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  • Lokajit Tikayatray

20 Reasons Why People Fail to Succeed in Life

“Every human being on this planet wants to be successful.”

Every day successful entrepreneurs and self-motivation gurus share all their experiences about how they obtained name and fame. There are innumerable self-help guides that tell us how to achieve our goals.

With all this quick and easy access to a plethora of information and knowledge, why do people still find it difficult to be successful? Why do most of the people who want to be successful never accomplish anything worthy in their lives?

It is because these general guidelines are useful at a very high level and can only nudge someone slightly in the direction they want to grow.

But to really make a difference, the advice needs to be specific to the problem faced by each individual.

If you want extraordinary success, you need to know why you have not achieved it yet.

Once you can pinpoint the reasons that are dragging you back in the march toward your dream goal, then you can find your targeted mantra for success.

Here are 20 practical reasons that hinder people from achieving success in their lives. Reflect deeply on each point to see if that is the one holding you back from becoming wildly successful.

1. They Have No Vision

Having a vision is the most important requirement to become successful.

Without vision, people float like an aimless boat. They don’t know what they want to achieve. They want to be successful but do not know what success really means for them.

What you can do:

  • Define your own success criteria. Figure out what exactly you want to achieve in your life and why you want to achieve it.

  • Once you have the exact definition, do whatever it takes to stick to that vision.

2. They Do Not Persevere

Success takes years of struggle to achieve.


Many people have passion, but they are not persistent in their approach to fulfilling it. The first sight of difficulties makes them drop their enthusiasm. Without perseverance, no one can accomplish any meaningful success.

What you can do:

  • When you have a vision, you will have to give everything you can to succeed.

  • Be ready to face several challenges during your journey. Hold your ground and keep trying all your options to overcome the difficulties. Never give up.

3. They Cannot Commit

Long-term goals require a great deal of commitment.

People dream big, but they are not ready to put in the required effort to achieve their dreams. They lack dedication towards their own purpose in life. They fail to keep the promise they make to themselves.

What you can do:

  • Give your sweat and blood to reach your goals. Dedicate all your time and energy to make your dreams a reality.

  • Do not falter on the path to your success. Make up your mind to adhere to your commitment irrespective of all the hindrances you might face.

4. They Have Zero Self-Motivation

They have absolutely no idea how to motivate themselves. When things go south, they drop their plans.

They are always dependent on someone else to pick them up when they fall. As soon as that extrinsic motivation is gone, they lose their interest in whatever they want to do.

What you can do:

  • Understand that it is your life goal, and you need to motivate yourself to achieve it.

  • No one is going to spend their time to give you the pep talk all the time. If you are not motivated, then you might have the wrong reasons behind your desire to be successful.

  • Go back to the whiteboard and define why you want to achieve what you want to achieve.

5. They Don’t Know How to Start

They have many ideas. They are sure that those ideas are going to change the world.

However, they do not know where to begin, whom to approach, or how to proceed to get a start. Their ideas die within their brain without ever seeing a single ray of daylight.

What you can do:

  • Get the ideas out into the real world. Pick one idea that you are most passionate about and start working on it.

  • Learn during the execution and continuously improve to reach the end goal.

6. They Love Procrastination

They are chronic procrastinators. For them, everything can be done later — but that “later” never comes.

Guy in front of a system - procrastination

Spending time on leisurely activities takes priority on their calendar. They delay the completion of a task so much that either it becomes a bigger problem or it no longer matters whether they do it or not.

What you can do:

  • Understand why you like to procrastinate. Is it because you are too lazy or the tasks seem too big?

  • If you are too lazy, then get off your ass and get the things done. If the task is too big, then slice it into smaller chunks of work. Take each piece at a time and complete it.

  • Sometimes picking up too many unrelated tasks stops you from completing any of them. In such cases, remove all distractions that divert your attention. Work on only one task at a time.

7. They Do Not Believe In Themselves

They have absolutely zero faith in their own ability. They don’t think they can be successful.

Self-doubt batters each of their ideas as soon as they peek their head into the brain. They think they do not deserve what they desire.

What you can do:

  • Realize that you — and only you — can make your dreams come true. No one is going to drive you on your journey to success.

  • Do not focus on your failures. Learn from it and use the learnings to improve your performance. Focus on small wins.

  • Surround yourself with well-wishers who can inspire you and make you more confident. With confidence comes the self-belief.

8. They Lack Focus

They have too many ideas, but they don’t know which one to work on first. They get confused by their own choices.

They jump from one idea to another very fast. Each of the ideas looks equally promising to them. They don’t know how to concentrate on one idea at a time and take it to fruition.

What you can do:

“A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”
  • Decide which idea is most important for you. Pick the one that you think can give you the most bang for your buck. Once you decide, give your 100% attention to the task.

  • Move to a new idea or task only when you are done with the previous one.

9. They Don’t Know How to Delegate

They have trust issues. They cannot assign work to someone and trust them to do it correctly.

They try to do even the smallest of tasks on their own. With that, they burn out and have no energy left to do what really matters to become successful.

What you can do:

  • If you have a big target to achieve, you will have an equally large number of tasks to complete. But you do not have to do everything on your own.

  • As your business grows, you need to prioritize the jobs you take up. Do the tasks that need your most attention. Leave the rest of the tasks to other people.

  • Understand that you cannot be an expert in every area. Hire people who are good at specific subject matter and trust them to do their best.

10. They Overthink Everything

Overthinking is a problem

They spend a lot of time thinking about ‘what-if’ scenarios. They want to have a perfect plan before they start. They don’t see the uniqueness in their ideas, and hence they keep tweaking it till it is no longer clear what they exactly want. Having a plan is essential, but too much planning without any real action is a sure-shot path to failure.

What you can do:

“Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.” — Mark Zuckerberg
  • No plan is perfect. Do not worry about the end when you have not started yet. You cannot plan everything from the beginning.

  • You will have no idea what kind of challenges you will face in your path to success. So, get your plans to work. Learn and improvise from everyday experiences as you progress.

11. They Have Very Little Patience

Success needs a lot of patience, but they always want instant gratification. It does not take much for them to lose hope. They get demotivated as soon as the outcome of their plan deviates from their expectation.

What you can do:

  • Failure is an inevitable part of being successful. Realize that you will fail many times before you can taste the sweetness of first success.

  • Use your failures as the learning exercises. They will teach you valuable lessons about life and also about your work. If you drop your plans due to obstacles, then you will have zero chance of becoming successful.

12. They Feel Entitled

They think they are the most talented and charismatic person on the face of the earth. They believe the world owes them their success.

Their self-entitlement blinds them so much that they daydream about achieving success. It creates unrealistic expectations in their mind, which, when not substantiated, gives rise to resentment.

What you can do:

  • Understand that the world owes you nothing.

  • No one is going to serve you success on a platter. You need to work hard to get whatever you want to achieve.

13. They Need Other’s Validation

They are never happy with their own work. They feel they are imposters.

Every time, they need someone else to validate their work and certify it to be worthy. If ten people appreciate them, but one person does not like their idea, they will immediately get demotivated.

What you can do:

  • If you need other’s validation, then you will be working on their definition of success. It will deviate you from making your vision a reality.

  • This is where self-belief and confidence play a big role. It is good to validate your plans once in a while to ensure that you are not missing something obvious. But do not let someone else define what your success should look like.

  • If you truly believe in your vision, then put all your effort into making it a success even when no one else sees the value in it.

14. They Believe In Their Excuses

They have the perfect excuse for every scenario.

No excuses

They have excuses for why they are not able to start. They have reasons for why they are not able to complete a task. They also have a bunch of excuses for their failures.

Nothing is ever their fault.

What you can do:

“Excuses sound best to the person that’s making ’em up!”  — Tyrese Gibson
  • No one really cares why you cannot be successful. So, there is no need for excuses. The only person you can fool with your justifications is yourself.

  • Do not waste your time pondering over what made you fail. Focus on what you can avoid next time so that you do not make the same mistakes.

15. They Are Too Proud to Ask For Help

Their pride gets hurt easily when they cannot do a task. Such people imagine themselves as the most superior human being.

They feel seeking help is like accepting the other person to be better. They will prefer to half-ass a task than let someone else lend a hand to them.

What you can do:

“A man given to pride is usually proud of the wrong thing.”  — Henry Ford
  • You cannot be the best in everything in this world. You will need a lot of support from people who know better than you.

  • The bigger your dream is, the more help you will need to achieve it.

  • Taking help from others does not make you inferior to them. People will be more than happy to assist when you are polite and humble. Ask for help, and be grateful for their support.

16. They Are Full of Ego

They never reflect on their actions. Neither do they look inward to find their own fault.

They will not accept anyone’s advice. If someone tries to show them the right path, they will question that person’s authority. For them, it is as if the entire universe revolves around them.

What you can do:

  • Do not let ego blind you from seeing your own fault.

  • Keep your focus on the effort you need to put into your work. While working on your life goals, see if you can help others in their endeavors.

  • Always be open to suggestions. Know how to take the feedback in your stride and utilize it for your own benefit.

17. They Are Afraid to Stand Out

This is another extreme behavior of self-sabotaging. Such persons value other’s opinions too much. They are not comfortable being different from the rest. They are afraid of people’s judgment.

What you can do:

  • If you want to achieve incredible success, then you need to do differently and be different from others. You will have to stand out from the crowd.

  • Hence, make yourself comfortable for being different from the rest of the world.

  • People might think you are weird or crazy. Don’t worry about that, as you have no control over what people say. Have confidence in your work and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams.

18. They Lack Humility

These are the people who do less and talk more. As soon as they accomplish the slightest success, they start talking about it.

They appoint themselves as self-proclaimed experts and start preaching to people on how to be successful. All this makes them lose sight of their own growth.

What you can do:

  • Always stay grounded in your reality. Share your success stories with others with the intention of helping them learn from your mistakes.

  • It is alright to enjoy the achievement and bask in the glory of success. But do not forget that success is a journey and not a destination.

19. They Don’t Know How to Say ‘No’

They have boundary issues. For them, politely declining other’s offer feels like climbing a mountain with bare feet.

Say NO

They cannot say no to any request, even if that conflicts with their own priorities. Ultimately they end up doing things that take up all their time and leave them exhausted.

What you can do:

“It’s only by saying 'no' that you can concentrate on the things that really matter.” — Scott Belsky
  • To be successful, you need to be your first priority. It is good to help others, but always consider the cost you have to pay for the same.

  • Learn to say no to requests that do not add value to your life’s purpose. Even if that means you might lose a friend or two, say no. You will be better off getting rid of people who do not respect your boundaries.

20. They Have a Victim Mentality

It’s never their fault. The whole world is conspiring against them.

They strongly believe people want them to fail. Most of their time is consumed by whining and blaming others. Playing victim forces them to never learn from their mistakes.

What you can do:

  • Success requires a lot of energy and patience to overcome the roadblocks on the path to achieving it. Having a positive attitude helps in getting through the trying times.

  • Hence, be grateful for the things that you have in your life. Do not waste your time complaining about people and processes.

  • Always try to find solutions to your problems.

Final Thoughts: Why People Fail to Succeed

Which one of these reasons resonates with you?

It can be one or more than one of the above points that keep you away from your success. If you can isolate the specific cause, you are halfway through the journey to realize your dreams.

Write down the reasons that you think are the obstacles. Look at them every day as a reminder of what you have to overcome to be successful. Find the right mentor and material that can help you guide through your journey.

With time, perseverance, and a focused approach, you can accomplish your life’s purpose.

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