The 31 Major Causes Of Failure (Part One)

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The 31 Major Causes Of Failure  (Part One)



Based On The Writings Of Napoleon Hill

This series of blog posts is going to examine the 31 major causes of failure according to Napoleon Hill’s book ‘Think and Grow Rich’. You might be asking yourself why, in a blog that focuses upon Professional Business and its successes, this topic would arise and be discussed. And that’s a fair question to ask but it is important to know the enemy. And the enemy of success is failure and its causes. If we are aware of them and can identify them, then we can also avoid them and work hard to make sure that we don’t stray in their direction. When I find myself starting to drift into one or another of these ‘comfortable ruts’, I’ve found the best way out is to read some inspirational words and then act on them.


1. Unfavourable Hereditary Background

We can’t do much about our parents, though if you are like me I’m sure there have been moments when you have been tempted. Hill is speaking directly here about those people who are born with a different mindset than most of us and in his day they would have been referred to as simpletons. It would be wise for us to remember that even an individual defined as having below normal levels of intelligence can easily be more successful than an unfocused genius.


2. Lack Of A Well Defined Purpose In Life

Even though we were never introduced it seems to me that Napoleon Hill wrote this one specifically for me.  I’m sure that even as I write that there are plenty of people going ‘hey, hold on here, that applies to me as well’. The people who do have a clearly defined mission in life are definitely in the minority and the percentage that follow through and achieve it are a very small group indeed. Hill’s point is well taken though as there is no doubt that having a clearly defined vision is essential to long term success.


3. Lack Of Ambition To Aim Above Mediocrity

It is difficult to think of a more sweeping category than this and a most accurate one as well.  The vast majority of people who create the ‘norm’ fall into this group. You know the kind that I mean. The ones that watch 3.6 hours of TV every day, consume 487 lbs of white sugar per year, have 2.2 kids and drive a car that is 2. 75 years old. Meet Joe Six-Pak and Wanda Walmart. They both used to have dreams, back in their past but the arrival of kids, and mortgage and credit card debt has dulled the edges and those visions have faded into the haze. They are now in the ‘comfort zone’ and that is where they will stay until they awake from their torpor. It is a recipe for mediocrity at best and it’s the most widespread malaise in America today.


4. Insufficient Education

As Napoleon Hill points out this is one major cause of failure that is easily overcome with relative ease. I think that it is important to point out at this time that education should not be confused with school or college attendance. I really do subscribe to a quote of Sam Clemons (Mark Twain) that more or less goes as follows ‘Don’t let school Interfere with your education’. I was a poor student in school and an even worse one in college but I am an avid lifelong learner of many aspects of life.  It is worth noting that every successful person that I have heard of is a consummate learner and usually a teacher as well.


5. Lack Of Self-discipline

The most important discipline of all is the ability to control the amount of negativity in your life. Some people alter their environment to reduce their temptation to take in negativity even through adventitious channels by turning off the TV or not listening to news on the radio. Personally, I think that’s taking it a bit too far and I subscribe to the axiom that it is wise to be informed but unwise to be inundated with a deluge of negative news. We cannot control every influence through environmental change so at some point we have to undertake self-mastery. It is without a doubt the most difficult task you will ever undertake but at the same time it is the most critical in order to achieve success.


More of Napoleon Hill’s 31 Major Causes Of Failure will be continued in future posts, be sure to come back to keep up as we walk through the list.

PS:  Paraphrased from Napoleon Hill:

“You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.” (or the spectators)


Till Next time….


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Sigrid McNab

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About Sigrid McNab

Sigrid McNab is the author of #1 Amazon Best Seller, speaker and the CEO and Founder of Sigrid specializes in blogging, attraction marketing, and generating highly qualified leads. Sigrid teaches people how to build a successful online business.

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12 Responses to “The 31 Major Causes Of Failure (Part One)”

  1. Marquel Russell Says:

    I really love your style of writing, Sigrid!

    This is a powerful article and you always end it right when I’m sitting on the edge of my seat.

    This is a very important article because although we’re all Success Oriented Entrepreneurs, I agree that it’s equally important to be aware of Our Enemies of Success, so that they can’t creep up on us in their Camouflage and Sabotage us!!

    Thanks for sharing, Sigrid!!

    To Your Infinite Success,


    sigrid Reply:

    Thanks Marquel, the mental image of failure dressed in camo gave me a big chuckle. Stay tuned and thanks for the compliment!



  2. Hale Yes Says:

    I do dearly love Napoleon Hill. The man truly captured life and put it down on paper.

    I would note that today “Lack of Education” is really “Lack of Self Discipline.” There is son much education online that there really isn’t any excuse for lacking education. Of course the flip side is that there is so much that it is VERY easy to become a perpetual student. You really need to decide which skills you need and get enough to get started. Then START and add more as you grow/go.

    Hale Yes
    Hale Yes recently posted…Finding Leads On Facebook – and Then Working with ThemMy Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Me too Hale, he has such words of wisdom! I totally agree with you that while life long learning is good, we need to get into ACTION!



  3. Ginny Says:


    Number 4 stands out especially in this industry. We have got to be life long students when it comes to internet marketing because it is so dynamic.

    Ginny recently posted…Content Marketing Industry Just a Buzzword?My Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Right on Ginny. Being an avid learner is not only the best way to approach network marketing, it’s the most fun!



  4. Bill Solano Says:

    Sigrid, Think and Grow Rich is one of those books that must read many times and each and every time you get some new to help you grow.

    Bill Solano recently posted…Virtual Assistant – Top 15 Projects to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant Part 1My Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Good point Bill. I have read it three times myself and still find fresh ideas….



  5. Damayanthi Says:

    What a great book to read.

    Sigrid, when you are writing like this you are helping us to digest this great book easily and I believe it helps you as well.

    Keep on sharing your journey through this blog. Looking forward to the following parts.

    Damayanthi recently posted…Are You Making These Video Marketing Mistakes?My Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    You are absolutely right Damayanthi, thank you for that. There are so many nuggets in this book that are timeless snippets of wisdom.



  6. Michelle DeMarco Says:

    I’m still waiting for my real parents to come find me. But since they haven’t I have to agree that we must rise above our heredity if no one else has achieved the level of success we have yet. For me I think having discipline is one of the single most important traits we must have to achieve our goals. If we aren’t out there every day meeting new potential customers, then our business will go nowhere. End of story. Great article!!! Can’t wait for the next part!
    Michelle DeMarco recently posted…Review of The Charge | IntroductionMy Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Michelle. You are spot on about the discipline being an essential component of success. It all comes back to being conscientious with our daily routine.



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