10 Reasons Why Most People Are Major Failures

10 Reasons Why Most People Are Major Failures

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holding back from success

Over the last three years, I’ve studied what helps to make people successful (particularly young people), regardless of their age, industry, background, etc. Some of the reasons these people are successful in areas spanning from weight loss to entrepreneurship are obvious, yet some of them will surprise you.

Are any of the following things holding you back from success? If so, how are you going to tackle them head-on today so you can ultimately be successful?


 Here are ­­­10 things that hold people back from success:


1) Perceived Risk

When people think about what they want to do in life and what they may have to change or give up to get there, they get scared. It’s human nature. However, most people don’t look at the risk they take by remaining at the job they hate, the station in life they are in, or by remaining complacent in general.

As an entrepreneur, if you think it is a risk to leave a salaried job to try and fend for yourself, think about the risk you run leaving your livelihood in the hands of one or two people who can take away your source of income and stability in one or two swift decisions if they really wanted to. Most people think going after their dreams is a big risk, but it’s really just skewed perception. The real risk is not giving yourself the opportunity to be great and staying where you are in life, only to regret not chasing your passions.


2) They Haven’t Found Their “Zone of Genius”

Many people know what they are good at, but still haven’t found success. Still others know what they are truly passionate about in life, yet they too have also not yet found success.

One thing that may be holding someone back from achieving success is that they haven’t taken time to find their “Zone of Genius”, or where there passions and skills intersect, allowing them to be one of the best in the world at what they do. Take time to do the simple exercise of listing your skills and passions on two different sides of a piece of paper, and try to connect things from both lists until you find a mixture that you can capitalize on given the fact that you’ll be good at such an activity and that you’ll be passionate about the same activity.


3) They Just “Kinda” Want It

If you haven’t watched this video with voice-over from the “Hip Hop Preacher”, stop reading this article and go do that. The video is of a football player who is training extremely hard, refusing to let his dreams pass him by without a fight. As you watch the player train, you’ll hear Eric Thomas (the “Hip Hop Preacher”) in the background talking about success. Through the story Eric shares, he shows that most people don’t really want to be successful desperately enough; they just “kinda” want it. He boils it down to this:

“When you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

The sad truth is, most people want to hang out with their friends, watch TV, or even sleep more than they want to be successful. If you want to be success, go after something with 100% of your passion and effort!


4) They Don’t Bounce Back

If you haven’t noticed, life isn’t easy sometimes. In fact, if you are chasing lofty goals, there’s going to be a lot of resistance. Whether it is internal conflicts in the mental, emotional, or physical realms (sometimes all three at the same time!) or external pressures like doubt from others or competitors attempting to shoot you down and stop you from achieving your goals, it is obvious that the people who are being held back from success are those who don’t bounce back.

2 Billion Under 20 contributor Jack Andraka emailed hundreds of scientists before one unenthused professor agreed to let Jack work in his lab. Jack went on to develop an early detection system for pancreatic, lung, and ovarian cancers that helped him win Intel’s ISEF competition at just 15. Similarly, another 2 Billion Under 20 contributor Sam Mikulak hurt both of his ankles just one year out from Olympic trials for the USA Men’s Gymnastics team. He bounced back, made the squad for the 2012 London Olympics, and garnered 5th place in the highest level of competition possible in his sport.


5) Excuses

We all struggle to stay motivated every single day. Even the hungriest of individuals have trouble not hitting the snooze button every once-in-a-blue-moon, going hard in every workout, or doing the things necessary to scale a business. However, when excuses are lurking around the corner, that’s when it is time to look inward and remember exactly what you are chasing in life and why you are chasing it. Many people will say they don’t have enough time, money, energy, etc to change their life, but what separates those who achieve success with those who don’t is how they handle potential excuses that enter their thoughts.

Don’t be afraid to start a side business to get out of a 9-to-5 job or begin science research on something that has never been attempted before.


No more excuses pic quote


6) They Don’t Share

Helping others may be the single biggest thing you can do to catapult your way to success quickly. Don’t hoard your network, knowledge, or anything else for that matter. Successful people are happy to make introductions between two people who may benefit from knowing one another, mentor others who may need a helping hand, and build a community of others to connect with around them as all the members of 2 Billion Under 20 have come to be a part of.

No matter how independent someone is, they can’t achieve success alone, and those who are struggling to find success and are not giving back to their community, offering help, and being of service to others are doing themselves a big disservice.


7) They Don’t Surround Themselves With Winners

Many people are held back from being successful because they associate with the wrong groups and types of people. If you associate with negative people, people who aren’t successful, and people who aren’t motivated, don’t share, or (fill in the blank), then you will soon develop these unfortunate traits in your own personality. This includes your love life – your significant other may be holding you back from success if he/she isn’t pushing you to chase after your goals and become a better person. Similarly, you need to have peers, mentors, and communities that challenge you and pull you up to their level of success rather than drag you down when you are attempting greatness.


8) They Listen To Too Many People

If you were trying to start a successful business, would you take advice from a Starbucks barista?

Or if you were trying to lose weight, would you take work-out tips from someone who was out of shape?

It may seem obvious, but many people who haven’t achieved success yet suffer from taking too much advice. Many of these people mean well (which is actually the worst trap because you know that their words come from a place of trust and care), but at the end of the day, they don’t really know what they are talking about and are feeding you or others with information that won’t help you (and may even hurt your chances of being successful).

People who are being held short of success need to filter the good advice from the bad advice and listen to fewer, more strategic people, which brings us to our next point…


9) They Don’t Listen To The Right People

Most successful people have multiple mentors to call upon who can guide them in the proper direction in pursuit of their goals.

Whether it’s a coach, boss, professor, industry veteran, or other experienced person, these folks are goldmines for information about achieving your goals. Many people who are short of their goals are depriving themselves of this amazing resource, and by not listening to the right people, they are missing out on chances to be successful.


10) They Haven’t Defined What Success Is

I saved this for last because it is probably the most painful and obvious. What is the definition of success? Well, it differs for each person, but the people who don’t have that defined for themselves will obviously never achieve it because they don’t know what the benchmark is. It has been shown time and time again that those who have goals achieve more than those who don’t, and people who write down their goals are even more successful than the people who have goals but fail to convert them to paper and pencil.

People that are falling short of success may not know what type of lifestyle, job, or platform they are reaching for, which probably means they will never find it.


Whether these points can be directed to someone else you know or perhaps even yourself, note that all these points are things you can control! So get out there and chase after success!

Jared Kleinert is an entrepreneur, TED and keynote speaker, and award-winning author who’s been named USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial" after spending years identifying and connecting hundreds of the world's smartest and most talented Millennials. His next book 3 Billion Under 30 will be released in January 2017, but until then say hi at jaredkleinert@gmail.com.


  1. Great article! Recently i have been doing a lot of readings on failure because it seems like failure is a prerequisite to success but why arnt we all succeeding?

    “Failing forward” is one of the most well known failure to success book but i found something else on amazon yesterday.. “Failing is the best thing that could happen to you” i bought it at a 99 cents promo.. im not sure if the promo is still going on.. i found it really helpful.. do check it out..

  2. great articles , it is very true to be successful you really have to come out of your comfort zone and do the things which you do not like to do

  3. What a fabulous motivation I’ve never had and I learn many things that idid not know,I would like to read everyday so that ican learn more about business.

  4. I like the content … but I think it might have been even more powerful written from the positive standpoint. 10 Things Most People Could Do To BE Successful. Just my preference. Good points, good content, good writing, good messages. Thanks

  5. I started liking your site years back. The thing remains in me is “awakening”.
    Thank you for keep trying it with me.

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