40 Bad Behaviours That Deter Ugandan Youth From Succeeding In Life

Ugandan Youth

Ugandan Youth

Through personal observation and experience, I have noticed certain things that most people tend to overlook. They unknowingly find themselves eaten up by them, call them bad behaviours, which deter them from succeeding in life. Some of these bad behaviours, we get them because our parents didn’t play their parental role responsibly. And we may not be the ones to blame. Others we acquire them in the environment in which we live.

If you want to succeed in life and in what you do, you must be cautious of these bad behaviours. And if you’re a parent, take it from me that the child you love so much now may disappoint you in adulthood if you don’t help them to grow up responsibly.

I have observed and associated with many youths from various parts of the country.  They’re so much ambitious to lead a successful life. Government and social organisations have programs intended to help teenagers. However, very few of them benefit from them. It requires a concerted effort from the concerned youth, parents, teachers, religious leaders, NGOs and government as well. Above all, if you’re a youth and you’re reading this post, check yourself and find out those bad behaviours that could be stopping you from achieving what you wish for yourself in life.

What Are Those Terrible Behaviours That Deter Ugandan Youth from Succeeding in Life?

I have taken note of the following bad behaviours eating up Ugandans. Hopefully, it will be of help to you and others. If you think it’s useful, check yourself and be mindful not to become a victim of these bad behaviours.  If you already have one or two unwanted practices mentioned below, it’s high time you worked towards change to succeed in your life.

#1 – Laziness

Bad Behaviours

Bad Behaviours

Mental laziness and physical laziness are bad behaviours that have eaten up many youths in Uganda. But mental laziness is even worse than physical inertia. Many young people nowadays cannot think of something meaningful to lead a successful life. They wait for others to initiate for them. Some have what to do but never have the physical energy to do it.  The following is what happens to you if you choose to be lazy, both mentally and physically.

  • You cannot live a purposeful life. Because you are lazy, you cannot focus on doing something consistently to achieve it.
  • Results in poverty. If you’re lazy, you will always remain poor because you cannot help yourself at all to look for a better life. You cannot visualise, take action and work persistently to achieve what you want.
  • Laziness leads to gossip. Lazy people are the ones that spend most of their time gossiping. It’s a lazy mindset that chatters about everything all the time, instead of thinking of meaningful things to do.
  • Laziness leads to exploitation. Most lazy people end up getting exploited because someone with a lazy and idle mindset has fewer options. When people see them doing nothing, they take advantage of using them as slaves.
  • Laziness breeds dissatisfaction. You can never satisfy a lazy person. They complain a lot: low pay, working too much, and so forth.

#2 – Sluggishness

Sluggishness is one of the commonest bad behaviours among Ugandan youths. They are slow-moving and inactive in almost everything. You may not have noticed it but look at the way they walk, what does it tell you? They walk sluggishly, and when you give them tasks to perform, they slowly go about them. Secondly, they don’t have any sense of urgency. They think they’re young and have a lot of time to live.

That’s a wrong mindset that only leads to a situation that deters you from achieving success in your life.  When I was still in the teaching profession, I never wanted sluggish students. I regarded them as slow learners who could only bring failures in my subject. Many times, I advised them to drop it because it needed those who were very active and fast-movers.

#3 – Failure to Initiate

Failure to take the initiative is one of the bad behaviours many Ugandans have. They wait for others to think for them. I was a manager in one of the international organisations and had below me over 100 people I was leading. One of the challenges I used to encounter with some co-workers is their inability to initiate.

If you cannot initiate, you cannot drive yourself. Success in life is for people with the ability to start and work towards the achievement on their own. People always regard those who wait to be told by others what to do as a weak brand. Even in business, they cannot succeed because business success requires a lot of your initiative.

#4 – Wasting Time on Nonissues

Wasting Time

Wasting Time

Time is one of the resources we all have to do a lot of things for survival. We all have the same time: 24 hours a day. Surprisingly, while some find themselves having limited time, others don’t see what to do with their time. They spend it on doing things that don’t help them at all.

For instance, it’s not uncommon to find people with smartphones busy on Whatsapp from morning to evening. Sometimes you may think they are doing something beneficial. But the truth is that they’re only having fun chatting with friends, downloading funny videos, reading useless messages.  A few use it for business.

Wasting time on nonissues is deep-rooted in Ugandan society. At workplaces, people spend time gossiping early in the morning instead of working. If you are doubting, move around Kampala, and you will see people standing in the morning chatting about football, politics or something as if they get money out of it at the end of the day. Go to public offices and see what happens.

If you are such a person, learn from me that learning to use your time meaningfully and purposefully is the key to success in your life. If you think you’re still young with a lot of time ahead of you, wait to see yourself becoming old with nothing to be proud of during your lifetime. Is that what you want? Wasted time is money lost. People who don’t value time are weak brands. They end up regretting and don’t achieve much in life.

#5 – Gossiping



Everyone gossips. You and I do gossip. It’s human nature to gossip once in a while. But many Ugandans into the habit of gossiping always. It is one of the bad behaviours that are eating up the youth countrywide. They babble about football, girls, men, relationships, politics and so on. Gossiping has the following dangers.

  • Loss of time. Instead of spending valuable time thinking about developments that will take you forward, you choose to waste it gossiping.
  • Loss of energy. People who gossip a lot also get tired. They lose a lot of mental and physical strength by talking about this and that. They can use the energy they lose to do something meaningful and useful for their personal development.
  • Gossip destroys your inner-self. When you get into the habit of gossiping, it makes you less than a Mr. or Ms Nobody, whereby you remain at that. People who see you feel uneasy and they regard you as a good-for-nothing person.
  • Inability to think about useful things. Because you spend time gossiping, your thoughts get buried into what you chat about. And what you focus your mind on many times becomes yours. Read this post on building a successful business for more information!
  • Gossip isolates you. Of course, you will have some friends; however, people will know you as a person who constantly gossips. Since gossiping reflects on you poorly, people will start resenting you.
  • Loss of trust. Nobody will ever trust you. Even friends may hesitate to tell you something dangerous because they know you. You cannot become successful if you aren’t trusted.
  • Gossiping hurts others. Where there is gossip, there are also false rumours and lies. It hurts others and spoils your relationship with them.

#6 – Dishonesty

There is an increasing number of youth who think of earning a living out of fraudulent means. In my business, I have sometimes done business with some dishonest young people. They pick products and never get back to pay. I pity them because they every day move steps back away from leading a successful life. If you want to succeed in life, be credible.

#7 – Greed for Quick Money

Greed Money

Greed FOR Money

We all need money. Lack of money is one of the three problems human beings face in their life. The other two are relationship and health. But for us to get money, we should earn it through working, not obtaining it fraudulently or through wrong ways.

Many Ugandan youths deceive themselves that they’ll get quick money. There is nothing like getting fast cash. People you see having it in plenty have spent time working on getting it. Those who haven’t worked for it end up falling into the trap of getting free money. They end up in prison. If not, they show off around Kampala spending money stupidly, thinking that it will never get finished. And when it does, that’s their end. I will not mention examples here, but if you’re in Uganda, you already know them.

There is, therefore, no reason why you should admire them and emulate them. If you do, you risk suffering for the rest of your life. The greed for quick money is leading many Ugandans to criminality. For instance, they involve themselves in kidnapping others and asking for a ransom. They get into robbery and break into people’s houses and cars. Some get engaged in trickery like the religious confidence tricksters I wrote about recently.

People persuade youths to do businesses where they lose money. For instance, you’ve heard of networking business ventures whereby companies recruit people and earn from them because they (youths) get to believe that they will get quick money. It’s not there.

My advice is that if you want to become financially secure, get something to do and do it well. Don’t waste your time on ventures that will ruin your life. Success in life is for people who work for it and work smartly.

#8 – Fear to Take Risks

Inability to take risks is one of the bad behaviours holding most Ugandan youth to succeed in life. They don’t know that by avoiding the possibility of failing, they miss out on the options that may make them successful.

For instance, starting a business is what most people fear a lot. They think they will lose their money if the company fails. But how do you know how far you will go if you don’t take the first step? And how will you learn if you don’t get to do something? All successful people have ever made mistakes from which they learnt. That’s why you see them thriving.

#9 – The Girls


Addiction to Girls

Oh! The girls are one of the deadliest bad behaviours among men in Uganda. They spend all their hard-earned resources on girls. You find them feeling proud of having many girls, and you wonder how they will develop with that kind of behaviour.

If you’re such a person, get it from me that spending your hard-earned money on girls is one of the bad habits that will hold you back in your development. Having multiple relationships is a liability to you that drains your pockets. It does not only stop at that, but it also corrupts your mind whereby you don’t think about investing your money meaningfully. In the end, you live to suffer and to regret in life.

#10 – Irresponsible Expenditure

How do you spend your money? Most Ugandan youth I see around Kampala spend their cash on acquiring what we would refer to as liabilities, not assets. These are things you buy and end up taking your money. An asset is something you purchase and use it to make money.

For instance, when you buy a car, you will always spend money to service it, to drive it and to repair it. It doesn’t bring money to you unless it’s a car you use for making business.

Most Ugandans get tempted to spend money buying expensive cars, drinking in bars, falling in relationships with several girls, building houses to live in and the like. Some do it to show off, while others are taken up by the trend.

Let me tell you fellow Ugandans. Think to invest your money first in assets that will bring you a sustainable source of income from which you will become financially stable and live the kind of life you enjoy. If you begin by accumulating liabilities, the chances are that you’ll reach a time when you will regret it. Change your ways!

#11 – Drunkenness



Young men are so much into the habit of drinking. I am not saying that alcohol is bad. What I am saying is that drunkenness is one of the bad behaviours that have deterred Ugandans countrywide to succeed in life. They don’t only drink alcohol, but they also smoke marijuana. Terrible! They only work to get money to drink instead of working towards achievement.

#12 –  Failure to Identify Needs from Wants

Many people fall into the financial trap because they don’t know how to identify needs from wants. And they have grown up like that, which holds them from succeeding in what they do.  Get the distinction now.

Need: something you have to have.

Want: something you would like to have.

For instance, you need food to survive, but you don’t necessarily need Matooke (local name for bananas) to survive. Though Matooke is food, I can choose to buy rice instead of Matooke if Matooke becomes pricey and I still survive.

Let’s take another example. Sex is a human need. While it’s a need, you don’t have to be with many women or men to satisfy that need. Most people in Uganda would like to have several women while the sexual requirement can be fulfilled even with one woman.

Okay, let me put it this way. Naturally, the basic needs in any person’s life include a roof over your head, enough food and water, primary health care and hygiene and clothing you need to remain comfortable.  Anything beyond these – a car, big house, fancy foods, many women – is a want.

Failure to identify needs from wants makes you spend your hard-earned money irresponsibly. What results from this is the failure to live a successful life. It is why we emphasise planning first in anything you intend to do.

#13 – Thinking That Money Is Everything

Most people think that when they get money, it’s the end of all the human problems. That’s a complete lie. First of all, the need for money is insatiable. Today you get a million, tomorrow you need a billion. But even if you get a billion, never think that you will be free from problems. Human problems fall into three categories:

  • Money – Most people focus on this, and this is why they do all sorts of bad things to humanity in the name of getting money. Yes, we need money to survive, and it’s essential. But don’t let money lead you to commit crimes because it’s not the only human problem.
  • Health – I hear some people saying that “Health is wealth”. In other words, it’s a healthy person that can work and enjoy the money they make. If you have a problem related to health, you can never be happy even if you have millions of money. As you work to get money, mind about your health as well.
  • Relationship – By relationship, I refer to the way we relate with others, be they our wives, children, neighbours, relatives, workmates and any other people we interact with in life.

For instance, if you have a poor relationship with your wife, you become unhappy because it can also lead you to death. Or if someone threatens to kill you, it puts you in a worrying situation even if you have a lot of money.

It’s, therefore, essential to balance the three. Work to get money, be healthy and have good relationships. That’s when you will be happy and one of the successful people in life.

#14 – Dependence on Others



Young people look forward to people who have money thinking that they will be happy. Young men get into relationships with sugar mummies, and this is one of the bad habits of killing our nation. Remember that you have to work your way through to success. Depending on others only keeps you as a slave, and you can never count yourself successful.

#15 – Giving Up After a Temporary Failure

Most youth, when they start doing something and reach a time when the going becomes tough, they give up. Giving up is one of the bad behaviours that hold you from becoming successful. If you get a temporary defeat, you don’t pull out because pulling out is in itself failing to achieve your plans.

Secondly, we all learn from our mistakes. Instead of withdrawing, learn from the error or the cause of the risk so that you don’t fall prey to it again. You will succeed.

#16 – Procrastination

Procrastination is a tendency of postponing taking action, and it’s one of the bad behaviours that hinder most people from achieving what they plan to do. But my advice on this is that NOW is the best time to do what you want; any other time leads to inactivity and failure to fulfil your goals.

The present helps you to create your future where you will enjoy and become a successful man. The medicine to this destructive behaviour is to think of acting now, but not later.

#17 – Failure to Plan

In modern times, if you do things without a plan, you’re destined to fail. Like in business, if you start a business without a business plan, you stand big chances of failing. Stop wasting your time doing things without a plan.

#18 – Too Much Copying

Inability to generate viable business ideas and instead resort to replicating precisely other people’s opinions is a disease among Ugandans. It’s also a reason why businesses crop up and fail within a short time. They don’t come up with unique products or services.

Yes, we can all be into the business of engraving, boda-boda transport and others. But how different are your products or services from the products offered by others? What’s that unique element that will attract customers to you? That’s what is lacking and a reason for your failure to succeed in business and life.

#19 – Bossiness

Bossy Youth

Feeling Bossy

There is an increasing number of youths who feel bossy. They have a feeling and behaviour of controlling other people and situations that they find themselves in. These young men pose a lot as they walk pretending to be someone they are not, with their arms spreading all over while bending or ballooning the body like weightlifters.

Let me tell you that such a kind of behaviour doesn’t lead anyone to succeed in life. I have observed and followed closely bossy people and discovered that they are aggressive. The way they believe and talk reflects the way you see them. They think they have to win and others have to lose. In this world, if you feel you have to win and others fail, people tend to stand in your way in what you do. By the time you realise it, it’s already too late. Change your habits!

#20 – Working to Please Others

One of the most prominent bad behaviours many Ugandans possess is working to please others. They don’t know that when they try to make others happy, it sometimes drains their mental health and causes them to lose focus on their goals.

For instance, I cannot opt to attend a wedding meeting when I have customers’ jobs at hand just because I want a friend to be happy. But most people spend significant sums of money to please others on occasions like weddings, birthday parties, etc. What do you think?

#21 – Thinking That God Will Help You Without Helping Yourself

Many people are brainwashed to believe that miracles can happen without their effort. I regard that as negative thinking. While faith is essential to human beings and we all know that there is God, it’s deceptive to believe those good things will come your way through miracles. As you pray, also get something to do, or else you live to suffer throughout your lifetime. God helps those who help themselves.

#22 – Not Abiding by the Law


Failure to Abide by the Law

Many Ugandans, especially the youth, don’t abide by the law. They commit crimes that lead them to danger. Sometimes, it’s because they get into bad groups that influence them to break the law. The law is not for the President. It’s for all of us. Government laws help us to live harmoniously. If you want to succeed in your endeavours, you must comply with the legislation.

Failure to comply with the law is one of the bad behaviours that will lead you into trouble. The consequences are detrimental to your life and a hindrance to your success in life. If you don’t abide by the law, the following will happen to you whether you want or not.

  • Fines. The most straightforward consequence is the possibility of being fined for breaking the law. For instance, driving recklessly or when you are drunk leads to hefty fines.
  • Imprisonment. Criminality has led many youths into prison. Being in prison stops you from achieving your developmental goals.
  • Loss of reputation. A person who commits a crime runs the risk of losing his status and credibility. And as a result, you cannot succeed in what you do because people will less likely build trust in you.
  • Death. Committing a crime leads to death. For instance, those involved in the robbery, kidnapping people, reckless driving and the like many times end up losing their precious life. And when you die, that’s the end of everything.
  • Loss of a job. Some crimes may lead you to loss of a job or inability to get employed.
  • Loss of time and productivity. You lose a lot of valuable time and productivity when you are at the police, in court or in prison.

#23 – Complacency

Satisfied Person

Feeling Satisfied

Complacency is that feeling of satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements. It’s so common among Ugandans and one of the bad habits. If your father has a lot of money, for example, that money is not yours. You shouldn’t become complacent because one day he’ll die and live you to live your own life. Will you manage?

#24 – Expecting Immediate Results

Many youths expect immediate results when they start something, like starting a business. For instance, a young girl gets into a relationship with a man, but in a short time, she wants a car, a house and many other things from him. That’s expecting too much in a short time.

One starts a business and expects to get quick returns. If things don’t work out as expected in the short run, they jump from one business idea to another. Instant gratification is making many youths in Uganda perpetually impatient. It’s one of the bad behaviours that deter most of them from succeeding in their endeavours.

#25 – Focusing on the Results

We all have what we want to achieve when we start doing something. For instance, we want to make more money, become leaders, or have stronger relationships. These are all positive things because they motivate us to take action toward our goals.

However, if you become obsessed with the results you want, you forget the process that will get you there. That’s where the problem is with most youth. When you become too focused on the results you want to achieve, you can easily program yourself into a negative mindset.

For example, if your goal in your business is to make a turnover of 300 million a year and you become taken up by that goal, you subconsciously tell yourself that “I will not be happy until I make 300 million“. What happens is that you focus on the 300 million that you don’t have instead of what is under your control, which is the process you go through to get the 300 million.

When you focus so much on the results instead of the process that gets them, you program yourself into a negative mindset. It leads to disappointment in many cases and doing things in the wrong way.

#26 – Poor Communication

Poor Communication

Begging Syndrome

Many youths communicate the way they want.  When they are in business, they don’t know how to talk on the phone, attend to customers, negotiate and many others.

In most cases, the way you communicate reflects in the way you behave. For example, assertive communicators believe in not talking to annoy others. They know that when they annoy others, it stands out in their way to achieving what they want.

#27 – Thinking That Money Is in Politics Only

Many youths nowadays are made to believe that money is in politics. While politicians get cash, it’s not the only source of making money. There’re various things you can do on earth to make money. Besides, the wealthiest people in the world are not politicians.

I know former MPs who are now languishing in poverty. Why? They got deceived by the big money which they used to earn every month. They used it up in acquiring mere liabilities like women and cars without building their asset column. They were caught up with time and can no longer get the same chance again.

#28 – Inability to Acquire New Knowledge and Skills

Many youths, after school, think that it’s over with acquiring knowledge. They don’t know that the things they learn out of school are the ones to make them successful. Through self-education, you can achieve a lot in life. You have to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills to improve your livelihood and to make money.

#29 – Failure to Understand Globalisation and Technology



Many youths don’t understand globalisation and new technology. It hinders them from progressing because they remain cubicle slaves. The world became a global village with the coming of the internet. Recently, I received an order of making 500 wedding cards from a client in Zimbabwe. I wouldn’t if I had not embraced new technology.

#30 – Being Disorganised

Success in life is for organised people. Failure to acquire excellent organisational skills is one of the bad habits affecting many youths. You have to be organised with your property, at your workplace, with your time and your finances. Remember that excellent organisational skills will help you to save time and money, to reduce work-related stress, to be effective, to look respectable, to minimise your costs and to maximise your profits

#31 – Lack of Exposure

Lack Exposure

Lack of Exposure

Most youths lack exposure to different situations to open up their mind. I have a friend who is always proud of being city-born, just because their home is only 5 kilometres away from the city centre. That friend of mine, unfortunately, and bad for him, has never gone outside the Buganda region. The furthest he has ever reached is, maybe, Masaka. Though educated, there isn’t much he has achieved in life. He lives on his father’s small plot where he too put up a two-roomed kind of house.

When you get exposed, you go through new experiences that may impact your life positively. If you are passionate about starting an engraving business, for instance, seek exposure to how successful enterprises in the engraving industry go about it.

#32 – Giving Excuses

Many people give reasons for other people, not helping them as a hindrance to their success. For instance, they fail to start a business because their rich brother refused to give them money. The excuse of not having capital is in everyone’s mouth. They blame the government, the parents, the relatives and many others. One of the bad behaviours that hinder people from succeeding is accusing others of their inabilities.

Wake up, please! You are not born to be mediocre. You have the brain and the body to do so many things in life. The people you find your excuses with took the initiative to find their way to success.

#33 – Harvesting Where They Haven’t Sown


Harvesting Where You Didn’t Sow

There is an increasing number of youths who want money without working to earn it. What happens is that they get into criminal activities that end up ruining their life. Learn the law of harvest! Harvest where you have sown! Be honest!

#34 – Expecting Too Much

Expecting too much is one of the bad behaviours that lead most youth to disappointment. You expect so many things to happen in a certain way and whenever that doesn’t work out, you get so upset that you lose the motivation to take action.

It is what happens to most youths. They want to be wealthy without taking any action towards it. As a result, they find themselves in a fix whereby they can never resurrect from such adverse situations.

#35 – Distractions

Distractions eat up tons of time for the youth more than they think. In modern times, there are many distractions like social media, Whatsapp, phone calls, TV, watching football and many others. These distractions stop you from dedicating your time to focus on essential tasks that lead to success in your life.

#36 – Waiting for Someone Else to Make You Successful

Though you may have heard overnight success stories, such stories are very few. Success takes work, struggle, time, determination, and taking action. One of the bad habits young men have is to think that someone else like their parents or relatives will make them successful. That’s a wrong mindset. Your input determines 90% of your success. Though others may provide you with advice, funding, connect you to others, still it will be you to spearhead your success.

#37 – Lack of Confidence

Lack Confidence

Lack of Confidence

Most youth lack self-confidence because they don’t know themselves well. Many times, I used to ask people, in the course of conducting job interviews, to tell us at least five values they had. Most of them could not come up with at least one. It means that they didn’t know themselves. If you don’t know yourself, it’s tough to be aware of your weaknesses and strengths. It is one of the bad behaviours holding many youths from working towards success.

#38 – Associating With Wrong People

Among the things that hinder young people from succeeding in life is surrounding themselves with bad people. They don’t surround themselves with people who can motivate them to achieve. It’s important to know that you need to surround yourself with people who will provide some guidance along the path to success. Check the people you relate with, the woman you want to marry, the people you look to as your role models and much more. How are they going to support you to succeed? Remember that support from others helps you to succeed in your endeavours.

#39 – Failure to Believe in Yourself

If you don’t have self-belief in yourself, expect nobody else to believe in you. Most youths don’t believe in themselves. It is one of the bad behaviours that hold them back in business and their life. To believe in yourself, you must have trust yourself. When making decisions, you don’t rely on everyone around you to tell you what to do or to reassure you that you have made the right choice. Instead, try to listen to your “intuition”, and you will be surprised to make effective decisions that will lead to your success in life.

#40 – Begging – One of the Commonest Bad Behaviours



It’s so common to find a person you know, and all that they do is ask for money or support from you. Begging is one of the bad behaviours that many Ugandans engage in unknowingly. You cannot survive on begging. If you think you can, this is what will happen to you.

  • Loss of respect. When you get into the habit of begging, you lose dignity. Though many people don’t mind helping others, people who always ask for things become a burden to them. The result is that they look at you as a useless person.
  • You get isolated. When you beg everyone you know, you reach a time when you cannot go back to those people because whenever they see you, they immediately know the next thing. They, therefore, distance themselves from you.
  • You get exploited. Beggars usually are lazy people who never take the necessary effort to search for what to do. Instead, they resort to asking for support from others. As a result, people take advantage to use them and pay them for chicken feed.

If you have people around you, never resort to begging from them. Show that you help yourself to earn a living and along the way, they can be of help to you in the achievement of your goals.


You can live and work your way to success if you become aware of the 40 bad behaviours listed above to help you to change your habits. As a reader, participate in helping the youth around you to succeed in life by sharing these thoughts with them. You will be doing an excellent job in building our country

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