6 Reasons Why You’ll Never Succeed

This guest post is by Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind.

It has probably crossed your mind on more than one occasion that it is much easier to spend money than to make it. Success and failure share the same relationship. It’s just so damn easy to fail. That is why “success” is coveted by many, but achieved by few.

You define your own success—it is an entirely subjective concept. If your idea of success is to start reading one blog post a day, then you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now. However, for the purposes of this list, we will consider success to be achieving what I call your Endgame.

So, without further ado, this is what is holding you back.

1. You don’t try

This is the cold-blooded killer of success. If you’re applying yourself in entirely the wrong fashion, at least you are applying yourself in some way. If you simply don’t try, then you will never succeed.

A lot of people defeat themselves before they have even begun. There is a prevailing mindset amongst the majority that success is ultimately unachievable, as if those who are successful just got lucky. Fortunately for us, luck isn’t that prevalent—but neither is hard work or persistence—and that is why many people never get to where they want to be.

2. You’re not productive

You might think that you are, but you may be fooling yourself. Merriam-Webster defines productivity as being “effective in bringing about”. In the context of this article, productivity equals being effective in bringing about success. When you consider your actions, are they all truly geared towards your success? If not, then your productivity is not what it could be. Every time you start a task, you need to ask yourself if it is taking you one step closer to success.

3. You don’t know what you want

You may be able to tell me that you want a million dollars in your bank account, but you would be fooling yourself. You ultimately want to be successful (by your own definition) because you think it will make you happier. Money can facilitate happiness, but it does not in itself create happiness. You should be thinking about what makes you happy, not what you think makes you happy.

In order to generate long-lasting motivation, you need to truly know why you are trying so damned hard. And take it from me; it is not because you want a million dollars sitting in your bank account.

4. You give up too easily

There is one screamingly obvious reason why not all people achieve their desired level of success: a lack of patience. This has become even more prevalent in the internet age—if instant success doesn’t land in your lap then it clearly will never come.

Successfully negotiating the path to success requires an enormous amount of patience. In order to have sufficient reserves of this highly valuable quality, you need to know where you are going. Which leads us to…

5. You don’t know where you are going

You might have a clear definition of your planned success, but do you have any idea how to get there? Again, simply saying “I want a million dollars in my bank account and I am going to get there by being an awesome internet marketer” is not the true answer to the question.

Can you provide me with a step by step plan as to how you intend to achieve success? If not, then you do not know how to get there, and you will likely fail. You need a plan.

6. You work hard … and fail

Rarely is success so easily avoided than by endeavor being spread far and wide. Success requires a concentrated effort. If your efforts are diluted across various projects, or various obligations, your chances of success are greatly diminished. You can work yourself into the ground and achieve very little.

Before you consider anything else, you need to have a better understanding of what commitment you are prepared to invest in your success. It may not be easy at first to comprehend how much you will need to commit in order to reach your goal, but it will become clear in time. One thing is certain, if you commit 100% of what is required, but that 100% is divided over numerous projects, you are still likely to fail.

What else blocks the path to success?

Now it’s over to you. What do you think? I have given you six stumbling blocks that lie on the path to success. What others have you experienced?

Tom Ewer is the owner of Leaving Work Behind, a growing community of likeminded people with a unifying goal – to create scalable and sustainable online incomes. He aims to leave his career in property development just as soon as his online pursuits can support him. If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to sign up to Tom’s RSS feed.

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  1. Great list Tom. One that plagues me is a specific subset of number 1. It’s easy to convince myself that I DID try and I AM doing everything I could, but things just didn’t work out. If I really get honest with myself though I can find that next level of effort.

    The honesty is the hard part, and then being able to pick goals that will truly allow you to give it your all… that’s another story.

  2. #6 – I’ve had to say no a lot recently because I simply don’t have the time to devote to everything. I’m a busy work-at-home mom, so it’s hard enough getting time to work and try to become successful professionally.

  3. @Deacon Bradley

    Thanks for your kind words 🙂

    No. 1 is a biggie. You have hit the nail on the head in terms of your “subset”. The key is to first try, then do it right (no. 6)!


    I hear you, and could write several articles on this point alone (which I probably will do, in the future). The key is to be realistic with yourself in what you can acheive in the time you have, plot out what you are going to do, then do it!

    Saying no to things that aren’t a priority is a great start 🙂

  4. I believe the most important reason is, as you said, “not knowing what you want”

    Without a clear purpose in life, your life can easily fall apart.

    • I certainly think it is one of the most important things, and is absolutely key to sustaining your efforts over a period of time. If you don’t truly know what you want, then how do you know what you are fighting for when things get tough?

  5. All those summed result on failure on an epic scale but I think one might get a small scale of success if one fails one or perhaps to of points in your list.

    In the end it all amounts to the whole, not just the sum of the parts.

    • To be honest with you Hugo, with the possibly exception of productivity (as you can still get things done even if you are not that productive), I think that all the elements need to be in place in order for you to be successful.

      For instance, you will not become successful if you don’t try, regardless of how good your idea is. Or, you could have loads of ambition but apply it in completely the wrong way (you work hard and fail) – that will get you nowhere.

  6. Can’t really think of anything else to add here as they are just about the “main stumbling blocks” towards success. #6 is probably one of them that many do not willingly know that they are doing and working hard without “proper focus”, is also very unproductive. I have to admit that I am guilty of that too, and overtime I learned how to overcome that. One step at a time…

    • No. 6 is a biggie. I would much rather take it slow but sure by concentrating on one project, then jeopardize my chances of success by trying to do too much.

  7. these are all true, but there are usually deeper causes behind them. I would say that the fear of failure and fear of rejection, which are closely tied together are two of the biggest reasons that people fail. They tend to be behind most of the reasons you mentioned as well.

    • Hi James. It was not the purpose of the article to get too psychological but rather to consider the fundamentals of success, but to a large extent I agree with you. It is very difficult to get anywhere in life if you are paralysed by the fear of not achieving what you want, and it is of course a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  8. This was a very helpful article.

    Number 5 was the one that really stood out to me. Being in a state of transition, it is sometimes hard to see what my clear goals are and the steps that I need to take to get there.

    That being said, coming up with a plan is a huge help in mapping out the steps to get you where you ultimately want to be. Even without a clear understanding of where you want to be in the future, you can always start on something and redirect your steps if need be.

    Thanks for the great insight!

    • Great comment Dennis. You’ve really hit the nail on the head when it comes to setting out a plan. It may seem difficult to do so, but you need to have some idea of what you are trying to achieve and why, otherwise you will struggle to move in the the right direction.

  9. Nice list. Actually I had a hard time trying to identify the top reason for me.

    I think, like some of the other commenters, that #6 is HUGE.

    Too often my time, focus, and energy is split across way too many things in life. It is hard to focus. Then, for me #3 and #5 show up to amplify my split-focus.

    Sounds like more planning ahead.

  10. Jasmin Daniela Chacon says:

    I understand the intent of this article. However, I am a great advocate of positive psychology. Therefore – I suggest the following format.

    Top reasons why you will succeed…
    -you try
    -you’re productive
    -you know what you want
    -you don’t give up easily
    -you know where you are going
    -you work hard and have succeeded in the past

    -Jasmin Daniela Chacon

  11. Nice article Tom. Being a musician + a software engineer, I could very well relate with #6. When I started I thought I will be able to handle both and I needed my job to support my musical endeavors. And after 6 years, situation has not changed. It is very important to concentrate on one thing and reach to a point of excellence in that.

    And today I was feeling confused, there were so many new ideas about internet blogging business were coming to my head. Trying to figure out how can it bring me out of my software job and I can then pursue music full time. Your Article saved me. I now stop thinking and I am not quitting. Just have to apply the lessons that I have learned over the years of trying and focus my mind. Or Rather as they say in ‘Karate Kid’ Empty my Mind.

    Cheers from India
    Dilpreet Bhatia

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  21. A lot of this is bullshit, I’m sorry to say. The narrative where one can work hard and achieve whatever they want is simply incorrect. It belongs on a Hallmark card and is not meant to be taken seriously. In reality success is a two sided coin. The one side relies on ones responsibility to invest effort and due diligence on a goal they are trying to achieve, and the other relies on life’s willingness to bend to their situation. There are those out there though, whom for whatever reason get whatever they want in life without investing the fair amount of effort needed for most people to achieve that thing. There are also those out there (me) whom for whatever reason have done everything that they could possibly think of to achieve their goals and it has never worked out for them. That’s just life.

    I think though too that success is a very subjective term. In the west we’re so focused on results. We all want the coolest job, the most money, the most attractive body, the best family, the most talents, so on and so fourth. First world luxuries and facades of fulfillment. I find myself more fulfilled by the effort I put into things nowadays than focusing on results. They’re inconsequential really. Learn to enjoy the journey and not the destination and life will be much greater to you.

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