10 personality traits which often lead to failure in life (and how to change them)

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Success is 10% luck, 40% hard work, and 50% habits.

And those habits spring from your personality traits. 

So if you truly want to be successful in life, you shouldn’t just come up with great ideas and big plans—you should start working on yourself, too!

First things first—be aware of your personality traits that could be dragging you down. Then slowly work on them.

To help you along, here are 10 personality traits which often lead to failure in life (and how to change them).

1) People-pleasing

Being a “yes man” or a “yes woman” is necessary if you’re still at the bottom of the food chain. After all, no one wants to work with a sassy intern.

But if you’ve already been working for years or you’re working on your own projects, there’s no need to kiss ass and impress others.

You don’t have to get other people’s approval for your every move.

In fact, as long as you’re not harming anyone, you don’t have to think about anyone else but yourself.

How can people-pleasing lead to failure? 

Well, if you make decisions based on what others want, you’ll likely end up NOT creating your own path and NOT living an authentic life. 

What to do:

2) Being scared of failure

Every venture comes with risks—whether you’re starting a business or working on a painting.

And here’s the thing: there’s no way to totally fail-proof anything. The “safest” endeavors can still fail. But the good news is that the riskiest ones can still succeed.

We don’t have a crystal ball. The only way to find out if something will turn out to be a success (or a “failure”) is by actually doing it. 

What to do:

3) Lack of self-discipline

If you don’t know how to manage yourself, then of course, you’ll fail in life

I’m not even talking about career success here. I’m talking about success in all forms and sizes!

Whatever success looks like to you—whether that’s living on a farm with 5 cows and a cat or having a business that earns $3 billion—you won’t achieve it without self-discipline.

Take note: It’s not just hard work, per se. 

It’s also being able to say “No” to certain things no matter how tempting. And it’s also being able to keep your word. 

What to do:

4) Being paranoid about everything

So not only are you scared of failure, you’re scared of every damn thing! 

“What if I get another rejection?”

“What if people will hate me?”

“What if this small move could ruin my career?”

I get you because I’m like this, too. And trust me—you’d want to change this trait as soon as possible.

I’ve lost so many opportunities and hours of sleep because I paid attention to all of these nasty voices in my head.

Do you know that 90% of our worries don’t happen? 

Think back of all the worries you had—from you getting kicked out of school to having a terminal illness. I’m sure only a few of them came true.

So stop worrying and panicking, and trust that everything will turn out fine.

What to do:

  • Learn to manage your anxiety before it ruins your life.
  • Ask yourself “Am I just overthinking or is this a real threat?”

5) Inability to focus and commit

Do you jump from one project to another? Do you lose interest fast? 

Are you too ambitious that you want to do it all?

Hopping around and not fully committing to anything would make success of any kind almost impossible. 

This is the reason why many successful entrepreneurs suggest that you should only focus on one business at a time.

And this applies to relationships and personal projects, too. 

If you keep hopping from one person/ hobby to another, then don’t expect to build anything great, or deep or long-lasting.

What to do:

  • Define what you really want in life and focus on them.
  • Learn to manage FOMO.
  • Commit to only one project at a time—and give it your 100%.

6) Being a copycat

Do you have the tendency to like what others like? 

Do you envy others and wish that someday you’ll have a house just like theirs and a car just like theirs and a career just like theirs.

And do you always look at what others are doing to be sure you’re” doing the right thing?”

While it’s normal (and even beneficial) to idolize some people, setting a goal to become exactly like them does NOT guarantee happiness and success.

You won’t be happy in the end if you keep using other people’s “success” as your metric for success. Besides, you don’t even know if they’re truly happy!

If your goal is to be 100% like them, you already fail. 

Like snowflakes, we’re all unique and if we don’t honor our uniqueness, then, can you really call your life a success?

What to do:

  • Stop comparing your life to others.
  • Look inward instead of outward.
  • Get inspired by others, but create your own path.

7) Over-reliance on others

Do you often ask favors? 

Do you feel unmotivated when you work alone?

Do you always need your parents and friends for almost everything? 

While many successful people collaborate with others, they wouldn’t NEED anyone to get the ball rolling. 

If you keep relying on others before you start anything…

If you can’t make decisions for yourself…

If you wait for others to guide you…

It’s time to change—and do it ASAP.

The sooner you become independent, the sooner you’ll attain success.

What to do:

  • Don’t wait for anyone to join you on your ventures—do things alone (at least at first).
  • Try your best to become more independent.

8) Over-reliance on God / fate / Universe

Do you catch yourself saying “If it’s meant to be, it will happen” or “God will make a way?”

Well, you should replace those thoughts with “Do your best and God will do the rest”—then DO YOUR FREAKIN’ PART (which means, do your BEST)!

I know so many people who’d do only very little and expect miracles. Then they’ll wait and wait and wait…

Newsflash: there are no miracles!

YOU should make things happen if you want to succeed in life. Period.

What to do:

  • It’s important to have faith, but it’s not enough.
  • Be 100% responsible for your success. Do the necessary work to achieve the life you want.

9) Being a Negative Nancy

Pessimism isn’t all that bad. In fact, pessimism has its benefits.

But always looking at the negative side of things cannot help you achieve the life that you’ve always dreamt of. It can just make you grumpy and miserable!

What pessimism can do is simply warn you about the possible negative outcomes. But that is all.

Use a bit of it every now and then, but don’t let negativity stop you from pursuing the things you want to do.

What to do:

10) Being overly critical 

Being overly critical towards yourself, your colleagues, and to everyone and everything—although sometimes useful and necessary—does more harm than good.

It can paralyze you from making decisions. 

It can shoo away clients and collaborators.

And it can make employees quit.

This doesn’t just apply to career and work. Being overly critical at home can also lead to toxic relationships.

And hey, listen up! Maybe this alone could be the reason you think you’ll fail in life.

Allow me to explain.

Do you beat yourself up for your mistakes? For not trying hard enough? For “being a failure?”

Then maybe…is it possible that YOU are your own worst enemy?

The thing is, “failure” and “success” are subjective. 

Maybe you’re actually a success to everyone’s eyes but because you’re overly critical, you think you’re failing in life.

Think about this. No really, pause for a second and think hard about this.

What to do:

  • Look for the good in everything. 
  • Learn to appreciate yourself and everyone around you. The more you do it, the more everyone will be inspired to strive for success—including you.

Final thoughts

If you see some of these traits in yourself, then you know what to do!

Simply make some adjustments and you’ll increase your chances of success by 1000%.

But it will take time. Be patient with yourself because some of these traits are hard to break.

For now, take comfort in knowing that success is within your reach—all you have to do is make the necessary adjustments, and it will fall on your lap.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

9 signs your self-esteem is dependent on the approval of others

14 lesser-known (but equally admirable) personality traits of an authentic person