5 Types of People Who Won’t Achieve Anything in Life
Achieving results is based on the same thinking mechanics in sports, as well as management, making money, and building a family—if you know how to think the right way, you win. If not, you lose—just like the five types of people featured in this article. Everyone of us, depending on the circumstances, can temporarily become this type of person. But if we remain conscious of this we can return to the constructive mentality of success.
Here are the five types of people which won’t achieve anything in life.
- The Victim
There exists a model in communication theory called the square of responsibility. It teaches us that responsibility can be divided into four types: me, you, the situation, and a higher power. Those who take responsibility for themselves are more effective which allows them to approach reality proactively. If something isn’t working in their lives they consider all the things they can change and immediately take control of the situation. They don’t blame others or circumstances, they don’t blame God for their own fate. They are the masters of their own destiny and have the ability to influence it. However, some of their faults might be a tendency to dominate others, a lack of humility and ego-centrism.
Those who shift responsibility to others will teach the self-responsible to be more effective. This will help them avoid, in an educational process (parents) or an organizational process (delegation of tasks in their company), learned helplessness on the part of their children or employees. But if they shift responsibility in situations where they should take it on themselves, they become victims of external forces. They lose effectiveness, they become subordinate to the actions of other people, and start thinking reactively instead of creating a better future. They can only react to an awful present and repeat the same mistakes over and over. You can identify them by the phrases they use: If only my husband would… then I could be happy; I’m not making enough because my boss is greedy; I don’t know how because I had a terrible teacher, and so on.
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Those who shift responsibility to the situation are typically very aware of their environment. They can foresee market trends in the business world; they notice the floor while driving; they have good spacial awareness while walking down the street; and when they’re learning something they take into account present developmental currents. They’re adaptable because they understand how powerful environmental influences can be. But, just like the second type of person, they can fall into the role of the victim and complain that the car accident was caused by bad weather (not their poor driving skills), that they don’t make enough money because of government policies, and so on.
The last group is made up of those people who believe in a higher power called, depending on the culture, names such as God, fate, destiny, karma, luck, talent, higher consciousness, and so on. Their advantage is that they are humble and understand their own weaknesses and lack of absolute knowledge (something which the first group won’t do out of a desire to control everything). Their fault, similar to the previous examples, is their ability to shift responsibility to an element totally beyond their control. Someone like this will say: I can’t speak a foreign language because I don’t have a “knack” for it (but nobody knows what a “knack” actually means), and I’m not talented, instead of saying: I didn’t buy a single book to help me learn the language. I was unlucky, instead of: I was being lazy and didn’t make the effort to learn the necessary skills.
There are many people in society who function under the dominant narrative of the victim. For their own weaknesses they often blame their government, their country, and people who have more resources (for example, rich people). Victims never achieve success because they never take action and blame others for their situation. From this point of view, it doesn’t really matter whether the government (understood here as an external factor) of a given country actually supports its citizens or not. All that matters is the actual level of effectiveness which assumes that we pay attention to what we can control and ignore everything that’s out of our control.
2. The Ignoramus
The ignoramus, in the original meaning of the word, is a person who doesn’t know something. And since he doesn’t know, he doesn’t have the ability to influence or change the situation. For example, 60% of Polish people have hypertension and don’t know about it. This increases their risk of early death because they don’t take any action to avert the situation (through exercise, diet, meditation etc.). In order to escape ignorance we have to educate ourselves—gain knowledge (a model) which describes a situation which will allow us to change it.
The first step in our education is finding the right teacher—a person who knows solutions in the given field. You don’t have enough money and want more? Find someone rich. Don’t know how to ski but want to? Find a ski instructor. All your romantic relationships end in break ups? Find someone who’s been in a stable relationship for many years. This simple and understandable solution is used in the context of academic education, in schools. If someone wants to become a doctor, he or she has to learn from other doctors. If someone wants to become an athlete, they find a trainer, and so on. But this approach is very rarely used when it comes to learning soft skills: communication, emotional inteligence, personal branding, making money, making the right personal connections, raising children, and so on.
Here is an example to illustrate the point: a boss in a given company gets angry easily and shouts at his employees. He’s not aware of the fact that his behavior is an example of a lack of emotional intelligence and that there exist very specific techniques which can help him change his behavior. If you don’t know or don’t understand something you should get to know people who are skilled in this area and learn from them so you can achieve better results.
The ignoramus doesn’t know and is therefore in a double bind. Being unaware, he’s unable to change anything, and because he can’t change anything he continues reinforcing his negative behaviors, which traps him in a vicious cycle. But the situation of the idiot looks a bit different: the idiot commits the biggest sin of ignorance. He rejects something about which he has no idea, but believes that he does. Stupidity means stubbornly omitting the same mistakes while ignoring the opinion or advice of others. Stupidity means stubbornly over valuing one’s own intelligence and knowledge in a given field which defends the ego by denying one’s own mistakes. The idiot convinces himself and others that he knows what he’s doing despite not having any results in the real world. And results (success) is the final proof of skill. Blinded by pride, the idiot doesn’t want to admit to his own weakness to himself and therefore is unable to effect change and remains in his current state.
In order to be able to learn anything we first have to admit that we don’t know something. This judgment should be based on facts—if someone doesn’t have results in the real world it means he doesn’t know. Stupidity; however, isn’t based on facts but on ego—personal opinion about oneself. Such an opinion makes any kind of change impossible. That’s why idiots never achieve anything.
4. The Sloth
Change hurts—little changes hurt a little, big changes hurt a lot. Believing that life will be easy when you aspire to great things is naive and unrealistic. This is where an escape into laziness comes in. Laziness a reactive defense mechanism—nobody is lazy for the sake of pleasure (otherwise we would call this relaxation) but we do get lazy in order to escape reality. Doing nothing, then, is a reaction to fear of failure (emotional laziness), undefined goals (aspirational laziness), lack of deeper meaning in life (spiritual laziness), fear of intimacy (affectional laziness), and others. The sloth attempts to escape the negative aspects of life (shadows) through sleeping too long, playing computer games, overuse of the internet, drinking alcohol, boring work, stagnate and superficial relationships. By running away from these shadows he loses the ability to confront his own weaknesses. If you’re afraid of failure then maintaining a false opinion of yourself is more interesting to you than learning new skills. If you haven’t defined your goals it’s because you don’t know how to do it or you don’t have the skills to achieve your goals. Without a deeper meaning in life you’ll get quickly bored with the superficiality and ephemeral nature of the material world. And staying in a relationship with a partner who’s stagnating it’s easier for you to rationalize your own faults, which you’re not working on anyway. The sloth doesn’t achieve anything because he doesn’t try—so he commits suicide while still living. By not following the current of ever changing reality he begins to regress.
5. The Common Man
He represents the dominant social norms in a given society. It’s you’re everyday “John Smith,” who makes as much money as the majority, communicates what the majority communicates, thinks like the majority and chooses the same people to rule over him as the majority. He kills his own uniqueness by choosing conformity, by following the heard and trying to be like other people. In exchange for acceptance of those who are also pretending to be average, he can be sure that no one will give him any negative attention. But because of this he kills his own potential. Nobody writes newspaper articles about average people. Nobody interviews them on television. Nobody points a finger at them nor do they become role models for others. Nobody gossips about them. Nobody really likes them, but at the same time nobody dislikes them—they are irrelevant to most people, which is the opposite of being loved.
Every system, seeking to achieve and maintain equilibrium, produces the average of its constituent elements. The average is then represented in statistical research be it the average number of sexual encounters, or the average national income, or vacation spots. Using this system, a society convinces itself that mediocrity is good, which is a logical error: mediocrity is simply average. Mediocrity means a C on your report card. For some it’s a poor grade, for others—joy for having passed the class. In life you can make enough money, get enough love, communicate well enough and get a job that’s good enough. But you can also make those things excellent.
Mediocrity isn’t an appropriate reference point for ambitious people because you’re not trying to be average, but to fulfill your potential. The amount of money others make has informative value but it’s not a reason to feel proud. There’s no pride in making twice the average wage if you could be making ten times that. Uniqueness doesn’t aim downward but rises above mediocrity and creates new standards—because then average people can stop pretending to be average. No successful person has ever behaved like the majority.
If you’ve ever spoken or heard the following phrases:
- It’s your fault!
- I know what I’m doing. I have a degree in this field (but no clue).
- Scientific research? That’s a bunch of nonsense.
- Everyone argues, so why bother changing it?
then you know that the victim, the ignoramus, the idiot, the sloth, and the common man have come together all at the same time. And this should trigger a warning signal in your mind because you’ve just gotten into an inadequate state of mind. You’re worth more than that, and you need the right mentality to achieve it.