One of the major pitfalls in cultivation is the inability to start walking on the path. There are many reasons why it happens. Some people are not ready for the path. Some do not have enough energy to start moving toward self-development. Some do not believe it is even possible.
The most common trend is waiting for the right moment to start. Many people stay inside their inner shells, waiting for some benevolent Magus - Dumb-ldor to knock on the door of their apartment, show them miracles and prove to their limited mindset that things are possible beyond their belief system and invite them to a magick school such as Hogwarts, and more so do it completely free of charge because they are special.
In reality, nobody is special, and everything has to be earned. Leechers and freeloaders are the most useless beings and never get anywhere in cultivation. Cultivation, in general, is not about taking; it is about doing work. Parasites can never develop past the very initial stage - it is a factual reality.
The second common trend is not believing in cultivation at all. A person may like and enjoy the idea of cultivation, and he can spend his whole life reading about cultivation in novels, and manga, playing games, watch movies and TV series. It is common to come across the topic and terms such as visualization of energies, chakras, astral travel, and lucid dreaming; even the Hollywood Inception movie is made around it.
Cultivation is like an open secret; it is practiced by many and widespread in society, but for people outside of the practice itself, it is a parallel reality. They don't believe it is possible. They don't even ask where all those ideas about Energies, souls, chakras, and otherworldly beings came from. There is no smoke without fire; signs in folklore tell us that there were practitioners spread across the planet many thousands of years ago, even before skills like writing and reading became widespread.
If, by chance, you are reading this and think that it is all a myth, you are only a short step behind from experiencing all of the above in your life - it does not take long (for most, they can start sensing electromagnetic energy between hands in the very first semester) when you begin training. And that is only the starting point - the most trivial and common experience; there is so much more to explore and unveil: energy bodies, astral travel, mental worlds, arcanas, and Magic tradition. Whatever is holding you back from starting this path is the first pitfall in cultivation.
Another case is people who choose to follow the flow. They are closed to experimentation, unwilling to make a step personally somewhere outside of their crowd. They ask a question. "If nobody around me cultivates, why would I do that?"
Some people in our school came to study because they met me and practically observed the difference in our capabilities and skills. The usual reaction is, oh, that person is a genius; he has a rare talent. I cannot become like that. But in reality, genuine cultivation can develop and nurture any skill or quality. We are not seeking geniuses or incredible talents. Talent can be created and developed through hard work. If you put a genius in a room where everyone is a genius, he would instantly become ordinary. In fact, what is more important, is a proper mindset and dedication that allows one to learn and grow.
Even then, those skills and abilities people can notice in the physical world are only at the tip of an iceberg compared to real attainments in higher realms. It further adds to the difficulty of understanding the benefits of cultivation that you cannot go inside someone's life and see his personal experience. Most people would never be able to tell an ordinary person from an immortal magus who lived hundreds of years cultivating through multiple incarnations. You can see external things and physical vessels - bodies, cars, homes, riches, physical attainments, even good body shape, can motivate people to do some work. But you don't see the internal world and how greatly internal conditions vary. Usually, people think that others see the world the same way. In reality, it is nothing like that. Even if we take a physical object like a pen and let different people see it, they will see it differently.