Failure to Launch — Or Why Hard Work Isn’t Enough To Succeed In Life

Updated: January 17, 2021

When I graduated from college, I had this very idealistic view of my future. In fact, during my very first job interview, when asked how I see myself in five years, I actually gave a pretty good description of how I imagined my life would be.

However, five years came by after that moment, and my life turned out nowhere near how I envisioned it in my mind.

I was not yet living independently in an apartment, and still stayed in my parent’s house. I had no brand new SUV, and still drove my father’s old car.

And I was still a rank and file employee, and not yet promoted to manager in the firm.

Many young urban professionals today also started their careers with the same goals and ideals that I had, and many of them like me, eventually got beaten down and stayed stuck in a seemingly stagnant career.


So what caused this failure to launch?

In hindsight, I believe that it was not because we didn’t work hard enough or because opportunities were lacking for us.

I discovered that the real reason why financial independence came short was because we had the wrong mindset.

When I started to change how I think and learned how to deal with life’s challenges using the proper skills and mindset, I began to see positive changes in my career and in my own life.

Four Elements of a Growth Mindset

1. Learning never stops.
How to design my own investment portfolio, how to spin a fire poi, why is life insurance important -– these are some of the things I learned on my own, after college.

Just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you should stop learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge. There is a wealth of information out there just waiting to be discovered.

2. Don’t stay too long inside your comfort zone.
From being an employee, I ventured into freelancing, and then moved towards entrepreneurship –- each phase felt like jumping off a cliff, and I loved it.

The only way to grow is to constantly challenge your limitations. When you allow yourself to be uncomfortable and heed life’s call to adventure, your life perspectives will expand and grow.

3. Differentiate what’s important, and what’s merely urgent.
That report you need to finish for your boss is urgent, but that business plan you’re writing for yourself is important – that is with respect to your dreams.

Urgent tasks contribute very little to your long-term goals. But important tasks are those which take you one step closer to living the life you want. Do what’s important at least once a day, and never let urgent matters eat up your daily routine.

4. Commit to your long-term goals.
Yes, you want to be financially independent and give your family a secure and bright future –- so why are you spending on unnecessary things and not saving or investing your money instead?

Defining your long-term goals is different from committing yourself to attaining them. To be committed means questioning your every action and consciously making the decision, each and every day, to do only the things that will take you towards your dreams.

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Photo credit: evanmischelle


  1. Agreed. One main reason why hard work doesn’t work is because we waste our efforts on the wrong things.

    1. We didn’t know that what we’re doing isn’t going to work and we failed to learn the things that will.
    2. We do what’s easy and comfortable instead of what actually leads to growth.

    It’s not how much effort you give; it’s how well you do those things that lead to success.

  2. Nice article sir!

    I really think that this fits well to young professionals (new hires) like me. Considering that we belong to generation of millenials, we tend to get distracted and be discourage right away. Since college, I am an advocate of having other facets of income. I really agree that planning for future, especially investment portfolio is a great field to delve into. I am looking forward for your other articles especially articles that have tone for investment guidance and practical contents.

    More power and God bless Sir!

  3. I agree – If we never leave our comfort zones, there is not that extra push to do something great. Your comfort zone is just that, comfortable. It is safe and we know exactly what we are going to get. That is fine for some people but if you don’t push outside it, you can’t expect to have the life you want just handed to you.

  4. Every new Grad should be handed a copy of this article on their way out the door from the halls of higher education !!!!!

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