Top 5 Reasons Why People Fail at Life!

What is Success?

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

earl nightingale

When you think of it, success is quite simple. It’s knowing sincerely what you want in your life and getting on the path to achieve that.

  • But then why so many people fail in life?
  • Are there any reasons why certain people fail?

When I pondered on this topic, I went back to a time when I considered myself a failure. And here are the top 5 reasons I could come up with for the reasons why people fail:

Reason for Failure #1: Lack of Goals

By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.

Mark Victor Hansen
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If there is one reason why many people fail is that they do not have goals. If you are an individual or a company, if you do not have specific goals, you will fail without any question.

In my early 20s, I did not particularly have any goals. No desire. No plan. I was as carefree as possible. When you have no goals in your life any action that you undertake are to fulfill your short term desires or wants. There isn’t a long term purpose to whatever you do.

Imagine if you started a company for the heck of it. You had some money and you wanted to test some business plan. You start the company and then what? Since you have no goals, you will reach nowhere.

Same thing for you as a person. Think of a time when you did not have a goal. You life would have no purpose or a direction. I was once this way.

When I did realize this, I set out to have goals for each part of my life. I have set out specific goals for different areas of my life:

Doing this has given a great clarity to what I do in my life. Every aspect is reviewed and if it does not fit my goals, I eliminate these.

All successful people have goals whereas if you do not have a goal, you will surely fail.

Reason for Failure #2: Complain about Everything

Complaining never makes anything better.


When was the last time you complained about something?

Mine was after dinner last night saying that the food was too cold. I have learnt to complain less these days. I believe it is human nature to complain.

You complain about:

  • Weather
  • Food
  • Traffic
  • Colleagues
  • Boss
  • Work
  • Your Bank
  • Country
  • Economy
  • Mother in Law
  • Kids
  • Rich neighbour
  • Poor neighbour
  • Bad movie
  • Soggy Popcorn
  • Slow internet
  • Company owners
  • Person standing next to you in Metro

The list is quite long. Now, go through the list once again and check how many of these things are within your control?

Actually I have done this myself. About 99% of the things that we complain aren’t even within our control. Yet we complain about these things. I learnt a great deal about complaining from Stoicism.

From Daily Stoic:

The Stoic does not have time to complain about others because they have too much to improve on at home. When we make the distinction between what’s in our control and outside our control, we see very quickly that it is only our own decisions and actions and words and thoughts that are worthy of our attention. Everything else is the business of everyone else. Marcus Aurelius gave himself this advice:

“You can hold your breath until you’re blue in the face,” Marcus Aurelius said, “and they’re going to keep on doing it.”

People who perennially complain have this habit of complaining about all the stuff why they are a failure. They blame everyone else other than themselves for their failure.

Once you realize the goodness in this world and what you have been blessed with, you will start to appreciate your gifts. Complain less and work with resources you have.

Reason for Failure #3: Lack of Learning

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

Albert Einstein
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Another recurring theme with people who are failures is that they do not upgrade their knowledge. They think whatever they have learned is good enough for them to be successful.

The world around us is changing faster than we can imagine. Technologies and concepts which worked 10 years back are not relevant anymore. New generation of today have an edge with regard to technical aspects.

So if you are from a previous generation, you will have to continuously learn about new stuff or risk being irrelevant in the marketplace. The new world demands new skills.

Right from AI, Machine Learning, Robots….jobs are being taken up in huge amounts. Yuval Noah Hariri in his book, 21 Lessons for 21st Century mentions about a ‘Useless Class‘ of people. (This book is a fascinating read!)

99 percent of human qualities and abilities are simply redundant for the performance of most modern jobs.

Yuval Noah hariri, historian

People often fail because they do not know how to respond to a changing economic environment. And this response comes from continuous learning and reading.

If you are working at a company, make sure you skill-up to match the latest requirements within your industry sector. If you do feel like venturing outside your industry, do that. I was initially a risk management professional when I started my career. I have voluntarily taken up writing and blogging as my area or new skill as I see this area has a massive potential in the future. Further, as a ‘side effect’, I have learnt content marketing, SEO, SEM, Podcasting etc.

Reason for Failure #4: Lack of Sincere Hard Work

No matter how hard you work, someone else is working harder.

elon musk
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I wrote previously about hard work.

Many people do hard work and still fail.


Because they are not Effective in what they do!!

You may be the hardest working member in your team. But if your hard work does not achieve results or has no impact it is of no use. Simply put, Effectiveness in what you do should be the ultimate goal.

You may be knowing of someone who works late in the office. My first question would be,

  • What is it they are not able to do in the normal working hours?
  • Does the management know about this?
  • Does the employee require training?

Hard work is thrown around like it is some divine thing. But in this time and age if you are unable to achieve your tasks within a timeframe assigned, I’d judge you on your abilities.

When you are effective, hard work makes a lot of difference. The problem is most of you think hard work alone will achieve results. But this is a recipe for failure for sure.

Reason for Failure #5: Make Lot of Excuses

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

Benjamin Franklin
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Some popular excuses:

  • I did not have proper education
  • My parents put me in a wrong school
  • My parents were poor
  • My teachers did not guide me
  • My colleagues were not supportive
  • My manager was partial
  • The economy is bad

These are the reasons I constantly hear from people who I feel are on the way to failure. Ask anyone why have they been lagging in their goals and you will find one of the above answers.

I used to make a lot of excuses and blame others for my failures. But that did not get me anywhere. Rather I started digging my own grave and sunk more into it.

Successful people don’t complain about anything. They realize that it’s their choice that they are where they are!! This is so crucial to understanding in order for you to succeed. Don’t give excuses for a lack of resources. Rather be resourceful.

Instead of giving excuses to your current situation, see how you can work with what you have with you now.

The difference between people who are successful and people who failu is that the successful people aren’t afraid of failure. They will see what wrong they have done, ponder over it and correct their steps. On the other hand people who fail, fail to realize their shortcomings and continue to do what they have been doing. They are too shy to admit their failure.

Everyone fails in life. And it is those who get up and take the next step who will be called extraordinary. Don’t be scared of failure, don’t be shy to admit that you failed. Wear your failures like a badge of honour. The world will appreciate that.

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