Attitudes That Promote Success

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There are many factors that go into achieving success, including hard work, good luck, innate talent, intelligence, help from others, fruitful choices, and more. In this piece, however, I want to write about attitudes.  

Attitudes are important to success because they heavily influence your perceptions, your efforts, your choices, and – yes – even some of the ways people react to and treat you. From a Zen perspective, one might argue that your attitudes actively influence, perhaps even control, some or all of the events that occur in your work and your life.  

Whether or not that’s true, it’s undeniable that your attitudes – for example, whether you see the proverbial glass as half-full or half-empty – exert a major influence on how you react to events, and to the people and the world around you.

That’s why certain attitudes tend to promote success, while other attitudes do not.

Here’s a list of some attitudes that promote success, and some reasons why they can be so helpful:

I’m in Control of My Time

What you accomplish obviously depends on the tasks and goals you work to achieve. The more time you spend on writing that symphony, for example, the more likely you are to complete it.

That’s why making sure you have at least some control over your schedule is a key element of success. Otherwise, you’re completely at the mercy of external forces that may or may not drive you toward the goals you really care about and have a good possibility of achieving.

I Choose My Relationships

The people you work and play with have a strong influence over your activities, your awareness and knowledge of the world, and your beliefs, as well as your level of happiness, positivity, self-esteem.

You’ll find that “running with the right crowd” nearly always leads to favorable opportunities, experiences, and exposures that will ultimately contribute to your level of productivity and success.

That’s why it’s important that you seek out and cultivate relationships with people with whom you resonate, the people who make you feel strong, good, and important. At the same time, it’s worthwhile to minimize your relationships with certain others, particularly anyone who makes you feel weak, bad, or unimportant.

I Pay for What I Want

In the words of Captain Kirk, from Star Trek, “there are a million things you can have and a million things you can’t have.” But very few of these are things to which you’re entitled.

You not only have to make a special effort to obtain things like the skills, experiences, and successes you want, you must be willing to pay the price for them.

This price is not always counted in money. Sometimes, the price constitutes a sacrifice of something else, such as a certain amount of time you could have spent on other pursuits. For example, to become a top-rated guitarist, cook, athlete, or business person, expect to spend long, arduous hours acquiring and developing highly specialized knowledge and skills.

My Accomplishments Do My Talking

While promotion, and particularly self-promotion, is all the rage these days, most people still recognize and appreciate the difference between making a big deal about your achievements and letting your achievements speak for themselves.

Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with mentioning and explaining to others what you have accomplished on your road to productivity and success. But aside from other differences, every minute you tout your own achievements is a minute you are not working to achieve even more.

I Own My Successes and My Failures

It’s easy and appropriate to claim credit for your achievements. Go ahead and do that to your heart’s content. But recognize that it’s difficult to achieve success without taking appropriate responsibility for your failures, as well.

To the extent you blame the inevitable missed targets and poor results on external factors, you may be failing to learn from such experiences. What’s more, believing you had little or no role in creating your own failures weakens your motivation to succeed, because it provides a ready-made excuse for the next time you miss an important target.  

I’m Willing to Do More

There’s an old but wise adage: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” Among the many reasons this may be true is that busy people tend to be successful, and successful people tend to be willing to do more.

Of course, this notion doesn’t obligate you to say “yes” to every request. It’s more of a reminder that taking on more responsibilities will generally lead to more accomplishments, a stronger track record, and a reputation that brings you more opportunities for success.

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