Back in March of 2012 when I wrote this article, I had been reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which definitely shows up in the tone of this post. That said, I agree with my past self that attitude is probably the biggest defining factor in framing success. I’ve grown a bit more realistic (read cynical) now, but I do still think that persistence and positivity will take you further than formal schooling or financial backing.
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. - David Brinkley
I’m amazed by people. Every day, I hear someone tell me, “I wish I could do X…” or “If I had Y, I’d be happy.” Everyone wants to be happy, right? Everyone wants to be a success, although we all define it differently. What causes some people to actually succeed, and others to live like drones - floating through life until retirement and dying with a million, “I wish”es on their tounge?
A successful attitude
I’ve gotten to meet hundreds of successful entrepreneurs, inventors, publishers, and businessmen over the years. The more I talk with those people, the more I love spending time with them. The difference between successful people is in their attitude, and when you meet someone with the attitude of success, you are infected.
Elements to a successful attitude
There are very few people who embody all these requirements, hence there are a limited number of successful people in the world. While all these above traits are important, I have one master saying that trumps and encompasses all of them:
“Never make excuses”
That is literally the only thing you have to do in order to be successful. Everyone has a dream. For example, one of my friends wants to be an artist. Her parents wanted her to go to college so they paid thousands of dollars for her to get a psychology degree. Now, instead of chasing her passion in art, she works a middle management job at a retail outlet. When I asked her why she never pursued art - her dream - she said, “it’s just too hard, plus I’d have to get another degree…”
She will never be successful. She has already given in - at 20-something years old - to the pattern of making excuses. She will never chase her dreams, she will never change the world, and she will always have a nagging feeling of failure in the back of her mind.
While this description sounds bleak, millions or maybe billions of people float through life like this young woman. Everyone has a dream; only 3% of people actually chase theirs.
What Do You Want to Be?
I’ll leave you with this final question: What do you want to be? Successful? Or Average?