Think And Grow Rich — More Reasons Why People Fail In Getting What They Want
I’ll spare you the generic intro and get right into the causes of failure:
1. Lack of a Well Defined Power of Decision
“Men who succeed reach decisions promptly, and change them, if at all, very slowly.
Men who fail reach decisions, if at all, very slowly, and change them frequently, and quickly.
Indecision and procrastination are twin brothers. Where one is found, the other may usually be found also. Kill off this pair before they completely “hog-tie” you to the treadmill of failure.”
I felt like Mr. Hill stabbed my soul with this rule, because I identified closely with his second description of indecisive people.
I am a very indecisive person and often suffer from analysis paralysis. I overthink because I want to make the “right” decision — one that will give me the best possible outcome from a set of all possible outcomes (which is impossible to calculate).
Then, to stop overthinking, I either procrastinate and distract myself so that I can delay my decision making, or I make a choice and quickly abandon it if the road gets rough. If there is a sign of struggle, I immediately find myself quitting and finding an easier alternative.
I think I overthink because I fear of making the “wrong” decision, which leads me to feel like I’ve “failed”, and end up comparing myself to others who “would have made the right choice”.
Who are these people anyways, and why should I care if they manage to succeed on the first try or not?
What do the decisions and successes of others have to do with my life?
I must keep these reminders close to my heart as I make decisions in life. In order to get better at decision making, I need to practice making decisions promptly without thinking too much. I need to learn to live with the consequences of my decisions and have confidence that I can deal with whatever comes my way.
I made the decision, so I will be ready to reap the rewards or pay the price.
“The person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution. Both are extremes to be guarded against. Life itself is filled with the element of chance.”
When faced with two choices, you often think that not choosing at all is an alternative. You believe you don’t have to pick your poison, that you don’t have to choose to die on a hill.
The price of indecision may be far worse than the consequences of your decision. You will live with regret for the rest of your life. You will remain stagnant and depreciate over time.
You will think that time is on your side, but time waits for no one. As you age, you realize that life starts to fly by. One day you wake up, you’re 25, it’s New Years Eve, and you make resolutions to change your life.
You’re still young — you have a lot of time and potential, you tell yourself.
Before you know it, you wake up and 5 years have gone by. You’ve been doing the same thing, working at the same job, telling yourself that you’re going to go chase after your dreams when you’ve saved enough, when you’ve improved on your skills some more, when you’ve gained enough confidence…
5 years isn’t too bad. You’re still young — you have a lot of time and potential, you tell yourself. 30 is where your life starts!
You start to see your friends settle down and get married. You start to see them chase after their dreams and find success in their own respective fields.
You’re comfortable where you are now, and you don’t feel any big rush. You laugh at New Years Resolutions now — you know that change begins now, and you don’t need a silly countdown to start your life anew. You can change any time you’d like, but you’re happy now so why change anything?
You open your eyes, and you’re 35. You realize that the condom you had used had a hole in it, and now you were face to face with the girl who you thought you’d see only for one night at the altar. You kiss and say your vows. You are a responsible person, so you decide not to leave her and become a husband.
Was it because you were a responsible and good person, or was it because she refused to get an abortion and wanted child support? You’ll never know, but the former rationale won’t keep you up at night.
You realize that raising a baby costs a lot of money. You realize that your current job barely pays the rent, the meals, and the diapers — how many diapers does a goddamn baby need? You’re scared to open your Chase app — the number keeps rising, and you feel the water reaching your neck. You come home to a woman you never really loved (or did you? What does it even mean to love anyways? You never really had time to think about it or experience it), to a baby that makes you happy but fills you simultaneously with rage and shame.
Rage because without this baby, you would have been chasing after your dream. Rage because without this baby, you wouldn’t have been chained to your 9–5 and would have been able to take risks. Rage because without the cursed chain of events that life had thrown at you, you would have been out there “achieving your wildest dreams”.
Shame because the baby wasn’t at fault, and neither were you or your wife if one was to be fair.
Shame because you knew that your indeterminate attitude toward life had somehow led you down this path, and had dragged two other lives into it.
Shame because of the hate you felt for the baby, the baby who smiled at you and filled you with a happiness that you never knew you could experience.
Shame because you know it will be almost impossible to give the baby the opportunity to reach its full potential in this world because of your inadequacy.
Shame because you’ve only realized what you should have done in the past now, when the stakes are highest.
Such is the price you pay for indecision and over-caution
Okay that was a little depressing and an extreme scenario, but hopefully you get the gist of it :)
3. Lack of Concentration of Effort
“The jack-of-all-trades seldom is good at any. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.”
I do believe this is one of the most important reasons for failure. We like to believe that if we are great at everything, we will become successful. We’re led to believe that we are all polymaths, and are able to be incredible in every field of study and are able to master many skills in our lifetimes.
We dip our toes in everything, looking for the right skill to master. However, the longer we do this, the more time we take away from developing the skill that we are most suitable for. If you’re a creative type, and you’re not sure which skill you’d like to develop, it’s fine to dabble in certain fields.
I’ve tried my hand in learning the guitar, making music, video editing, writing, web developing… but I never stuck with any of them. When I felt that I had “peaked” or reached a level where I was “decent” but could not improve, I did not struggle and push forward. Instead I looked for some other skill that I could have fun learning. Who knows where I would have been if I stuck with it? Who knows how much I would have developed and learned had I concentrated my efforts into one skill?
Rather than regret it, I start the journey again. I learn the mistakes of my past and make sure that I have integrated the lessons in my second walk down the path. I must keep going and pushing when the going gets tough.
4. The Habit of Indiscriminate Spending:
“The spend thrift cannot succeed, mainly because he stands eternally in fear of poverty. Form the habit of systematic saving by putting aside a definite percentage of your income. Money in the bank gives one a very safe foundation of courage when bargaining for the sale of personal services. Without money, one must take what one is offered, and be glad to get it.”
This is important for creatives to know. The creative field attracts many, but unfortunately does not provide adequate monetary compensation for the efforts people put in.
The starving artist has always been a common figure in society. While the Internet allows some creatives to avoid this path, others still fall prey to this archetype — the artist who sacrifices material well-being in order to focus on their artwork.
Some starving artists believe that if the motivation of their creations is for money, it depreciates the value of their creative productions. Other starving artists believe that their genius will be recognized by someone and rely on the good will of strangers, family members, and friends.
While the path of the starving artist may work for few (probably very few) fortunate creatives, many will be disenchanted and discouraged by the lack of “success” that they find even when they dedicate all of their waking hours on their craft.
These people may find themselves in a situation where they become homeless, resentful, and burnt out. Perhaps even a combination of all three.
Then maybe they’re forced to find a job that they absolutely hate, and refuse to spend the free time they have after they work that job because they have been beaten down and disheartened by life.
Maybe these artists can find an alternative to this path. Maybe they don’t have to go to any extremes to create. Maybe they can work at a job that is not soul crushing for a year or two, and save enough to cover their expenses for some time.
During this time, maybe the artist can create whatever they want to create after they have finished their day’s duty at work. Maybe the artist can slowly train themselves and develop their skills in their free time, and when they are free from monetary burdens for a little, they can produce however much they want.
Sounds a bit idealistic and naive, and maybe the creative doesn’t even have to quit their 9–5. Maybe the creative can continue to work at his day job and spend some time creating what he/she likes at night. This grind will soon allow the creative to have a portfolio that he/she can leverage to get their next job.
Maybe it won’t work out as smoothly as I’ve laid out, but I think it’s certainly better than the starving artist option.