Mindset Mastery 158 – What Holds You Back?

We’re now entering a very interesting part of this book, the question of what holds people back from being successful. Being our own worst enemies much of the time, this is a list you don’t want to miss.

The Thirty Major Causes of Failure

How Many Of These are Holding You Back?

Life’s greatest tragedy consists of men and women who earnestly try, and fail! The tragedy lies in the overwhelmingly large majority of people who fail, as compared to the few who succeed.

The author analyzed 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 people to go through life as failures. But this book was not written for the purpose of moralizing on the rights and wrongs of the world; that would require a book a hundred times the size of this one.

Napoleon Hill’s analysis proved that there are thirty major reasons for failure, and thirteen major principles through which people accumulate fortunes. In this chapter, a description of the thirty major causes of failure will be given. As you go over the list, check yourself by it, point by point, so that you discover how many of these causes-of-failure stand between you and success.

First Five Causes of Failure

1. Unfavorable genetics. There is little, if anything, that can be done for people who are born with a deficiency in brain power. This philosophy offers only one method for bridging this weakness—the help of the Master Mind group. The good news is that this is the only one of the thirty causes of failure cannot be easily corrected by any individual.

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 to aim for. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those analyzed had no such aim. Perhaps this was the

3. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity. There is no hope to offer for the person who is so indifferent as not to want to get ahead in life, and who is not willing 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 often those who are known as “self-made,” or self-educated. It takes more than a college degree to make someone a person of education. Any person who is educated is someone 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 paid, not only for what they know, but more particularly for what they do with what they know.

5. Lack of self-discipline. Discipline comes through self-control. This means that a person 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 the same time both your best friend and your greatest enemy by stepping in front of a mirror.

To Be Continued…

This starts Napoleon Hill’s list, an interesting list to be sure. Be sure to come back for more of it, as we’ll continue to break the list of common reasons for failure down into these smaller, more digestible and considerable parts until we’ve looked at all the thirty causes, so that you might identify and rectify those that are plaguing you.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
Aussie Internet Marketer © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Hi Sean – no 2 is an interesting one – lack of well-defined purpose. I’ve found that sometimes the problem can be too many well-defined purposes and you end up going around in circles, not really achieving anything. Trying to to 10 things at once, or jumping from one thing to another, and in the end getting so frustrated and confused you end up doing nothing – because that’s the easy option. I’ve done this – and I think many other people have too.
    .-= Jan Littlehales´s last blog ..Cooking Couscous – handy tips =-.

  2. How much do we owe to Napoleon Hill for his tireless work to study human behaviour and thinking? I don’t think we can put a value on it. Number 4 is a big one, and it’s a key cause of poverty. I wonder if Hill would be horrified to know that in 2010, we’re still working towards giving every child in this world the opportunity of primary school education.
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..How to make comments online and build your online persona =-.

  3. Very interesting….I love how its broken down into easy to understand points. 30 Major causes for failure? Makes you wonder how many points there could be for success? I think a lack of self Discipline would be the one that most need to be careful not to fall into…its so easy to slip back into old habits 🙂 then again it takes 30 days of using new habits each day to fall into good habits.
    Interesting post
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Its Meant To Be =-.

  4. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Wow! A list of 30 major causes of failure. It’s interesting that there are so many causes of failure. The first five negative qualities are definitely to be avoided.

    I think a lack of ambition and a lack of self discipline are the worst two on this list. If you have no desire to be better than you currently are and you don’t have the discipline to work for the success you desire; you are never going to achieve anything. That’s a pretty dismal outlook.

  5. Puhh, that sounds like it will be a very interesting list. Number 2 and 4 ring true for me, and I am really curious what the other points will be. The good thing is – except nr 1 all of them I have an influence on.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  6. Hi Sean

    There is only one thing holding me back here and that is I don’t have all the education yet that I need to be successfully marketing and I know I am making a super human effort to learn as fast as I can and yet absorb and action the information.

    I know that at times I need to slow down but I can be so inspired and passionate about a project that sleep is something that gets crammed in last at the end of a long day!

    You know the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’? that’s because I wasn’t in charge at the time (lol)

  7. Hi Sean,

    I like your post. Mind mastery – yes, life’s an inner game. Everything hinges on the self, so self mastery is the key. Many successful people are self-made, while others struggle against them-selves.

    Hill’s list. For many change is hard, it goes directly against their belief system – just like the elephant pulling on the stake. No matter how hard they pull, there’s the illusion of something holding them back. The harder they pull, they more they reinforce the existing belief. Then their feelings come back to bite them. ‘Their-self’ is trying for a different result, which is incongruent with ‘its-self’. ‘

    But change can be instant. New (deeper) info can slide in ‘unchallenged’ without conscious effort, form new beliefs, and new decisions follow automatically. Just as the existing beliefs are formed in the first place!

    As humans, we’re given the ability to think at a higher level. Unfortunately, we don’t. At least not in the way we were designed to. For many, ‘free will’ or ‘free thinking’ is just their belief system in disguise.

    When we become more of our-self, we need less. And the control is in letting go of the control. Trying to control only reinforces what we’re trying to escape from. Your words remind me of the Tao; “true sayings seem contradictory. Act by not acting. Do by not doing. The master accomplishes much without doing”. Know thyself and self mastery, that’s the key to self-made. I’ve created a programme around that, it may be of interest.

    1-on-1 Self Mastery Programme

Speak Your Mind