The 30 Major Causes Of Failure By Napoleon Hill

I have not read Think Rich. I have read Think and Grow Rich.

I also recommend reading Wealthy Gorilla. And as always, if you enjoyed this essay, share it with your friends.

The book was written by Napoleon Hill. It’s considered to be one of the best self-development books of all time.

The book will teach you the 13 principles of turning your desires into riches and contain hundreds of golden nuggets which you can utilize to transform your life.

The 30 Major Causes of Failure

Within one of the chapters of Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill lists the 30 major reasons why people fail to succeed. These are the reasons why 99% of people are failing in their lives.

The idea of this article is to show you why people do things differently, and also how you can overcome your own problems and create more opportunities for business.

The causes of failure are found in the negative beliefs that we hold in our subconsciousness.

1. Unfavourable Hereditary Background

Hill said that people are scared to fight with their loved ones, to the point of not even talking to them. He described it as being a very hard thing to do.

The person maybe lacks a certain amount of intelligence and is not naturally smart, so they have to work hard to become smarter, but they can work very hard to become smarter.

2. Lack of a Well Defined Purpose in Life

If you’re not focused on what you want, you’re going in a direction that isn’t focused enough. You can never succeed in the direction that isn’t focused enough. You have nothing to hit, nothing to aim at, therefore your direction is unidentified.

3. Lack of Ambition to Aim Above Mediocrity

There are many reasons why people might not want to aim for greatness. Whether they’re too lazy, too comfortable, too spoiled, or have no belief in “success”.

If you never try the hard, you won’t know the thing you never try is hard. In other words, you will never be hard enough to fail.

4. Insufficient Education

It could mean the lack of education within a person’s childhood. So, if a teacher didn’t teach their students, this is what is being talked about.

In many cases, and especially in various parts of the world, formal education is an issue. However, another big issue is that many individuals leave school and decide that they’ve done enough learning.

You might feel like you already know what you are doing, and are doing it well, but if you want to stay ahead of the competition, then you should keep learning about new things.

5. Lack of Self-Discipline

Being successful isn’t easy. You have to work very hard. I believe my writing practice has gotten easier over time. I have to discipline myself to keep at it. It helps that I have a lot of ideas for stories running through me. I just have to shut off the other ideas so I can focus on writing.

There are a lot of productive habits that need to be adopted in order to get the most of your time, and therefore your days, weeks, month, and year.

6. Ill Health

You cannot enjoy your success until you are healthy. Poor health can still hold you back from achieving it in the first place.

The cause of all illness is a deficiency of Qi, or life energy.

7. Unfavourable Environmental Influences During Childhood

This is very similar to how our childhood environment can affect our personality, our behavior, and our life in general to a certain extent.

I feel like it’s not a death sentence. It’s like I can die now or I can let it happen and live. I have made up my mind.

8. Procrastination

It’s easy to wait until ‘the perfect time’ to pursue your dream, but that doesn’t make it any less urgent to take action. It’s better to take the first step to pursue your dream today, because you’ll get out of the habit of putting it off.

One of the major mistakes people make is that they make their dreams look too far out of reach. The truth is that you can get started right now.

9. Lack of Persistence

Not necessarily. Everyone who works hard at something that matters can eventually see results. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

The truth is, perseverance is the key to anything. Every successful individual has made their own failures, but the perseverance meant that they got back up and didn’t have to stay a failure.

10. Negative Personality

You know those people that always complain about things, and never do anything about them? How about the people who always tell you that they can’t do something? I don’t want to sound like an asshole, but there’s a difference between a person who does nothing and a person who cannot do anything.

Your own thinking will be one of the biggest causes of failure in your life! In order to be successful, you need to change your thinking away from negative thinking to positive thinking.

11. Lack of Controlled Sexual Urge

When you feel desire for your partner, you are essentially asking for him or her to be kind to you. If your partner is not loving or compassionate, you will not feel very much during your encounter.

It means you’re likely to spend a lot of time chasing this, losing sight of your goals, and get distracted.

12. Uncontrolled Desire for ‘Something for Nothing’

People always find ways to get what they want for nothing.

They believe they should take what they want without helping others who want to have what they want.

Every business that succeeds does so not by doing good for other people, but by doing good for themselves. And you can know this to be true because you’re either giving things for free or charging people money, and the only way you can do that is by helping other people.

13. Lack of a Well Defined Power of Decision

Napoleon often said things like, “If you don’t have good decisions you’ll be on the bottom” or “If you can’t act quickly you’ll see the bottom”. Decision making is important and can lead to success and failure in business.

There’s no doubt that you’re more productive when you feel like you’re in control of the information that you need to make decisions. And that’s when you’ll make the best decisions.

14. One or More of the Six Basic Fears

Not being seen
Not being heard
Not being loved
Not having financial security
Not being successful
Never being able to have a happy family
Not having the time to enjoy the things you enjoy.

Possessing one of these six basic fears may also be one of the most important reasons of failure. It is important to remember, that we all eventually die. Therefore we have nothing to lose, and the fear above should not keep us from living our dream life.

15. Wrong Selection of a Mate in Marriage

If your partner can support you and you are happy, then you will have a successful career. A good, happy relationship can make you more successful in your career. However, if your partner does not support you or does not want a relationship then they will not be helpful towards your career.

If you’re always arguing even while you’re doing business with others, it’s going to affect your performance during the work. Choose your life partner wisely.

16. Over-Caution

Sometimes we have to take risks. But you don’t want to give up on a good idea just because it hasn’t worked out like you thought it would.

Those who are too cautious and avoid making bold moves will often fail.

17. Wrong Selection of Associates in Business

Having the right people in the right place can often result in an awesome business. You can’t find a better example than that of Apple. If you think of the quality of products Steve Jobs produced, you will see that it was phenomenal, especially in the early days of Apple.

Other things you want to choose in terms of your diet, such as what you are going to eat, what you are going to drink, how many times a day that you are going to eat and how you are going to use your brain.

18. Superstition & Prejudice

I’ve been able to get my hands on a few cars in the past and it was pretty awesome to know that this is a service that exists. Well, I’ve been following the same process in the past and I am actually very excited to give away this car and it’s really important to us because it’s the first car we’ve given away.

In the end, many of those who didn’t believe that they had been given the free cars because of the way it was done, realized that there was only one person from the team who could do it. So, for those, he gave them the car.

19. Wrong Selection of a Vocation

This is a common mistake that people make when they think about their career. If it’s something that you find yourself thinking about all the time, then you might want to consider looking into a different profession.

Although most people do not like waking up early on Monday morning, they realize the fact that they will miss out on all of the Friday night activities that they wish to participate in. They must get up out of bed and go to work.

Find something you love, and you’ll spend years figuring out what it is.

20. Lack of Concentration of Effort

I was thinking like twenty years or something like that.
No, it’s probably like three to five years.
No, like seven or ten years.

You’re never going to be able to concentrate on something you don’t like. If you do, you’re not going to be able to do it for more than five minutes. And once you stop concentrating, you’re never going to want to.

21. The Habit of Indiscriminate Spending

I think too many people are buying things they don’t need. Especially this year, more things are going on the market than ever before. More people are just buying for the sake of spending.

I’ve been making so much money lately, I can only afford to buy my own damn T.V.

Having money is much more than being able to buy stuff. Being rich is about having the mindset that you actually care about yourself, your health, work ethic and your personal life.

22. Lack of Enthusiasm

You can achieve anything that you set out to do if you are not afraid of hard work and are willing to put in the effort necessary to succeed.

No real life goals can be achieved without passion. If you are doing something you are passionate about, then you will never give up on it, because your heart will be in it.

This idea is really hard to grasp if you’re living in a country, where everyone around you is obsessed with material things.

23. Intolerance

Being open-minded is something every smart business person should be. Open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new types of people.

Telling your boss that you’re not going to spend time and money on something or someone who is annoying but who you’re not even sure has an opinion that you disagree with is really a dumb thing to do.

24. Intemperance

It can be damaging to your career if you get your emotions stirred up too much. If you’re prone to angry outbursts, you’re going to end up annoying a lot of people. It may even make you so mad that you become less productive.

25. Inability to Cooperate With Others

In business, collaboration is a necessary part of everything you do. If one part of your business isn’t working together with the other, then you’re going to struggle.

The most effective way to get what you want is to cooperate with others and the only person who is able to do that is you.

26. Possession of Power Not Acquired Through Self-Effort

People with power have been given it, and they shouldn’t be trusted.

They will be doomed to fail because in most cases they won’t have mastered the essential habits and skills required to build and sustain this power in the first place.

They could never have the knowledge and experience needed to use their power properly.

People who acquire power will not be able to control it, will not be able to use it efficiently, will not be able to trust those who are not in power.

27. Intentional Dishonesty

It doesn’t matter whether you’re lying to yourself or to other people. You should be truthful to you. You should be honest with your true feelings, thoughts, and intentions.

You have to understand that they are using you to make an advance. You have to understand that the advancement is a big deal, that they were willing to risk going to war over. They are not interested in winning, in other words. They don’t care about you, just as you don’t care about them. It’s like a game of chess. You are just an object to be moved around in the game, and they’re the players. You’re just a pawn, they’re the king.

28. Egotism & Vanity

In my experience, a person with ego is a person who is unable to let go of pride and to be gracious towards other people.
Ego often gets in the way of people improving their knowledge and education.
Ego also gets in the way of collaboration.

I’ve come across plenty of stubborn people who refuse to understand that they’re wrong. And I’ve met a few people who just like to have others do all the work for them.

29. Guessing Instead of Thinking

If you were innocent, then you wouldn’t have needed a lawyer to defend you.

It’s like a small girl being told she can’t go on a trip to the museum. She’s so excited to go, but then she finds out she can’t go because daddy says so.

I don’t know where you guys came from, but this is a normal place.

30. Lack of Capital

The most expensive part of a business is the initial money. It is important to understand that you need to build a business that is cost efficient and will provide you with a revenue stream sooner than you think. If the initial money is too high, then it will limit you as a business owner.

Often, if their business plan is good enough, they’ll be able to get investors or start a smaller business.


Here’s a summary of the 30 major causes of failure from the bookThink & Grow Rich.

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