30 MAJOR CAUSES OF FAILURE
After analyzing several thousand men and women, Hill pinpointed 30 major causes of failures. They are as follows:
1. LACK OF BRAINS – Very little can be done for this shortcoming. The only method to bridge this gap is by associating with others with sufficient brain power. However, don’t be discouraged. This is the only cause of failure that cannot be corrected easily.
2. LACK OF A DEFINITE GOAL – 98 out of every 100 persons Hill analyzed had no such purpose. There is no hope to attain that which is not even defined.
3. SATISFACTION WITH MEDIOCRITY – Anyone who has no ambition to get ahead in life and who is not willing to pay the price cannot attain great riches.
4. LACK OF EDUCATION – This problem is relatively easy to overcome. A truly educated person is one who has learned to get whatever he wants in life without violating the rights of others. The best educated people are often those who are self taught. It’s not so much what you know but what you do with what you know.
5. LACK OF DISCIPLINE – Discipline means controlling your negative traits. You cannot control anything until you can control yourself first.
6. POOR HEALTH – You can control many of the causes of poor health by avoiding:
- a. overeating unhealthful foods
b. thinking of or expressing negative thoughts
c. excessive or inappropriate sex
d. insufficient exercise
e. improper breathing habits and lack of fresh air
7. HARMFUL CHILDHOOD – “As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.” Most people with criminal tendencies were influenced by bad associations in childhood.
8. PROCRASTINATION – This is one of the most common causes of failure. Most people wait for the right time to start any important project. Don’t wait. Start now with the tools you currently have and pick up better tools as you find them along the way.
9. LACK OF PERSISTENCE – Most people are good “starters” but poor “finishers.” And most people give up after the first defeat. Only persistence can overcome failure.
10. NEGATIVE PERSONALITY – A person who repels people with a negative personality cannot succeed because success requires power and power is obtained from the cooperative efforts of others. A negative personality cannot inspire cooperation.
11. LACK OF CONTROL OVER SEXUAL URGES – Since sexual urge is the most powerful motivator, it must be controlled and channeled into more productive goals.
12. WANTING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING – The gambling instinct has driven millions of people to failure.
13. LACK OF DECISIVENESS – Successful people reach decisions quickly and change them, if at all, very slowly. Those who fail reach decisions, if at all, slowly and change them often and quickly. Indecision and procrastination are usually found together. Kill this pair before they hogtie you to the treadmill of failure.
14. THE 6 BASIC FEARS – These are outlined later in this book. You must overcome them before you can market your skills effectively.
15. CHOOSING THE WRONG ROMANTIC PARTNER – This is the most common cause of failure in life. Unless this intimate relationship is harmonious, failure is sure to follow. Your misery will destroy all ambition and any hope of success.
16. OVER CAUTIOUSNESS – Being too careful is as bad as being reckless. People who take no risks are usually left with whatever choices no one else wanted.
17. CHOOSING THE WRONG BUSINESS ASSOCIATES – This is one of the most common causes of failure in business. Pick successful, intelligent, inspiring employers that you want to emulate.
18. SUPERSTITION AND PREJUDICE – Successful people keep an open mind and avoid these ignorant forms of fear.
19. CHOOSING THE WRONG LINE OF WORK – No one can succeed in doing something he does not like. You must pick a line of work in which you can willingly throw yourself into wholeheartedly.
20. LACK OF CONCENTRATED EFFORT – Focus all your effort on one definite chief aim. Trying to be good at everything usually means you cannot be great at anything.
21. OVERSPENDING – Without some savings, you cannot have the courage you need to negotiate for the sale of personal services. Spendthrifts always live in fear of poverty, so they must take whatever price is offered and be glad to get it.
22. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM – Enthusiasm is persuasive and welcome in any group.
23. INTOLERANCE – Closed-minded people have stopped acquiring knowledge. The most harmful forms are those related to different religions, races, or political opinions.
24. EXCESSIVE DRINKING, EATING, OR SEX – These are fatal to success.
25. LACK OF COOPERATION – This is the single most common reason for lost positions and opportunities in life, more than all of the other reasons combined. No leaders should tolerate it among their followers.
26. SUDDEN INHERITED POWER – Power in the hands of someone who did not obtain it gradually is often quickly lost.
27. DISHONESTY – People who are repeatedly dishonest without good reason will pay with the loss of their reputations and possibly their freedom.
28. EXCESSIVE EGO AND VANITY – People usually avoid these red flag warnings of serious personality flaws. They are fatal to success.
29. GUESSING INSTEAD OF ANALYSIS BASED ON FACTS – Most people are too lazy to obtain the facts necessary and to analyze them to arrive at informed opinions.
30. LACK OF CAPITAL – First-time business owners often make the mistake of starting their businesses without sufficient capital to absorb the cost of their mistakes and to support their efforts until they have had enough time to establish a good reputation.
STEP 7: DECISION: THE MASTERY OF PROCRASTINATION
Procrastination is the opposite of decision. Hill interviewed almost 25,000 people who agreed that procrastination is one of the most common causes of failure. Successful people are in the habit of reaching decisions quickly and changing them very slowly, if ever. Those who fail have the opposite habit. They reach decisions very slowly, if ever, and change them quickly and often.
Most people who don’t have as many riches as they want fail because they listen to others’ opinions too much. They let the media, their friends, and even strangers they happen to strike up conversations with do their thinking for them. Opinions are cheap. Everyone has a ton of them ready to hand out to anyone who will accept them. If you let others’ opinions influence you when you try to reach decision, you won’t succeed in anything, let alone the changing of your desire into reality.
If you let others’ opinions influence you, you will have no desires of your own. Give yourself advice when using the system described in this book by reaching your own decisions and following through. Don’t take anyone else’s advice too seriously, except the members of your Master Mind group. Remember that you carefully picked each member because they completely believe in you and your dream.
Family and close friends often hurt us by offering their advice or opinions and even making fun of us. Too many people feel inferior all their lives because some relative or friend who was “only trying to help” made them doubt themselves.
You have a mind of your own. Use it to reach your own decisions. If you need more information to make your decisions—and you will to achieve your goals—ask for it quietly without sharing your dreams with everyone. Most people think they know a whole lot more about everything than they do. People usually do far too much talking and not enough listening. Keep your eyes and ears wide open and your mouth closed if you want to get into the habit of making quick decisions. People who talk too much never act. If you talk more than you listen, you will (1) lose out on learning about new ideas; and (2) invite others to take away your confidence because they are jealous of you. If you are lucky enough to be around someone who actually does have a lot of knowledge, then it’s even more important for you to open your eyes and ears and close your mouth.
Key Point No. 25: Open your eyes and ears and close your mouth.
Key Point No. 26: Actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell them. Show them!
Key Point No. 27: The value of a decision depends on the courage to act on it.