There are a lot of factors that determine our success, some of which are completely out of our control. The number one factor in determining how successful we are, though, is completely within our own control – attitude. Saying that attitude is everything is more than a feel-good quote out of a self-help book or the caption on an inspirational poster; it’s a fundamental truth.
The world’s most successful people realize how important the right attitude is and change their attitude as needed.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people are slaves to their attitude their entire life, held back by some invisible force and never realizing that the number roadblock in their life exists entirely within themselves.
If you are looking for a way to improve your chances of succeeding in everything you do, consider what an incredible impact adopting the right attitude can make.
What Does Attitude Mean and Why is it Considered to be One of the Most Important Ingredients to Success?
Attitude is an all-encompassing term that defines your outlook and approach to life. It includes your inner thoughts and your outward expressions. In the end, attitude determines everything you say and do – and what you say and do determine your success.
Attitude determines whether or not you pursue the opportunities you are given. Those with a pessimistic or self-defeating attitude won’t pursue the opportunities that are placed in front of them thinking that failure is the only possible outcome. Those with a positive, hopeful attitude, though, will aggressively pursue every opportunity they are given, always entering it with an attitude that success will come.
Henry Ford, a pioneer in the automotive industry and the inventor of the assembly line, once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right”.
Those with a negative attitude are caught in a cruel cycle where poor attitude leads to failure and each failure leads to a poorer attitude. For those with a positive attitude, this cycle is just the opposite.
Attitude also determines how you relate to other people, and your relations with other people are one of the driving factors in whether or not you are successful.
People are drawn towards those with a positive, friendly, and inspiring attitude like moths to a flame.
They want to work with them (and for them) and they easily get on board with any ideas this person has. Inversely, people distance themselves from those with cynical or self-defeating attitudes, making it all the more difficult for those with a poor attitude to find success.
For these reasons and more, attitude is everything. By having the right attitude is considered to be one of the most important ingredients to finding your success, whatever your definition of success is.
Positive vs Negative Attitudes and Their Effect on Your Life
Keith Harrell, the author at Success.com and inspirational speaker, says that “We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond.”
Whether your attitude is positive or negative determines how you respond to every situation in your life, and 99 times out of 100 if you are with a positive attitude, you’re to respond in a way that is more productive and beneficial than if you’re with a negative attitude.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways a negative attitude can develop. Negative attitudes are often the product of low self-esteem, failures adding up, stress, and bad experiences.
The sad truth is that a negative attitude only leads to more of the negative things that brought it to be in the first place. While it may not be a person’s fault for developing a negative attitude, it is their fault if they choose not to change it.
Positive attitudes develop in many of the same ways, though they often take a little more work to maintain. Negative events tend to impact positive attitudes more than positive events tend to impact negative attitudes.
The good news is, though, that positive attitudes are just as influential in shaping the course of a person’s life as negative attitudes, except that positive attitudes shape it in a beneficial way.
A person with a positive attitude is going to see failures as learning opportunities rather than debilitating losses (one of the traits found in the world’s most successful entrepreneurs). They are also going to be more likely to take calculated risks, which is key to finding success, to have a high sense of self-worth and a voice inside their head that is constructive rather than destructive.
“Success” vs “Failure” Attitude
We’ve established the advantages of having a positive attitude versus a negative attitude, but how is that you distinguish between the two?
There are 15 differences between positive people and negative people, all 15 of which boil down to how a person responds (either verbally or inwardly) to various events and circumstances. A few of the key differences between negative people and positive people are that:
- Positive people love challenges while negative people dread them
- Positive people are inspired by other people’s success while negative become jealous
- Positive people look on the bright side while negative people see only adverse aspects
- Positive people spread positivity while negative people spread negativity
- Positive people have confident body language while negative people have a reserved and closed off body language
The list of differences goes on and on, and most every single difference is the advantage for people with positive attitudes. In the end, positivity is an attitude of success while negativity is an attitude of failure. Because of this, attitude is everything when it comes to being successful and yet most of us are still a victim of our own attitude.
How the People You Associate with Affects Your Attitude?
Warren Buffett once said “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
To some degree, most people are like water in that they take the shape of whatever environment they are placed in. If you associate with people who have poor, self-defeating attitudes, maintaining a positive attitude is going to be an overwhelming challenge. On the other hand, if you associate with inspirational people who reflect positivity, your own attitude is going to flourish.
One study published in Psychology Today looked at what happens when just one so-called “bad apple”—a person demonstrating negativity and conflict—was introduced to an otherwise high-functioning, productive group of people. Quoting the results of the study, “Internal conflicts tend to spread up to the level of the group, decreasing the groups’ complexity, flexibility, and their ability to grow and adapt.” In short, just one person with a poor attitude quickly crippled an entire group of people with otherwise positive attitudes.
When trying to adjust your attitude to one that will lend itself to success, it is critical to examine the people you surround yourself with. Using the same guidelines you would use to examine your own attitude, examine theirs. How do they respond to negative situations? How do they respond to positive ones? What is their verbal language and body language communicating?
If you determine that some of the people you associate with demonstrate qualities such as negativity, jealousy, anger, self-defeating behavior, and other aspects of a poor attitude, it is important to limit your exposure to them as much as possible.
Instead, seek out inspiring people who react positively to every situation and who are happy to see you succeed. Surround yourself with people such as this, and the changes you will begin to see within your own life will be extraordinary.
Why Appreciating Self-Worth is the Beginning of Developing a Winning Attitude?
There’s a lot you can do to develop a positive, winning attitude, but the first and most important step is to recognize your own self-worth.
I’m a firm believer that everyone is good at something, whether they admit it to themselves or not, that is another story.
If you don’t believe that you are capable of success, or worthy of success, then success will never come. The truth is, though, that you are capable. Every day is a new opportunity, and every person is blessed with skills and qualities that they can leverage to make their dreams come true.
One common thought-process of negative people is that the only people who are successful are those who are born with near superhuman intelligence, or born into wealth or born any number of other attributes that a negative person will use to explain away another person’s success and affirm that they could never do it themselves.
While it is true that some people do have attributes and opportunities that make finding success easier for them, it is also true that the world is full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
There are stories of people starting with nothing, held back in every possible way, and rising to the top through hard work, perseverance, and a winning attitude. In fact, these three things alone are most often all that is required to find success.
Once you recognize that you are entirely capable of anything you are willing to work hard enough for, appreciating your own self-worth becomes much easier. Hold your head high, and never let the world get you down. Roll with the punches and come back stronger every time you get knocked down.
Most importantly of all, recognize that no matter what happens in your life, your self-worth does not change. There should be nothing that anyone can do or say that should ever make you think less of yourself.
By nurturing a positive, confident self-image, you will find it easier to be introspective in examining your life and learning about yourself. The world’s most successful people have introspection down to a science, able to identify their weaknesses (to fix them, not to dwell on them) as well as their strengths.
The more you learn about yourself, the better decisions you are able to make. People with low self-esteem, though, are often afraid of examining and learning about themselves.
In order to learn who you are and find your flaws, strengths, and desires, you will first want to develop a high self-esteem. Nurture a positive, confident self-esteem, and you’ll find that both a positive attitude and a better understanding of yourself will soon follow.
How Can You Build a Winning Attitude?
There are many ways to develop a winning attitude, some we have already touched on (such as associating with positive people and nurturing a high self-esteem) but there are a lot of different ways you can start working toward a winning attitude.
1. Discover What Motivates You
Everyone has things that motivate them, and these motivators are powerful ways to propel yourself toward your goals and shut out self-defeating tendencies. Examine yourself and find what it is that motivates you, then work toward these things.
2. Repeat Positive Affirmations
Use positive affirmations like a mantra, saying them over and over in your head until eventually, you start to really believe them. It may seem silly at first, but evidence has shown that people who repeat positive affirmations enough really do begin to adopt the qualities they are affirming.
3. Smile Often
Did you know that smiling relieves stress and encourages positive thoughts? It’s an excellent medicine for confidence deficiency. Smiles will also make you seem like a more positive person to those around you. Even if you have to force it at first, smile as often as you can, a big smile beats fear, rolls away worry and defeats despondency.
If you have a chance to read Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”, his number one success factor is physical well-being, because, without it, you can only go so far. Physical exercise is closely associated with developing a better attitude. It can also produce other changes in your physical well-being that will make nurturing a positive self-esteem easier. If you feel good about yourself, then nothing can stop you from achieving what you set your mind to.
5. Watch Your Words Carefully
Words said are much more powerful than words thought. Change your words, you will change your life, the simplest tool I know anyone can do and it costs nothing but 100% gain. While you’ll eventually want to rid yourself of negative thoughts as well as negative things that you say out loud, watching what you say out loud is a good place to start. Carefully consider your words before you say them, and make sure they are reflecting a positive, winning attitude.
Attitude is Everything
Developing a winning attitude is the number one key to enjoying a fulfilling, successful life. We only get one shot at this life, and there’s no sense wasting it in bitterness and self-defeat. Instead, focus on building a positive, confident, and inspiring attitude. It’s guaranteed to improve your own life and the lives of everyone you come into contact with.