Reasons People Fail
It seems that failure tends to be more popular than success. Or at least that’s what we perceive it to be. We fret it, we try to avoid it and we question ourselves every time we have unconventional ideas. But the simple truth is that no great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure. Or a series of failures such as Edison’s one thousand attempts to create a light bulb or Dyson’s over one hundred attempts to invent a bag less vacuum cleaner. But whether we like it or not failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams.
Now, as I normally do I will start by defining failure:
“It can be an event in which any part of an equipment or machine does not perform according to its operational specifications. Failures are classified into several categories: dependent failure, non-critical failure, random failure, etc. It can be the condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.”
I can give you infinite number of definitions of failure, each one more complicated and attractive than the other but that won’t give any conclusion or that won’t give you anything because even when the heart of a person stops beating it is also called failure (heart failure). Therefore I will not describe what failure is in this article rather I will explain the reasons and causes of certain failures and in the end guide you about avoiding them and give you a few valuable tips for success.
First of all I will start with the reasons for business failure.
Why Do People Fail In Business?
Starting your own business can yield amazing rewards but at the same time it’s a pretty big risk. One of the biggest reasons why people fail is they enter into a business without having profitable market.
They may like what they are doing but they are not making money. It is one of the keys to do something you are passionate about but if you can’t monetize it then it is not something you may want to go into business for. It is necessary to carry out research before you build up a business to find if there is a demand for your product(s).
At one time to another we have all fantasized about creating our own business and being a successful entrepreneur. It is exciting to consider the possibilities but then the fears creep in.
We have all heard stories about people who started their own business full of hope and faith only to unwind shortly thereafter and fail miserably while losing some good hard earned cash in the interim.
Let us take a look at some of the underlying causes that are not always discussed. You might be surprised to hear that the lack of money is not the main reason for failure, there are several reasons why people fail in business:
THE “COPY CAT” FACTOR
Many people go into business or make a business choice because they also think they can be successful in it. Many people fail because of this reason.
You have to take into consideration that what works for “MR. A” may not be applicable for “MR. B” and it is better to go along with your own idea and instinct instead of trying to be like someone else. This is wrong.
LACK OF DISCIPLINE AND CONSISTENCY
Most people get the idea that they can make millions by simply starting their own business. Developing the discipline and consistency necessary to be successful in any endeavour is part of what makes success so sweet.
There are not many accidental success stories. It takes tremendous discipline to be successful in anything including a business. It is like getting in shape or going to college. You will not make it through college if you only study one day in each semester.
Once you know what is required daily learn to discipline yourself and be consistent. Amazingly consistency and discipline not only elevate you to higher levels of success they also make your work so much easier!
LACK OF PERSONAL GROWTH
Most people have it backwards. They think that one becomes a millionaire and then starts thinking like one. But it is the other way round. Before you can be successful you have to think like a successful person. As the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali said:
“I am the greatest! I said that even before I knew I was!”
“To become a champion, you must believe you are the best! If you aren’t at least pretend to be.”
Your thoughts, words, and your imagination will affect you whether you succeed or fail. Personal developments of your attitude and communication skills are a must. It is hard work and it takes discipline. You will have a hard time succeeding without protecting and working on your attitude. This is especially true after some failures. This is a learned skill. It is also applicable in business.
LACK OF DIRECTION/PLAN
Most people who start a business have a little or no idea how to succeed. Therefore it is extremely important to find a consultant who has the time and experience to guide you through the maze step by step. Be sure this person will actually have (or make) the time for you. Sit down with them and create a plan of direction, set realistic goals and then learn everything you can to help you succeed in your business choice.
People are being sold the idea that all you need to do is get into business and the money starts rolling in without doing anything. Sometimes it is the person’s fault because they only hear what they want to hear or they think they know better. Bottom line is that building a successful business is not a sixty yard dash but a marathon.
In the end enthusiasm is not enough to succeed. It takes much more than that. You need to research your market, your competition, the financial feasibility of your concept and much more. As you fight through the battles of making your dream come true you need to be able to go back to read and re-read your business plan. The concepts laid down in your business plan will help you to convince your bank to give you the loan you need or to determine the best marketing strategy for your business. Don’t be emotional when you prepare your business plan. Treat it as a business process with goals and deliverables. Once you complete it ask yourself, “Would I invest in this company?” Remember you are going to have to convince others to support your idea. Bankers, corporate buyers, investors, partners and the like will look at your business based on facts. Their decisions are not going to be based on emotion. When creating a written business plan you give yourself a chance to think about your idea thoroughly. As you put your ideas in writing you tend to give them more thought. You might think writing a business plan is boring or a waste of time. Truly it should be one of the most exciting projects you could ask for. You are writing your future.
“It’s not the plan that matters, it’s the planning!”
These reasons are good to justify failure but it’s not because they’re lazy or they are not doing enough. Yes they play a part but the BIGGEST reason is that they’re AFRAID.
Somewhere in the recent past we forgot that it’s okay to not be a smashing success the first time we do something. We forgot that it’s okay to fall down and get back up when we’re learning to walk. We forgot that it’s okay to look like a complete jackass the first few times we try to dive off the diving board. We forgot that the first time we made love we were as awkward and clumsy as could be.
But we kept trying to walk. We kept diving off that board. And we kept making love until we got GOOD at it.
So why is it that we are so afraid to fail in business? Why is it that we are only interested in making the smallest, briefest of efforts before we throw our hands up and declare, “This doesn’t work?”
When did we get so damn AFRAID?
More importantly how do we get unafraid?
By putting blinders on. You choose the path you want to take and then you research the heck out of it for seven days or less. You read and watch everything you can get your hands on and you take notes.
Distractions are NOT an option. Nor is mulling it over and thinking of all the reasons why it won’t work. You don’t have TIME for that BS.
After your seven days (or less) of research you take action. Because you know what? Taking action is actually EASIER than learning. And it’s more fun too. But because we let those little fear monsters whisper in our ear, we think it’s gonna be hard. We think it’s somehow going to hurt.
But once you break that first barrier and start moving you realize that brick wall was only made of tissue paper and you had the ability all along to walk right through it to the other side.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting: “D” and “F” students often do better in business than “A” students. Which is another way of saying that the not so bright people build empires while the geniuses don’t have two nickels to rub together.
Do you know why? Because the really smart people are too smart for their own good. They’re thinking of all the reasons why their new business venture will fail. And because they’re so smart they’re able to come up with all kinds of perfectly legitimate reasons why it won’t work and why it won’t last if it does work.
And they’re right, too, it will fail because they’ve already put their business on that course of failure simply by thinking about it. Not because of some voodoo mind magic but because they will either not start the business at all because they fear the failure they see headed their way or because they will start it but then quit at the first problem. “There! I knew it, I just knew this wouldn’t work!”
But the “D” and “F” students aren’t quite so bright so they don’t ponder all the reasons why their new business will fail. Nor do they try to “fix” the business before they start it with their new fangled ideas (another “A” student problem.)
Instead they take the book or course they bought and start at page 1 and follow the steps. When they get stuck they ask for help. “I can’t figure this out so I’ll ask these people on the forum or hire someone to do it for me or whatever.” And they muddle through because they essentially don’t see all the obstacles the “A” students see. They’re just following the recipe.
And guess what? They succeed!
So put your blinders on and there you go towards success!
Now, I will move on to another very common failure. Marriage Failure.
Why Do So Many People Fail At Marriages?
Chances are you know someone who has endured the pain of a miserable marriage or had to swallow the bitter pill of divorce.
Why do so many men and women who truly believed they were soul mates and lovers for life find themselves combatants in the divorce court? The answers to those questions are not complicated at all. Follow me closely as we get to the bottom line reasons why so many marriages fail.
Marriage is a sacred institution initiated, blessed and protected by God. Increasingly though it is regarded as just ‘one way’ for members of the opposite sex to live together.
There are usually five or six main reasons why people get married:
they are lonely and want companionship,
they want money and financial security,
they want love,
they want sex and
they think marriage will solve their personal problems.
Some of these reasons are conditionally valid and others are definitely not. Marriage can certainly give us companionship, financial security (sometimes but not guaranteed by any means), love, sex and solve our personal problems (sometimes).
A woman once shared with me her view of marriage:
“It’s as though I’m scanning a desert with a pair of binoculars. Everywhere I look I see bodies strewn about in various stages of death and dying; divorce, isolation, abusive and decayed relationships, all types of devastation. After viewing this I asked myself, “Why would I want to begin that journey?”
Many students today are asking the same question. Although they deeply desire the security and joy of a lifelong relationship they fear marriage. One new bride said in a Newsweek article: “I had watched my parents’ marriage fall apart and I didn’t know if I could keep one together.”
No generation reaching the age to marry has ever brought with it more baggage related to family breakdown. In the United States more than one million children each year experience the breakup of their families.
Your own experiences may be similar or even worse. Maybe your home %boiled with conflict, disharmony and unrest. As a result you’ve thought a lot about whether you should get married — you don’t want to end up in a relationship filled with pain and disappointment and cause an emotional earthquake for your own children. You like the idea of sharing your life with someone who loves you but if you’re honest marriage is pretty scary.
You may ask yourself, “Will I ever be able to get beyond the damage my family did to me? Will I be able to experience a happy and healthy marriage and family?”
The answer is unequivocally YES!
I have worked with an organization that helps families and have seen thousands of marriages succeed that looked hopeless. God has a way for broken people to experience whole relationships. More on that later.
Marriage–Worth The Problems?
With all the problems and pain why do people still want to get married? Even though marriage receives so much bad press these days walking the aisle is still very popular exercise. A recent Louis Harris survey found that 96% of college students want to marry or already are married. 97% agreed with this statement — “Having close family relationships is a key to happiness.”
So even though about one in four of American adults age eighteen and older are divorced, the possibility of having a good, lasting marriage makes nearly everyone willing to give it a try.
Just why is marriage so appealing?
The truth is that no one wants to be alone. Although we make a big deal out of “doing our own thing” and insisting on individual rights we all long for the security and warmth of an intimate relationship with someone who is crazy about us. We may say we “want to be alone” and desire “some space” but our stronger desire is to share some space with someone who loves us.
And although sexual attraction is an important part of our desire for intimacy these longings to connect deeply with another person are not just about sex.
“The fervent desire to be known and appreciated by someone else is how we were designed in the first place.”
STILL MARRIAGES FAIL! WHY?
Why is it then that so many people who want and need to be close to someone end up divorced, often filled with anger and disappointment? Many who marry attempt to achieve a strong, enduring bond based primarily on emotions. In most relationships the love and acceptance continue as long as the other person is meeting a certain level of expectation. If the feelings are warm a husband and wife can enjoy one another’s company, overlook a partner’s troubling or annoying traits, communicate adequately and still express affection.
But when the feelings cool one or both find they have no reserves or capability to love an obviously imperfect person. Now needs are not met which causes hurt, which promotes defensiveness, which reduces positive communication, which heightens misunderstanding, which provokes conflict, which fuels anger and bitterness. If forgiveness and reconciliation do not break this downward spiral the ability to love one another is paralyzed.
This pattern in nearly all relationships may be avoided for a while as long as the tough issues that provoke selfishness do not exist or are obscured. But sooner or later reality hits. In spite of a couple’s best intentions they eventually realize that two independent people cannot both have all of their needs met all of the time.
So, How Can You Experience a Better Marriage?
For a relationship to succeed teamwork is required and both persons need to deny many of their personal wishes. Self-sacrifice must replace selfishness. Sometimes one person in the marriage can do this reasonably well but eventually patience runs out. Self-sacrifice is not natural; selfishness is. Why is this so?
If we lived in a world where people were perfect then their marriages would hum along in total harmony just the way God wanted marriages to work in the first place. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Quite honestly all of us are affected by our tendency toward selfishness and “sin.”
What is sin? We often choose to do the wrong things not the right things. We can be selfish, mean, hurtful, bitter, arrogant, unwilling to forgive and so on. It’s no wonder husbands and wives struggle to get along.
An I-want-my-needs-met attitude in relationships breaks down the necessary spirit of cooperation. The negative cycle begins and continues until intimacy is lost and a marriage begins to crumble.
Let’s face it we all need help — some inner strength that enables us to love another person the way we must if a marriage is going to have a chance.
A Failed marriage:
It’s Saturday morning and Jon wants to play golf with his buddies. He rolls out of bed and tells Lisa that he’s leaving and won’t be back until about 4 p.m. Lisa complains, “You promised we could go on a picnic today!”
“I never said that,” Jon says, his voice on edge. “Anyway, I haven’t played golf in two weeks. It’s a beautiful day. I’m out of here.” Jon slams the door on the way out.
Lisa feels snubbed and after shedding some tears she stomps angrily through the apartment and throws the pillows on the couch across the room.
“I’ll show you jerk!” she yells. She calls a girlfriend and makes a date to go out for lunch and some shopping. At the mall Lisa buys $300 worth of new clothes — she needed a new outfit, but by buying a few “extra” things she knows Jon will hit the roof. Their credit card is now nearly maxed out.
Meanwhile, Jon is finishing his golf round. He stops with his buddies for a drink at the golf club bar. One drink soon leads to two. Jon notices how attractive the waitress is. As the young woman is serving Jon his third drink he whispers a flattering remark in her ear. The woman acts insulted but her smile indicates that Jon has scored some points. The next time she returns he notices her phone number on the napkin placed under his drink. Jon tucks the paper in his pocket.
Jon arrives home at 5 p.m. walking with a bit of a wobble. Lisa is watching TV with the volume turned high. He notices a pile of packages on the couch. Angrily he switches off the TV and points at the packages. Lisa swears at him and walks to the bedroom slamming the door behind her. They argue far into the night. Jon ends up sleeping in the guest bedroom.
A Successful marriage in contrast :
It’s Saturday morning and Jon wants to play golf with his buddies. He rolls out of bed and tells Lisa that he’s leaving and won’t be back until about 4 p.m. Lisa acts surprised and says, “I thought we were going on a picnic today!”
“Oh, can’t we do that tomorrow?” Jon says, his voice on edge. “Anyway, I haven’t played golf in two weeks. It’s such a beautiful day. I’m out of here!” Jon shuts the door hard on the way out.
Lisa feels snubbed and after shedding some tears, she stomps angrily through the apartment and throws the pillows on the couch across the room.
“You jerk!” she yells, wishing she could tell Jon to his face just how angry she feels.
Lisa decides to go for a walk and by the time she passes through a park her hurt and anger are subsiding. On her way back home she’s able to pray, “I am really mad at Jon and think he’s being selfish. Please help me not to be selfish too and let my anger get out of control.”
Lisa decides to call a girlfriend and they make a date for an early lunch and some shopping. While at the mall, Lisa buys a new outfit.
Meanwhile, Jon is finishing the front nine of his golf round. He and his buddies stop for a sandwich and drink at the club snack bar. Jon notices how pretty the girl behind the counter is but he just gives her a friendly smile and walks to join his friends. Earlier this morning Jon had thought Lisa was pretty whiney and clutching on to him — unfairly wanting to keep him from a good time with his buddies. But now Jon feels guilty for how he treated her. He’s not enjoying himself.
“Hey guys,” Jon announces, “I’m going to quit for today and go home. I need to spend some time with Lisa.” Two of his friends tease him but Jon sticks with his decision.
When Lisa gets home at 1 p.m., she’s surprised to find Jon sitting at the kitchen table. She notices the picnic basket is out and half-filled with food and drinks.
“Why are you home so early?” she asks, the hurt still evident in her voice.
“I’m sorry for the way I acted this morning,” Jon says. “I wanted to play golf and didn’t care about your needs. I guess I was being kind of selfish. Will you forgive me?”
Lisa bites her lip. She’s still hurt but Jon looks like he’s really sorry. And it’s pretty incredible that he quit his golf round early. “Yes, I forgive you,” Lisa says quietly.
As they hug, Jon says, “Could we kind of start this day over? I came home early thinking we might still have time for that picnic? Do you want to go?”
Lisa resists the temptation to pout and make Jon “pay.” Instead she smiles and nods her head.
The day turns around for both Jon and Lisa. The anger has been cleansed from both of them. Their relationship feels as fresh as the earth after a spring shower. In both of their lives Jesus has been at work, first showing them how to live and then giving them the strength to deny themselves and forgive — two actions essential to love but very difficult to do consistently and authentically without help.
After marriage what people fail most at is as a parent and this is a very serious issue so I am going to go into the roots of it also.
Causes Of Parent Failure:
I generally am quite an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not prone to drama. That’s why when I say that modern parenting is in serious trouble — crisis even — I hope you’ll listen and listen carefully. I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents for two decades and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me.
Here are the greatest problems as I see them:
1. A Fear Of Our Children.
I have what I think of as “the sippy cup test,” wherein I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. If the child says, “I want the pink sippy cup not the blue!” yet the mom has already poured the milk into the blue sippy cup, I watch carefully to see how the parent reacts. More often than not the mom’s face whitens and she rushes to get the preferred sippy cup before the child has a tantrum. Fail!
What are you afraid of mom? Who is in charge here? Let the child have a tantrum and remove yourself so you don’t have to hear it. But for goodness’ sake don’t make extra work for yourself just to please the child — and even more importantly think about the lesson it teaches if you give him/her what he/she wants because he’s/she’s thrown a fit.
2. A Lowered Bar.
When children misbehave whether it’s by way of public outburst or private surliness parents are apt to shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s just the way it is with kids.” I assure you it doesn’t have to be. Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it’s in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control. You don’t think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant? Rubbish. You don’t think a child can clear the table without being asked? Rubbish again! The only reason they don’t behave is because you haven’t shown them how and you haven’t expected it! It’s that simple. Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion.
3. We’ve Lost The Village.
It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mom and dad’s eyes and ears when their children were out of sight and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now when someone who is not the child’s parent dares to correct him/her, the mom and dad get upset. They want their child to appear perfect and so they often don’t accept teachers’ and others’ reports that he/she is not. They’ll storm in and have a go at a teacher rather than discipline their child for acting out in class. They feel the need to project a perfect picture to the world and unfortunately their insecurity is reinforced because many parents do judge one another. If a child is having a tantrum all eyes turn on the mom disapprovingly. Instead she should be supported because chances are the tantrum occurred because she’s not giving in to one of her child’s demands. Those observers should instead be saying, “Hey, good work — I know setting limits is hard.”
4. A Reliance On Shortcuts.
I think it’s wonderful that parents have all sorts of electronics to help them through airline flights and long waits at the doctor’s office. It’s equally fabulous that we can order our groceries online for delivery and heat up healthy-ish food at the touch of a button on the microwave. Parents are busier than ever and I’m all for taking the easy way when you need it. But shortcuts can be a slippery slope. When you see how wonderful it is that Caillou can entertain your child on a flight don’t be tempted to put it on when you are at a restaurant. Children must still learn patience. They must still learn to entertain themselves. They must still learn that not all food comes out steaming hot and ready in three minutes or less and ideally they will also learn to help prepare it.
Babies must learn to self-soothe instead of sitting in a vibrating chair each time they’re fussy. Toddlers need to pick themselves up when they fall down instead of just raising their arms to mom and dad. Show children that shortcuts can be helpful but that there is great satisfaction in doing things the slow way too.
5. Parents Put Their Children’s Needs Ahead Of Their Own.
Naturally parents are wired to take care of their children first and this is a good thing for evolution! I am an advocate of adhering to a schedule that suits your child’s needs and of practices like feeding and clothing your children first. But parents today have taken it too far, completely subsuming their own needs and mental health for the sake of their children. So often I see moms get up from bed again and again to fulfill the whims of their child. Or dads drop everything to run across the zoo to get their daughter a drink because she’s thirsty. There is nothing wrong with not going to your child when she wants yet another glass of water at night. There’s nothing wrong with that dad at the zoo saying, “Absolutely you can have something to drink but you must wait until we pass the next drinking fountain.” There is nothing wrong with using the word “No” on occasions, nothing wrong with asking your child to entertain herself for a few minutes because mommy would like to use the toilet in private or flick through a magazine for that matter.
I fear that if we don’t start to correct these five grave parenting mistakes and soon the children we are raising will grow up to become entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults. It won’t be their fault — it will be ours. We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let’s straighten these children out together and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we’ve made for them.
When we look around us we’ll see more people are poor than rich, gloomy than smiley, grumbling than thanking. More start ups flop than rise. More criminals than vigilantes. More lovers are heart broken than loved. More unhappy couples or even divorcees rather than life-long couples. More doctors wanna-be become losers than actual doctors. etc.
Are we designed to fail? Is it because life is simply a dukkha (suffering)? Then life is not yin-yang in balance isn’t it? Or… I don’t know what the actual statistics say about that. It maybe me who FAIL to see how life works.
Life is like a palette of colours—I like the blues, the reds, the yellows, the black and the white but I don’t like the greens and the greys. Yet I cannot get rid of them simply because that is how the palette gets completed. When I sit down to paint the scene before heavy showers on a canvas I will need the greys to give life to my sky and the greens to colour the fields and the meadows around. At that time the yellows and the reds wouldn’t help as much as the greys and the greens would. Only then would I realize why some things in life are vital to our existence even if we do not like them.
Fact is most of the successful couples of the present have gone through extremely difficult phases in the past, most of those who are loved by many today have had to face a lot of hatred from others in the past (and probably still do), most of the hotshot entrepreneurs of today have in the past been kicked out of offices and told to their face that they can never do anything in life.
As much as I want to stick with the blues and the reds and yellows life will ensure that I am forced to hold the greys and the greens too. That is nature. Poets have long sung about storms being followed by rainbows and nights by mornings. Those metaphors aren’t just meant to embellish writings they speak a lot about life. It is a continuous process and every process has its phases.
The heart-broken ones? They are just going through a phase in life, just as the happy couples once had to.
The failed doctors and entrepreneurs? That’s a phase too, just as the successful business tycoons had to go through.
The criminals? They have entered a phase they wouldn’t have entered had they not let their conscience get defeated at the hands of the previous phases.
Phases are followed by phases and they are preceded by phases. The next phase is decided by the way we deal with the current one. Had Edison given up on the one thousandth attempt, he would have never been able to see the “light of the day” (quite literally). Forget Edison. Every poor man of the present needs to continue working and trying to reduce the poorness of his life—be it poorness of wealth, health, happiness, love… anything.
Life isn’t suffering. Life is struggle. And it’s such a dynamic process that one simply cannot afford to stall. Success and failure come to all of us in different proportions, we have to make sure that neither gets into our head. A river that is impure needs to continue flowing lest it foregoes the chance of meeting purer waters later on. A river that is full of life needs to continue flowing lest its waters may soon begin rotting.
Most of us are designed to fail—initially. We need to see failure as a lesson in order to grow as an individual. Failures are the greys and the greens of my life whose importance I shall realize only when I am able to use the experience gained with them in painting with other colors.
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