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What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? (How To Live A Happy And Successful Life Part 13)

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful?

This article will look at things that tend to make people unsuccessful and suggest ways to counteract these things.

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? - Unsuccess

There have been many articles written on how to be successful, but very few articles talk about about what makes you unsuccessful! Indeed, most of the articles on 'success' go out of their way to avoid these things!

One reason for this is if you focus on the negative, the negative will result! In other words, 'you are what you think about.' (See Napoleon Hill).

1. Counter false beliefs ('limiting beliefs') with true ones. 

Any incorrect idea that you have about something is a false belief - however, who says what's incorrect?

A small false belief such as 'being unlucky' or not able to find a job should not stop you from looking for a job, but with many people it does!

The best way over this problem is to ask yourself a few questions.

For example, 'Is it really true?' 

...and then

'Can you absolutely know that it’s true? 

Going deeper, you could also ask

'How do you react when you think that thought?' 


'Who would you be without the thought?'

Ultimately try and think of instances where the belief doesn't hold true, i.e.

'What if [belief] was not true?' 

or '

What if [opposite belief] was true?'

You could also ask yourself:

How would you react if it were not true? 


'Who would you be if it were not true?'

With the questions above, take the time to reflect deeply on them before answering.

The above technique is derived from the 'Socratic Method', named after the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates.

For an interesting video on 'The Socratic Method', check this out:

2. Take responsibility for your actions

Many people blame their lack of success on external factors. For instance, when someone fails at an exam, they often blame the teacher or their environment. 

However, successful people look internally to their results. They take responsibility for their actions. They seek to improve them in order to be successful, and to be able to face whatever challenges life throws at them. 

If you find yourself looking outside yourself for answers, ask yourself 'What am I doing to create this situation.' Then ask 'what could I do to make things better'.

3. What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? Persist and Persevere!

Most unsuccessful people are not persistent. At the first sign of failure they drop out or quit completely. 

On the other hand, successful people are persistent in life and continue their hard work until they achieve what they want. One example is Thomas Edison, who took 10,000 'failures' to find an electric light that worked. 

You know the saying:

Try Try Again

4. Flexibility versus Rigidity

Unsuccessful people are often quite rigid in their outlook and tend to stick to their ways, even if these no longer work. They have trouble adapting to changing situations. History is littered with failed individuals and even entire civilisations that failed because of their rigidity.

By contrast, in a dynamic world, those who are highly flexible are usually successful. They adapt to situations accordingly, take on any hardships and try different methods when they fail. Again, Thomas Edison fits into this category very well.

5. What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? Failures Don't Plan - Successes Plan!

It is often said that if you fail to plan, then you're planning to fail. What this simply boils down to is setting your goals and formulating a plan to achieve them. If you have no goal or plan, you're setting yourself up for failure.

Even if you set a goal, you need a plan to achieve it. It's no good just 'wanting' success, you need a specific plan to get it.

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? - SMART Goals

You may have heard of 'S.M.A.R.T. Goals'. This is a system for setting goals that also includes a way of actually achieving them.

The acronym stands for:

S for Specific

It's important to know what you want, and it needs to be specific. The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to plan for its achievement. For instance, 'I want to be successful' is not specific enough. Successful at what? Use the tool called chunking (link) in order to make your goal specific enough to  make it achievable.

M for Measurable

You need to be able to quantify success with the goal  - how you know you have achieved it. If you define success above as 'a successful lawyer' then you need to measure that success as a lawyer - for instance, how many clients have you helped, or if you like, how much money you have made as a lawyer.

A for 'Achievable' (or 'Attainable')

The goal needs to be realistic in its achievement. For instance, becoming President of a country requires a certain amount of specific actions and also a certain amount of political support to do so.  If you realistically don't have those things, or if you are unable to achieve them, then the goal cannot be achieved.

R for Relevant

The goal needs to be relevant to your needs and wants, as well as being congruent with your values and beliefs. If you think that having a lot of money is not important to you, then setting a goal to make a lot of money is hardly relevant. You most likely won't achieve it if it isn't important or relevant to you.

T for Time Based 

The goal must be placed on a time line, for example, 'January 13th 2025'. By setting a time limit, you are forcing yourself into an action plan - otherwise just thinking about it will not get you anywhere fast!

P Is For Plan!

In addition to having a SMART goal, you need a plan to achieve it. Fortunately there is another tool to do this, and that is called 'What Three Plays', which we covered in more depth in a previous article. By breaking the goal down to smaller tasks, it becomes more manageable and less daunting. It's easier to think of three small things you can do now, or today, that bring you closer to a goal that may be years away from achievement.

Combining the two together give you a much greater probability of getting what you want.

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? - Empowering Beliefs

6. Believe in yourself

This one sort of follows on from the 'limiting beliefs' tip above.  If there were one sure way to be 'unsuccessful' then a lack of self belief will also result in a lack of self confidence.

How to overcome this? Many people change their beliefs easily, particularly if they are open minded about the topic. However, when it comes to self belief, people are less likely to change them. It can be done, however, through the use of affirmations. When  you consider that most of our beliefs have been conditioned by the beliefs of others (particularly our parents and family), it's also a belief that these beliefs cannot be changed!

However, it is possible to change your beliefs if you are willing. It's not a fast process but it can be often be achieved in as little as 20 days. It can also be changed with such tools as hypnosis and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).

The simplest way is through the use of affirmations. Simply write out the new belief on a card and read it to yourself at regular intervals (at least 3 times per day) over a period of 20 to 30 days. Over this time the old beliefs will begin to fall away and the new, more empowering belief will take its place.

Once you remove a limiting belief you'll be surprised how liberated you feel!

7. Be Resourceful

A lot of unsuccessful people stay behind just because they think that they don't have the money or the resources to do things. Again, this is a limiting belief. Change the belief from 'I don't have the resources' to 'I can find or create the resources. I need' and you will see a big difference in outcomes.

Indeed, why would you stay behind? If you want success, If you are affirmative that you have to be successful, you'll have to do things without resources. 

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? - Limiting Beleifs

8. Fear Not... !

One of the more interesting reasons people are not successful is because they actually 'fear success' Funnily enough, whilst a lot of people fear failure, there are many who actually fear success!

When you consider that there are just 2 different responses to any threat, that is anger (fight - red-pilled) and fear (flight - black-pilled), fear is the main response that pulls us away from what we want.

When we are fearful we are reactive, not responsive. We see things in terms of what we don't want, not in terms of what we do want. 

In primitive times, fear was a very useful emotion. If we perceived we were not powerful to overcome a threat such as a wild animal, running way was a very astute strategy! However in today's modern society there are very few actual threats to us of that nature and fear has become a conditioned emotion to anything that is out of the ordinary.

Even things such as pandemics should not spark fear in us, provided we know how to handle it sensibly. And that is the key: take an objective look at the facts and understand what is really going on! Do not blindly trust the so-called experts and do your own research.

The same applies to being successful. The fear may not be of success itself - it may be of other changes to someone's life that happen when they are successful. But the process is the same. Try to find the truth. Get hard data and look at the situation objectively.

What Makes Someone Unsuccessful? - Conclusion

So we see... there are many things that make us unsuccessful. The most significant of these are related to your beliefs about success. If you can change your beliefs to serve you rather than limit you, your success is practically guaranteed!