The 7 Major Obstacles to Success and Greatness

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Everyone wants to succeed in what they do. We all strive for success in our endeavors. And many of us are determined to achieve greatness. As a result, we continuously ask ourselves how we can be more successful. We ponder about the different ways to accomplish success. In our quest for success, we come across many interesting and promising methods. Implementing powerful habits to increase productivity has become second nature to us. However, we tend to ignore one important aspect. It is crucial for success, yet we do not seem to place much emphasis on the question what it is that prevents success. While we are focused on the pursuit of success, we entirely neglect the potential obstacles that stand in between us and our goals. It’s ironic. On one hand, we spend a great deal of our time to chase success. On the other hand, we do not always ask ourselves what it is that keeps us from ever accomplishing it. As a result, we are confronted with the same issues over and over again. It’s time to bring this to an end. This article will present you the 7 major obstacles to success and greatness.


One popular obstacle that holds a great deal of people back is negative self talk. We all have that little voice within ourselves that continuously tells us what we cannot do. It makes us accept our boundaries; in short it’s a great obstacle to success. Not knowing what potential harm this negative habit can cause us would be quite dangerous. Only by identifying the problem as what it is we can work towards a potential solution.

Just imagine if this isn’t the only major obstacle that keeps us from being successful.

What if we are confronted with countless factors that all have the potential to make our pursuit of success a tough ride?

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong from the weak.
Thomas Carlyle

We all fall prey to negative habits, unproductive mindsets and unbeneficial hobbies. Time to identify what it is that keeps us from reaching our full potential. Gaining an understanding about these things will help you to remove these obstacles from your road to success. Let’s discuss the obstacles to success.

The 7 Major Obstacles to Success

Here are the obstacles to success and what you can do to overcome each and every one of them.

1. Lack of Vision

Everyone is talking about the importance of having a goal. “Before you start something, set yourself a goal,” they say. So we follow this advice and think about challenging goals that we want to accomplish. We decide that we want to get outstanding grades, find a high-paying job, get a promotion and so on. As a result, our goals are focused on tangibles such as money. It’s like a wish list of all the great things that we want to accomplish. If you want something, just set yourself a goal and work towards it.

However, in many cases there is nothing that fuels us to accomplish these goals. There’s nothing that drives us to reach beyond our limits. Nothing to back up our pursuit. As a result, we’re not motivated enough to pursue our goals with the necessary determination. There’s nothing that keeps us going the necessary extra miles. Nothing that motivates us to address even the most complex difficulties we are confronted with.

Obstacle to success

What is it that limits you?

We might pursue our goals with great enthusiasm for a certain period of time. But eventually, our attempts become halfhearted until we settle for something less.

That’s because most people do not have an underlying vision for their life. They figuratively try to build the most luxurious castles without establishing the proper foundation first. As a result, most of their endeavors are doomed right from the beginning. When viewed from this perspective, a lack of vision is one of the greatest obstacles to success.

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mahatma Gandhi

If there’s one thing that extraordinarily successful people have in common it’s the fact that they all have a vision. Think about all the revolutionaries that profoundly changed the way we live. Each and every one of them was determined to help make the world a better place. In one way or the other.

Their unquenchable desire to contribute to the advancement of mankind was so strong that it kept them going, despite all the difficulties they encountered. It helped them to get back on their feet, no matter how severely life pushed them to the ground. Their vision enabled them to shake the dust off their clothes again and again until they finally succeeded.

Having a sense that you’re contributing to a greater purpose will greatly fire your motivation and persistence. It is, perhaps, one of the strongest sources of motivation one can tap into. It’s your vision that will enable you to overcome each obstacle that stands in your way. It’s the very foundation upon which you can safely build the framework for a successful life.

Great levels of determination and focus are essential for success. But in the end, having a true purpose can make the difference between extraordinary success and mediocrity.

If you are fueled by a motivating vision, you will keep going when everyone else has already given up.

2. Lack of Focus

The inability to properly focus all our efforts on a given task is another major obstacle to success. Modern life has introduced us to concepts such as multitasking and many other enticing but unproductive distractions that drive away our attention. As a result, we often struggle simply because we lack the necessary discipline and focus. Instead of focusing on the realization of a given project, we jump from one project to another as we please. That’s one of the greatest obstacles to success if you ask me.

Therefore, the vast majority of people have half a dozen unfinished projects laying around. They might have found these projects enticing at the beginning. But as soon as the first complications and challenges arose they quickly jumped right into another project.

And while it’s relatively comfortable to jump from one project to another, it will lead you nowhere. It will contribute absolutely nothing to your pursuit of success.

Another issue that goes hand-in-hand with a lack of focus is that we tend to waste our time mindlessly. If we’re not focused on our dreams and goals, we don’t use our time in a productive manner. Instead of using it to pursue success, we spend our time with distracting activities that lead us nowhere.

Don’t allow a lack of focus to prohibit your growth. Instead, try to focus your attention on the accomplishment of the task at hand. Use prioritization to tackle one task after another. Make every effort to stop your mind from drifting around. And most important of all, do not allow difficulties to stop you from pursuing your dreams. Do not stop until your project is finished.

Let’s continue with our list of obstacles to success.

3. Lack of Willpower

Many are under the impression that success comes easily. Even more so, most even expect that success will come relatively easy for them. What most do not take into account is that the road to success is often paved with sacrifices. Along the road, you will encounter numerous difficulties, challenges and obstacles.

Our misconception of successful people contributes a significant amount to this problem. When we look at extraordinarily successful people, we immediately discover all their great accomplishments. In most cases, however, all the efforts they took to accomplish their dreams are left uncovered. We see what these people have accomplished in their life, but we are not aware of the sacrifices they made. Even more so, we are simply not aware of the difficulties and challenges they were confronted with.

As a result of this misconception, we lack the necessary willpower to continue our journey on the road to success when confronted with hardship and failure.

A lack of willpower can be quite a challenging obstacle to success. If a person lacks willpower they lack the mental strength required to do what needs to be done to ensure success.

You can consider willpower as a mental muscle. If you use it regularly, you will automatically strengthen it. But if you neglect it, the muscle will weaken. As a consequence, it will be more difficult for you to withstand short-term temptations. You might give in to tempting activities instead of focusing on your long-term goals. To put it simply, willpower is the mental strength of a person to withstand thoughts and temptations that do not contribute towards the accomplishment of their given objective.

Study after study has shown that high levels of willpower and self-control are closely associated with higher levels of success and happiness (for instance here and here).

Do not allow a lack of self-control and willpower to keep you from reaching out for your goals. Try to continuously increase your level of self-discipline. Learn to increase your willpower by exerting it regularly.

4. Trying to Please Everyone

In many cases the difficulty does not lie so much in deciding what to do. Instead, the difficulty lies in deciding what not to do. We often accept tasks and requests without filtering them first. However, without filtering tasks by urgency and importance, we’re hopelessly lost in getting our priorities straight. This makes us accept assignments that might not always contribute to our goals. In the long run, these tasks consume time that could be better spent by working towards our goals.

In short, we accept extra work in the hope to please others in any way imaginable. We’re reluctant to act in a selfish manner, which is why we hesitate to say no to various obligations and assignments. Therefore, trying to please everyone landed on this list of the major obstacles to success.

The attempt to please everyone is something that we will eventually have to let go of if we are truly determined to continue the pursuit of success. The ability to say no is crucial for your success. Even more so, the courage to disappoint or upset people will help you to further concentrate on the things that really matter.

Does it always matter to please anyone and everyone? I think not.

If there’s one certain key to failure, it’s the attempt to please everyone around you. After all, you can’t please everybody, so why bother about it?

5. Fear

Another major obstacle to success is fear. It’s one of these obstacles to success that should not be underestimated.

Nothing […] will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Fear can drastically prevent one’s growth. It limits us. It makes us accept the ordinary. It stops us from pushing our boundaries. Fear can also hold us back from ever starting to pursue our dreams. If every opportunity and challenge is perceived as too much of a risk, we remain stagnant. We start to pick up bad habits that prevent us from doing what is necessary only because we are too afraid to confront our fears.

The fear obstacle comes in many different shapes and forms. In some cases, we are simply afraid of failure. In other cases, we are afraid to be rejected. Yet in other situations we simply do not want to be confronted with the unknown. Whatever it is, it holds us back from being successful.

When it comes to the pursuit of your dreams, you have to be willing to take risks. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.

Fear can stand right in-between you and success. It can prove to be quite a disadvantage if you haven’t learned to face and conquer our fears.

I, for instance, came to the conclusion that there is simply no need to be afraid of failure.

Consider failure as an essential learning experience. It’s a challenge for you to try even harder to succeed at what you’re doing. Understand that failure simply cannot be avoided. So try to make the best out of each and every one of your failures. It might be painful to be knocked down to the ground, but in the long run you will benefit tremendously from it, if you’re willing to use your failures as stepping stones to success.

And never forget, the biggest failure of all is the mistake of not trying at all.

6. The Average Mentality

Isn’t it our striving for greatness that keeps us continuously pushing our limits? Isn’t the desire for excellence what keeps us going? Isn’t the wish to overcome mediocrity the underlying principle for great accomplishments?

In short, settling for the average limits our development. It’s one of the great obstacles to success. It does not provide the necessary incentive to surpass our own limitations.

But please don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being average. You can lead the happiest life as an average person. However, when it comes to the pursuit of success, we have to draw a clear line. Outstanding successes cannot be accomplished when settling for the ordinary.

To be average means to accept mediocrity. The average mentality leads us to live a life of unreached potential. If we do not strive for greatness and excellence it’s very difficult to be successful at what we’re doing.

7. The Pursuit of Perfection

Perfectionism can definitely have its benefits. It allows us to pursue a higher standard. It also motivates us to continuously make important improvements. Without these improvements, advancement and innovation would not be possible. For this reason, a high level of perfectionism can be quite helpful, especially in detail-oriented professions.

But perfectionism can also be a great obstacle to success. This can happen when we take perfectionism way too far. Whenever the desire to tweak something until it’s more than perfect stands in-between us and our goals, perfectionism is a problem.

The neurotic tendency to make something “more than perfect” distracts us from that which is really important. It makes us less flexible and decreases our ability to respond to important developments.

Not every task needs to be accomplished with the highest levels of greatness. Sometimes, your time is better spent by focusing on finding solutions to more important problems.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

Stay victorious!


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About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!

4 Comments

  1. All of these points are exactly what is holding back 99% of people, Steve.

    I always see people trying to please others, be perfect with everything they do (even with things that don’t matter), and basically all of the points you made here.

    For anyone struggling with these obstacles right now; the only way you will overcome them is by making the leap to self reliance and just getting into the mindset that the 99% of people don’t possess. Once you get there, there is no stopping you until well, never.

    Want it and go get it, and you will once you overcome these 7 major obstacles! 🙂

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