Why Do Talented People Fail?

talentHi, Elsa.

Why some people succeed who aren’t as talented as other people? People often think that self confidence equals competence. People think that self confidence equals talent. So many people are left with slim to none possibilities to succeed even if they are really talented. Why does their talent go to waste? Is it because of them or because of their environment or something else?

Curious

Hi, Curious.

There are numerous reasons I can think of why a talented person might fail. The first thing that occurred to me was that it be related to Chiron (and a lack of charisma). That does not mean I think this would be the primary reason. It’s just the first thing that occured to me. It’s hard to succeed when no one likes you!

But I think you could take each of the planets and see them as the cause.

Jupiter – lack of luck or a person may be inflated.
Mars in bad aspect may lack drive or stamina…they may also lack patience!
Saturn may indicate something to do with lack of perseverance or commitment.
A person may also be deluded about how talented they are…Neptune.
You get the idea…

If you think you’re talented and can’t succeed, I would try to get an outside opinion. If you’re not interested in anyone else’s opinion, this would also be a clue…

Does anyone else have ideas why talented people fail? Tell us!

If you have a question about astrology (or life), please ask here.Β Please include your location, if you don’t mind. There is an international audience here and this adds interest for all.

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Why Do Talented People Fail? — 37 Comments

  1. i’ve thought about this a lot because i went to art school and i saw that people who self-promote succeed in art, and others who may have exceptional talent, but don’t self-promote, don’t make it. in the artworld, its definitely all about the story that one tells and the people that one tells it to. but, like you say, there are other factors. i have a strong neptune so i could either be totally deluded about my art or exceptionally gifted. one of those. i also have a strong jupiter so its not that i don’t have an expansive energy that people notice and enjoy. generally speaking, people like me and like to be around me (i’ve been told this–people feel good around me, apparently). but i haven’t liked myself, and i’ve worked against my own success in a lot of ways, not just in art. i attribute this to saturn opposite sun and in the 11th. and also a cancer ascendant which has made me very sensitive and guarded, and a big mess in my 4th–so core issues around nurturing, rejection, etc. with an overall early childhood mess. these are third chakra issues with the will. weak mars in pisces. most planets below the horizon. and also, on a positive note, a dedicated interest in things other than worldly success (sag stellium/pisces influence). i eventually decided that the pursuit of art, for me, was an ego trip that i didn’t want or need, and so i moved on (i guess that’s a very sag thing to do!). eventually, i think/hope, i’ll learn how to make art for my own enjoyment rather than for what it will get me (i.e. success, recognition, etc). the real question, for me, is, by whose standards is success measured? i felt very complete and satisfied when i finally understood that i didn’t really want the goal that i was being trained to strive for.

    • Brilliant reply here Tamarac – I SO get you on this. I had a similar experience over time with a gift area. For me it was just letting it all go and moving on. Aqua Sun 9thH, Saturn Sadge 8thH.

  2. I’ve been around a lot of talented people, so I’ve observed many reasons why they don’t make it. In no particular order:

    (1) not wanting it enough — you may not want it ENOUGH to push through all the emotional and/or psychological blocks that you have and, as tamarac discovered (as did I), sometimes you’re okay with enjoying your own talent; (2) going about getting it in the wrong way, i.e., putting your energies into endeavors or resources that will not get you the results you want; (3) not enough confidence to pursue or show your talent to the world; (4) not having the “it” factor to make it as big as you would like (i.e., no charisma); (5) not being as talented as you think you are; (6) not having assistance from others in your chosen field, although that could be the same as others not thinking you are as talented as YOU think you are; (7) not having enough physical energy to push you through to where (in your head) you would like to be (i.e., you live in your head!); (8) fear — someone once told me that the only way I will ever sing again professionally is if my desire to perform is greater than my fear.

    That’s all I can think of for now. I pursued my talent (singing) up to a point (I was in a band for many years) but I never really enjoyed it enough to keep doing it, plus I had debilitating stage fright.

    My brother is a fantastic artist but I see his ego getting in the way of branching out (to more commercial avenues) from where he would like to be (i.e., considered a serious artist rather than a commercial artist). So, in that case, he has sabotaged his own success.

  3. My thoughts on talented (actually talented, not delusional) people who don’t make it:
    1) They don’t understand that they can do a whole lot of different things with their talent: say, a good writer does not always have to aspire to be an author when they could be journalists or even do research and academic writing.
    2) Lack of self-confidence.
    3) They want to make it on their own instead of working in a team.
    4) They have potential and talent for too many things and can’t or don’t want to focus on only one (jack of all trades, master of none).
    5) Self-undoing.
    6) Fear of failure. Also fear of making it.
    7) Often introverted and can’t self-promote and/or are overshadowed by extroverts.

  4. I think that part of the reason for ‘failure’ is not knowing what your true definitions of ‘success’ are. My Chiron is part of a stellium of planets in my 10th House, that old wound has been a long-term issue with authority. The stellium squares Mars-Saturn-Pluto so over the long haul becoming more honest and committed to be who I am and successful at that is much of the shift to healthy ‘success.’
    I’m a Native Hawaiian artist and the issue of success or failure has a lot to do with using the right ‘frame’ and ‘language’ to define the work…in essence the work and responsibilities of living the values that sustain over time.

  5. Does talent mean natural ability? Because, say this friend who is a natural artist. She can see color I don’t. She can see something and just draw it. It’s something she has always been able to do. It’s not something she tried to become. As a matter of fact, it is not even a focus for her but she tells me sometimes this thing wells up in her and she just has to do it, immediately right where she is with whatever she has.

    I think too, it is not as simple as success, if you are talking about acclaim on the world known stage. There is alot of extraneous stuff that goes with that kind of success, you know the biz end of it. I don’t think everyone is cut out for that game. It is rather divorced from the art, I’d think. Now if you have a talent for marketing, doing deals, and making money, that’s another thing. There will be a place for you at the table if you keep at it.

  6. Oh sports would be another thing. It’s another big money game. And if you got the stuff to win the game, you are in. And then there is hollywood. Alot of that is who you know. Who it benefits. What are you willing to do to get it.

  7. Adding to my earlier comment: you can be talented and have natural abilities in, say, business and not just arts. Still, not every entrepreneur succeeds even if they had a great idea and were well capable of executing it etc. Hard work definitely does not equal success. It’s probably more about luck, which is quite a depressing thought. People who succeed are lucky, people who have good self-confidence are lucky, people who have good connections are lucky etc. Blah. Saturn in Sagittarius right there.

  8. This is depressing. I think I am one of those intelligent and talented. But I scatter too much of my energy, self implode by my own doing, and absolutely hate conformity.

  9. 2nd the self-promotion bit. a lot of current success goes to those who ruthlessly self-promote. those for whom this skill is not easy can be overlooked or bulldozed despite more talent and often better quality work.

  10. Maybe the sustained effort required to turn natural talent into worldly success just isn’t worth it to some people?

  11. I am much preoccupied with the issue of success and failure. (Capricorn here!) So far I’ve only seen pompous people bathing in external validation, obsessed with networking, seeing life as struggle, not as a gift. Who needs that?! Rilke said it best, “true advances of my life could not be brought about by force but occur silently, and that I prepare for them while working quietly and with concentration on the things that on a deep level I recognize to be my tasks”

    • I hope I didn’t sound too harsh πŸ™‚ Success is such a sensitive concept in the US!
      Anyway, I’ve recently ordered a book of essays by Rafael Lopez-Pedraza, the one I’m most eager to read is titled “Consciousness of Failure”. RLP argues failure is essential for soul-making. Can’t wait to find out why πŸ™‚

      • Not at all. And yes, if you listen to the hype, success is the only thing in the US. We are programmed and driven to get that external approval. I go for happy. That’s success for me. And really, finding out who I am without all that external pressure to perform. So I guess that is my success as unimpressive at that seems or so I am told. I’ve been told I have no passion. Ye gads! How assumptive.

        • Random thoughts:
          -are you past your Saturn return? Pre-SR success stories are so flimsy, often owing their existence to daddy’s money and/or powerful sexuality. True success comes with age, if not with death.
          -No passion? The unconscious won’t supply energy to the projects it deems unworthy. I am struggling with my vocation and career, and my Aries Mars square tenth house Gemini Moon just won’t give me energy on anything but establishing myself as a writer. I also have Chiron in the tenth: help your vocation unfold or stay unemployed and sulk in the corner. All or nothing. Lousy job won’t do.
          -You know, I observe fellow Capricorns, who are supposed to be super-successful, and it’s so interesting where the Cappy energy often hides. I know slacker Capricorns, unambitious Capricorns, passionless Capricorns… Whatever happens outwardly (and with THIS economy everything is possible) it is absolutely necessary to do the inner work: master reality, strengthen one’s backbone, educate oneself, be the most mature person in this hipster kindergarten of a world.
          -it’s always important to know what dreams have to say about your social standing. My latest dream was a double feature. First, I dreamt of a broken elevator, then I dreamt of an apartment built as an enfilade (a succession of rooms). So maybe our way is not up, but deeper into the nature of things.

          • Just past my natal second. Saturn is conjuncting my progressed saturn and natal north node now. My north node has progressed into scorpio and is moving to conjunction with natal saturn. Odd. But good. I look at the time between the first and second saturn return as alot of work in the external. Heck we gotta collect some life experience right? It’s the dues to get to where I am. Had to run the programming to find out what works and what doesn’t so I could make choices of my own. I don’t know Capricorns. I have known people who were married to them. I’ve been a shoulder. Their mates considered them blind. Now that needs a disclaimer, cuz I tend to be there for people, so those are the only ones I know of.

            Most likely, something has to drive us in life. It’s the vehicle to get around. And the drive for more and more ‘success’ seems to be status quo in some circles. The more I thought about success and failure, the more I had no clue what it is. Thank you neptune in pisces, you are fun. Thinking can be ridiculous.

  12. Agree with you, Marsilio. Narcissistic people who are skilled social predators, have little else going for them beyond a savage hunger for admiration and power they dont deserve will often become more successful than genuinely talented and nice people who aren’t as naturally ruthless. It sucks. Sometimes karma intervenes and sets things right.

  13. Two words Opportunity – luck.

    I have heard it often enough that we make our own luck. From my experience that is rubbish. Luck is one of once (if you are lucky) in a lifetime moments when many favourable factors come together for you. The trick is staying in the same position for as long as possible, to suck the marrow right out of the situation. For a lot of people there is no opportunity. I can only quote the smiths – “good times for a change, you see the life I’ve had, would make a good man bad, so for once in my life let me get what I want, lord knows it would be the first time, I havnt had a dream for a long time, so please, please, please, let me get what I want, this time.”

    Its fubar to say its self promotion. It shows a lack of understanding of others situations.

    Again for myself. I have a talent but have never been able to use it, due to freemarket economics, or the age I was born in. Not there is any such thing as freemarket economics its just a bamboozling phrase, which roughly equates for import cheap stuff from other countries, dont make anything ourselves, export money overseas for the cheap stuff, and dont make and sell in the same country keeping a constant flow of money circulating in the economy. OPPORTUNITY!!

    Neptune is not about delusion. It is about what is real and longterm. Saturn is about delusion/deception. Chiron is career.

  14. Which is not to say some narcissistic people aren’t extremely talented. They are. But their behavior is so disgusting they can be more trouble than they’re worth.

  15. Interesting topic.

    I see two things.

    1. Too much of a perfectionist. Mistakes will be made and failure is most likely to happen in the climb to the top. A lot of people who have succeeded have failed terribly before they succeeded.

    2. Not a long enough term thinker. It may take decades to climb to the top in some cases.

  16. I have Chiron in the 10th. So many people have had such high hopes for me over the years (even to the point of asking for my autograph in advance) but it only takes a few jerks, especially abusive family members to rip a young person’s dreams to shreds. (Thanks Moon-Saturn square!)

    Anyways, that is my bitter story. I’m doing my best, now, to change it. With new dreams and new fire. ?

  17. I literally can walk into a room and clear it out! I am charismatic to animals and children. Literally. Fortunately I love my single life and have a long term partner who gives me the love and encouragement I need and I allow him to remain happily married to a spouse that refuses to be intimate.

    I have Pisces Chiron conjunct Moon in 9th house, opposing Uranus/Mercury/Pluto and trine Neptune. I have always felt relatively invisible, but if I do attract attention it is mainly very negative, condescending and from females. I work with men exclusively, and enjoy some nice lighthearted friendships with these men who I admire so. I have given up trying to please women only to be ignored or unfairly gossiped about. It hurts, deeply.

    I just bought a my first home. I wanted a secluded home away from neighbors, but the housing market was overwhelmed with buyers and I had to settle for some neighbors. Already, my next door neighbor has told me that the woman across the street does not like me at all and has considered moving. I have no idea why, as I have never approached her and kindly invited her inside my home to see the small changes I made when she had come over to return a key she had to my house from her friend who had sold it to me. Yes I was hurt but we just ignore each other and I continue to politely wave to her husband when he sits on his porch and stares at my home, which is on a beautiful lake that he enjoys watching. I keep my home tidy and I am quiet. I would certainly like to have me for a neighbor!

    • WTH, Sherry. That’s awful. πŸ™
      I’m so sorry. πŸ™

      I don’t really like the neighbor who told you this. I am not even sure I would believe her! Wait till you hear it from the horse’s mouth!

      • Thank you, Elsa but it is in fact true. I realize that the neighbor informing me is an instigator, but we all share a very tiny area and the setting is intimate. I have suffered from a complete lack of charisma all my life. My mother used to be quite puzzled and called me a loner. The rest of the females in my family had better bonding qualities with other women than I ever did.

        I honestly think I may have been one of those women accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake in a past life. I have Neptune trine ascendant, that attracts stalkers and has a kooky, other worldly attraction that I battle. Animals and children absolutely love me, so that is kind of cool.

        I was so hurt by my neighbor’s harsh judgement of me (she is a very direct person and it would be obvious even if not said already). One of my male friends came to visit me, he brought a bunch of leftover box lunches from a business meeting to give me. When I told him I didn’t know what to do with all of it, he jokingly suggested I bring them across the street to her as a peace offering while asking her, “Can’t we all just get along?” Then he laughed and said the silence would probably be deafening. Even he could pick up the subtle cues invisible but obvious to a sixth sense.

  18. I was listening to an interview with Alex karpovsky who was raised similarly to me. A lot of those kids labeled smart or talented when young really don’t get much motivation from that static label. In fact, there is a current push in new child development theory to not tell your children how smart they are. Many of the kids in the talented and gifted class like me excelled in elementary school but petered out in middle and high school behind the kids who tried. Hiding behind their vague special status. I listen to interviews with creative people and it is less about talent than discipline, drive, neurosis, and work which brings out their best qualities. Schools take their talented kid pool which is a collection of some of the most disorganized children and puts them into free form classes, and later free form purposeless liberal arts colleges. They begin with no internal sense of discipline and are not taught study skills and stamina to do the work to hone their craft. Kids who focus so much on being talented but are lazy and fearful or not helped a little along those way become a waste like me. People driven by an artistic vision that I’ve listened to seem to have a similar story of quitting college to seriously pursue their one passion. And working no matter what extreme depression or addiction they go through.

    My best friend who is trying to do the Hollywood thing tells me a different story. When it comes to show business it seems that even the people who she met who are talented, driven, ideal candidates still might not make it. And it takes luck, connections, perseverance, etc. I haven’t even gotten there. I myself think you also have to appear to your generation at the right time. For instance, I don’t think Lena Dunham being rich and privileged is what clinched her getting that show Girls. There are other privileged people making indie movies. Her chart probably interacts with various mundane moments, I.e. her generations Pluto making her particularly controversial. I think america was ready for a controversial female millennial voice. Basically if you’re talented and lazy or unwilling to do the work for reasons the other commenters listed, you’re fucked. Like me. I also think focusing on one thing and sacrificing your personal life and sanity to it is the key to success.

  19. I was listening to an interview with Alex karpovsky who was raised similarly to me. A lot of those kids labeled smart or talented when young really don’t get much motivation from that static label. In fact, there is a current push in new child development theory to not tell your children how smart they are. Many of the kids in the talented and gifted class like me excelled in elementary school but petered out in middle and high school behind the kids who tried. Hiding behind their vague special status. I listen to interviews with creative people and it is less about talent than discipline, drive, neurosis, and work which brings out their best qualities. Schools take their talented kid pool which is a collection of some of the most disorganized children and puts them into free form classes, and later free form purposeless liberal arts colleges. They begin with no internal sense of discipline and are not taught study skills and stamina to do the work to hone their craft. Kids who focus so much on being talented but are lazy and fearful or not helped a little along those way become a waste like me. People driven by an artistic vision that I’ve listened to seem to have a similar story of quitting college to seriously pursue their one passion. And working no matter what extreme depression or addiction they go through.

    My best friend who is trying to do the Hollywood thing tells me a different story. When it comes to show business it seems that even the people who she met who are talented, driven, ideal candidates still might not make it. And it takes luck, connections, perseverance, etc. I haven’t even gotten there. I myself think you also have to appear to your generation at the right time. For instance, I don’t think Lena Dunham being rich and privileged is what clinched her getting that show Girls. There are other privileged people making indie movies. Her chart probably interacts with various mundane moments, I.e. her generations Pluto making her particularly controversial. I think america was ready for a controversial female millennial voice. Basically if you’re talented and lazy or unwilling to do the work for reasons the other commenters listed, you’re fucked. Like me. I also think focusing on one thing and sacrificing your personal life and sanity to it is the key to success.

  20. What left me wondering was Elsa’s first thought about lack of charisma. What is charisma exactly? People often think it’s self-confidence and being outgoing and extroverted and expressive and instantly loved by everyone around them.

    But then I feel the most charismatic people are those who don’t know how good they are and who have crippling stage fright and crippling shyness. People who don’t want their friends or parents to even know they’re trying to be something, because their talent is unknown to them and they would likely put the person down. And when they finally try, they’re amazing. But if you put them down once for not being 100 % perfect, they’ll more often than not never try again. This is yet again one of the reasons why so many talented people never get noticed. Unless they’re substance abusers (Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, whonot).

    • In addition:

      I’m using music business as an example here. There are some extraordinary performers who get away with not being excellent. Then there are amazingly talented people who just find it really hard to try find the connections, or to have courage to even go audition for singing or instrument lessons. The shy ones have to be so many times better than the confident ones just to get the same opportunities. I now believe the whole success thing probably depends on luck and self-confidence. And I was the one asking the question originally.

  21. i believe personally it is up the individual’s psyche,there are some people who just don’t care about success or fame, in the way alot of people want so deeply. It’s more about, having a relaxing, homely, even boring lifestyle but to be able to live within your means and maybe a little more, to enjoy life without the hassle of who tells you what is the best for you. If a person is happy and has talent, and doesn’t really go beyond what’s expected of them by their family or peers, the happiness inside is what is the success. Having to feel not good enough is enough to make an individual be unhappy and depressed. If one feels good enough and content no matter what others say, that’s success for them inside.

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