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“Why We Fail: 7 Common causes of Personal and Business Failures”



Business failures

Your plan could involve what you want to achieve academically or it could be a business start-up or even having a successful relationship. Or it could just be to be successful in life.

You’ve done all your sums, put in all the hard work and success fails to materialize – You’ve Failed!

And then you start to wonder how after all the effort you put in things didn’t work out as you planned.

The truth is you haven’t failed you’ve only experienced what I’ll call a temporary setback which can easily be reversed. You don’t fail-fail unless you decide to call it quits – and that’s what a lot of people do when they say they’ve failed.

So let’s see why you fail:

1, Setting unattainable goals – we’re all guilty of setting our goals too high, sometimes. We all want to swim across the Atlantic Ocean before we can even swim the length of a swimming pool! The secret here is to set ourselves attainable goals we can achieve within a set period of time with our current resources. Crawl, walk, run and then fly!

2, Failure is a teacher – The mere fact that you’ve failed in your current quest doesn’t mean you’ve failed – or you’re a failure in life. It just means you’ve failed to do something right.

If you build a plane and it doesn’t fly what have you done wrong? Go back to the drawing board! Perhaps you need a bigger engine or longer wings. Failure teaches us to troubleshoot our endeavours and lives and gives us the opportunity to go back and fix it. If you’re failing a mathematics exam perhaps you need to learn more or get a personal tutor. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb until at his one-thousandth attempt to which he told a reporter” I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps”. Learn from your mistakes.

3, You don’t learn from past mistakes – So you’ve screwed up before in the past and still haven’t learnt your lesson? Let’s say you have a history of dating bad women and your current girlfriend is bad. You haven’t learnt your lesson! Ditch your past mistakes, change whatever it is you’re doing wrong and move on! Or you’ll keep on having recurring problems and never succeed.

4, You lack persistence – So you’ve failed! So what? You sit down there crying your eyes out feeling sorry for yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day! You need to be persistent, proactive and carry on.

5, Lack of conviction – Having a plan and a goal is good but if you lack the conviction you’ll forever be procrastinating and never get anything done. You’ve got a plan, now believe in it and work on it, relentlessly, until you achieve your goal. This also means you need to be self-disciplined to work hard and follow a strict routine. When Mark Zuckerberg first set up Facebook he self-disciplined himself to work 12-hour days(- something he still does!) and more if need be, No pain, no gain!

6, Lack of self-esteem –  Most people take a look at their successful peers and automatically brand themselves failures. The mere fact your classmates have gone on to become lawyers, politicians and top businessmen and you’re a poor struggling civil servant doesn’t mean you’re a failure in life. Our paths and goals in life are all different. Disregard what everybody else is doing and set YOUR OWN goals for what you WANT in life that will make you happy. If your ambition is to own a car, go for it and disregard the man who is buying a plane: your goal is to own a car and his is a plane. If you continually think about somebody else’s achievements it’ll knock your self-esteem and you’ll end up feeling sorry for yourself.

7, Taking a risk –  A lot of people spend their entire lives in the Comfort Zone because they are too scared to take a risk for fear of failure. This ultimately leads to procrastination and you’ll never get anything done. Again before taking a risk, you need to weigh up both the pros and cons before proceeding. When asked why he risked investing all the millions he made from the sale of PayPal in his then rocket start-up SpaceX – a venture that was deemed to fail – Elon Musk replied by saying he knew the venture had less than a 10% chance of succeeding but he was going to take a risk and invest anyway. SpaceX has gone on to become one of the most innovative and profitable rocket launching companies in the world. Musk has gone on to apply the same risk-taking policy to Tesla and his other ventures propelling him into the billionaires ranks worth more than $20 billion.

If you’re scared of taking a calculated risk for fear of failure even before you’ve started you’re in the wrong boat! Stay in your comfort zone! Sometimes you have to take a calculated risk and hope for the best.

There can be other mitigating factors affecting your growth or ability to reach your full potentials such as the company you keep, bad decisions or even people putting obstacles in your way, but all these can be surmounted if you adopt what I call a ‘no-problem-can-stop-me’ attitude. Be strong, hang in there.

Failure is a temporary situation we find ourselves in from time to time when things don’t go according to plan. It only becomes permanent if you don’t act upon it accordingly. If an 80-year old woman, in Kenya, can go back to primary school to learn how to read and write and still harbour dreams of becoming a teacher what makes you think you’re a failure in life?


Tony Ogunlowo

Follow me on Twitter: @Archangel641

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