9 subtle signs that someone is failing at life (even if they look successful)

Looks can be deceiving. Especially when it comes to success.

While someone may seem to have it all together on the outside, they could be struggling behind closed doors. It’s not always about the flashy car or the fancy job title.

Sometimes, the subtle signs are the most telling indicators that someone is failing at life, even if they appear successful on the surface.

In this article, I’ll share with you nine of these subtle signs. Because recognizing them could just help you or someone you care about to turn things around.

After all, true success isn’t always about what’s visible to the eye.

1) They’re constantly stressed

Stress is a part of life. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or worried from time to time.

But when stress becomes a constant companion, it can be a sign that things aren’t going as well as they seem on the surface.

If someone’s always on edge, constantly worried about the next thing that could go wrong, it’s a subtle sign that they’re failing at life. Regardless of how successful they may look on the outside.

It’s like they’re on a never-ending treadmill, always running but never actually getting anywhere.

And this constant state of stress can take a serious toll on their health and overall quality of life.

So, if you notice someone who’s perpetually stressed out, it might be worth checking in on them.

They might need some support or guidance to find a healthier way to deal with their stress.

2) Their relationships are suffering

I’ve seen this one firsthand.

A good friend of mine seemed to have it all – a high-flying job, a beautiful home, and a lifestyle that many would envy. But if you took a closer look, you’d see that his relationships were in shambles.

He was always too busy for his family, his friendships were superficial at best, and his romantic relationships were short-lived. It was as if he was so focused on his own success that he forgot the importance of maintaining meaningful connections with the people around him.

Despite all his achievements, he often expressed feelings of loneliness and isolation. It became clear to me that, in reality, he was failing at life, even though on the surface it looked like he had everything.

This taught me that no amount of success can make up for a lack of meaningful relationships in your life.

3) They’re always chasing more

We’ve all heard that once people start earning more than $75,000 a year, their happiness levels plateau.

Yet, some people are constantly striving for more money, more possessions, more power. It’s as if they’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of want.

This incessant need for more, regardless of how much they already have, is a subtle sign that someone is failing at life.

Because true success isn’t about constantly wanting more. It’s about finding contentment and fulfillment with what you already have.

If someone is always chasing after the next big thing, never satisfied with what they already have, it could be an indication that things aren’t going as well for them as it may seem.

4) They never have time for themselves

We live in a busy world, and many of us are guilty of packing our schedules to the brim. But if someone never has time for themselves, it could be a sign that they’re failing at life.

Having no time for self-care, hobbies, relaxation, or simply to be alone with one’s thoughts is not a sign of success. Instead, it indicates a life out of balance.

If someone is always on the go, never taking a moment to slow down and recharge, it might seem like they’re successful because they’re always doing something. But in reality, it could mean that they’re neglecting their own well-being in the pursuit of success.

Everyone needs a break sometimes. If someone you know never takes one, it might be worth suggesting they do – for their own good.

5) They’re neglecting their health

Health is wealth, as the saying goes. And it’s true. Without good health, all the success in the world doesn’t mean much.

If someone is constantly skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, or ignoring medical issues, it’s a clear sign that they’re failing at life. Even if they’re driving a fancy car or living in a luxurious home.

Neglecting one’s health for the sake of success is a dangerous game to play. It’s not sustainable and can lead to serious health problems down the line.

If you notice someone consistently putting their work or other obligations before their health, it could be a sign that their life isn’t as successful as it might appear.

6) They’ve lost their passion

Passion is what drives us. It’s the spark that lights up our lives and gives us a sense of purpose. Without it, life can feel dull and meaningless.

I’ve seen people who, despite their outward success, have lost their passion. They go through the motions, but their hearts aren’t in it. They’ve traded their dreams for a paycheck or a title, and it’s heartbreaking to see.

You can have all the money in the world, but without passion, life feels empty. It’s a subtle sign that someone is failing at life, even if they appear successful on the outside.

They might need a reminder of what truly makes them happy.

7) They’re always comparing themselves to others

I used to fall into this trap myself. I would look at my friends or colleagues and wonder why I wasn’t as successful as they were. I’d see their accomplishments and feel like I was falling behind.

Over time, I realized that this constant comparison was doing more harm than good. It made me feel inadequate and took away my joy.

The truth is, success isn’t a race. It’s not about who gets there first or who has the most. It’s about finding your own path and being happy with where you are in your journey.

If someone is always comparing themselves to others, it could be a sign that they’re failing at life, even if they seem successful.

Because real success is about being content with who you are, not wishing you were someone else.

8) They’re not learning or growing

Life is a journey of constant learning and growth. If someone is not making an effort to learn new things or grow as a person, it could be a sign that they’re failing at life.

Stagnation can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. It’s like being stuck in the same place while the world moves on around you.

On the surface, they might seem successful. They might have a stable job, a nice house, a comfortable lifestyle. But if they’re not challenging themselves or seeking out new experiences, they’re missing out on one of the most rewarding aspects of life.

If you notice someone who seems stuck in their ways, it might be a sign that their life isn’t as successful as it appears.

9) They’re not happy

At the end of the day, the most telling sign that someone is failing at life, even if they look successful, is their happiness.

Happiness is the ultimate measure of success. You can have all the money in the world, the most impressive job title, the fanciest car, but if you’re not happy, none of it matters.

If someone is constantly unhappy or dissatisfied despite their apparent success, it’s a clear sign that something is missing in their life. They might be failing at life without even realizing it.

True success is about more than just material possessions or achievements. It’s about finding happiness and fulfillment in what you do and who you are.

Final thought: It’s about fulfillment

The complexities of human perception and success can often be traced back to our intrinsic need for fulfillment.

At its core, fulfillment is about finding a contented state where our needs, desires, and dreams align. It isn’t as much about what we possess materially or how high we’ve climbed the corporate ladder, as it is about our happiness and satisfaction.

Consider the words of the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow who once said: “What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.”

These signs we’ve explored of someone failing at life, even if they seem successful, all point to one thing – a lack of fulfillment. They might have outward markers of success, but if they’re not fulfilled, if they’re not content with their lives, then that success loses its meaning.

As you reflect on these signs, remember that true success is not just about achieving goals or acquiring wealth. It’s about achieving a state of fulfillment where you are truly happy and content with your life as it is right now.

In the end, true success is deeply personal and unique to each individual. It’s your journey to define and embrace.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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