What do you think is the number-one reason people fall short of fulfilling their goals in life? Is it a lack of knowledge? A lack of experience? Is it a lack of capital? The lack of a strong work ethic?
Obviously, all these factors contribute to either success or failure. People who do most of these things right will succeed more often than they fail, and people who do most of these things wrong will fail more often than they succeed. But I don’t believe that the lack of these qualities is the biggest reason 96 percent of Americans fail to achieve their goals in life. I believe that the biggest detriment to personal greatness and success is fear of rejection and the loss of approval.
All of us like to talk a big game, and we like to come across as tough and independent. But if the truth be told, the vast majority of us would rather be popular than successful. We would rather be approved than be right. The vast majority of us would rather be part of the flock than to walk ahead of the flock. There is a certain dose of scorn and isolation that every successful person must endure because greatness in any aspect of life requires a departure from conventional wisdom and a departure from typical behavior.
Every child starts his life with dreams and goals and noble ambitions for the future. But over time, that child learns to abandon his dreams in favor of acceptance. Over time, that child learns to think like the 96 percent who surround him. After all, he wants to fit in with his social circle. So over time, a child will learn to survive instead of thrive and to “get by” instead of soar. But to be great, a person must learn to think differently than others.
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