Success-Seeker vs Failure-Evader. Which side are you on?

Nov 22 22:00 2003 Ronnie Nijmeh Print This Article

... are more ... to avoid failure than they are ... to achieve success. Put another way, most people aren't ... to finish in first place as much as they're ... to not f

Individuals are more motivated to avoid failure than they are motivated to achieve success. Put another way,Guest Posting most people aren't motivated to finish in first place as much as they're motivated to not finish in last place. Are you looking to achieve success or to avoid failure?

There are those who are motivated to succeed ("Success-Seekers") and then there are those who are motivated to avoid failure ("Failure-Evaders") with a few distinct differences between them.

Failure. Success-Seekers embrace failure. They know that each mistake they make will be another step closer to victory. Failure-Evaders sense failure and avoid it at all costs. In turn, they aren't able to learn and grow, but instead they do just enough to simply pass and are pleased by this.

Risk. Taking more calculated risks is common for Success-Seekers. They take more risks, make more mistakes (but learn from them) and can accept embarrassment every once in a while if something doesn't pan out. It can be quite humbling to put pride in your back pocket and take a hit to the ego if you took a risk and failed. Failure-Evaders wouldn't be able to cope with this stress and would prefer not to take the safe bet.

Ambition. Success-Seekers are able to plan into the future and set higher goals for themselves. They might need to see through the clouds to look ahead into the future -- not everyday will be 'sunny and clear' -- but are able to do so to clearly identify their goals and their surroundings. By looking ahead and envisioning the future, they're more likely to see the bumps along the path and plan ahead to bypass them or minimize its' effects. Failure-Evaders are more short-term oriented. They don't plan for the long-term win, but rather, the short-term "pass". They may achieve their goals, but their goals are often more easily attainable and unchallenging.


Are you motivated to create brand new, unique products or services, develop new relationships, take risks and be creative? Are you more likely to not only achieve your goals but surpass them? If so, you're more likely to be a Success-Seeker.

Success-Seekers hold these characteristics:

Willing to take calculated risks
Not satisfied with the status quo
Embrace change
Cool, Calm and Collected
Decision Makers
Problem Solvers


Are you motivated to achieve your goals because you don't want to look bad, or want to prove that you can achieve what your neighbor can too? Are you satisfied if you simply pass? If so, then you're a Failure-Evader.

Failure-Evaders hold these characteristics:

Prefer "the routine"
Not willing to take calculated risks for fear of failure
Satisfied with the status quo
Afraid of change
More comfortable in familiar environments
Worried about what others think of them
Satisfied by not being in last place
Not Ambitious
More Anxious
Short-Term Oriented

The Tortoise and the Hare

Think of that nursery rhyme "The Tortoise and the Hare." The slow tortoise who races the fast, over-confident hare. The hare jumps out to a big lead then decides to take a nap during the race. He falls asleep and the tortoise wins. The End.

Well, imagine you're the tortoise and you're racing the hare. Now imagine the two personality types:


Before the race even begins you're debating your existence. "Why am I trying, there's no way I'll win! I'll just be the laughing stock of all my tortoise friends!" you might ask yourself.

So you might decide to crawl into your shell and avoid the race all together. "Let's just pretend nothing happened. There is no such race!" you might try to falsely convince yourself. I mean, at least you didn't fail, right? Albeit, you didn't even try in the first place.


Before the race begins, you're psyching yourself up. You're excited, maybe a little nervous, but you're ready to show the world that you're ready. In fact, you've probably already done your research on the hare, the competition, the racing conditions and the environment itself. You were preparing for success.

During the race you may realize that things aren't going as planned and you might be a few hundred metres behind. You start thinking: "I'm not giving up just yet, so how can I set myself for success?" You might look to your left and notice a special "tortoise-only" shortcut path or perhaps you notice some really fancy tortoise roller blades, (in fact they're jet fueled roller blades). Or just like the nursery rhyme, you find the complacent hare taking a nap and you end up winning the race. Success-Seekers are able to make plans but adjust them when necessary. They're contingency planners and problem-solvers.

Risks + Challenges + Failures = Success

Are you more likely to crawl into your shell and give up instantly? At least you didn't fail (albeit you didn't try). Or are you more likely to find some other way to race? You might just find your competition complacent and end up winning the race. That's what Success-Seeking is all about.

"You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take."
--Wayne Gretzky

I think Gretzky was up to something. You can't succeed by avoiding failure. You can only succeed by embracing risks, challenges, and failures. At some point, one of your risks will pan out and you'll find yourself in first place! When you make it, you can pride yourself in being a Success-Seeker, and not just a Failure-Evader.

Oh and by the way, there's a happy ending to our nursery rhyme. The Success-Seeking tortoise beat the sleeping hare. The End.

Are you a Success-Seeker or a Failure-Evader? You decide.

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Ronnie Nijmeh
Ronnie Nijmeh

© Copyright 2003, Ronnie Nijmeh, Reprinted with permission of For more information and exciting, fresh motivational articles, visit: Live. Learn. ACQYR.

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