7 Reasons Why Less Qualified People Are More Successful Than You

promotedYou’re smart, right?

I mean, you might not be a genius, but neither is that guy that just got your promotion. It’s not the first time this has happened either. It seems like you’re always getting passed over for the gigs that come complete with more responsibility and a bigger pay check. Some less qualified Smoh swoops in and steels your thunder.

What gives?

You’ve got brains, dashing good looks, and plenty of credentials. From the outside looking in, you are a business rock star. You have potential; you’re just waiting for the talent agent – your boss – to notice. You’re ready for the big time; you just have to wait it out.

Oh no, there it is – the first red flag.

You’re waiting for someone to notice you, your talents and your abilities? Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. While you’re waiting for permission to implement of your brilliant ideas, those second rate less qualified nobodies you despise aren’t sitting on their hands; they’re taking action. They’re not waiting to get noticed, they’re going to make waves and get noticed.

We might be onto something here. What else is driving a wedge between you and your success?

Are you…

Afraid – acting on all of your great ideas is scary, and executing is crazy difficult. You are afraid. You are afraid of looking silly, you’re afraid of making a mistake, you’re afraid of failing. That’s okay; fear and failure are part of the process. You can’t fight’em, so you might as well embrace them.

Entitled – nobody owes you anything. You’re never going to get a handout. There’s no such thing as overnight success. There are only two ways of getting ahead; doing the work and not doing the work. If you prefer, you can chose the latter and tell yourself how great you are while you continue to underachieve. Or, you can get to work – right now!

Wasting Time – you’re convinced that there’s not enough time in the day to make an impact on all of the work you have to do. Sure, we could all use more time, but you’re wasting the time you do have. You’re doing meaningless tasks and taking too many breaks. You look busy, but that’s because you’re doing busy work, not meaningful work. Spend your time doing more things that matter and fewer things that don’t.

Negative – you’re the first person to say that an idea will fail or that it can’t be done. You point out other people’s flaws and mistakes. You think there’s some black cloud following you around because you can’t ever catch a break. Here’s the thing; you are the black cloud. Instead of always pointing out flaws, try offering a solution. Don’t break people down, build them up. Know this, like attracts like. If you have a bad attitude and continue to think negatively, you’re going to find yourself surrounded by negative people with negative thoughts. Good luck with that.

Making Excuses – it’s not your fault you’re not successful. Right, it’s never your fault. Get that weak stuff out of here! Start taking responsibility for your actions and your life, your success and your failure. Excuses are empty and cowardly. You know what matters, results. Stop talking and start doing. All that time you spend making up excuses could be better spent on of the work you don’t have time for.

Lazy – this one is plain and simple, you’re not willing to put in the work. If you’re not as successful as you would like to be, or at least as successful as the next guy, you are not working hard enough.

I know, you’re waiting, you’re scared, you deserve more, you don’t have enough time, it’s too hard, and it’s not possible. Are you kidding me? Drop the sob story already. We just finished squashing all of this nonsense.

Here’s the truth; you’re lazy. The vast majority of people who are successful worked their tails off to get there. If you’re not, you haven’t worked hard enough, long enough. If don’t want to work, you’re lazy. Which is fine, you just have to admit it and stop wondering why less qualified people are more successful that you. You already know, they worked harder.

What’s keeping you from living up to your potential? Why aren’t you as successful as you could be?


  1. The more I think about this topic, the more I agree with your conclusion. Even the genius crowd have to work hard to stay ahead of other geniuses.

    Sometimes the edge that smart people have other average people is not in their ability to predict the next Apple, but they just know how to allocate their effort and time in the most important tasks, whereas average people get side-tracked.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Daniel. It’s true, hard work really does pay off. People can sqaunder genius and average acheivers can do big things. The work, not circumstances or luck matter most.

  2. So if you’re not where you want to be financially, you’re: afraid, entitled, wasting time, negative, making excuses, or lazy? This definition of success is narrow-minded, simplistic, and insulting. Some people simply do not have the traits that the current corporatocracy desires. Many opportunities can come at the price of your ethics; in this age of exploitation and ecocide, not everyone prioritizes financial gain. Also, what about plain old circumstance? If you were never given access to education or exposed to the etiquette of business culture, you might find yourself passed over for opportunities. Finally, this article is written as if it’s common for people to sit around, arrogantly wondering why they are so great, but not getting the opportunities they deserve; projection methinks.

    • Hi Kay. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’ll take your points in order…
      1. this has nothing to do with financial security
      2. each person should define success for themselves. For some, it has nothing to do with money, nor should it.
      3. You can work hard and rise through the ranks without compromising your beliefs
      4. again, not an article about getting rich
      5. In my opinion, for the majority of people, lack of education, business culture, etc are excuses. If someone isn’t where they want to be, they can always work harder. No education? Go to community college. Can’t afford it? take an online, open learning class. No computer? Go to a public library. You might not be the CEO of a company, but you can still get ahead.
      6. again, from my own experience, most people do sit around waiting for things to come to them. They ask quesitons llike, “why not me?” instead of going out and making sure it is them.

      Excuses are useless, results speak for themselves. If someone gets passed over, even if it was unfair, even if it was rigged, you know what you can do about it? Work harder so it doesn’t happen again. That’s what I was writing about – hustle, relentless hard work. No matter what.

  3. I agree with all your points but one that I would add is consistency. People are looking for quick results, Many individuals overlook being consistent.

  4. Good article Joe. I’ve spent years helping people get out of the “life is unfair’ mentality. Yes, life isn’t fair – what makes people think it was supposed to be? Quit complaining and DO something! I teach people how to start small service business to increase income, pay off debt and enhance their retirement. Works every time.

    • That’s right, Rod. It might not be easy to understand, and it’s certainly not the sexy answer, but a common sense mentality works for me.

  5. That’s why in the trades industry and medical industry the less qualified people stay put, not because they don’t work hard its because they lack the knowledge from putting peoples live at risk. But go ahead promote an orderly to do brain surgery just to save a buck moron.

  6. Hello Joe,

    You nailed it with every single paragraph. A lot of people are trapped by these problems. In the area of waiting to be organically noticed and called up, I think I’m guilty in that area as well. Though I’ve been committing quite a number time reaching, but I’ve seen that I’m not doing enough. I will double up.

    Thank you so much for sharing this piece.


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