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Published on May 28, 2019

How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Whatever You Want

How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Whatever You Want

In life, attitude is everything.

If you’ve got a negative attitude, it will taint your entire outlook on life and dramatically decrease your ability to succeed. With a negative attitude, you will make little (if any) progress on the goals and ambitions you set for yourself.

Instead of consciously crafting a successful life, your negative disposition will often lead to a passive personality, one in which you shrug your shoulders and let life happen to you, rather than making things happen for you.

If that’s not the life you imagined for yourself, then it’s time to transform your current attitude into a can do attitude.

Here are some powerful and practical ideas you can start using today to make that attitude shift and start an upward cycle of success for yourself that will reverberate into every area of your life.

1. Starts with Your Mindset

Since the early days of boxing, experts relied on what they called the “tales of the tape” to predict how successful an athlete’s boxing career may or may-not be. These “tales of the tape” were a series of physical measurements that included the fighter’s fist, reach, chest expansion and weight.

Experts thought these measurements could predict which athletes would be most successful in the ring based on how their numbers shook-out against these measurements.

But get this: did you know Muhammad Ali—hailed as one of the greatest boxers of all time—failed every single one of his measurements?

The so-called “experts” called him a failure. They didn’t believe he had the skills and talents to succeed. As Dr. Carol Dweck explains in her book, Mindset, Muhammad Ali “was not a natural.” Not by a long shot—at least according to the boxing experts of that era.

But nonetheless, against all odds, Ali went down in history as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

What exactly was it about Ali that contributed to his incredible success in boxing? What made him “the greatest,” as he often proclaimed? It wasn’t his brawn. It was his brain.

Author Carol Dweck explains Ali’s success as follows:

“[Muhammad Ali] was not a natural. He had great speed but he didn’t have the physique of a great fighter, he didn’t have the strength, and he didn’t have the classical moves. In fact, he boxed all wrong. He didn’t block punches with his arms and elbows. He punched in rallies like an amateur. He kept his jaw exposed. He pulled back his torso to evade the impact of oncoming punches, which Jose Torres [former colleague of Ali] said was ‘like someone in the middle of a train tack trying to avoid being hit by an oncoming train, not by moving to one or the other side of the track, but by running backwards.’”

Throughout his career, he was constantly matched with athletes that were bigger, stronger and faster than himself. But he beat them anyway.

It wasn’t his physical talent or skill that helped him do succeed over and over again. It was his mental attitude. His can-do attitude to be more precise.

This leads me to believe that in many cases, the critical factor between someone who achieves success vs someone who does not, comes down in large part to your mindset.

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Our mindset determines the way we deal with tough situations and setbacks as well as our willingness to deal with and improve ourselves.

A person with a growth-mindset automatically has a can-do attitude because they don’t give up when they fail. Instead, they use failure as a learning opportunity that does nothing more than get them closer to success.

Ali helps us understand that developing a growth mindset—and by association, a can-do attitude—is about rising strong regardless of how lackluster his physical endowments may have been. Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m not good enough to be a champion;” instead he said, “I’m going to use a different path to achieve greatness.”

And that’s what he did. He showed everyone that success comes first from the gem between your ears. The same gem that chooses to leave behind negative beliefs and replace them with an attitude that says, “I can do this.”

2. Focus on Being Congruent

“While some researchers and clinicians argue that you can change your life by just changing your thoughts, actions, or feelings, I have seen no evidence in my research that real transformation happens until we address all three as equally important parts of a whole, parts that are inextricably connected to one another, like a three-legged stool.” —Brene Brown, from Rising Strong

Your thoughts + actions + feelings are like a three-legged stool.

This is similar to people that follow the old self-help advice to just “think positive.”

If we THINK positive, but we still FEEL negative, then how will we ACT?

Positive thinking is powerful, but only when we think of it as one of the three necessary legs that reinforces the stool we’re sitting on.

If we don’t want the stool to wobble or break, we’ve got to make sure we give each leg the care it needs to keep us from falling down and getting hurt.

I believe that the key here, with this idea, is to focus on being as congruent as possible.

What’s the best way to do that? Here’s how:

1. Remember that the way you think needs to be in alignment with the way you act.

When you affirm powerful thoughts to yourself about what you can do rather than what you cannot do, your biochemistry will change for the better. You will stand taller. You will move with confidence.

2. Understand that the way you act is going to have an impact on the way you feel.

When you tell yourself that you can do something over and over again, your mind will begin to believe it and accept it as the truth. This, in return, will make you feel like a winner, like a success.

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3. Realize the way you feel is going to help reinforce the way you think.

The way you feel right now has a lot to do with how you’re carrying yourself…

Are you hunching forward? Are you slouching in your seat? Are your shoulders sloped? If yes, you probably don’t feel like you’re at your best.

Now, straighten out your back, tilt your chest upward, and smile (even if you’ve got no reason to!) Not only will you notice a shift in the way you feel when you do this, but you’ll notice a shift in the way you think as well. You’ll go from thinking thoughts that lead to feeling stressed and depressed, to thinking and feeling confident and creative.

In short: you’ll have that can-do attitude that leads to the success you crave in life.

Which is going to circle right back around into helping you decide the way you choose to act in any given situation.

See the feedback loop these three end up creating?

Bottom line? It’s not about positive thinking alone that drives our success in life — it’s about being in positive congruence between the way we think, act, and feel that drives our success in life.

3. Be Mindful of Your Self-Talk

Your self-worth depends upon your self-talk.

An all-star baseball player once decided to visit a prison to inspire the inmates to better themselves. He told them a story about how his father always encouraged him when he was a little boy. His dad always told him, “son, if you keep on hittin’ the ball like that, you’ll end up in the MLB one day.”

Sure enough, he ended up playing professional baseball.

Upon hearing this story, one of the prisoners stood up and said, “hey, my dad told me something similar when I was a little boy. Every time I did something my dad didn’t like, he looked at me and said, ‘son, if you keep on mis-behaving like this, you’ll end up in prison one day.”

Sure enough, he ended up in prison.

As it turns out, 90% of male prisoners were treated like dirt by their parents when they were children. Many of them were spoken to like they were prisoners WAY before they ended up behind bars.

Now, obviously this doesn’t mean that our parents determine the future for us in advance.

We all have the ability to respond to our circumstances however we want.[1] But it certainly makes things a lot easier if we have a solid foundation to build upon.

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Regardless of how your parents spoke to you though, the take-away from this story is very simple: the way we speak with ourselves plays a massive role in the way we perceive ourselves.

And the way we perceive ourselves plays a massive role in our ability to develop a can-do attitude, and reap the rewards it affords. Our attitude goes a long way towards determining whether we decide to take on challenges and pursue success in the face of adversity.

Encourage yourself. Believe that you can do it—whatever it may be.

Your self-talk plays a huge role in your self-image.

Your self-image plays a huge role in your attitude.

Your attitude plays a huge role in your ability to succeed in the various endeavors you decide to pursue in your life.

Drop whatever limiting attitudes you’re holding on to about yourself and replace t hem with a strong, self-starting can-do attitude.

4. Become an Activationist

“Excellent ideas are not enough. An only fair idea acted upon, and developed, is 100 percent better than a terrific idea that dies because it isn’t followed up.” —David Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

Plenty of people have excellent ideas, but only a select few are able to see their idea through to action.

There are two types of people on the planet: “activationists” and “passivationists.”

Activationists come up with ideas and execute them without hesitation—the embodiment of a “can-do” attitude.

When these folks decide to take a vacation, they take it. When they decide to call a client, an old friend, or even a potential romantic interest—they do it. Activationists decide to become successful and they will that decision into reality with a can-do attitude.

Passivationists on the other hand, might have just as many ideas as an activationist, but the passivationist executes none of them. They postpone and procrastinate their dreams and goals continually.

This lack of action – this lack of success – is the result of having a passive mentality about life and neglecting to cultivate a can-do attitude.

So, what can we do to break ourselves of the passivationist habit?

We can start by breaking the habit of perfectionism.

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Perfectionists put things off because they fear doing something wrong. However, the activationist goes ahead and does things, and then deals with any problems that arise along the way.

This also includes waiting for the “perfect” time to do something. There is no perfect time, and every minute that you wait makes it that much more likely that you will chicken out of the whole thing. Now is the magic word of achievement.

It’s time to get rid of tomorrows, laters, and sometimes—and replace them with the readiness and urgency of a can-do attitude.

You Can Do This!

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve gone over in this article.

1. It all starts with your mindset.

If you want to achieve success in all dimensions of your life, you’ll need to get your mental game in check. Ensure you’re mindset is directed towards growth and progress for most of your waking hours.

2. Positive thinking can only get you so far.

To generate true change, to develop a real can-do attitude that helps you succeed in whatever endeavor you want, you will need to place equal importance on your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Treat them parts of yourself that are achieve their peak power and potential when they are unified and treated with equal importance. In other words: we cannot simply “positively think” our way to success.

We must combine those positive thoughts with forward-facing action.

3. Your self-worth depends upon your self-talk.

Repeatedly affirm to yourself that you have a can-do attitude. Look yourself in the mirror and literally say it out loud, “I have a can-do attitude! I have a can-do attitude! I have a can-do attitude!” Do this exercise every morning after you brush your teeth.

Yes, this will absolutely feel silly at first, but you will find that the benefits of success far outweigh the momentary feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness you experience as a result of doing this.

4. Become an activationist.

Do not allow fear to freeze you in place and prevent you from achieving your dreams. Embody the habits of an activationist and take consistent action until you achieve what you set out to achieve.

With each achievement, you will find your self-confidence getting stronger and stronger. This then, will lead to more action, which will lead to more success…

… And this cycle of success? It never needs to stop.

More Articles to Build a Positive Attitude

Featured photo credit: Christin Noelle via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Meaningful GQ: Respond Rather Than React

More by this author

Dean Bokhari

Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

How to Seize Your Opportunities and Take on Challenges How to Use the Law of Attraction to Make Your Dreams Happen The Daily Rituals of 7 Successful CEOs How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Whatever You Want How to Be Productive: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at Once

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

Why Happiness is a Choice (And Why It’s a Smart One to Make)

Why Happiness is a Choice (And Why It’s a Smart One to Make)

You’re struggling to find this elusive thing called “happiness.” Most days, you feel either overwhelmed, anxious, angry, depressed, or flat. Or, maybe you experience quick shifts of mood.

You can remember times when you were happy, but they seem distant, and your life circumstances are different now.

But what if I told you that you can actually choose happiness? And, that it’s easier than you think?

In this article, I’ll break down the basics of how you can lead a happier life, just by following a few basic principals. These are easy to implement in your own life, which means happiness is just around the corner!

Ready to find out more about how and why happiness is a choice? Let’s dive in further to gain a deeper understanding.

Happiness Isn’t an Idea, It’s an Experience

The idea that happiness is a choice seems to be just that, an idea, and one that doesn’t apply to you. How can you choose to be happy when someone has treated you so badly, when circumstances beyond your control are bombarding you with pain?

Many people feel this way.

Each year, the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network releases the World Happiness Report.

This measures the overall happiness of different countries. The 2018 report finds that residents in Finland rank first place, while the residents in the United States are all the way behind in 18th place.

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Despite the fact that Americans’ incomes have more than doubled since 1972, we’re not even in the top 10 of happiest countries.

Understand the Easterlin Paradox

Americans have continuously made more money, yet we’re not reporting an increase in happiness. This disparity between income and happiness is called the Easterlin Paradox.

Chances are you see more money now than you ever have in your life, yet you’re still trapped in the paradox, struggling to understand why you’re unhappy.

What explains the paradox?

The answer to this question can help you understand what happiness is. Solving this dilemma seems complex — it is a paradox, after all. Yet the answer is a lot simpler than you might expect: happiness is a choice.

It’s as Simple as Choosing Happiness

Happiness is a state of being that you can seize, such as when a runner takes in air with her lungs. Each inhalation is essential, and with every inhalation, exhalation must follow.

If happiness is a state of being, then you could say that happiness is simply an experience, or a set of experiences.

Amanda Pinnock is a college student at Arizona State University who experienced this type of happiness without ever expecting it. To earn her degree in global health, she needed to do a study abroad program, but she was worried she was going to be disconnected from her group as a nontraditional student earning her degree online. [1]

To her surprise, the other students in her group were inclusive and eager to connect. Then there were the locals in Fiji, the country she’d chosen for the program. They seemed to truly understand how happiness is a choice. According to Amanda:

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“Fijians are probably the happiest and humblest people in the world. They welcomed us with open arms and made sure we were fed and had the accommodations we needed. It wasn’t until I talked further with the group leader and tour guide that I realized they were giving us more than what they have for themselves on a daily basis.”

Plenty of Fijians don’t have running water, but Amanda noted that they felt they lacked for nothing. She says:

“They live off the earth and they all help one another … They may not have had nearly as much money as an average American, but they are wealthy in their lives, and I think Americans can learn a lot from that. It really put into perspective what’s most important: family, loved ones and the environment.”

For the Fijians Amanda encountered, happiness isn’t a concept, it’s the act of supporting each other.

Happiness is the act of finding joy in everyday experiences with other people.

Communities of people who give to each other and share the value of generosity, the value of love—a love which expects nothing in return—are the happiest.

That’s why, according to the World Happiness Report, generosity and social support networks are two key factors that lead to happiness. [2]

Every second you’re alive and conscious, you have choices to make. Amanda Pinnock chose to experience another culture even though she was worried about fitting in. She was happy to share the experience with the other students and the Fijians that welcomed them.

Each day of your conscious existence you can choose to support others, to accept their support, to engage in activities that are good for you.

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All of these acts will bring happiness. You can choose to trust others and do things that help them to trust you. You can choose to build up the community around you and be a part of it.

The Art of Sisu Can Change You

In Finland, famine wiped out 9 percent of the population during the 1860s —hardly an event that would engender happiness. The Finns have made a point of recovering by embracing a philosophy called sisu, which is a shared value of grit, determination, and rational action, even when life is painful.

Sisu is also about powering through exercises that are challenging and uncomfortable, such as taking a swim in an ice-cold river, running a marathon, or biking to work in the rain. [3]

According to This Is Finland, “Sisu is extraordinary courage and determination in the face of adversity … Sisu is embodied by people everywhere who defy the odds and hold on to hope when at first there seems to be none.”

Sisu is simple: seize life, do it with courage, and build your courage by engaging with the world in challenging ways.

Be Proactive in Your Happiness

You can be happy by being proactive. People who choose to recover from addiction choose to take proactive steps toward recovery.

You can think of choosing to be happy as choosing to recover from depression. As it turns out, exercise benefits recovery in a number of ways:

  • Exercise imitates the effect of drugs on your brain (or rather, drugs imitate the effect of exercise) by releasing endorphins.
  • Exercise helps you sleep better and increases feelings of well-being.
  • Exercise helps you cope with stress, structure your day, and improve your physical fitness.
  • This lines up very well with sisu, although sisu asks you to take it to another level and challenge yourself beyond your comfort level.

Even if you don’t take it to that extent, start small and exercise on a regular basis, then build up to greater challenges. Work on making connections with other people based around your exercise routine.

What the Buddhists Know

Buddhism is particularly concerned with cultivating happiness through constant practice.

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First, Buddhists acknowledge that existence lends itself to pain and mental dysfunction. This is the wear and tear of the world that comes from desiring and expecting what you don’t have.

Buddhists follow a set of practices towards enlightenment:

  • Clear the mind of negative thoughts: Recognize negative thoughts, redirect them positively, and act on positive thoughts.
  • Practice mindfulness: Without applying judgment, contemplate how your body feels and pay attention to your breathing; pay attention to your own thoughts; pay attention to “phenomena” — the world around you.
  • Meditate and concentrate: Let random thoughts go while you’re sitting and concentrating on one single thing, such as the sound of water, your breathing, or a humming sound.
  • Have compassion: Personal happiness is directly related to the happiness of others. Contemplation of others and their suffering leads you to a place of true compassion, and compassion for others is a simple path towards happiness.

Buddhists choose to live neither in the past or future.

Thoughts of the past can bring brooding and depression, and thoughts of the future can bring anxiety. Contemplation of the present and compassion for others in the present can help alleviate depression and anxiety, freeing your mind to accept happiness.

People choose many creeds, philosophies, and religions in the pursuit of happiness. In any situation, you can choose to concentrate on what makes you happy.

You can choose to accept the most excruciating challenge as an opportunity to be good now and to create happiness.

Make the Smart Choice of Happiness

Happiness is finding joy in everyday experiences.

When you choose to include other people in your happiness, then with it comes community—in both social networks and shared experiences.

Happiness is the smart choice because deep down it’s what your being strives for; it’s what other people want, too.

When we’re choosing happiness together, we’re choosing to care for each other, and the whole world opens up to infinite possibility.

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Arizona State University: Find Yourself by Getting Lost
[2] World Happiness Report: World Happiness Report 2018
[3] This is Finland: Sisu Begins Where Perseverance Ends

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