is an inspiration as well as intelligent and successful, therefore, pick an employer or business associate that is worth emulating.
18. Superstition and prejudice
The author states that every successful person keeps an open mind and are afraid of nothing. Superstition and prejudice is a sign of fear, weakness, and ignorance that should be rid of.
19. Wrong selection of a vocation
If you don’t like what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it. No one can succeed if you’re not in a line of endeavor which you don’t like.
It is essential that you select an occupation that you can throw yourself into wholeheartedly.
20. Lack of concentration of effort
The seldom saying goes, “jack of all trades, master of none” is simple yet truthful. In order to be successful, you must concentrate all of your efforts on one definite ‘chief aim’. Most failures happen because people often jump from one task to another, trying to accomplish everything at once. However, it is best to specialize in one thing and become an expert at it.
21. The habit of indiscriminate spending
Do you often buy something that you don’t really need? You’re not alone. We often do this to ourselves, and even sometimes regret it at the end.
If failing isn’t an option, then form the habit of systematic saving by putting aside a definite percentage of your income.
22. Lack of enthusiasm
Did you know that enthusiasm is contagious? Its true that the person who has it, under control, is generally welcome in any group of people.
If you recall earlier that success requires cooperation from other people, you will soon realize that it is important to possess this trait.
Intolerance is a characteristic of a person that is close-minded. The author states that people who are intolerant seldom get ahead because they cease to acquire knowledge.
The most damaging forms of intolerance are those connected with religious, racial, and political differences of opinion.
Excess of anything usually is bad. The three worst kinds of intemperance that one should remember are connecting with eating too much, drinking (alcoholism), and sexual activities.
Failure to realize too much is too much can be very damaging and fatal to any success.
25. Inability to cooperate with others
The biggest opportunity that people miss in life, as well as their positions, is the inability to cooperate with others. If you don’t want to fail or lose your job, then you should be cooperative with others. It is a fault which no businessman or leader will tolerate.
26. Possession of power that was not acquired through self-effort
Those that obtain power or riches not earned themselves are often fatal to success and destined to fail. It is more likely to harm them than benefit them because they have not adopted or mastered the essential habits and skills that are required to earn or keep the power in the first place.
In addition, they could possibly lack the experience and knowledge to use their power properly.
27. Intentional dishonesty
Someone who is dishonest by choice is simply asking for failure, and there is no hope for success. This person ill lose their reputation sooner or later, and trust will disappear, and be harder to gain back.
Would you do business with someone who has no integrity? No one would want to.
If you want to succeed, be honest, at all times.
28. Egotism and vanity
Ego often gets the way of people’s ability to improve on their knowledge and education. These types of people are red flags and should be kept away.
People often can be stubborn to understand why they’re wrong or are unlikely to collaborate with others because they think they’re better than them.
This is usually fatal to success.
29. Guessing instead of thinking
People are typically indifferent and/or too lazy to acquire actual facts with which they can think accurately. They often have an opinionated mindset instead and using guesswork or snap-judgments.
Put in the effort to acquire facts that can help you think and decide better rather than going by blind opinion.
30. Lack of capital
A very common cause of failure for anyone that is starting a business for the first time is having an insufficient reserve of capital that can absorb the shock of their mistakes. And, can also carry them over until they have established a reputation.
Just to recap, here is the list of the 30 reasons why people fail:
- Unfavorable hereditary background
- Lack of well-defined purpose in life
- Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity
- Insufficient education
- Lack of self-discipline
- Ill health
- Unfavorable environmental influences during childhood
- Lack of persistence
- Negative personality
- Lack of controlled sexual urge
- Uncontrolled desire for ‘something for nothing’
- Lack of a well-defined power of decision
- One or more of the 6 basic fears
- Wrong selection of a mate in marriage
- Wrong selection of associates in business
- Superstition and prejudice
- Wrong selection of vocation
- Lack of concentration of effort
- The habit of indiscriminate spending
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Inability to cooperate with others
- Possession of power that was not acquired through self-effort
- Intentional dishonesty
- Egotism and vanity
- Guessing instead of thinking
- Lack of capital