Reasons for failure


Napoleon Hill studied 500 extremely successful people to find out what brought about success or failure. He wrote books about this subject and they were bestsellers, many still are sold today after more than 70 years. He studied Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, a US president, and many others. Here is what he found:

30 greatest causes of failure

  1. Unfavorable hereditary background, weak intelligence (get wise advice from others to overcome this) Many super successful people are not intellegent
  2. Lack of well-defined purpose in life
  3. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity
  4. Insufficient education (Thomas Edison and many others had very little education)
  5. Lack of self-discipline
  6. Ill health
  7. Unfavorable environmental influences in childhood
  8. Procrastination
  9. Lack of persistence
  10. Negative personality
  11. Lack of controlled sex urge
  12. Uncontrolled desire for something for nothing (ex. Gambling)
  13. Lack of well-defined power of decision (changing mind too often)
  14. One or more of the six basic fears (fear of failure, ill health, loss of love, poverty, death, old age, criticism)
  15. Wrong selection of mate in marriage-marriage problems cause problems
  16. Over-caution
  17. Wrong selection of associates in business
  18. Superstition and prejudice
  19. Wrong selection of a vocation (you won’t succeed if you don’t like your job)
  20. Lack of concentration of effort, be a jack of all trades-master of none
  21. Spend thrift, must save some money each paycheck
  22. Lack of enthusiasm
  23. Intolerance, stop acquiring knowledge
  24. Intemperance in eating, strong drink, sex
  25. Inability to cooperate with others (major cause)
  26. Passion or power not acquired thru self-effort
  27. Intentionally dishonest
  28. Egotism and vanity
  29. Guessing instead of thinking, acquire facts not opinions
  30. Lack of money (usually not a problem, find investors)

Have someone go over this with you after you do it yourself once

  1. Have I attained the goals for the year?
  2. Have I delivered service ?
  3. What quantity of service did I deliver?
  4. Was my spirit of conduct  harmonious?
  5. Did I procrastinate?
  6. Did I Improve my personality?
  7. Was I persistent in following my plan?
  8. Did I reach decisions quickly?
  9. Have I let any of 6 major fears (fear of poverty, old age, criticism, loss of love of someone, ill health, death) decrease my efficiency?
  10. Was I overcautious or under cautious?


  1. A lot of good truths there – especially liked the bit about rockstars not usually being particularly intelligent (although some will be) but still ‘getting on’ in life 🙂

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