Why Some People Fail and Others Succeed

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Article by Jim Rohn

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If we have a sincere desire for progress, then we are compelled to find every possible means to implement all that we know and feel. We must find ways to demonstrate on the outside all of the value that we possess on the inside. Otherwise, our values will remain unappreciated and our talents unrewarded.

Why some people fail and others succeed can be baffling. Sometimes it may even seem unfair. We all know people who have good educations, the right attitudes, and sincere desires to make something of themselves. They are good parents, honest employees, and loyal friends. And yet, despite their knowledge, feelings, and desires, they continue to lead lives of quiet desperation. They should have so much more than they do, but they seem to receive so little.

Then there are those who always seem to receive so much but merit so little. They have no education. They have poor attitudes about themselves and other people and are often dishonest and unethical. The only thing they seem to share with those who should do well but do so poorly is the sincere desire to get ahead. Despite their lack of virtues, knowledge, and appreciation, these people often seem to come out on top.

Why is it that some good people seem to have so little while the dishonest seem to have so much? Why is it that the drug dealers and the mob members and the criminal element in our society are driving Rolls-Royces while many are struggling to make payments on their inexpensive compacts? If our desire to succeed is as strong as theirs, and if we have the added virtues of philosophical refinement and emotional sophistication, why are we not all doing better than they are?

The answer might well be that we do not work at achieving our goals, and they do. We do not take all that we are to the marketplace and put it to work. They do. We do not stay up late at night developing new plans to achieve our dreams and work hard day after day to make those dreams a reality. They do. We do not learn all that we possibly can about our industries and our markets. They do. We do not make every effort to get around the right sources of influence, to associate with those people who can help us achieve our goals. They do. While we are dreaming about the promises of the future, they are doing something about it.

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Granted, they might be doing the wrong things, but they are doing consistently and with an intensity and a level of commitment that would put many of us to shame.

Evil always rushes in to fill the void created by the absence of good. As they say, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing, and unfortunately, that is what too many good people choose to do. It is our lack of intense, disciplined activity that has allowed evil to flourish and good men to flounder. If life does not seem fair sometimes, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Imagine how different our world would be if we made a commitment right now to put into action all that we currently are, wherever we currently are, and with whatever we currently have. What if we all gave 100 percent to our jobs, families and communities? What if, starting right now, we began to read the books, replace errors with disciplines, and associate with people who have stimulating ideas? What if, starting right now, we converted our dreams into plans and our plans into refined activities that would lead toward the achievement of our goals? What an incredible different we could make! In no time at all we would have evil on the run and good would be rushing in to recapture its rightful place. What a life we could then share with our families – a life filled with challenge, excitement, and achievement. And what an inheritance we could leave to the next generation – a wealth of virtue, integrity, and substance with which to build a whole new world, all because we cared enough to do something with our lives and to put our skills and talents to work.

Adapted from The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

Jim Rohn, the man many consider to be America's Foremost Business Philosopher, shared his success philosophies and principles for more than 46 years with more than 6,000 audiences and five million people worldwide. Prior to his passing in 2009, Rohn partnered with SUCCESS magazine to bring his indelible wisdom to the magazine's audience, who have long cherished the writings and teachings of this personal development legend. Today, SUCCESS continues to share Mr. Rohn's timeless principles with long-time fans and newfound followers.