In this post we are going to look at advanced level vocabulary for the subject of success and failure.

 

Achieve something = get something done

The best way to achieve your goals is to work hard and have faith in your own ability.

 

Advance = progress

If you want to advance, you need to have a plan.

 

Be doomed to failure = be sure to fail

The project was doomed to failure from the very beginning.

 

Be no mean feat = not be easy

To get my thesis finished on time has been no mean feat.

 

Blow a chance = miss an opportunity

I am afraid that you have blown your chance already.

 

Come off = be successful

If this project is going to come off, we need to put in a lot of effort.

 

Cope with = handle something

Even though you try hard, it can be hard to cope with extreme pressure.

 

Fail at something = not be successful

Everyone has failed at something in their life. The important thing is how to deal with that failure.

 

Fulfill potential = achieve 

My son can do anything he likes if he fulfills his potential.

 

Have trouble/difficulty/problems (gerund) = find something hard

I have a lot of trouble focusing my attention.

 

Hinder progress = impede progress

There are many obstacles that can hinder your progress.

 

Lead to success = become successful

Making good contacts can often lead to success.

 

Make headway = make progress

I am making headway at work.

 

Manage (infinitive) = get something done

If only I could manage to finish all my projects on time.

 

Reach a goal = achieve something

I always reach my goals without exception.

 

Struggle (infinitive) = find something hard

I am struggling to find my calling; I just can´t decide what i want to do for a living.

 

Suffer a setback = to encounter a problem

My brother has suffered a huge setback at work.

 

Succeed in (gerund) = get something done

I succeeded in passing the state exam.

 

Take a chance/opportunity = seize an opportunity

If you want a promotion, you need to take this chance with both hands.

 

Take advantage of = make the most of

I am taking advantage of my spare time to improve my skills.

 

Thrive = be successful

The guy on work experience is thriving in his new role.

 

Try = make an effort

The key is to try your best and put in 100% effort.

 

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An great way to talk about success and failure is to focus on the personality traits that are related to the topic

 

POSITIVE NEGATIVE
USEFUL/SKILLED USELESS
HARDWORKING/TENACIOUS LAZY
SOCIABLE/OUTGOING SHY
CREATIVE/INSPIRED UNINSPIRED
EXTROVERT INTROVERY
ORGANISED UNORGANISED
TRAINED UNTRAINED
OPTIMISTIC PESSIMISTIC
GENEROUS/KIND STINGY/TIGHT
PRODUCTIVE UNPRODUCTIVE

 

Practice questions:

 

  1. How would you describe a highly successful person?
  2. Do you think you will become successful?
  3. What kind of personality do you need to become successful?
  4. Do you need to be intelligent to achieve success?
  5. Is it important to make contacts and network to become successful?
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