The Secret Recipe of Failure

“As to the methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

If you ask the average person, most people would say they want to succeed. That applies not just to financial success or prosperity, but also to being a godly and moral person, success at parenting, skiing, knitting, weight loss or just about anything else. We want success…at least that’s what we say. What we actually do is a different matter entirely. Most of us, despite ourselves, actually follow the recipe for failure. The reason is pretty simple; we often run the failure script through our minds in ways that make the reality of failure nearly inevitable. How do we do this? We simply focus on what we don’t want, the reasons we don’t want it and the negative emotions we experience because we don’t have what we want. Because the untrained mind tends to think in terms of lack, scarcity and indecision, we focus on what we don’t want or what we’re afraid to lose more than we pursue that which we say we want.

This is the secret to failure. Our mind hears this “I don’t want” message incessantly, and assumes that we actually want the thing we’re trying to avoid getting. But why would our mind betray us so? Answer: the mind is neutral and amoral. There have been numerous studies and books dedicated to this subject. They most often seem to support the reality of unconscious or subconscious negative programming. Our mind simply brings to reality the things that we think about the most. When we think about something long enough, our mind assumes that its what we want and sets about the business of getting it for us. We essentially become unwitting accomplices to our own failure by creating our own negative feedback self fulfilling prophesy. This is a time-tested and research-tested certainty. Here’s the secret recipe (the mental script) for failure that people follow:

  1. You don’t know what you want
  2. You don’t believe you can achieve it
  3. You lack focus and clarity of vision
  4. You lack purpose, persistence and determination
  5. You surround yourself with people who have a failure or victim mentality (people who focus on what they don’t want or have no focus at all)
  6. You procrastinate
  7. You don’t work smart
  8. You don’t write things down
  9. You have no accountability
  10. You’re afraid of what people think
  11. You believe you have no worth or nothing to contribute
  12. You lack relationship capital
  13. You’re a quitter
  14. You make excuses and blame others
  15. You don’t take action! Execution over time is rewarded above almost everything else!

Just as sure a following a chocolate chip cookie recipe will never yield a pecan pie, focusing on these things will never make you successful at anything you desire to accomplish. Set your feet and your sights firmly on your destination. Its impossible to get where you’re going if you’re only guided by the rear view mirror.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret Recipe of Failure

  1. Sheesh! The saddest part about this list Abdul, is that it isn’t even CLOSE to being exhaustive! I think you pretty much nailed the top 15 though!

    Thanks for not offering a list of “how to be successful,” but rather a list of obstacles to avoid in life… I’m going to print this list and look at it every day! 🙂

  2. I love it and it fits every aspect of life. People tend to forget that everything in life is a challenge and you can succeed or fail at it. Something as small as ironing the wrinkles out of your shirt in the morning to as big as procrastination. People should try and be their best and SUCCEED at everything they do. It takes time for it to click for most, I know it did for me.
    I love it!!!

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