Editorial: The Thirty Major Causes of Failure: How Many of These are Holding You Back? (Part 1) - P.O.W. Report

Friday, December 11, 2015

Editorial: The Thirty Major Causes of Failure: How Many of These are Holding You Back? (Part 1)

This is a continued follow up in a series of editorials from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich

Editorial: The Major Attributes of Leadership 

Editorial: 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

I have had the privilege of analyzing several thousand men and women, 98% of whom were classed as "failures." There is something radically wrong with a civilization, and a system of education, which permits 98% of the people to go through life as failures.

My analysis work proved that there are thirty major reasons for failure, and thirteen major principles through which people accumulate fortunates. As you go over the list, check yourself by it, point by point, for the purpose of discovering how many of these causes-of-failure stand between you and success. 

1. Unfavorable hereditary background. There is but little, if anything, which can be done for people who are born with a deficiency in brain power. This philosophy offers but one method of bridging this weakness--through the aid of the Master Mind. Observe with profit, however, that this is the only one of the thirty causes of failure which may not be easily corrected by an individual [ed: If you are reading this, you don't have this issue]

2. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life. There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those whom I have analyzed, had no such aim. Perhaps this was the:

3. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity. We offer no hope for the person who is so indifferent as not to want to get ahead in life, and who is not wiling to pay the price. 

4. Insufficient education. This is a handicap which may be overcome with comparative ease. Experience has proven that the best-educated people are who those who are known as "self-made," or self-educated. It takes more than a college degree to make one a person of education. Any person who is educated is one who has learned to get whatever he wants in life without violating the rights of others. Education consists, not so much of knowledge, but of knowledge effectively and persistently applied. Men are pay not merely for what they know, but more particularly for what they do with that which they know. 

5. Lack of self-discipline. Discipline comes through self-control. This means that one must control all negative qualities. Before you can control conditions, you must first control yourself. Self-mastery is the hardest job you will ever tackle. If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. You may see at one and the same time both your best friend and your greatest enemy, by stepping in from of a mirror.

6. Ill Health. No person may enjoy outstanding success without good health. Many of the causes of ill health are subject to mastery and control. These, in the main are:
    A. Overeating of foods not conducive to health
    B. Wrong Habits of thought; giving expression to negatives.
    C. Wrong use of, and over indulgence of sex.
    D. Lack of proper physical exercise.
    E. An Inadequate supply of fresh air, due to improper breathing.
7. Unfavorable environmental influences during childhood. "As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow." Most people who have criminal tendencies acquire them as the result of bad environment, and improper associates during childhood. 

8. Procrastination. This is one of the most common causes of failure. "Old Man Procrastination" stands within the shadow of every human being, waiting his opportunity to spoil one's chances of success. 

9. Lack of persistence. Most of us are good "starters" but poor "finishers" of everything we begin. Moreover, people are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence. The person who makes persistence his watch-word, discovers that "Old Man Failure" finally becomes tired, and makes his departure. 

10. Negative personality.  There is no hope of success for the person who repels people through a negative personality. Success comes through the application of power, and power is attained through the cooperative efforts of other people. A negative personality will not induce cooperation. 

11. Lack of controlled sexual urges. Sex energy is the most powerful of all the stimuli which move people into action. Because it is the most powerful of the emotions, it must be controlled, through transmutation, and converted into other channels. 

12. Uncontrolled desire for "something for nothing." The gambling instinct drives millions of people to failure. Evidence of this may be found in a study of the Wall Street crash of 1929 [ed: also of 2007] during which millions of people tried to make money by gambling on stock margins. 

13. Lack of a well defined power of decision. Men who succeed reach decisions promptly, and change them, if at all, very slowly. Men who fail, reach decisions if at all, very slowly, and change them frequently, and quickly. Indecision and procrastination are twin brothers. Where one is found, the other may usually be found also. Kill of this pair before they completely "hot-tie" you to the treadmill of failure. 

14. One or more of the six basic fears. 

  1. Poverty 
  2. Criticism 
  3. Ill Health 
  4. Loss of Love 
  5. Old Age 
  6. Death

15. Wrong selection of a mate in marriage. This is the most common cause of failure. The relationship of marriage brings people intimately into contact. Unless this relationship is harmonious, failure is likely to follow. Moreover, it will be a form of failure that is marked by misery and unhappiness, destroying all signs of ambition. 

We will follow up with the last 15 traits that cause failure next week. 


  1. only 3% of all people are successful because they have written goals and 97% of people who fail to meet their goals because they never write them down - that is that simple. A goal without an action plan is a fantasy!

  2. Also those 3% make more money than rest of 97%.

  3. You are absolutely correct. People are at their very core procrastinators and it's much easier to fantasize than to take concrete steps to make that fantasy a reality.


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