Failures are unavoidable for even the most talented, driven people.
The successful, however, learn from their setbacks and develop habits that keep them from making the same mistakes repeatedly.
Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” one of the bestselling books of all time, explained that there are three common reasons people don’t achieve success.
He talked about them in an undated radio broadcast most likely from around 1953, since Hill was promoting his book “How to Raise Your Own Salary,” published in the same year.
This radio clip, titled “Three Causes of Failure,” was among the years’ worth of material the Napoleon Hill Foundation gave motivational speaker and author Greg Reid, whose latest book “Stickability” repurposes Hill’s teachings on perseverance for a contemporary audience.
Here are what Hill considered the most common reasons people fail:
1. Being unable to get along with other people
Hill placed tremendous importance on having a “million-dollar personality.” Successful people have a network of those who will go out of their way to help them.
As Hill says, “The first step to causing others to like you is to begin by liking them.” The best collaborators are likable because they care about their reputation and understand the value of others. The key is to be genuine, since people can easily see past a fake smile and insincere handshake.
Reid recommends adopting an “inverse paranoid” personality, where you think the world is conspiring to help you rather than hold you back, and you’ll be more open to positive connections.
2. Quitting when things get tough
In the radio broadcast, Hill says that Thomas Edison, who he had previously interviewed, tested countless materials for the incandescent lamp before finding the ones that worked.
“One failure is sufficient to make the average person quit. Perhaps this is why there are so many average persons, and there was only one Thomas A. Edison,” Hill says.
Procrastination is rooted in fear, whether it’s a fear of not meeting your own ambition or being embarrassed. Successful people lack this fear and make decisions after they have a sufficient amount of information, avoiding the need to feel like their decision is “perfect.”
Here’s the original radio interview, via Greg Reid:
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