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Written By: Andrew Bright Ikeogwu



Almost everybody on earth desires success, but unfortunately, not everyone succeeds at the end of the day. There are quite a good number of factors that can make people, fail in life, or be defeated in any course. It should also be noted that there are different levels and types of failure; as you will see from this write-up. In this very blog, I want to explain some of these factors that cause people to fail in various areas of life and undertakings.

Further to this, I will also give some useful tips that can help an individual, to avoid the pitfalls in life which lead to failure. As much as some negative experiences, or failures are normal, natural, useful and unavoidable, sometimes; care must be taken to ensure that one does not make himself/herself an unnecessary victim of failure.

Be that as it may, let’s first of all, examine what failure really is, for the purpose of clarity.


  • Failure means the manifestation of one’s weakness which leads to unpleasant experiences and consequences.

  • Failure is any experience or involvement that reduces one below his expected position or standard.

  • It also means the manifestation of a misfortune that plunges one into pain, misery, or loss.

  • Failure can equally be described as a situation, where all the set goals could not produce the expected results.

  • Failure could mean the encounter of unexpected misfortune.

  • It implies the encounter of a fall as a result of the faults and inadequacies emanating from human ability.

  • Failure can as well mean a fall or reduction in one’s status or standard in life.

  • Failure also means the inability to achieve one’s desires or objectives temporarily or permanently.

  • We can also define failure as a fall into an experience in which one is trapped, entangled, over-powered, brought down, confused, ridiculed, disgraced and dissipated of energy.

  • Failure could be the inability to live one’s dream or experience desired fulfillment.

  • Let me wrap it up by saying that failure is any kind of mistake or fall, leading to the exposure of human weakness and limitation, sometimes with embarrassing consequences.

Before we go over to the next sub-heading; it will be of interest to say that;

“Anyone aiming for success in life; should understand that there are battles to fight, obstacles to overcome and challenges to defeat or conquer. This is part of earthly living and it is never easy!” - Andy Bright Ikeogwu

“Life is not fair, get used to it” – Bill Gates

(There are several reasons for Failure or defeat)


At this juncture, let us look at possible causes of failure as follows:

(i). Ignorance:

Success is a game of principles. Life’s endeavors, which lead to success are governed by rules, laws and principles. If one is ignorant of such, (principles, rules, or laws), it becomes difficult or impossible to realize one’s objectives in such involvements. Every department of life requires that you have basic knowledge of such aspects into which you venture, in order to achieve your desire; which leads to success.

Knowledge and its right application lead to success. But ignorance leads to failure. Therefore, know enough of what you are doing or what you are going into; if you want to succeed because ignorance will hinder you. Follow the rule of the game, and then success will beckon on you at last.

(ii). Carelessness:

A careless person is an enemy of success because he will not value the principles for success even if he knows them. In the first place, he will not bother about finding out what it takes to succeed; even when everybody around him is succeeding. He will overlook, underrate, undermine and treat every meaningful thing with levity.

Nothing really matters to him. He does not take anything seriously. A careless person is a bosom friend to a foolish person. Success can never make the mistake of visiting such one. If by coincidence, the person experiences success in any way; he soon loses it by his carelessness. So, don’t be careless over the issues of life, if you are looking for success.

(iii). Foolishness: “Some people are wise, while some are otherwise.” - Anonymous

If you are not wise in dealing with the issues of life, it therefore, means you are otherwise. Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom. It is the sheer absence of knowledge and discretion. It is a state of being void of understanding. It is the lack of insight. It means a lack of caution even when there is a glaring indication of danger.

Foolishness entails working in darkness when there is a need for light. Whoever is a victim of foolishness in any area of life, will certainly not experience success in such areas, because it takes wisdom and sound knowledge to succeed. Therefore, one of the causes of failure, is foolishness in all its ramifications. Avoid it as much as you can, if you want to succeed.

“The fool says, I know it all and at the end hurts himself. But the wise keep learning and improving” - Apostle Andy Bright

(iv). Laziness/Idleness:

(Laziness is a detention zone)

Laziness is the opposite of diligence or hard work. A lazy person is a sluggard in nature and action. The lazy person is the one who rationalizes everything. He has a thousand reasons and excuses why he should not do what he is supposed to do. The Bible says that the slogan of the lazy person is that; “There is a lion outside, or that he will be murdered in the streets” (Proverbs 22:13). By this, he stays indoors; and does nothing. He keeps observing the wind or the cloud. So, he neither sows nor reaps (Eccl. 11:4).

Laziness can crush a person to a state of inactivity. Sometimes, laziness comes unsuspected and undetected until it has rendered the victim useless or unsuccessful. Watch it! Laziness could be very subtle. It does not initially show itself for what it is. Observers detect it before the victims. So, when you find yourself always idle and not wanting to do anything meaningful or serious, that is a strong symptom of laziness. Remember; success is not meant for lazy people.

“Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds”- Philip Dormer.

(v). Fear:

“You will never do anything in the world without courage”. - Aristotle

Life is an adventure that only the brave-hearted can undertake, with meaningful results. Nobody is sure of anything that we do. Nobody can certainly predict the outcomes of our involvements, or relationships, investments, or pursuits. This is where many people are trapped because they are afraid of the unknown. However, anybody who allows fear to cripple or hinder him, from taking necessary actions in the right direction; is robbing himself of great opportunities for growth and success.

Everything in life is about risk-taking. So, don’t be afraid of taking reasonable risks when necessary. Successful people are risk-takers. Failure could result from one’s inability or unwillingness to take risks. It makes the individual, miss valuable opportunities for success. Please, draw a line between carelessness and reasonable risk.

There is a great difference which the wise know about. And that is what distinguishes them from the foolish and the careless ones. Don’t fear the unknown to the extent that, it robs you of positive and necessary actions that may lead to success. Fear is another cause of failure. Therefore, face life with courage and determination in order to conquer all odds. Even if you fail in your attempt, try again.

”When there are no moons, you go by the stars” - Anonymous

(vi). Procrastination:

“Decision is the key to changing your life’’. - Wattle Resides

The Bible says in Eccl. 3:1 that there is a time for everything. In view of this, certain steps or actions are supposed to be taken at certain times. Be conscious to understand the times and seasons of life. Key in with good understanding and you will have nothing to worry about. Another word for procrastination is delay. Don’t forget that delay could be very negative or rather dangerous, because like they say; procrastination is a thief of time and opportunity.

People who always say; “I will, I will”, but never back up their willingness with necessary actions; may never be able to accomplish anything worthwhile in life. So, separate yourself from that circle and take necessary actions in the right direction. Stop delaying in doing the right things that you are supposed to do. Go ahead and do that right thing now. How are you sure of a better time or opportunity?

Survey the situation and if there is light, plunge in. Stop giving excuses and just make positive moves, one step at a time. Strike when you see a good sign. Leave the rest to the forces of nature. Their benevolence could bring favor upon your action. God is watching for keen minds upon which he will bestow his blessings. Don’t delay! Launch out! Launch deep and be ready to harvest and haul astonishing returns.

“The secret of getting things done; is DO IT NOW! - Napoleon Hill

“You won’t win if you don’t begin” - Robert Schuler

(vii). Poor Planning:

“It is only a bad plan that does not need any modifications or changes”. - Publius

(Poor planning is a big disadvantage in life)

“He that fails to plan, plans to fail”. This is a commonly known and used phrase in most business, leadership and success teachings and writings. This statement is undisputedly true and correct. Therefore, if one really wants to succeed in any undertaking of life; there is a strong place for proper planning. Good and effective planning foster successful engagements.

In view of this, it becomes imperative for all who desire success in whatever they do to plan well. Plan about what you want to do and how you want to do it. Plan about when you want to do it and other things about the project or undertaking. This is the place for goal setting which should have become a common thing to you by now. I don’t intend to talk about it here. You can get more information about that from my other blogs.

There is no substitute for a good plan in achieving success. So, if your plan is poor or bad, consider this: success may not be realized or achieved. A better way to achieve the desired result is a better plan. So plan well, and expect big. Success will draw nearer to you. Conversely, if your plan is poor or bad, you are only inviting failure.-

“I would rather change plans while still at port than to sail and sink at sea” - Harold C. Keown

(viii). Wrong Tools or Methods:

“It is better to sacrifice more for a good result than to waste anything for nothing”. - Apostle Andy Bright

(Wrong Methods and Tools don't favor any enterprise)

Every business, relationship, or undertaking has a special and particular way of going about it, in order to have the best results. There are certain tools required in every profession, vocation, or relationship which make it effective and profitable. There are methods that help in realizing set goals and there are also methods that hinder or limit expectations. Be that as it may, care must be taken to ensure that the right tools and methods are employed.

Such tools could be human resources, spiritual, material or financial resources. Study and investigate to be sure of the right tools or methods to apply for such project or undertaking. If you are ignorant, careless, lazy, or foolish to use the wrong tools and methods, be ready to experience excruciating failure. So, be warned! Do the right things. Don’t go for cheaper alternatives that will ruin your purpose at the end of the day. Failure is not meant for you. Therefore, review your methods and use the right tools.


(Failure has some benefits)

As painful and unpleasant as failure can be; it still has its positive sides; in the school of life. Under normal circumstances, failure is not meant to break us but to mend us and to bring out the best in us. It helps to make us better individuals. This is the primary lesson that every wise person should learn about failure.

Therefore, those who pursue success should convince themselves that failure is a raw material for success, even if it is hard to believe sometimes. They should know that failure is success in an unrefined state. The reason is that; there is never any progressive experience in life without failure in most cases. There is no actual taste of the reality of life without an encounter with failure. Having said that; let me at this juncture summarize other positive benefits of failure.

1. Failure is a ladder through which we gain experience and attain maturity.

2. Failure helps us to discover better ways of living and doing things.

3. It helps us to discover our weaknesses and also enables us to amend our ways in our transactions, engagements and relationships.

4. Failure if properly managed can become a positive tool for greater accomplishments.

5. We may not be able to do the great things we desire, or accomplish our great dreams until we have failed and learned from our negative experiences.

6. Failure is not fatal but vital to those who understand the principles of life.

7. Nobody should see failure as a completely bad experience. Rather, it should be seen as a stage in life, on the journey to success with some attendant good.

I would say that failure has some positive sides which we should take advantage of as we pursue success. There are actually so many things to say or learn from failure depending on our attitude towards the situation. Those with a negative mentality may sink under the weight of negative experiences or failure and may never recover. But those who are armed with adequate knowledge and positive attitudes; are able to see a better future beyond the experience of momentary failure. They look beyond what they go through and harness the experiences gathered through such developments; to produce better results consequently.

“A positive mind finds a way it can be done. But a negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done”. –Napoleon Hill

There are times when many failures in attempted projects lead to final success in that same project. Such failure simply creates room for new ideas and methods of approaching the matter at hand. For instance: When Thomas Edison succeeded in inventing the electric bulb after several times of failures, (about 1,000 times); he was asked how he felt having failed so many times. His answer was simple; “That his failures only thought him the many ways that cannot produce light and just one way to produce it”.

In essence, his experience of so many impossibilities and failures; gave him the answer he was looking for concerning a single possibility. That single discovery put him on another level in the history of the world. He succeeded at last.

I shall continue with this topic in my next post. Watch out for it and keep preparing yourself for success and more successes. Wishing all the best in your endeavors!


Written by: Andrew Bright Ikeogwu

(You can get more details on this topic, in my book titled; ‘Overcome to Become’;


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