Mindset Mastery 160 – Common Causes Of Common Failure

I warned you this would be a long list, but it’s a telling one, too. There is a lot to learn from Napoleon Hill’s list of 30 Major Causes of Failure, and knowing the cause of your failure is the first step in correcting the problem. Today we pick up again with number 14.

Common Reasons Why People Fail

14. One or more of the six basic fears. These fears have been analyzed for you in a later chapter. They must be mastered before you can market your services effectively.

15. Failed relationships. A failed marriage or long-term intimate relationship is not always a cause of financial ruin, but to be sure it is in a large number of cases. The lack of a supportive home-base, coupled with the financial implications of a failed marriage and the effect a stressful home-life or relationship in disrepair has on your abilities to put your full assets into your work and business is an increasingly common cause of failure. While a relationship cannot, and often should not, be saved, you can do your best to work constructively through your pain and maintain your ability to function in business dealings, preventing relationship difficulties from destroying your ambition.

16. Being overly-cautious. The person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution. Both are extremes to be guarded against. Life itself is filled with the element of chance, however, sometimes chance is in reality opportunity.

17. Choosing the wrong business associates. This is one of the most common causes of failure in business. In marketing personal services, it is important to take great care to select an employer who will be an inspiration, and who is, her- or himself, intelligent and successful. We emulate those with whom we associate most closely. Pick an employer who is worth emulating.

18. Superstition and prejudice. It would be nice to be able to wipe this clean off Hill’s original list of thirty, however, superstition and prejudice are still very real forces in work and business life today. If it wasn’t, there would be no need for ‘Equal Opportunity’ laws, employment quotas, or discrimination lawsuits. Superstition is a form of fear. It is also a sign of ignorance. People who succeed keep open minds and are afraid of nothing.

19. Choosing the wrong line of work. No man can succeed in a line of work he does not like. The most essential step in the marketing of personal services is that of selecting an occupation into which you can throw yourself wholeheartedly.

20. Lack of concentrated effort. The “jack-of-all-trades” is seldom master of any. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.


On this list we begin to see more causes that relate to poor decision-making and ingrained habits and responses. Napoleon Hill shows that all of these are situations that can be corrected (not necessarily easily, but the good news is there is a definite possibility!). Identify the causes of your failures, and work to improve upon them. Leave regret and shame behind, they’re useless—just recognize your difficulty, and resolve to improve now to preserve and succeed for the rest of your life!

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,

    I’m going to be brutally honest here so that others can appreciate what you have written here in your post.

    I’m suffering from # 15. Struggling through and trying to apply myself no matter what. Stress does zap you of your energy and uncertainty causes anxiety and the breakup of a marriage changes everything financially – I’m living proof. As much as my situation is much better than what it was, I’m still dealing with the unpleasantness of a partner that will not move on and blames me for everything. Any strategies that will keep me “lifted” or positive and motivated so that I can obtain that financial independence and lifestyle change I so badly desire would be greatly appreciated. I’m still working at my goals but not to my full capacity and I find that frustrating. I’m not about to give up because I’ve never been a quitter but I need to be able to apply myself more so that I can get to my goals faster and thereby taking financial pressure off myself and the kids. With 3 young children (7, 5&1/2 and 3) it is no easy task to work and keep house and deal with your ex. but at the same time, I’m not happy to sit back and ride it out. I don’t want life controlling me, I want control of my life.

    So, for those of you out there reading this, # 15 is certainly true as I have shown. I know this is a very personal post but sometimes other people’s posts help you to see your own situation. Hill’s causes of failure are a good reminder to have a good look at ourselves. Me included.

    I am grateful for your posts Sean. Thank you!
    .-= Eils.´s last blog ..Food Elimination Diet =-.

    • Hi Eileen

      Thanks for your honesty and for sharing. You posted that comment over 3 months ago and I haven’t seen any signs of giving up yet. Good on you Eileen, you’re an inspiration to us all.

      .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..How to make comments online and build your online persona =-.

    • Hi Eileen,
      you have shown determination and the will to rule your own life. It is hard, but I am sure you will succeed and no one will be able to stop you. And while you are taking control of your life you are setting the best positive example for your kids who see that even such a big issue doesn’t deter you from achieving your goals.
      Congratulations on being such a great person!!!
      .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  2. Great pieces of advice.Keep it up Sean. Reading you is highly rewarding.

  3. Phil Browne [stix] says:

    The lack of concentrated efforted this comment is very true as I am one who has as they say stretched myself to thinly working a day job as well as a night job even one in between these twoand at the end of the day seeing no real benefit.IDIOT

  4. My stumbling blocks were a few but mainly, not working in the area I really wanted to not believing in myself enough to take the leap of faith and just change my direction. Things have changed now and I am learning and growing personaly as well

  5. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Again this is a really long list of character flaws that someone can have. I see myself in parts of some of these. For instance, I am pretty cautious by nature. I have chosen the wrong business partners at one time but I rectified that situation as soon as I realized the kind of people I was dealing with. I have ended up in the wrong job because I was more concerned about the money I would make than whether or not I would be fulfilled by doing it.

    There are lots of mistakes that I have made on this list. I think the important thing is that I have learned from my mistakes and I’m moving forward. 🙂

  6. Being overly-cautious. The person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution. Both are extremes to be guarded against. Life itself is filled with the element of chance, however, sometimes chance is in reality opportunity.

    If there is something you really want in life it does not pay to be overly-cautious. I have been so guilty of this in the past & it has held be back from my purpose in life. I have to confess it’s one that I need to catch – every now & then it tries to sneak its way into my thoughts. I have no time for those thoughts right now.
    .-= Samantha Banfield´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen and his crazy talk! =-.

    • Hi Sam,

      I have been guilty of this in this past too and I’m trying really hard to change things. I think it comes from a need to have stability. I don’t mind taking risks but I need them to be calculated risks.

      I agree that you have to go after what you want. I just need to have a safe back-up plan in reserve; just in case something goes wrong. 🙂
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

  7. Napoleon Hill was definitely very thorough in putting together his list. It looks like a big challenge to not fall victim to one or the other throughout your life. But I guess as long as we get up again after a fall and take back control of our lifes – that’s the best I can think of.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  8. 14 and 16 are mine. I fear, like so many, failing in what I love to do. Too often I hear and realize how so many writers have second jobs as they aren’t making enough doing exactly what they love and I fear I’ll always have to be so many things I don’t want to be in order to have a little time left to be me. Thus, I’m overly cautious in making my decisions on what task to perform next and more often than not I decide on doing something for someone else before doing something for me.
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..My Book Review of The Pact by Jodi Picoult =-.

  9. Hi Sean

    I really enjoy reading ‘common reasons why people fail’ because I can see smatterings of those reasons in my past too.

    Napoleon Hill was a man of profound insight as not only was he adept at business, he also had the deepest insights into the psychological suffering of man.

    Here we are today, privy to these insights and they are still relevant to us today as they were to Hill and his community all those years ago.

    I will go through the whole list and leave no stone unturned as I do not want to be sabotaging myself in any way.

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