Journalist Napoleon Hill researched more than 500 self-made millionaires over 20 years before releasing his 1937 bestseller, “Think and Grow Rich.” In addition to boiling down the “secret” to building wealth in 13 principles, he revealed 30 “major causes of failure”. Here are 11 that are still relevant today…
Not having a well-defined purpose
Define your goal and go after it. “There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal, at which to aim,” Hill writes.
Lack of ambition
You have to want to aim above mediocrity, Hill says: “We offer no hope for the person who is so indifferent as not to want to get ahead in life, and who is not willing to pay the price.”
Not properly applying your
Take your formal education and apply it outside the classroom. A college degree won’t cut it. Knowledge is only potential power, and it will not become useful or lead to great wealth unless it is organized and applied to life, Hill emphasizes: “Education consists not so much of knowledge, but of knowledge effectively and persistently applied. Men are paid not merely for what they know, but more particularly for what they do with that which they know.”
Lack of self-discipline
“Discipline comes through self-control,” Hill writes. “This means that one must control all negative qualities. Before you can control conditions, you must first control yourself … If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”
Hill calls procrastination one of the most common causes of failure: “Most of us go through life as failures, because we are waiting for the ‘time to be right’ to start doing something worthwhile. Do not wait. The time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
Lack of persistence
“Most of us are good ‘starters’ but poor ‘finishers’ of everything we begin,” Hill writes. “People are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat.”
“There is no hope of success for the person who repels people through a negative personality,” Hill writes. “Success comes through the application of power, and power is attained through the cooperative efforts of other people. A negative personality will not induce cooperation.”
Lack of decisiveness
“Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond the million-dollar mark disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly,” Hill writes.
On the flip side, “People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.”
Not narrowing your focus
Focus on building wealth, and don’t let distractions derail you. “The ‘jack-of-all-trades’ seldom is good at any,” Hill writes. “Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.”
Lack of passion
Enthusiasm is crucial to success. “Without enthusiasm one cannot be convincing,” Hill writes. “Moreover, enthusiasm is contagious, and the person who has it, under control, is generally welcome in any group of people.”
Be open to collaboration and new ideas. “The person with a ‘closed’ mind on any subject seldom get ahead,” Hill says.