6 Signs a Person Will Not Be Very Successful

Haris Mohammad


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Success is glamorous. Everyone wants a piece of it.

At the same time, there’s a widespread belief that success makes people arrogant. While there is some truth to it, it also gives us some clue into why most people fail to achieve remarkable success.

Here’s the thing.

People who go on to be very successful are different from most — they are usually smarter, more passionate, driven, and more willing to take risks. All of these help them stand out but also make them more difficult to accept, understand, and relate to, for most people.

So, early on, when they have just started, they are dismissed and ridiculed as lunatics. They often find themselves lonely and misunderstood. But when they succeed, and it becomes absurd to dismiss them any longer, they are branded as arrogant.

So it’s the same underlying reason that accounts for their success and apparent arrogance — them being misfits and them being fine with it.

And the fact that others find it so hard to relate to them explains why most people cannot achieve great success.

You see, success doesn’t come easy. You need to be willing to appear stupid and crazy. It often starts with you having a vision that others find laughable, unrealistic. Then you need to believe you will get there. But the belief alone won’t do you much good if you don’t possess the discipline. Or if you’re not ready for the sacrifices.

But even that is not enough. You have to be persistent. You must keep working, with or without motivation. You cannot stop even when it hurts. You will fail. And you will fall. But you must pick yourself up. Again and again.

So success comes at a cost. A cost that’s much higher than what most are willing or can afford to pay.

With that in mind, here are six signs a person will, most likely, never achieve extraordinary success.

They Lack Imagination and Belief

Remarkable success is about beating expectations. It’s about beating the odds. It’s about doing the “impossible”. That’s what makes imagination and belief indispensable.

Imagination gives you access to something beyond what everyone else thinks is possible. It shows you a new destination and helps you find ways to it when none seem to exist.

Belief gives you the courage to stick with your vision and walk that path even when others don’t agree with you.

In their absence, chances are you will walk the same path others around you are walking. You will pick the same destination they picked. You will be retracing the footsteps of countless others walking ahead of you. At best, you will live up to the expectations. But never beat them.

They Can’t Live Without Society’s Approval

I have never come across one great achiever who waited for or cared about society’s approval. Not on. You know why?

Because those who waited for it never achieved anything extraordinary. They kept waiting.

Societies demand conformity. And conformity breeds mediocrity.

They Feel Paralyzed by the Fear of Failure

Risks and uncertainties are hallmarks of every ambitious move. You know you won’t always succeed. But you cannot allow the fear of failure to overpower you, or you will never do anything great.

Unfortunately, since early childhood, people are taught to avoid failures. As a result, most will rather succeed at something trivial than risk failing at something big.

That explains why they find success so elusive.

They Have a Poor Work Ethic and Think Short-Term

Having a vision is not the same as turning it into reality. That requires relentless and focused effort. The truth is, most people just don't have the discipline to put in the required time and effort.

What makes it even more difficult is that when you are after ambitious goals, a lot of your early effort seems to go unrewarded. Great results often test your patience. You must be willing to play the long term game.

It’s difficult because there’s always this doubt at the back of your head — what if it doesn’t work out? What if all the hard work goes to waste?

People who can’t tame those fears or hate to work hard are always looking for quick and easy wins. That’s not how you win big.

They Have a Low Tolerance for Pain

The overwhelming majority of people believe the purpose of life is to be as comfortable and happy as you can be. They cannot imagine subjecting themselves to voluntary hardships and struggles.

So understandably, they have too high an aversion for risk. They settle for mediocrity as long as it makes them feel safe and comfortable. And there is nothing wrong with it. It’s a personal choice.

But by making that choice, they do give up their chance of massive success.

They Lack Tenacity

People in pursuit of success face their greatest test when they are faced with the darkest hours of their journey. When everything seems to have fallen apart. When it looks like they have arrived at a dead end. When all seems lost.

It is in those moments that they are confronted with the ultimate question — can they push past the obstacles with their sheer will power? Are they tenacious enough?

One can have everything else, but there’s only so far you can get without determination and grit.

Concluding Remarks

You might be wondering why it’s important to be aware of these signs. Let me give you two reasons — 

  1. If you want to be exceptionally successful, watch out for these signs in yourself and address them if you find any.
  2. At times you will need to make a decision whether to bet on other’s success (e.g., making an investment). Knowing these signs can help you make a good decision.

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Coach, Engineer, Writer.

Seattle, WA

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