Why Some People Fail and Others Succeed

I, like most Americans, work. I work hard, I feel. I dedicate 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (at minimum) to my employment, making great efforts towards ensuring projects I complete are exceptional and company goals are achieved.

I’ve held a couple of jobs since I graduated college. One thing that I have realized/noticed is that while some people who work are successful at their respective occupations, others are not. Some people get promotions, some stay stagnant at their job, and others get fired. Some people cannot find a job, while others do not even pursue a successful career to begin with.

But, have you ever wondered why some people are greatly successful in life and others end up failures? Some people graduate from the best universities in the world and wind up with top paying dream careers; while others are stuck at dead-end jobs, making minimum wage, and living paycheck to paycheck.

But why? What’s the secret to obtaining success? Why do some people fail while others succeed?

The answer is actually relatively simple. It can be explained using the concept I’d like to call the Opportunity Contingency Theory.

Essentially, there are only two factors that control whether or not a person will be successful in life: 1) Resources, and 2) IQ.

The first one is simple—the more resources a person has, the greater the chance that person has at succeeding. Resources have many different manifestations. A child born in a wealthy family or in privileged environments has an abundance of resources. Families who provide their children with educational tools, books, and travel to historic locations of the world also provide firm resources. Positive role models (like an uncle who is a dentist, or a cousin who is an architect) are a great resource for steering kids (and adults) in the right direction and providing key information that can aid them in pursuing and achieving these goals. Merely having parents who are diligent in teaching their children, putting them in good school systems, or talking to them about the importance of education can be a tremendous resource that can cultivate learning, influence ambitions, and inspire motivation in a childs life. Resources undoubtedly are one of the most important factors that determine a person’s education and drive towards a successful career.

IQ is the second factor that influences the outcome of a persons future and career. Basically, the higher ones IQ is, the greater the chance that person will be successful in life. The super-intelligent (the Obama’s of the world) graduate #1 at Ivy league schools, providing them with the resume that would enable them to obtain virtually any job they want. These folks have photographic memories, solve difficult puzzles/problems easily, and digest information quickly. This puts them at an advantage when studying for school, completing projects effectively at work, or devising successful business ideas. Contrastly, people with low IQ’s (like the mentally challenged) are never in the right conditions to be greatly successful in life. It’s nothing they have done, its just the mental capacity they were born with

The marriage between Resources and IQ definitely influences success. People that are successful in life either have a higher than normal IQ or were provided the resources that steered them in the right direction. Although a person may desire to be successful, it is impossible to naturally achieve success when neither factor is at play. The opportunity at success is contingent on what you are born with and the resources that you are provided with throughout your life.

One should never wonder why one fails at success, for we as a society are to blame. Some school systems have unqualified teachers who teach from outdated textbooks. Parents do not put their children in mentoring programs that may help foster their development and stimulate inspiration when it comes to pursuing a career. Poor kids don’t get to see the Lincoln Monument growing up; they never learn what Occupational Therapists do because they’ve never met one or never even heard of the career to begin with. Perhaps nothing can be done about a childs IQ, as it is something you are born with. However, America can do a better job at educating our youth and inspiring them to achieve greatness. Resources should be provided to all equally and with no equivocation.

-Deshawn (@ShonJay714)

About Author


Journalist and aspiring writer. Contact me at da.advocates@gmail.com


    • ruth jeremiah
      March 4, 2015

      I believe success and failure is relative so I’ll have to disagree with a majority of this post. But I most definitely agree with providing the youth an equal playing field so children aren’t counted out because of lack of access.

    • T. Mechian
      March 9, 2015

      mmm Idk…to say “Essentially, there are only two factors that control whether or not a person will be successful in life: 1) Resources, and 2) IQ” I have to disagree. Resources does not = success and IQ does not = success. I do believe however that having resources increases your chances of being successful as does having a high IQ. I do not believe lacking resources for example, having an uncle that is a doctor or father that is a business owner means you will not be successful.

      I personally don’t feel like I’ve had a lot of resources or someone I wanted to become growing up. My mom never made it passed the 9th grade and my father traveled here from Liberia and received his associates in Political Science. I went to one of the worst HS where the drop out rate was high and girls were having babies like they were 30 and married.

      I do consider myself to be successful. I went to college and graduated with a MIS degree and now work in corporate america. I’ve had a few promotions since starting (5 yrs ago). I wanted more than what I seen and I was self-motivated. Not sure what my IQ is…I think it’s average.

      I say all that to say…I think having the will power and drive to want more is also a factor. If you added that factor thennnnn I would agree with this theory. So I partially agree 🙂


Leave a Comment