What Is the Biggest Cause of Your Failure?


All the other things I’ve posted over the past months all come down to one thing, what you think, how you act, and what you do. You choose to fail, by choosing the wrong focus, not following up with clients/leads, not closing the deal, not setting goals, listening to the wrong advice and all the other things you “know you should do” but don’t.

You choose to succeed by ignoring those people who give you their “helpful” advice about why what you’re planning will fail, listening to the experts who tell you what you need to do to succeed, focusing on what generates the most results, following up, closing deals, completing jobs and all the other things that successful people do.

So, are you setting yourself up to succeed or fail?

Follow this little checklist and you’ll have your answer. Write it down on a piece of paper and check which side you’re on in each category:

Negative - Set Up to FailPositive - Ready to Succeed
Why I Can’tHow I Can

If you chose the left side on all three categories, you’re in the right mind set to succeed.

If you had one or more areas where you’re on the left (Negative) side, you have some things to work out to get yourself out of your own way. You’ll need to find a way to get your mind focused on the Success side. You can do it, it just takes practice, like anything else. Changing your mind set isn’t easy, but, with persistence, vigilance and self-honesty, you can do it.

Of course, those three items on that little checklist aren't the only elements of your mindset by any stretch, but they are among the most critical to your success.

If you focus on what might happen if things go wrong, what you stand to lose if it all goes to hell, you'll be fighting your way past some serious fear to get anything done. If you focus on the rewards for succeeding, then you'll be more excited to get started and make them happen.

If you constantly make excuses for your shortcomings, you'll first of all, never learn from them, after all, everything is always someone or something else's fault, and you can't do anything about someone else's shortcomings, right? If someone else, or something else was to blame, then you must not have done anything wrong, right? That kind of thinking, trying to find excuses and external sources to blame will only block you from the most important thing you can get out of your failures – learning. Those that focus on results, are also willing to take responsibility when everything blows up in their face. They're willing to admit to their mistakes and look for ways to correct them. They're open to learning and getting better.

Those who constantly tell themselves when they can't, or who listen to others who tell them why they can't, will close their minds to possibilities, and focus only on impossibilities. That's the kind of thinking that will set you up to fail by having never even tried anything in the first place. Those who focus on how they can do something open their minds to possibilities and set their minds to work on figuring out solutions. They don't always find a way, but at least they're looking, and will sometimes find a way.

A good analogy to this is baseball. If the batter knows the pitcher will be throwing the ball right down the middle, but thinks “I can't hit the ball anyways so I won't even bother swinging the bat” he'll be guaranteed to strike out 3 pitches later. If he swings the bat, sure he'll go out more often than not – even the best hitters go out (i.e. fail) more often than they succeed. In the much vaunted Ted Williams season where he displayed hitting mastery never seen since, he “only” managed to hit about 40% of what the pitchers delivered, so he still failed more than he succeeded, but he was swinging the bat, he was putting himself into a position to have a chance at getting that hit, at succeeding. That's what you need to do too, put yourself into those positions where you have a chance to succeed, and surprisingly enough, you will succeed more often then you might think.

Even if you look for how you can do that and fail 1000 times, keep at it, all you need is one time that you succeed and you're set. Thomas Edison failed to invent the light bulb well over 1000 times before he finally succeeded. He didn't look at those failures as failures though, he viewed them as succeeding in finding out how not to do it, and eliminating some possibilities, until he eventually hit the magic formula and we now have electric lighting to make things so much more convenient for us.

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