Why are some people losers

Why do some people do all the right things with school, volunteering, etc yet can’t ever get ahead and are kept in certain positions?

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Because life’s not fair. A message I drilled into my kids for years.

This may be the only blanket answer that’s true across the board. There are many other answers to the OP’s question that apply to some individuals but not others.

For example, for some people a big part of the answer may be of the form “You’re really hard to get along with, because of __________.” For others, that’s not it at all.

So just drawing the short straw in life. Great.

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

  • Tolstoy

People with problems are like unhappy families. Each is different. And since unhappy childhoods leads to a lot of problems later, well there goes trying to sort such people into a small number of groups.

One thing I see often of are people who blame others for their mistakes. They blow money on a get rich scheme and blame their family for not supporting their dreams and a million such stupidities.

But that’s just one type in an ocean of issues people can have.

Some people may look like losers to others, but to themselves, they may be exactly where they want to be. We don’t all have the same dreams and aspirations.

I’m looking at an internal viewpoint.

It is completely impossible to be “a loser”.

What you can be is a loser at something.

If I am a loser at cards (which by the way I am), then surprise surprise I have to either get better at cards or go do something else.

It really is that simple, even if you don’t believe it. If you’re seriously no good at X, then do something else. And if everything has gone to shit and nothing is working, then you have nothing to lose, so start something new and different and see what happens.


My first statement can be wrong in only one situation: If you DECIDE you’re a loser, you can easily make it come true. It’s work, but it can be done.

In general, happiness attracts and morosity repels. So once things start to go rotten, it’s easy to get depressed and then it just stays that way. For those who have a lot to be sad about in childhood, it just may always be that way.

For some people, it is self inflicted. Those I understand. It is when, as the OP states, on the surface they do all the right things. No drugs, 90th percentile in all tests, do the community volunteer stuff, get the degree. San son #2 did that yet he hasn’t had a job last more than 3 months since graduating with some type of IT degree. Last several have “eliminated the position” through mergers or other cost reductions or the business just closed. He can’t seem to get with anyone that wants him long term. With multiple job changes on his resume, each position takes a bit longer to get. Part of it I understand is him not leaving the area -gf and cheap CoL. Still there is nothing to say he would do better elsewhere and he wouldn’t have the safety net to help him out.

Maybe. That doesn’t mean you can’t turn things around. You asked a general question and got a general answer. If you’re talking about yourself though, you can ask specific questions and get specific answers.

If you are young it could be as simple as just being patient and waiting for your opportunity.

Unfortunately I’m mid 40’s so youth is not on my side.

I don’t know how old you are. But I know it’s way too easy to conclude that your life is a certain way when you’ve only been around for a relatively short period of time.

One thing I wish people had taught me growing up is that there are intangibles that go into success. Touchy-feely stuff that you can’t quantify but still count towards “merit”. The kids who didn’t want me on their kick-ball team weren’t being big meanos. Because what did I have to offer them? I was a giant klutz. I would get performance anxiety and run in the wrong direction and duck from all the balls. I wasn’t entertaining enough to be a mascot and I wasn’t cute enough to evoke team spirit. If I had been able to improve myself in any of these areas, maybe I wouldn’t have always been left out. But I was fixated on the one thing I couldn’t actually change very much–my clumsiness–because I was under the impression that clumsiness was the only thing holding me back.

That said, it is also true that some people have the intangible and tangible qualifications and just have a string of bad luck. Sometimes missing one opportunity makes it even more likely that you will miss others, thus making it more likely you will always be “behind”. Why do kids from subpar public schools wind up working at McDonald’s rather than at Google? It’s not because they didn’t work hard enough. It’s because they didn’t have the opportunities that would set them up with a job at Google. Life is unfair like this.

But life is also funny. Sometimes opportunities arise out of mishaps and disasters. Several years ago I felt a bit loserish because I didn’t have the passion that other people seem to have for their jobs and I felt invisible in my workplace hierarchy. But my boss then bailed out unexpectedly right in the midst of a project. No one asked me to take things over, but I did since the project was halfway interesting to me and no one else was doing it. And now I don’t feel quite so “loserish” anymore. That one decision propelled me into two promotions and a greater sense of accomplishment.

I think the difference between winners and losers is that winners are at least open-minded to the possibility that an opportunity is available to them, and they don’t let rejections bring them down. Losers are so cynical or low self-esteemy that they don’t even bother to look anymore. In other words, losers have a specific mindset, not a lifestyle.

Can you elaborate more on why you feel like a loser? Are you comparing yourself to the people around you? Or to everyone in society?

That is the kind of break that has eluded me. My first company out of college had massive lay offs after I had been there 7 years. Another company was paying for grad school yet wouldn’t let me interview for a new position. I have always been 2 or three steps behind in terms of “average” position for someone my age and other factors.

I’ve had some pretty serious missteps in my life, so many I could write a book about it. But somewhere in the last 8 years I discovered that I’m perfectly happy with my life. Is it stress-free? No. Do things still go wrong? Absolutely. By most standards I am severely underemployed, and most people would look at the fact that I have a college degree, am a veteran, and could easily do anything else, and call me a loser.

But you know what? I can pay the bills, I can take care of my family, and I love my job. I am well-respected by people and I do quality work. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

The point is that internally you have to come to terms with what you are and what you thought you should have been. I mean, I’d love to be a jet-setting CEO sleeping with supermodels and driving fast cars out of my enormous mansion, but it wasn’t in the cards. If you can’t be happy with what you have and you always want more you’ll never be happy, you’ll be a loser in your own mind forever. And that, my friend, is the only aspect of your life you have any control over.

When your employer wouldn’t let you take another position, did you stay there? Or did you hightail it to another job as soon as you could?

I left that company as soon as I could. I’m not looking to be a CEO, but I would like to be able to retire before 75 and with the underemployment I don’t see that happening.

I’m sorry things aren’t working out for you. I don’t know if I agree with Airman Doors that only you can control your happiness. We don’t know how the rest of your life is treating you. If it’s shitty across the board, then I think it is totally understandable that you’d feel major sadness. Sometimes you can zen your way out of misery and sometimes it’s impossible.

People will tell you that the worst thing you can do is compare yourself. I haven’t been able to figure out how to not do this, personally. We’re social creatures. We are programmed to take our cues from other people, to some degree. But what I have found helpful is not to just compare myself against people who are doing “better” than me, because that’s a guaranteed way to make me feel bad about myself. I try to offset every comparison that makes me feel like a loser with one that makes me feel like a winner. You may not be doing as well as the “average” person of your age, gender, nationality, and race. But are you doing better than the average person? Are you doing better than someone you see every day?

Just know that you will not be the only person working well past retirement. A lot of people who do all the right things are in this position…and a lot of those people are enjoying the fruits of their success right now, but don’t know what’s in store for them.