Why Are Some People Successful and Others Fail?

by Krantcents · 24 comments

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Why do some people achieve success and others fail? The list is very long, but I will attempt to identify some of the reasons. After all, we all start out with potential and yet we never achieve success. As a teacher, I often hear reasons (excuses) why they never mastered math or passed English. The reasons range from bad teachers, no parental support or lack of skills. What is your excuse?

Successful people do not blame others for their failure. They find ways to succeed despite the difficulty. In some ways, it is how universities determine who they accept to their schools. Sure, they look for good grades, but they also look for students who do not accept failure. How do you succeed when you do not have successful role models in your life? What if the most successful people are the drug dealers in your neighborhood? Measuring success in terms of money is what young people do.

They look up to rappers, sports stars, or actors because they do not have other successful people in their lives. I do not have a problem with being a fan, but it should not be the only role model in their lives. I like or admire some musicians, sports stars and even some actors, but I would not blindly accept or follow what my idols would suggest or do. When you are young and impressionable, you are influenced by the people around you or who you may spend time watching or listening.

This is not going to be a rant about how the words of rap songs are influencing our young people, but more about how you can help your children become successful. It should be obvious if that is the only thing in your child’s life. There are a lot of distractions in a young person’s life! There is far more than I ever had in my life. It was a huge deal in my life when I could just have a portable radio. iPods, iPads, electronic games are the routine now.

Normally, technology improves our lives, but I am not so sure in this case. As an adult, I enjoy riding my bicycle listening to music. I can now listen to my songs I selected or downloaded versus what a radio station may select. It is a huge improvement thanks to technology. Children use the same device before and after school. Some students listen to their iPods during school because of lenient teachers. It should not matter except that a young person does not concentrate the same as an adult.

Why does this all matter? You develop habits in twelve or thirteen years of school. If the good habits are not reinforced at home or elsewhere, you will learn many bad habits. I know some people used to listen to music when they did homework, but it is different when it occurs in school too. We can blame the school system, but the parents are also part of this problem. Expectations and accountability is a big part of success! My parents expected me to succeed and held me accountable.

It starts early! Parents influence their children in many ways you do not even realize. If your children see you reading or doing something positive, they will too. If they see you doing something negative such as drinking as a solution to a problem or blaming others for your problems, you learn that too. If your children see you taking classes or some other training to better yourself, they learn that too. Children learn from your actions from getting into debt and complaining about money to abuse. Is this what you want?

Parents blame education and education blames parents for many of its problems. Each has their responsibilities. If you have a bad teacher, get tutoring or change classes or schools. Are your children doing everything they can do be successful in school? School is the first step in a successful life!  A good college wants high grades because it indicates mastery of the subjects. It is one of the criteria to measure success. High grades in college allow you to land the best jobs with the highest pay.

Employers are looking for success in school/college as an indication of success in their company. It is not the only factor, but it is an important one. I know my grades influenced the Fortune 100 Corporation to hire me, but also what else I accomplished. Last, it was how well I fit with the other people in the department. This factor is commonly called soft skills and how well you interview. Companies are looking for skills and experience that indicate you will succeed. School is just one element!

What can you do as a parent or individual to succeed in life? You need to emulate people who are successful. In order to provide the greatest flexibility, doing well in school and meeting or exceeding expectations in everything you do. It may be other people’s expectations until you can establish your own. Planning your future rather than just taking what happens is important too. I wrote an article some time ago called Do Your Resume Backwards which addresses planning for your future.

When I was a child, I had a choice of participating in sports or clubs or other organizations. There is so much more now to occupy your child’s life. As a parent, you need to consider the impact of your child’s friends, peers and what you child may do to occupy their time. Positive activities such as sports and other youth organizations are much better than just sitting and playing games. Children do not naturally gravitate to what is good for them, they need guidance. Are you helping your children or not?

Final Thoughts

Success in life does not just happen! It takes a conscious effort..Children make choices based on what is offered or allowed. If failure or low expectations are acceptable, how do you expect your children to succeed? If you do not hold your children accountable for their choices, you are teaching them to fail. If you do not have high expectations, you are not helping your children to succeed. How do you know how much you can accomplish until you try? It is up to you!  Success is achieving something you set out o do.

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Donny Gamble November 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

I think someone people are successful because they have laser focus on what they need to accomplish, while others are all over the place and jump from one project to the next.

Krantcents November 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

It helps to establish goals and monitor your progress. Does it take discipline and tenacity, you bet, but it is possible.

Money Beagle November 21, 2013 at 10:54 am

I think the people with great success plan to succeed, where many others will plan so as not to fail. That’s a big difference and can lead to big separation in terms of results of whatever it is you set out to do.

Krantcents November 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

You’re right, success does not just happen! It takes goals and a plan to achieve them. I achieved financial independence simply because I had a goal and a plan. It helped that I monitored my progress and adjusted my efforts to achieve the goal though.

Holly@ClubThrifty November 22, 2013 at 5:05 am

All I know is that I want my children to have plans to succeed, not to fail. I feel like I was raised with fairly low expectations so I’m setting higher expectations for them.

Krantcents November 22, 2013 at 6:54 am

High expectations is the key and holding them accountable too.

Jon @ MoneySmartGuides November 22, 2013 at 5:32 am

I think it all has to with one’s outlook. I consider myself successful, but I fail on a regular basis. I don’t let the failure keep me down or focus on it. I simply do my best to learn from it and keep pushing forward. Failure is a part of life and will always happen. The sooner you can accept this, the better off you will be.

Krantcents November 22, 2013 at 6:55 am

I fyou are doing anything, you will fail, but you can still succeed.

Barbara Friedberg November 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

I think it’s too absolutistic to say “success” and “failure”. Life is a long road with wins and losses for all. In fact, in my experience, those with more successes under their belt, also have more failures.

Krantcents November 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

In general, almost everyone have success and failures. In fact, many people have more successes than failures, but I there are some who have more failures than successes.

Jon@2-copper-coins.com November 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

“Successful people do not blame others for their failure” that is so true. Circumstances make a difference, but we do have control over much of our own success and failure. I work with middle and high school students and I’ve found that if I set the bar of my expectations high, give them space to fail (temporarily) they often step up.

Krantcents November 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I agree high expectations will challenge students, but not all students. That is one of the reasons a teacher can make a difference.

GetRichWithMe November 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

As a young teenager I once failed a maths exam – I just didnt get any of it, and the teacher wasnt too keen on explaining things slowly.
I had to do a re-sit – different teacher, 3 months later I got an A
The second teacher wasn’t too different from the first – went at a similar speed.
The main difference was that she repeatedly told us that we were clever, and that we could do the math if we thought about the equations and didn’t just give up without trying.
Similar thing in real life – its amazing what we can achieve if we put our minds to it, and see things through

Krantcents November 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

A little encouragement works. As a teacher, I try to give positive statements to all my students. It is too bad that some students have given up before I ever get to see them.

Buck Inspire November 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

Great advice KC! I’m being more diligent now that I Baby Buck picks up things that I do. Entertainers are great, but you are right, they may not be the best role models. That’s our job along with teachers. Actually, if you run into a “bad” teacher, do you have the right to transfer your child to another one? I’m guessing once you are assigned a teacher, you pretty much go along for a one year ride. Thanks!

Krantcents November 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

Parents rule! Most principals will bend in the favor of parents (at least in LAUSD).

Untemplater November 24, 2013 at 9:52 am

I know that whatever I don’t accomplish is all on me and not anyone else’s fault. It gets me so fired up when I see people complaining about things and putting the blame on other people when they should be pointing the finger at themselves. We all have failures in life, but those who are successful are the ones who get back up and try again.

Krantcents November 24, 2013 at 10:15 am

I try to stay away from complainers because they are doing themselves any good. It just brings down everyone else.

Simon @ Modest Money November 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Success / noun / – the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
As you rightly point out, one ought to have an aim, a goal there are working towards and in a way it serves as a yardstick for how far they are till they succeed.
Additionally, I think its easier to accomplish something when you are being expertly guided by someone, a mentor who helps you navigate the choppy waters of your endeavour and avoid common mistakes.

Krantcents November 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

A mentor would help, but it is up to the individual to set their own goals and accomplish them.

SuburbanFinance November 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes some successful and others not,because as you alluded to, it definitely has a lot to do with many factors.

Krantcents November 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I think success is distinguished by determination or tenacity.

Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia November 27, 2013 at 8:59 am

Success breeds success and that goes for parenting too. Parenting can be tough and sometimes it’s difficult to know if you are making the right choices to help your children develop the skills/tools to be successful, but if the parenting effort is there then most likely your kids will turn out just fine.

Krantcents November 27, 2013 at 9:24 am

The key to parenting is just making more right choices than wrong ones. Parenting is a little like teaching, if you show you care the children responds.

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