What are the secrets to failure?
I asked myself this question, wondering if there are certain characteristics that cause some to fail. I reckon I have identified the key behaviours of unsuccessful people.
1. They lack self-belief
Pablo Picasso and Henry Ford and others uttered variations on a common thought: if you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can’t, you can’t. Unsuccessful people are doomed to fail because they don’t believe they’ll succeed.
2. They don’t test their creativity
Unsuccessful people don’t think they’re creative (see above). So they never push its limits. They don’t attempt to draw or sing or dance or write – and if they do, and don’t do it well, they stop right there. They never give their creativity a chance to shine.
Which brings us to secret number three:
3. They expect instant success
It’s been estimated that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Unsuccessful people expect glorious success at the first attempt.
4. They accept the way things are
We are creatures of habit. We learn a way to do something and go on doing it that way forever. We train others to do it that way, and they train others after them.
5. They accept No for an answer
Uncreative people, those who’ve accepted the tried and tested way of doing things, will naturally say no to new, untested ideas. Unsuccessful people accept these knock backs. They pull their heads in and never make another creative suggestion. Ever.
6. They let lack of expertise kill their ideas
Sometimes very creative people are unsuccessful. They might get ideas, lots of them, ideas that could change their fortune. But they do nothing with their ideas because they don’t know how to bring them to fruition. Rather than finding collaborators with the necessary skills, they file their ideas away where they wither and die.
Can you sum these six traits into a single behaviour? Maybe. Ultimately, unsuccessful people are lazy, physically, emotionally and creatively. There is no obstacle that can’t be overcome with passion and industry. And no opportunity that can’t be ruined with laziness.