"It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." ― J.K. Rowling
One thing we all have in common is the desire to be successful. The term “successful” is subjective as it is objective. To some, it is an abundance of money, to others, it might be to rise to the pinnacle of their career, and to some, it can even be to have their family around them in old age.
According to Researchgate, people measure their success in their career based on personal satisfaction and fulfillment which is dependent on the individual, as much as other indices like salary and promotion.
However, to each of us, we all at one point or another view success as a mirage, something so far away, it requires grit to ever catch up to. Some do become successful, and others don’t.
Unfortunately, when we haven't really gotten what we want out of life, and are surrounded by people who seem to have figured things out for themselves, there is always that temptation to be envious of them, or even sad!
Only a few get to reconcile with the fact that, those who seem to be high flyers made sacrifices to be where they are. Most find it easy to simply explain away the success of others as pure luck.
This disparity in perception is what ultimately determines whether or not the success of others motivates us or throws us into depression. Recent research shows that depression is linked to people comparing themselves to those who they assume are more successful than themselves.
One of the reasons why you might want to take comfort in the erroneous explanation that other people’s wins are because of luck is in deep inside, you wish for that same luck, and often at the expense of hard work and diligence. But this is a normal reaction.
But, the day you choose to view other people’s success as payment for their diligence, you would assume a position that sets you up for hard work, desire for knowledge, diligence, and smartness. Soon you would become successful.
In this article, I will be sharing with you some obvious reasons why you might not be successful. These are not textbook hypotheses, but issues that I have noticed in my own life and I have had to conquer and also keep conquering every day.
1. We give more time for planning and less time to work
I heard the term “paralysis by analysis” for the first time when I was still in college. It intrigued me and even opened my eyes to one of my weaknesses. The fact is that overanalyzing things can lead to complete inaction.
We all have become blinded by the popular phrase “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, so much so that we have become blinded by the fact that planning is just a piece in a very elaborate puzzle.
PM Alliance in one of their reports linked overplanning to stress and a host of other negative consequences.
Hence as much as planning is needed, execution is more important. The path to hell, they say is paved with good intentions. The path to failure is laid with awesome plans made by people that they never executed.
"A small act is worth a million thoughts".
Being gifted with the ability to plan everything to the last Time isn’t really worth much if you will not execute. Ironically, the proof of a plan is in execution. The genius of a plan is only proven in its execution. So, until you actually begin to take steps, your plans are as good as non-existence.
2. Lack Of Focus
I recently read a book that speaks on the power of focus, and how it is one of the keys to success.
The lack of focus is one of the major reasons many people never succeed. Men with the greatest of talent and an abundance of resources will amount to nothing unless they develop the ability to set their gaze on a thing till they accomplish it.
Do you sometimes find yourself hopping from one activity to the other, unable to see one through, but easily distracted by the appeal of a new adventure? Or, do you give up so quickly on a plan just because of a setback, major or minor?
If you fall into this category, then, the chances of your being successful is quite low. Can you mention any man who is celebrated today for starting one thousand things but not finishing one? Of course not!
But great men like Thomas Edison are celebrated today majorly for one invention they got right! So, you see, all you need to do to succeed is to focus!
We all must come to realize that the idea of trying to kill 2 birds with one stone is ludicrous. You must target a bird, and any other that gets killed just because it was in the way of a stone we cast.
3. We don't give enough time to what we want
There are certain activities we do, and we lose track of time. And, these activities do not necessarily have to be leisurely, some are even work-related.
This is usually because we are interested in them, or we have developed a passion for them. And vice-versa, there are other activities we start, and a few minutes in, we are bored and can't wait to end it.
Now, the truth is, the reason many remain unsuccessful in their field or at what they do is that they lack passion for such work. And this is understandable. Success takes time, and if time is one thing you cannot sacrifice to be successful at a thing, then maybe you have no passion for such a thing.
The question, therefore, is, why do something you have no interest in?
It is often said that people create time for what they love, and I agree. If you cannot give time to something, then you don't love such a thing.
Have you heard about Rose Blumkin?
The smart and lovable businesswoman who founded Nebraska Furniture mart; one of the most successful furniture stores of U S. How did she do it? Was she more intelligent than other people? Of course not. But she loved what she did and gave it all her time.
You should do the same today. Perhaps, search within to find what you are really passionate about. Upon finding it, you will be amazed at how much time you are ready to spend doing it.
I logged into LinkedIn before I began writing this piece, and I can tell you first hand, I am not surprised many people find it hard to succeed. There are just too many C.E.Os that are under 30, managers who are earning millions, and overachievers strutting on the platform.
No wonder, many people feel like they cannot amount to anything. One hour on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and all your insecurities come to life.
A recent report by the Jed Foundation gives insight into how social media causes us to compare ourselves to others.
However, I am here to tell you, the more you feel compared to comparing yourself and all you have achieved or not with other people, that is the day you begin to walk back away from being successful.
We all have different sets of abilities. Someone is good at singing and weak at public speaking. Another one is good in writing but performs poorly in other areas. Our backgrounds differ and so is our future.
Hence comparing yourself to others is futile. In fact, comparing yourself to your own siblings is also a waste of time.
Another side effect of comparison is imitation. However, comparison blinds the eyes so much that many have become someone else.
I am weak in public speaking. I get nervous when someone asks me to speak in front of people. But, I am better at writing. So do the things more where your're good at. And try to learn or improve on things which you want to have in yourself. But, never compare yourself, because you're you. And it is always good to be self.
5. Lack Of Time Management
We live in a world where resources are limited. One such resource is time, and we all have only 24 hours in a day. You can't ask for more time. You can either use it well or make nonsense excuses.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are unsuccessful today for a lack of time management. The truth is until you learn to prioritize your activity, you might never be able to achieve much with your time.
I always felt I needed more time. Unfortunately, I cannot make more time than that which exists. So, I had to learn how to prioritize. Simple things like having a to-do list, and putting the most important things as the first activity of the day have really helped me in achieving a lot.
Where prioritizing is important, there are certain activities that are stealers of time, especially when you do them at the wrong time. Some of these include seeing a movie, gossiping, and over-sleeping among others. Watch out for these and you will find 24 hours quite enough.
You can't imagine how much we can achieve if we prioritize our things and use the planet's scarcest resource, i.e. "Time" to the best use of it. In the true sense, time management is one of the most essential attributes of all the people who are great and successful. And if you're doubtful, how can you learn more about time management then reading or listening to the interviews of the greatest men currently living and how they are so successful. This will help you out in knowing how you can too do that.
6. Lack Of Consistency
There are certain tasks you can complete in one take. But, the really meaningful goals and dreams will require you to show up, day in and day out, and do your bid until you achieve them. The power to keep showing up is called consistency, and it is one thing most successful people have in common.
According to Charles Prosper, consistency is the key to all success, and I believe this too.
The truth is, you can't get going if you don't do anything daily. Momentum is important. And if you are working without it, your progress is at risk, and without progress, you cannot achieve a thing.
Now, the key to consistency is to work with a schedule. A schedule helps you prioritize important activities into different times of the day on a long-term basis. All you therefore need is the discipline to show up when it is time and do what needs to be done.
Without a schedule, you will realize you would be banking on passion and your love for what needs to be done. But those are emotions and they aren't dependable. There will be days you wouldn't want to do anything. But with a schedule, it becomes more mechanical.
7. Fear Of Failure
Here we have the biggest obstacle to being successful and that is "failure", either the realization of it or the fear of it.
However, the reason most people are scared of failing is that they don't understand it. Failure is a requirement to succeed. The paths to success are several failures!
The truth is it takes time to succeed and success is the outcome of struggles, multiple failures, and humiliations. Nobody succeeds immediately. Luck is important but it is not the only criterion for success.
People without luck have higher chances of success. Because those who enjoy success, have failed and learned from their mistakes, made necessary changes or improved skills, and gotten up again for another failure/learning.
Those who stop by the failures are never going to enjoy the fruits of success. So, every failure is actually a learning experience, no matter how much it hurts. In true sense, failures expose a lacunae on which you can work and improve to get going on your path.
So, the next time you fail or do not get what you expect, don't lose your morals, nor give up. Instead, choose to learn from the experience, and use what you have learned as a leverage to aim higher.