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Why People Fail : The 16 Obstacles to Success and How You Can Overcome Them - Siimon Reynolds

Why People Fail

The 16 Obstacles to Success and How You Can Overcome Them

Paperback Published: 25th July 2012
ISBN: 9780143565338
Number Of Pages: 256

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'If you learn the 16 principles in this book you'll be able to do more than turn your life around. You'll be able to uplift and transform it, taking it to levels that will amaze and delight you.'

There are thousands of books on success - but this is a book on failure.

Mastering failure is a vital step in achieving your aims, hopes and dreams. Failure is the ambitious person's constant companion. It can dog you for months, years or even decades before you finally achieve your goal.

Siimon Reynolds, one of Australia's most successful ad men, explores the main causes of failure and reveals solutions for overcoming them and creating a successful, happy life. One of the Top Ten best-selling buisness books of 2010, Why People Fail offers strategies and tips for beating failure habits such as:

  • unclear purpose
  • destructive thinking
  • low productivity
  • weak energy
  • not asking the right questions
  • poor presentation skills
  • stress
  • lack of persistence
  • money obsession
Master just one of the timeless principles in this book and you can increase your wealth, success, contentment and happiness. Master all of them and your life will rocket to a totally new level.

About the Author

Siimon Reynolds is an internationally renowned entrepreneur and expert on human achievement. He practises what he teaches. As an advertising entrepreneur he won almost every major industry award in the world for creativity. He was the co-founder of Photon Group, which in eight years became the 15th-largest marketing services group in the world and the world's fastest growing. Siimon is also chairman of OMG, Australia's largest website group, which is currently running over 30,000 websites.

Simon has won the NSW Young Achiever of the Year Award (career category) and the International Advertising Association Scholarship. He writes and speaks internationally on high performance and ultra-achievement, as well as personally coaching a handful of entrepreneurs and CEOs on ultra-performance.


There are thousands of books on success. But very few on failure.

Yet mastering failure is surely a vital step in achieving your aims, hopes and dreams.

After all, success is often just a moment – a goal fulfilled, soon to be replaced with new goals. But failure is the ambitious person's constant companion, often dogging us for months, years or even decades before we finally reach our aim.

We need to understand and conquer failure if we are ever to master success. You'd never know it from our education system. At school we're taught geography, history, mathematical formulas and obscure scientific facts never to be used for the rest of our lives, yet how many of us, in all our years of formal learning, were ever taught how to overcome obstacles to any goal? Surely this is more important than all the other traditional school subjects put together.

Indeed, that is what this book is precisely about. In it I explore all the main causes of failure, in any field, and reveal solutions for overcoming it and creating a successful, happy life.

But who am I to be writing about this?

If I can, you can

I wish I could say I was born a success, but the truth is vastly different. I performed very poorly at school. So poorly, in fact, that I remember several times my school principal hinted that I had little future there. I recall at the bottom of one of my end-of-year report cards he even wrote, 'If things do not improve, I think that Siimon had better leave the school'. Ouch.

As you can imagine, those years weren't fun. But looking back on them now, I see that I could have excelled in class (and had a lot of fun at school) if I had only understood the principles of success and high achievement. It's those principles that I will reveal in this book.

The great turnaround in my life came when I made one momentous decision and stuck with it. That decision was simply that I would no longer put up with being mediocre, barely achieving anything noteworthy. I decided that I would become an expert at overcoming the kind of failure that had been shadowing me for most of my teenage years.

And so I began reading. One book, two books, 10 books, over time 100 books, then 1000 books – on how to be a better, more successful person. I read biographies, motivational books, psychology manuals, science journals, anything and everything about how the human mind works and how I could make it work better.

Slowly I began to change. Old habits lost their controlling power; new habits gradually formed. I started getting better results at work and in my personal life. As you can imagine, as I began to see tangible changes in my circumstances I became even more encouraged and excited. Could it be that my future was actually in my own hands? Was it possible that I myself could create my life, rather than blaming my situation on other people and events or just plain old bad luck?

A commitment to learning

I became totally dedicated to studying the science of achievement and the art of personal fulfilment. I'm still studying success (and how to avoid failure) today, only now I have the good fortune to have made millions of dollars in my advertising career and have the freedom to do or be whatever I want.

So was I just lucky? I must say, although I have been lucky many times in my life, ultimately I think we make our own luck. At least long term. I believe I have got to where I have in my career because I studied failure deeply and slowly worked out ways to get around it and clamber my way to success.

It wasn't easy. Lasting success never is. In fact, I reckon I have failed hundreds of times each year to achieve my aims. But by sticking to certain timeless strategies that I have learnt from books, seminars and bitter personal experience, eventually I have prevailed.

Failure leads to success

This is one of the most important messages in the book. Even if you have experienced countless failures in your life, it doesn't mean you are destined to have success pass you by. If you learn the 16 principles in this book you'll be able to do more than turn your life around. You'll be able to uplift and transform it, taking it to levels that will amaze and delight you.

If I can, you can. I'm nobody special, but I've learnt some special techniques and strategies that I'm incredibly excited about sharing with you in these pages.

Rest assured – success is a science. Long term it is highly predictable. No matter what field successful people excel in, no matter what time in history they ruled, ultra-achievers have performed a certain way and thought in a similar manner. In fact, the rules of success are so similar in every field of life that many people have excelled simply by copying the thoughts and methods of other high achievers in any field. As philosophers, spiritualists and scientists have proclaimed for thousands of years, the earth is ruled by cause and effect. As one of the basic laws of physics states, 'To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'. It is an ordered world we live in, subject to ancient natural laws. Just as there are laws of gravity, motion, chemistry and biology, so too are there laws of success and, inversely, definite paths to failure.

We need to learn the success laws. Study them. Master them. Then teach them to others. Because mastering these foundational life principles will bring us more wealth, achievement and happiness than any university course or tertiary study.

Strategy is important

Remember: if someone has achieved more than you, it's not usually because they are better than you or smarter than you. It's because they have discovered a better strategy. What they have learnt, you can learn. What they have succeeded with, so too can you, if you learn the formulas of success. Some of these formulas are mental and others are practical and action oriented, but all of them can be mastered by those dedicated to the task.

Keep in mind that the human mind is an unfathomably awesome instrument. Almost everything we know about the brain has been discovered in just the last couple of decades. We have barely uncovered a fragment of the mind's potential, yet we already know that our brain is so powerful that it puts the world's largest mainframe computers to shame. We are super-beings, if only we knew it. But we need an instruction manual, a guide to how we can use our mind to create the most fulfilling life possible.

I'm certainly not suggesting that this book is a definitive summary of the human mind, but it is certainly a series of guideposts to show you how to experience vastly less failure and much more happiness in your life.

Powerful principles

These principles have helped me enormously, and if you apply them diligently they are sure to do the same for you.

Here's a brief review of some of the areas I examine in this book.

In Chapter 1, I look at the importance of developing a crystal-clear direction and purpose for your life. Most people simply do not have one. As Zig Ziglar famously remarked, 'Most people are a wandering generality rather than a meaningful specific'. This lack of clarity about our life purpose weakens our effectiveness to a massive degree. So, I look at some potent exercises to get you clear and motivated about what you most want out of your life.

In Chapter 2, I investigate the insidious damage destructive thinking does to your psyche. I show you that such negative thinking is common in the mindset of a failure. Not only is destructive thinking disastrous for our chances of success, I provide evidence that it damages our health as well. I also reveal some simple ways to turn your thinking around and increase your sense of wellbeing and happiness markedly.

Next up, I look at productivity. We all have the same 168 hours a week, but some people achieve enormous things in that time and others do little more than eat and sleep. Why? The answer, to a large degree, depends on how productive you are each hour of the day. You can be motivated, you can be intelligent, but if you are disorganised and ineffective in your actions then failure will be your close companion.

Actually, in my early to mid-twenties I was one of those people. Time and time again I let myself down with my lack of organisational skills and productivity systems. I have subsequently spent hundreds of hours studying the world's most respected time-management experts' works and integrated their best ideas into my life. It has made a crucial difference to both my success and my stress levels, that's for sure.

In Chapter 4, I reveal one of the biggest causes of failure in our society: fixed mindset. I show you research that proves that if you have this kind of mindset your chances of great success in life are small. But I also reveal an alternative mindset that will enable you to beat most of your competitors consistently. Apply this simple paradigm and your life will blossom in every area.

Then I delve into the importance of energy. It's an often unappreciated aspect of success. But think about it: isn't it true that the person who has the energy to keep going is often the one who triumphs? Look at any high achiever and you'll see they have bountiful energy and verve. I share some really useful tips on how to boost yours.

In Chapter 6, I examine the dangers of not asking the right questions. The truth is, it's the quality of the questions you habitually ask yourself that determines the progress you make. Ask yourself shallow or negative questions and you'll get uninspiring answers. But train yourself to ask insightful questions and you can often turn around even major failures occurring in your life. I present you with a series of powerful questions I ask myself to overcome setbacks and problems that arise in my life. Make them a part of yours and you'll be amazed at how fast situations can improve.

Chapter 7 is all about poor presentation skills. They're a big reason people fail in their careers. You can have great content in your presentation, but if you don't present in a pleasing, confident, inspiring way many people will not treat you as a serious contender. Like it or not, people do judge by appearances. Are you sabotaging your success by presenting yourself physically, attitudinally or verbally in a bad way? Don't worry if you are. I've got some easy ways to fix it and get you presenting superbly and making a major impression on the people around you.

What about your IQ? Do you think you score poorly in that area? Well, I show you important research that says that your IQ matters much less than most people think. What really counts is your EQ, otherwise known as emotional intelligence. This chapter alone is enough to turn many lives around. Once you learn how to develop your EQ, your success level will leap dramatically.

The next chapter looks at self-image. It's very common for failures to have a poor self-image. When they look in the mirror they usually don't see someone highly competent and confident and an elite performer. No, they usually see themselves as a bit of a loser. Once anyone has a self-image that's not positive, it affects almost every area of their life. They try fewer things, take fewer risks. They don't take the inevitable rejections of life well and soon give up. They perform poorly socially. Alas, for people with a bad self-image, failure is just around the corner. But it doesn't have to be that way. Self-image can be changed, sometimes quite quickly. There has been mountains of research done in this area and in this chapter I give you some strikingly effective ways to boost yours.

Chapter 10 focuses on thinking. The fact is, life has become so busy that many of us spend all our time rushing around doing stuff, rather than balancing that action with constructive thinking. This is a terrible mistake. By simply learning to think more creatively more often, I believe you can transform the quality of your life. I have spent most of my career running the creative department of an advertising agency, so I've had to learn how to think up ideas fast. I show you some of my best thinking methods and give you tips on how you can use brainstorming to improve virtually any part of your life.

After that, I focus on the amazing power of daily rituals. Look at a failure in life and you'll always find that they do not follow consistent, life-enhancing rituals. They are unsystematic, up and down and ever changing in how they work and think. By establishing some basic supportive systems in your life, I'm certain I can increase your level of success, even if you're already a high achiever. After all, it's not what you do occasionally that builds your future – it's what you do regularly.

Chapter 12 is all about the horrendous impact of stress on your life. It's a life crippler in so many ways. But if you're driven and ambitious, can you escape it? Not really. Some stress will be inevitable for anyone who's aiming for the stars. The trick is to manage that stress and even convert it into more motivation and achievement. You really can have success and peace of mind. I show you how.

Next up I examine how the quality of your interpersonal relationships affects your chances of failure. It's incredibly difficult to succeed at any endeavour on your own, and ultimately it's unfulfilling. Your network of business and personal relationships not only massively increases your chances of high achievement, it gives you an exceedingly valuable support system when the going gets tough – which at some stage it surely will. I've developed a simple yet highly effective system for enlarging and maintaining your set of relationships so that they support you in an optimum way.

Then I get into one of the biggest causes of failure in the world today: lack of persistence. It's a crying shame to see talented people so often fail for no other reason than they gave up too early. The ability to continue towards a goal long after your enthusiasm for the journey has waned is at the very heart of a successful life. But society today promotes the quick fix, the shortcut, the easy money. Now more than ever in history, we are being tempted to move on to the next big idea rather than persist with our original aim. I know how tough it can be to keep persisting. I've struggled with it often in my life. In this section I give you the best methods I've developed to keep going when things are hard.

You may be surprised by the chapter on money obsession that follows. Am I really suggesting that being focused on money makes you less successful? You bet I am. Great achievements are rarely created by people just trying to get rich. Usually the titans of history were motivated by grander visions than just being able to buy a Ferrari. I discuss the limitations and dangers of money obsession and suggest some healthier alternatives.

Finally, I look at one of the primary causes of failure in life: not focusing on your strengths. It's an area too few people think about, but new research shows it's a crucial determinant of how far you go in life (and how much you enjoy the journey). Most people hardly spend any time each day doing what they are good at and love. As a result, their performance is often average and their motivation low. It's hardly a prescription for success. In this chapter I provide you with a questionnaire that can quickly get you clear on what your primary strengths are (most people don't know) and give you some pointers on how to spend much more time each day doing stuff both that you're excellent at and that delights you.

How to read this book

The best way to digest this book is to first read it through, beginning to end. Then pick the three areas of failure that you feel most apply to you. Re-read those chapters with a pen and paper handy and make notes and observations about your feelings and past experiences relating to those issues.

Finally, pick just one principle that you feel is most relevant to your life at the moment and make a commitment to conquer this aspect of failure. Write a list of ways you can overcome this obstacle and stick it up where you can see it each and every day, both at home and at work. Then do something, anything, every single day for a month to master it.

After you've conquered that area of failure, move on to the next of your top three failure challenges. This single-minded focus will ensure that meaningful improvements in your life will occur within weeks, even days. The mere fact that you are concentrating your focus on just one area at a time to improve will guarantee swift change. Concentrated effort works.

Finally, get excited. You're about to discover countless ways to avoid failure and maximise your success. Many people have entirely changed the course of their lives by mastering just one of the timeless principles in this book. Improve on five or ten of them and your life will rocket to a totally new level. You are soon to learn the master skills of ultra-achievement, skills you'll be able to use for the rest of your life to increase your wealth, success, contentment and happiness.

I believe human beings are designed to grow, improve and excel. Our possibilities are virtually endless. All we need are the instructions on how to unlock our mighty powers.

This is that instruction book.

ISBN: 9780143565338
ISBN-10: 0143565338
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 25th July 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.9  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.19
Edition Number: 1