1.Not learning from the past mistakes
People who do not learn lessons from history are doomed. Failure is a teacher if we have the right attitude. Failure is a detour, not a dead end. It is a delay, not a defeat. Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.
Some people live and learn, and some only live. Wise people learn from their mistakes – wiser people learn from other people’s mistakes. Our lives are not long enough to learn only from our own mistakes. Some people not only never learn from their mistakes but keep practicing them till they master them. They become experts in making mistakes.
2.Inability to recognize opportunity
Opportunities come disguised as obstacles. That is why most people don’t recognize them. Remember the bigger the obstacle, the bigger the opportunity.
Fear can be real or imaginary. It makes people do strange things and primarily comes because of a lack of understanding. To live in fear is like being in an emotional prison. Fear results in insecurity, lack of confidence, procrastination. Fear destroys our potential and ability. We cannot think straight. It ruins relationships and health. Some of the common fears are:
- Fear of failing
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of being unprepared
- Fear for making the wrong decision
- Fear of rejection
Some fears can be described, others felt. Fear leads to anxiety, which in turn leads to irrational thinking, which actually sabotages our solution to the problem. The normal response to fear is escape. Escape puts us in our comfort zone and reduces the impact temporarily, while keeping the cause. Imaginary fear magnifies the problem. Fear can get out of hand and destroy happiness and relationships.
Fear of failure often can be worse than failure itself. Failure is not the worst thing that could happen to someone. People who don’t try have failed before attempting. When infants learn to walk, they keep falling; but to them it is not failing so they get up. If they got disheartened, they would never walk. It is better to die on one’s feet than to live with fear on one’s knees.
4.Inability to use talent
Albert Einstein said, “I think I used about 25% of my intellectual capacity during my life”. According to William James, human being use only 10-12% of their potential.
The saddest part of most people’s lives is that they die with the music still in them. They haven’t lived while alive. They rust out rather than wear out. I would rather wear out than rust out. The saddest words in life are “I should have”.
Rusting out is not to be confused with patience. Rusting out is idleness and passivity. Patience is a conscious decision; it is active and involves perseverance and persistence. Someone asked an elderly person, “What is life’s heaviest burden?” The elderly replied sadly, “To have nothing to carry”.
5.Lack of discipline
Have you ever wondered why some people never reach their goals? Why they are always frustrated with reversals and crises? Why it is some people have continued success, while others have endless failures? Anyone who has accomplished anything worthwhile has never done so without discipline, whether in sports, athletics, academia, or business.
People without discipline try to do everything, but commit themselves to nothing. Some so-called liberal thinkers have interpreted lack of discipline as freedom. When I am in aircraft I want a pilot who is disciplined and does what he is supposed to do and not what he feels like doing. I don’t want him to have the philosophy, “I’m free. I don’t want anyone from the control tower telling me what to do”.
Lack of consistency is poor discipline. Discipline takes self-control, and avoiding distractions and temptations. It means staying focused. Steam dose not move the engine unless it is confined. Niagara Falls would not generate power unless it was harnessed.
We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare used to brag about his speed and challenged the tortoise to a race. The tortoise accepted the challenge. They appointed the fox as the judge who gave them the starting and finishing points. The race started and the tortoise keeps going steadily. The hare ran quickly, left the tortoise behind, and decided to take a nap since he was so confident he would win the race. By the time he woke up, remembered the race, and started running, he saw that the tortoise had already reached the finish line and won.
Consistency takes discipline and is more important than erratic effort. Discipline and regret are both painful. Most people have a choice between the two. Guess which is more painful.
Generally children brought up with excessive freedom and a lack of discipline grow up not respecting themselves, their parents or society, and have hard time accepting responsibility.
Poor self-esteem is a lack of self-respect and self-worth. It leads to abuse of one’s self and others. Ego takes the driver’s seat. Decisions are taken more to satisfy the ego than to accomplish anything worthwhile. People with low self-esteem are constantly looking for identity. They are trying to find themselves. One’s self is not to be found but to be created.
Idleness and laziness are consequences of poor self-esteem and so is making excuses. Idleness is like rust that eats into the most brilliant metal.
7.Lack of knowledge
The first step toward knowledge is awareness of areas of ignorance. The more knowledge a person gets, the more he realizes what areas he is ignorant in. a person who thinks he knows everything has the most to learn. Ignorant people don’t know they are ignorant. They don’t know that they don’t know. In fact more than ignorance, the bigger problem is the illusion of knowledge, which can mislead a person.
A fatalistic attitude prevents people from accepting responsibility for their position in life. They attribute success and failure to luck. They resign themselves to their fate. They believe and accept the predestined future written in their horoscope or stars, that regardless of their effort whatever has to happen will happen. Hence they never put in any effort and complacency becomes a way of life. They wait for things to happen rather than make them happen. Success is a matter of luck, ask any failure.
Weak-minded people fall easy prey to fortune-tellers, horoscopes, and self-proclaimed God’s men who are sometimes conmen. They become superstitious and ritualistic. Shallow people believe in luck. People with strength and determination believe in cause and effect. Some people consider a rabbit’s foot lucky; but it wasn’t lucky for the rabbit, was it?
Some people think they are just unlucky. This breeds a fatalistic attitude. People who get involved half-heartedly say thing like: “I will give it a try”; “I will see if it works”; “I will give it a shot”; “I have nothing to lose”; “I haven’t put much into it anyway”.
These people guarantee failure because they get into a project with no dedication or determination. They lack courage, commitment, and confidence. They are starting with complacence and call themselves unlucky.
A man bought a race-horse and put him in a barn with a big sign, “The fastest horse in the world”. The owner didn’t exercise the horse nor train it to keep it in good shape. He entered the horse in a race and it came last. The owner quickly changed the sign to, “The fastest world for the horse”. By inaction or not doing what should be done, people fail and they blame luck.
Effort does it – Life without vision, courage, and depth is simply a blind experience. Small, lazy, and weak minds always take the easiest way, the path of least resistance. Athletes train 15 years for 15 seconds of performance. Ask them if they got lucky. Ask an athlete how he feels after a good workout. He will tell you that he feels spent. If he doesn’t feel that way, it means he hasn’t worked out to his maximum ability.
Losers think life is unfair. They think only of their bad breaks. They don’t consider that the person who is prepared and playing well still got the same bad breaks but overcame them. That is the difference. His threshold for tolerating pain becomes higher because in the end he is not training so much for the game but for his character.
Luck favors those who help themselves – A flood was threatening a small town and everyone was leaving for safety except one man who said, “God will save me. I have faith”. As the water level rose a jeep came to rescue him, the man refused, saying “God will save me. I have faith”. As the water level rose further, he went up to second storey, and a boat came to help him. Again he refused to go, saying, “God will save me. I have faith”. The water kept rising and the man climbed on to the roof. A helicopter came to rescue him, but he said, “God will save me. I have faith”. Well, finally he drowned. When he reached his Maker he angrily questioned, “I had complete faith in you. Why did you ignore my prayers and let me drown?”. The Lord replied, “Who do you think sent you the jeep, the boat, and the helicopter?”
The only way to overcome the fatalistic attitude is to accept responsibility and believe in the law of cause and effect rather than luck. It takes action, preparation and planning rather than waiting, wondering or wishing, to accomplish anything in life.
Luck shines on the deserving – Alexander Graham Bell was desperately trying to invent a hearing aid for his partially deaf wife. He failed at inventing a hearing aid but in the process discovered the principles of the telephone. You wouldn’t call someone like that lucky, would you? Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Without effort and preparation, lucky coincidences don’t happen.
HE WORK BY DAY AND TOILED BY NIGHT
HE GAVE UP PLAY AND SOME DELIGHT.
DRY BOOK HE READ, NEW THINGS TO LEARN.
AND FORGED AHEAD, SUCCESS TO EARN.
HE PLODDED ON WITH FAITH AND PLUCK;
AND WHEN HE WON, MEN CALLED IT LUCK.
9.Lack of purpose
If we read stories of people who overcame serious disabilities, it becomes evident that their burning desire to succeed was their driving force. They had a purpose in life. They wanted to prove to themselves that they could do it in spite of all odds – and they did.
Desire is what made a paralytic Wilma Rudolph the fastest woman on the track at the 1960 Olympics, winning three gold medals. According to Glen Cunningham, “Desire is what made a boy with burnt legs set the world record in the one mile run”.
When people lack purpose and direction, they see no opportunity. If a person has the desire to accomplish something, the direction to know his objective, the dedication to stay focused, and the discipline required to put in the hard work, then other things come easy. But if you don’t have them, it doesn’t matter what else you have. Character is the foundation upon which all else is built. It endures.
10.Lack of courage
Successful people are not looking for miracles or easy tasks. They seek courage and strength to overcome obstacles. They look at what is left rather than what is lost. Wishes don’t come true; beliefs and expectations supported by conviction do. Prayers are only answered when they are supported with courageous action. It is courage and character that is the deadly combination for success. This is the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
When our minds are filled with courage we forget our fears and overcome obstacles. Courage is not absence of fear but the overcoming fear. Character (justice and integrity) without courage is ineffective, whereas courage without character is oppression.
A recipe for success
Success is like baking a cake. Unless you have just the right recipe, it is not going to work. The ingredients must be of the finest quality and the right proportions. You can’t over bake it or undercook it. Once you have the right recipe and with practice and the occasional disaster, it becomes a lot easier.
What is the difference between persistence and obstinacy? The difference is that persistence represents a strong will and obstinacy represents a strong won’t. You have the recipe. To use it is your choice.
A crash course for success
- Play to win and not to lose
- Learn from other people’s mistakes
- Associate with people of high moral character
- Give more than you get
- Don’t look for something for nothing
- Always think long term
- Evaluate your strengths and build on them
- Always keep the larger picture in mind when making a decision
- Never compromise your integrity
- Come up with three suggestions how you can do your job better, faster, and more effectively:
- Write down three ways you can use the success principles in each area of your life:
- List the area in your life where lack of discipline is hurting you. Estimate its cost to you.
- The next time you meet with adversity, stop, and ask yourself these two questions: What can I learn from this challenge? How can I turn this lesson in life to my advantage?
- Write your definition of success. ________________________________________________________
- Define your goals in life. ________________________________________________________
Why are they important?____________________________________________________
- Think back: Have your goals changed in the last 10 years? If yes, why?____________________________________________________
A Little Black Pen