With the new year upon us, many of us will resolve to start doing something better, or at least to stop doing something detrimental to our well-being. With apologies to Jonathan Swift, here is my modest proposal: Cultivate a better attitude toward life.
Too many people I meet seem oblivious to everyone around them. Their needs and wants come first. Often they have a chip on their shoulder, as if life owes them something. They write off their mistakes as someone elses fault. These traits can even be found among people of means. Making money, at least in the short term, is possible even if you are a total loser of a human being.
Contrast that with people who seem to overcome every obstacle to reach their goals, but always talk about the people who helped them along the way. They understand that no one is an island, that it is only through working with others that you achieve real success. They remain humble enough to give credit to colleagues and family.
I am often asked: What is the blueprint for success? Often, I use the word hustle in my reply. Hustle is more than speed, however. Its all about a good attitude and giving your all every day. Its the attitude that says, Maybe someone can outsmart me, but I will outwork them. Ill make more contacts, do more research, travel more and do everything in my power to get the job done. I realize its all up to me to get out there and make things happen.
But without mental and physical well-being, youll undoubtedly be stuck on cruise control. If you dont have your health, it is difficult to cope with the challenges of lifealthough there are people who find a way. Many people overcome amazingly difficult handicaps, and because of their drive and their passion, they just keep plugging away until they succeed. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the greatest presidents in our history even though he suffered from polio.
Recently, I had the honor of playing golf at Augusta National in Georgia, which hosts the Masters Tournament, with one of the great leaders in our industry, Ed Eckenhoff, who runs the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington. To any golfer, Augusta is like a shrine. Its every golfers dream to play there. Ed, who has been paralyzed from the waist down for most of his life, had always dreamed of playing Augusta.
That dream was finally fulfilled with the help of Augusta member Vernon Loucks Jr., former chairman of Baxter International, and Terry Mulligan, chairman of the advisory board of group purchasing organization MedAssets. Regardless of his so-called handicap, Eckenhoff is an avid golfer who excels at the game, beating most of us who dont have to use crutches like he does every day.
The point is, we all are handicapped one way or another. Yet, it is those who dont let their emotions take over who are able to overcome just about anything that comes their wayand win.
Besides hustle, passion is another quality I believe is essential to success. Some people dont seem to feel deeply about anything. How can you cultivate passion? Thats a tough question to answer, but it is something that most successful people will tell you is the basic ingredient that separates the winners from the losers. We all are capable of being passionate. It is the key ingredient to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Its about consistency and its about being enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious, and when people are enthusiastic almost anything is possible. Ive encountered people with great amounts of talent who lack enthusiasm and passion. Consequently, they never seem to get ahead.
I dont know about you but I crave to be around people who smile, are enthusiastic, passionate and fun to be around. Cynics and people with doom-and-gloom personalities should stay away from me and seek employment elsewhere.
Without question, attitude is the key ingredient to being successful. There is a short essay written by the theologian Charles Swindoll that sums things up nicely. It is calledyou guessed itAttitude.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. ... We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.
Give it all youve got.