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16 Things That Are Sabotaging People’s Success

We all dream of achieving success, whatever that means to us. But often, unseen obstacles lurk in the shadows, holding us back from reaching our full potential. These hidden saboteurs can be incredibly effective at derailing our progress.


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Fear of failure is one of the most common obstacles to success. It can paralyze us with indecision and prevent us from taking action.

A user added, “My favorite quote is this – ‘The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried’.”


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While financial resources aren’t everything, they can open many doors. A user added, “Lack of money. The only people I know who say ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ are those with lots of money.”


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Low self-esteem can lead to self-doubt and a lack of confidence, significantly hindering your progress.


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While some people may have natural talent in certain areas, success is often more about hard work, dedication, and continual learning.

A user added, “Perceived lack of ability or talent. There are plenty of people doing what you’re too afraid to try. The only difference is that they assume they’ll be a mess at first and then get better. Too many want to be masters immediately without feeling like a novice.”


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It’s human nature to care about what others think of us. We crave approval and want to feel accepted. However, allowing other people’s opinions to dictate our decisions and actions can be a significant obstacle to achieving success and living a fulfilling life.



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We are often conditioned to expect immediate results in today’s fast-paced world. This can lead to impatience and a lack of perseverance when faced with challenges.


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While ambition can drive success, excessive greed can lead to unethical behavior and ultimately hinder progress. A user added, “Greed. We would be much better off if we all worked together instead of against one another.”


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Without self-awareness, it can be difficult to identify your strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and make effective decisions. A user added, “Self-awareness. Being truly aware of who you are, your situation, and what you’re capable of can be a superpower.”


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Impatience and hubris are two traits that, when combined, can be incredibly destructive to personal growth and success. While each trait can present challenges, their synergy creates a powerful force that can derail even the most ambitious plans.

A user added, “Impatience and hubris. It’s hubris because so many people, at least my generation, are hyper-self-confident, but it’s the world’s fault when something goes wrong. Our society tells us we’re born kings and queens rather than building ourselves up to be worthy of such a title.”


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Trauma can profoundly impact an individual’s ability to succeed, manifesting in various ways that can be difficult to recognize or overcome.

A user said, “Unprocessed childhood trauma or lack of generational wealth.”


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While ambition and drive are important, having a clear plan is essential for turning aspirations into reality. Without a plan, we lack direction and purpose, making prioritizing tasks, staying motivated, and tracking progress difficult.

A user said, “Not having a clear plan of how to get out of any problems you are in. Financial struggles? What’s the plan for more money/fewer expenses? Trouble in a relationship? What’s your plan for making it better? Want to quit smoking? What methods are you going to use? 

Somewhere along the line, people stopped thinking they were responsible for their happiness and expected others to fix things. You have a problem; you better plan to get out of it!”


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The constant need to check updates, scroll through feeds, and curate online personas can consume time and energy that could be directed toward achieving goals and aspirations. Additionally, the unrealistic portrayals of success and happiness on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction, further hindering motivation.

A user added, “Social Media Addiction. It’s funny because most social media content concerns self-improvement and motivation (health, fitness, business content, etc). But it’s ironic because being addicted to your phone (like most young people who grew up with smartphones) is the number one reason for holding you back.

It ruins your motivation to do anything else and keeps you locked in a feedback loop where nothing else gives you enough dopamine, so you keep scrolling.”


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Unrealistic expectations and a lack of humility can be powerful barriers to success. While ambition is essential for driving progress, rigid expectations can lead to disappointment, discouragement, and an inability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Similarly, a lack of humility can hinder learning, growth, and collaboration, preventing individuals from acknowledging their limitations and seeking valuable feedback.



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While seemingly essential for security and stability, mortgage and health insurance can sometimes pose unexpected challenges to achieving financial success. The significant financial burden of these commitments can limit resources available for other goals like investing, saving, and pursuing personal aspirations.


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Our efforts can become scattered and ineffective without a clear vision for the future and a laser-sharp focus on the present. This can lead to procrastination, missed opportunities, and feeling overwhelmed and directionless.

A user added, “Focus and a long-term vision. The success my friends and I have had almost always came out of some long-term plan and upfront sacrifice. That includes getting through school/vocational training, starting businesses from scratch, having a successful music career after struggling for years and years, losing weight and getting healthy, etc.”


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While ambition and drive are essential, achieving success often requires assistance from others. Lack of access to support, guidance, and resources can significantly hinder our progress, leading to isolation, frustration, and, ultimately, stagnation.

A user added, “ It can be helping directly or simply saying what to do. Many people have the potential but no possible way to realize it because of the conditions they have no control over.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.