15 Reasons Why We Don’t Succeed

Okay, I couldn’t stay away.

Success: It’s Personal

Naturally, success means different things to different people but for today’s discussion we’ll consider success to be the achieving (and maintaining over the long term) of our goals. It seems that most of us understand the theory of transformation (we should, we’ve all read enough and heard enough) but having an intellectual understanding of how to do something and making that thing real (and permanent) in our world, is not the same.

That’s because life ain’t a theory.

There is an abundance of variables, factors and ingredients which influence the kind of results we produce (and don’t produce) in our world but sometimes we find a way to complicate the simple, make easy hard and invest our energy poorly. Sure we’re great at analysing human behaviour inside-out and becoming pseudo-psychologists in our spare time. And sure, we’re skilled at immersing ourselves in mountains of personal-development resources but, more often than not, success or failure comes down to the basics.

See if any of the following resonate for you.

So, Why Don’t We Succeed?

1. We don’t finish what we start (for a range of reasons).
2. We don’t get uncomfortable enough for long enough (we like easy).
3. We want instant (or rapid) results.
4. We lose motivation (and therefore don’t do what success requires).
5. We are not totally committed to the change process (commitment trumps motivation every time).
6. Our internal reality (thinking, standards, beliefs, fears, decisions) gets in the way of our potential.
7. We lack clarity and certainty about what success is for us (and it’s hard to create what we can’t define).
8. We have no accountability system (accountability means pressure and we don’t like pressure).
9. We spend our lives waiting for the right time (then we die of old age).
10. We hope things will magically work out (sad).
11. We are too-easily controlled, influenced and managed by others (also sad).
12. We like the idea of change but not the practical, messy reality of it.
13. We always need a cheer squad (sometimes it’s just you, Baby).
14. We self-sabotage (in a range of not-so-clever ways).
15. We are not adaptable (living in an ever-changing world, this is something of a problem).

Any bells?

Just asking.

Don’t forget, we have our Stop F*cking Around Workshop in Melbourne this Sunday. Love to see (some of) you there.

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Lisa May 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I shall go sit in a corner and berate myself, for I am guilty of all of the above…especially 1 and 7.
Working on it though! Honest!
Really! ^^;

Anonymous May 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

Don’t berate, there’s little value in that. Use your new awareness to move forward. As for number 7… get a coach. They’ll help you get more clarity than you every thought possible.

chebbieanne May 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

All of the points you make a great but what about when you do [and keep doing] all of the above and you get well and truely stuck. All the stuff that worked doesn’t anymore- do you change your goals and accept they may have been just too ambitious?

Kazz May 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

or could it be that the change / goal you set yourself doesn’t match your true nature????? What then????

Linda J May 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

Kazz, start by giving some thought to what you value in life.

It’ll not only help you order your priorities but also live in accordance with what matters most to you.

Linda J

chebbieanne May 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks Kazz. Excellent point. I am screwed.

Terry May 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Bloody hell, i think all 15 apply to me Very Sad

Junette May 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Sadly, most of those apply except maybe 13. I don’t need a cheer squad.

Daniel M. Wood May 18, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Making change takes work, but more than that it takes persistence.
Persistence comes from motivation which in turn stems from how clear your goals are.

To make any worthy change you need to make it a goal, a goal that drives you and you need to be a powerful enough person to be able to say “no” to gratification today in order to get more tomorrow.

It is hard at times but with work you can change your life and your destiny.

SANTA ALAN May 19, 2011 at 4:56 am


Justin | Mazzastick May 19, 2011 at 5:23 am

The key is to make the goal our goal. Something that really resonates with who we are as an individual and not what someone else wants us to do.

I would also agree with dis-comfort being a big reason why we stop doing new things. We need to stop labeling what we are feeling.

I’m a big believer in “just doing it.” It’s when we stop and let our mind get in the way that doubt starts creeping in and sways our plans.

Anonymous May 19, 2011 at 6:53 am

Language has a very powerful impact on the brain, so maybe label to something more empowering, i.e., discomfort becomes challenge. Sounds like semantics but it works.

Pandora May 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

Wow Craig, how do you do it? I woke up in a ‘motivation slump’ this morning and there in my inbox was just what I needed to break free. Thank you so much for your timely advice!
A bit scary though that you seem to know me so well: who told you I was one of those people who are ‘great at analysing human behaviour inside-out and becoming pseudo-psychologists in our spare time’?
Thanks for the reminder to sort myself out and let other people work on their lives without my input.

Michael May 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

My advantage in obtaining goals is that I keep moving forward. I do something, no matter how small, that moves me toward my goal.

I know that doing better things may leap me forward further or faster. I also know that one step forward is better than none.

My goal is always to be better than I am. That will happen as long as I try. I learn from failure and success so I always get better.

David Stevens May 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hi Craig,
Yep, they are pretty good reasons. Now the good news. If people are “fair dinkum” with themselves, they will succeed. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. And if people are really serious about succeeding, they should hire a Life Coach. I can’t make it any plainer than that.
Be good to yourself

Pandora May 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

Just a thought, David: if people are prepared to be “fair dinkum” with themselves, why do they need a Life Coach?

David Stevens May 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

Guidance & support. Being “fair dinkum” means making a start not generating an excuse.
be good to yourself

Marie May 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

OMG, this is my husband. He wants to paint the house, I want to get a man. He could answer to every one of the 15.

carol May 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Yep i’d love a cheer squad!

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