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The Difference Between Success and Failure

Why some people fail and others succeed can be baffling. Sometimes it may even seem unfair. It’s even a question as old as the Bible. King David and others ask it. We all know people who have a good education, work hard, have the right attitude and a sincere desire to make something of themselves. They are good, honest, and loyal. Yet they live year after year with little satisfaction. It seems life is giving them a raw deal. Yet despite their knowledge, feelings, and desires, they continue to lead lives of quiet desperation. They should have so much more than they do, but they seem to receive so little.


On the other hand, there are those who seem to deserve so little, yet they get so much. Their attitudes, character, and ethics are marginal or seemingly non-existent, yet they get ahead despite their lack of virtue. That was what really put David in knots. He asked God directly, “Why do these evil people keep succeeding while good people often have nothing?”


Parts of that will always leave questions in our minds, but the truth is that anyone can up their success by making the right choices, no matter what failures have marked them thus far.

Success always starts with failure. Winston Churchill wisely said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


We would mostly agree that is true, but we don’t live like it. We allow failure to discourage us, and the more we fail, the more discouraged we become. Eventually we describe ourselves as failures and life tends to reflect it. Everyone fails, but not everyone makes new choices to enable a successful turn. Here are a few areas of choice we all have that will dramatically affect our success or failure.


Self-discipline Success requires discipline. Exerting self-control is a central requirement for being successful. If you’re undisciplined, you see no reason to make sacrifices today in order to prosper tomorrow.


However, if you’re disciplined, avoiding temptations and distractions will be much easier for you.


The big problem with self-discipline is that it needs to be developed. Most people falsely assume some are born with it and others not. That’s false and fatal. Work on developing and increasing your self-discipline gradually.


Persistence Talent, intelligence, and persistence must all go together. You must find ways to quit giving up quickly. More people fail, not because they lack knowledge or talent but because they just quit. It’s important to remember two words: persistence and resistance. Persist in what must be done and resist what ought not to be done. Try new approaches. Persistence is important, but don’t just keep repeating the same actions over and over again. Keep making adjustments and midcourse corrections, using your experience as a guide. Without perseverance, no one can accomplish any meaningful success.


Going Against the Flow While it is true that some people feel threatened by those who challenge the most popular opinions, the world would never have anything new and great if some people didn’t have the courage to swim against the flow. If it’s within your strength and passion to do so, you need the courage to go against the majority opinion. Life may very well reward you with great success.


Purposeful Planning If you don’t have a proper plan, you are less likely to succeed in life. The plan doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need one. Research shows that talented people without a plan are more likely to fail than less talented people WITH a plan. Create plans on what to do next and how to respond when confronted with problems. Update your plans regularly and adjust as necessary.


Belief in Yourself Successful individuals believe in themselves. They believe they can accomplish the goals they set. They believe in their ability to find solutions to the challenges they are confronted with.. Successful people understand that nothing will work for them if they are not absolutely convinced of it. Realize that you—and only you—can make your dreams come true. No one is going to drive you in your journey to success.


Humility While you must believe in yourself, humility is also vital. Humble people are more likely to be high performers, as research indicates. But there are many other advantages of being humble. It helps you to think less about yourself (not to be confused with thinking less of yourself). Humility helps you realistically see your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, and will also help you to realize that there’s always more you don’t know yet.


Refuse Excuses You can blame or you can grow, but you can’t do both. Only when we stop using our natural problems and challenges as excuses will we make progress in life. Ben Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Successful individuals don’t allow excuses to stand between themselves and their goals. Accept responsibility for your actions and start taking matters into your own hands. The unwillingness to take responsibility is closely related to making excuses. In both, we place the fault for our situation outside of ourselves. It is a fatal thing to do. We give away our control. If we don’t assume responsibility for what happens in our lives, we are not in a position to do anything about it. In order to solve our challenges, we must be in a position of control.


Network and Connect You’ll miss out on many opportunities if you don’t invest time to build strong relationships with those who can help you. You can’t be too proud to ask for help. You cannot be the best in everything in this world. You will need a lot of support from people who know better than you. Networking will connect you with people who can help you, and people you can help. The bigger your dream is, the more people you will need to help you get there.

Giving Up Unsuccessful people tend to give up way too easily. They want to succeed smoothly without too much effort. It will always be more comfortable to simply give up when the going gets tough. Giving up spares you a lot of trouble, hard work, and pain. But it also takes away your chance to succeed.


Listen to Advice It’s hard to imagine that people would rather believe they are right and not succeed than accept feedback that points out mistakes they are making. They want to argue about why they believe what they’re doing is right. They prefer to convince others that they’re right instead of learning to do things right. It’s so important to be open to feedback and advice. Not every person may be in a good position to help us. But those who can give us advice are so very valuable. Listen closely. What they say might not be comfortable, but if it is constructive feedback it is worth our attention.


Along with that, successful people learn from their mistakes and failures. You can’t let your hurt make you run from the lessons. Analyze what you did wrong and see what you can learn from that experience. Find out why your strategy didn’t work out. Challenge yourself to develop better approaches that help you to avoid similar mistakes in the future.


So many other things contribute to success or failure. Conviction, confidence, and courage are necessary. Focus allows you to concentrate your way to success. You can’t be entitled. You have to understand that the world owes you nothing. You must believe in yourself enough that you can keep putting effort into what you believe in without others’ validation if they don’t see the value yet. Reflection is vital. Don’t let your ego blind you. Always stay grounded to reality. Have strong enough boundaries to say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. You have to be able to say no to concentrate on the right things. Keep a positive attitude in the trying times. Be grateful.


You can succeed. It is a human tendency to want too much, too quickly. The problem is not in aiming high and dreaming big. It’s not getting a plan you stick with and keeping your motivation high. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination.

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