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The 2 Reasons People Fail

That's right--there are only two reasons success is out of reach. One is easy to fix. The other, not so much.

If you're not achieving your goals and making yourself more successful, it's always because of something you either can't or won't do.

If you can't do something, it's either because:

  1. You don't know what to do. The remedy here is to find somebody who has achieved something similar or identical to what you want to achieve and discover what steps that person took. Then build an action plan and execute it.
  2. You lack the basic skills to do it. The remedy in this case is to get more education. Because we live in a world of almost unlimited information, obtaining high-quality training has never been easier. Go learn the basics and practice them! Make it part of your action plan.

If you won't do something, it's either because:

  1. You've got other priorities. Perhaps your personal life has gotten more demanding or you're trying to juggle too many balls at work. If so, you need to figure out when you'll find the time and energy to take action. If you don't find the time to do this, see No. 2 below.
  2. You don't really want to be successful. By far the most common reason people fail is that they simply don't want to succeed badly enough. They won't find somebody to ask, they won't learn the basic skills, and they won't commit time and energy to take action.

The underlying concept is that you can do anything but you can't do everything. And I firmly believe that's true. The human spirit is capable of overcoming limitations and achieving goals far greater than you or I can possibly imagine.

Whether you fulfill your potential is entirely up to you. Decide you will succeed. That takes care of your won't. All that's left then is your can't. And fixing that is easy.

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Last updated: Mar 13, 2014


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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