What do you need to be successful? Do you need a degree from a top school, some seed money to kick start your business, a big break, good connections? No one would dispute that these factors would give you a big boost; however, after 25 years of research on the topic of performing your best, I’d say your success ticket has to be punched with confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm.
In fact, hundreds of empirical studies strongly suggest the aforementioned attributes are the DNA of success. Without these attributes, you will be hard-pressed to achieve success, let alone leading a thriving life. Consider why.
Confidence is the degree to which you believe and feel your actions will achieve desirable results. Why would you try if you don’t believe you can influence the outcome? You wouldn’t. Confidence promotes feelings of control, until you feel you are in charge of your destiny.
Optimism allows you to start out your day with positive expectations that good things will happen. Positive expectations motivate you to try harder and thus, you achieve more success, which in turn makes you more confident. Studies tell us that optimistic people enjoy better physical and mental health, as well as experiencing more positive relationships.
Tenacity allows you to stay focused. This is essential if you are going to achieve long-term goals. It is your tenacity that allows you to persist through adversity.
Enthusiasm energizes you and promotes positive feelings that allow you to approach life with zest and perform better under pressure.
Taken together, these attributes help you do your best every day, in all aspects of your life. Here are some evidence based methods of how you can instill them in yourself.
Walk Like A Champ
Drill Sargents have been telling Marines to “stand at attention” for over a hundred years. You probably have fond memories of your mother telling you to “stand up straight.” Neither needed their recommendations validated by current neuroscience research attesting to the fact that when you stand up straight and expand your chest, your brain increases testosterone. This hormone makes you feel confident and often increases your ability to perform under pressure. Frequently remind yourself to walk like a champ, especially before you have to perform under pressure. Studies show that just a few minutes of “confident posturing” will stimulate feelings of confidence and lead to better perform
Confident people have a long history of visualizing themselves experiencing all types of success, even if the visuals are fantasy (winning a beauty patent, scoring a Super Bowl touchdown, or being a movie star). Positive visuals help you internalize feelings of confidence. You will be wise to frequently visualize yourself experiencing success.
The words you use reflect your outlook on life. Start to build optimistic phrases into your daily vocabulary. For example, “It is going to be a wonderful day…it’s a beautiful day.” This might seem silly, but using an optimistic vocabulary will make you feel more optimistic.
Belief In A Just World
Individuals who accept the fact that while we all get bad breaks and the world is basically just, end up being more optimistic. Since they believe hard work pays off, they try harder and doing so (more often than not) brings positive results which fuels their tendency to be positive about their future.
Increase Your “Pathways”
Think of “pathways” as different avenues that take you to your goal. Create as many as you can. If one route is blocked, take another. Take some time to brainstorm different pathways that can help you move toward our goal. The more pathways you can create, the more hopeful you will become. The result is you become tenacious because you believe you will achieve success.
You can give yourself a burst of enthusiasm simply by laughing out loud. Laughing stimulates endorphins and creates (in contrast to anxiety) positive physical arousal. Enthusiasm transforms into energy, making it easier for you to approach your tasks with a positive attitude, especially in pressure moments.
Use Your Happy Face
It’s hard to feel down and drained when you have a smile on your face. Get in the habit of keeping a smile on your face and you’ll feel more and more enthusiasm throughout your days. You will also find that your smiles are returned – even by a passing stranger on the street.
Together, these proven strategies will help blend confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm into your Coat of Arms. Wearing it everyday will help you not only become more successful, but also enjoy your life to its fullest.