The Climb to Success: Why Some Fail While Others Prevail

climbing a mountain with sun set in background is like following path to success.

A man climbing a mountain, just about to reach the top and succeed. This is the wish that many entrepreneurs have in regard to success. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Is success a thing of luck, like winning the lottery? Or is there a method to the madness, a key to the lock?

As a business coach or entrepreneur, one may want to understand why some people are just not able to achieve results or success, while others excel once they get the blueprint. 

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This question became so important to me, that for many months, it didn’t let go of my mind.

How many define success as not being the moment people swipe the card to get into the inner circle — but as being the opportunity to help someone build a business that allows them to help other people?

Is there a key to success?

If I were asked about my personal measurement of success, I would reply: “It is not money, but the results I help others achieve.” That’s why every time someone struggles to achieve results, even though they seem to have what they need, I get anxious and the urge in me grows to figure out where the knot is, so I can help them untie it. 

Eventually, the desire to figure out how I could help people achieve results, even if it seemed like they were destined to never achieve any results, took me down an interesting rabbit hole. 

Over months I would contemplate about all the times I was able to accomplish something in my life. Then, I read dozens of biographies and books about people who achieved great things.

I read a bunch of books on psychology and psychoanalysis, like those of Sigmund Freud and C.G Jung.

It became my passion to figure out what makes some people succeed and others fail, even though they are faced with the same odds and equipped with the same tools. 

My mission was to figure out what principles or methods I could apply in my “CALM” (Connection, Awareness, Learning, Mindfulness) coaching to help as many people as possible overcome the mental blocks preventing them from achieving their desired results.

And finally, after a long time of searching, reflection, and almost giving up, I finally found a set of principles that all successful people seem to have in common. 

In fact, these principles lay at the feet of anyone able to see them, because one wants to find them, and is ready to make the fair exchange in order to attain them.

Even looking at my own life, any time I didn’t succeed at something, one of the key principles that I will share with you in the following passages was missing. 

But first, allow me to share with you a glimpse into the current state of the specialized knowledge marketplace.

The promise of success

The promise of success, along with the specialized knowledge to attain it, has become the greatest merchandise of all commodities sold.

The digital gold rush

The craze to monetize specialized knowledge is becoming more and more lucrative, even as you read this. It not a bad thing. Actually, it is quite inevitable, as we move ever deeper into the informational age.

Offers and promises are often made to conjure the greed of prospects and awaken the sleeping imagination, passion, and hope to a world of “Faites vos jeux” (meaning “Place your bets”).

Many believe success is like a game of roulette, you either win or lose.
Roulette table at a casino. Players placing bets, calling on fortune to fulfill their dreams and wishes. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Too often, however, far too many buy into the promise of quick success and are willing to bet their life’s savings on it — going into overdraft and draining the credit cards for it.

Which doesn’t mean there aren’t pearls among the fish eyes, it just means that the pearls are becoming ever more difficult to spot.

And then there’s also the “Shiny Syndrome” symptom. But more about that another time.

All bets on the spade to find gold

Only a minor fraction of the people who enroll in online courses, in mastermind groups, ever complete these courses.

From the tiny portion who eventually do complete the courses, again, only a small fraction of them ever attract any notable business or customers.

Why is this so?

Is it that the expert knowledge passed on is not good?

Or is it that all the students who enroll in these courses, to attain specialized knowledge with the goal of arriving at success, lack something essential… something crucial and so vital, that without this ingredient, no attempt or ambition can ever succeed, regardless of how good the teachers of the required specialized knowledge are?

Faith, the missing key

If success was an engine that, once ignited, would drive us to our goal, then surely there must be fuel, a spark, an ignition, and a key to start the engine. 

In this combination, fuel plays the most vital role. Without fuel, any attempt to ignite an engine’s combustion will be destined to fail.

If we use the analogy of an engine to explore the elements needed to attain success, then there must be an ingredient in the elements of success that is to success what fuel is to an engine. 

Fuel indicator, on empty, like the faith-tank of many entrepreneurs looking for success.
Fuel indicator-needle on empty, like most people who try to arrive at their success without a drop of faith. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Indeed there is, and this ingredient goes by the name of faith — that unwavering belief in one’s own capabilities, and the ability to attain or reach a certain goal.

Without faith, any attempt to achieve a goal is like calling into an empty void in the hope of receiving an answer.

It is also the space known as “imagination” — not just in your mind, but in the minds of your target audience — who you hope to win over and whose enthusiasm you wish to gain so that they may engage in some form of monetary transaction with you.

Every plan needs a purpose

The majority of people who try and fail will leave the field with their heads hanging. Only a handful remain persistent and loyal enough to their plans that they can recognize opportunity and take action when it looks them in the eye.

Most people may argue that luck plays a great role in attaining success. But those who have faithfully experimented with the driving forces of life, the tools at hand and the steps required to turn a desire into a tangible result, have only succeeded in doing so because they followed their plans to the letter.

Achievers don’t lose faith in their abilities, even when faced with seeming defeat.

But what makes those who succeed so different from those who fail? The existence of a definite purpose and the absence of fear, the lack of procrastination, and the unfamiliarity with resignation in the pursuit of success.

But don’t just take my word for it; browse through history and explore the biographies of many great men and women you admire. You’ll be astounded to see the patterns that become visible after you have completely read and understand what this article is about to share with you.

The power of the mind

Little is known about how the human brain, in combination with thoughts, imagination, and emotions, like faith, really works.

But enough definitive knowledge and facts about what it is capable of, under specific circumstances, has been accumulated over the past decades, centuries, and even millennia.

The most common and scientifically validated model on how the mind and human consciousness interact is the model by the psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung.

Sigmund Freud’s philosophy has been successfully used as a model to explain human behavior in a sociological sense for decades.

C.G. Jung’s theory of psychoanalysis is a great model to understand how the subconscious mind and the conscious mind seem to be independent entities and repositories of different memories and thought patterns, but still work together as a mastermind group, when it comes to transforming our desires into reality. 


Scientific research has determined for a fact that your brain has the ability to change through growth and reorganization. The changes can range anywhere from individual neural pathways being rewired to form new connections, to entire readjustments, also known as cortical remapping. 

Ironically, the wiring in your brain is created by your thoughts, emotions, and experiences, but on the other side, once certain patterns are created, they become habitual and seemingly control you despite your free will.

However, with enough willpower, imagination, and persistence, old habits can be broken and replaced by new ones.

A road sign depicting the crossroads between possible and impossible. You stand at this intersection every day when you are faced with challenges or seeming defeat. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Your mentality works the same way. While it is created from what you hear, remodel or experience, once it is formed, it will become the guiding template for your ideas, emotions, and actions — everything that makes up who you are and what you have.

Without the right mentality and emotional virtues like faith, courage, and persistence, no great result can be accomplished.

The majority of people who set out to achieve greatness never come further than the limitations of their own mentalities. 

Persistence, the ability to persevere against all odds

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln failed so many times that reading his biography, the biggest question becomes: Where did he get his persistence from?

He went to war as a captain and returned as a private. He didn’t quite cut it as a lawyer, and after turning to politics, was even beaten in his first attempt to be nominated for Congress.

He was even beaten at his efforts to become vice-president in 1856.

But Lincoln kept at it, and was beaten again in the senatorial election of 1858… Well, the rest is history.

Around that time, Lincoln wrote the following lines in a letter to a friend: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.”

“I don’t believe I have special talents, I have persistence … After the first failure, second failure, third failure, I kept trying.”

Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Prize winning physicist

Sigmund Freud

The first time Sigmund Freud presented his psychoanalysis ideas to the scientific community in Europe, he was booed from the podium. But instead of throwing in the towel and burying his head as most men or women would, he went to his office and continued writing. 

Thomas Edison

Thanks to Thomas Edison, candlelight dinner is a romantic concept and a thing of the past. 

But before Edison could even come up with the precursor to our lightbulbs he failed at least 1,000 times before he finally succeeded. But that’s not the only challenge Edison had to overcome on his way to greatness.

According to his teachers, Edison was “too stupid to learn anything.” Apparently, he was fired from his first two jobs for being “unproductive.” 

“No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors, and make success impossible.”


After finally being successful at inventing a lightbulb that could burn longer than 2 minutes, Edison was asked by a reporter: “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”


According to historical records, Beethoven was considered to handle his violin in an awkward way. Instead of improving his technique, he was more amused by playing his own compositions. 

His teacher regarded him as being “hopeless as a composer.” 

Ironically, Beethoven wrote five of his most popular symphonies when he was completely deaf. 

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”


Purpose, the immunity against doubt

Most people lack any definitive purpose when they undertake a business venture. As a result, their infant ideas lack the necessary roots to grow strong and tall. The faintest breeze of critique or a storm of self-doubt is enough to uproot their ideas from the fertile grounds of their imaginations. 

History and biographies of great men and women prove that those who possessed a definitive purpose and the qualifying amount of faith, courage, persistence, and undeterred imagination always succeeded at transforming their desires into their equivalent monetary values no matter how great the odds and how existentially threatening the stakes may be. 

Desire backed by faith in one’s own abilities and crystallized by a vivid imagination and an actionable plan function as an immune system warding off any “mental virus”, that the mind, of others or their own, may try to infect them with. 

Personal sacrifice

We live in a day and age where technology and the availability of specialized knowledge save us time and give us the opportunity to take shortcuts.

Most people believe that technology and specialized knowledge are all it takes to achieve great success and achievement. 

But as the biographies of great men and women throughout history show, no great achievement has come to pass without the ability — which may be arguably considered as a great virtue — of personal sacrifice.

Two dollar bill depicting the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the United States of America, all of whom made huge personal sacrifices so that their desire for freedom and independence could be attained. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Nature’s principles, along with physics and their derived philosophies, tell us that for every gain, there must be an equivalent exchange.

Put simply, if you want to get, you must be willing to give. The value of what you get is always at least equivalent to the value of what you are willing to give. 

No gain or success, or riches, or chemical transformation can happen without the application of the principle of equivalent exchange. 

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