How To Avoid Failure


Anyone who aspires to success in life must recognize the causes of failure. Else how can he avoid pitfalls?

In my researches into human relations, I have found at least 30 major causes of failure. But the grand-daddy of them all is the lack of ability to get along harmoniously with others.

A great businessman—one of the wealthiest men of his day— once told me that he had a fivepoint measuring stick he used in choosing men for the advancement to high executive jobs.

1. A faculty for getting along with others.

2. Loyalty to those to whom loyalty is due.

3. Dependability under all circumstances.

4. Patience in all situations.

5. Ability to do a given job well.

It is notable that “ability for the job” came last. That’s because the more ability a man has for a task, the more objectional he may be if he lacks the other four traits.

Charles M. Schwab was promoted by Andrew Carnegie from day laborer to a $75,000 a year job. In addition, Carnegie gave Schwab a bonus that sometimes reached $1,000,000 a year.

Carnegie said the salary was for the actual service Schwab rendered. But the bonus was for what he inspired other workers to do.

Your ability to inspire others is a blank check on the Bank of Life that you can fill in for whatever you desire. If you lack this ability, you can take steps now to acquire it.

How? By adopting and following these rules:

1. Go out of your way, at least once daily, to speak a kind word or render some useful service where it is not expected.

2. Modify your voice to convey a feeling of warmth and friendship to those you address.

3. Direct your conversation to subjects of the greatest interest to your listeners. Talk “with” them rather than “to” them. Consider the persons with whom you’re conversing as the most interesting in the world, at least at the moment.

4. Soften your expression with a smile as you speak.

5. Never, under any circumstances, use profanity.

6. Keep your religious and political views to yourself.

7. Never ask a favor of anyone you haven’t yourself helped.

8. Be a good listener. Inspire others to speak freely on subjects that interest them.

9. Never speak disparagingly of other people. Don’t “Talk poor mouth.” Remember that an ounce of optimism is worth a ton of pessimism.

10. Close each day with this prayer: “I ask not for more blessings, but more wisdom with which to make better use of the blessings I now possess. And give me, please, more understanding that I may occupy more space in the hearts of my fellow men by rendering more service tomorrow than I have rendered today.”

Source: Success Unlimited, October 1966, pp. 33-34.

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