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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Life

How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Life

If you’ve got a negative attitude, it will taint your entire outlook on life and dramatically decrease your ability to succeed. 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. Start 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.

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 is 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.

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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.

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 your abilities may seem. 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.”

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.

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What’s the best way to do that?

1. Align the Way You Think 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 and move with confidence.

2. How You Act Is Going to Impact How 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.

3. Use How You Feel to 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?

The bottom line is that 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 on 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.

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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 misbehaving 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] However, it certainly makes things a lot easier if we have a solid foundation to build upon.

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.[2]

How to Create Positive Self-Talk for a Can Do Attitude

    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.

    Drop whatever limiting attitudes you’re holding on to about yourself and replace them 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.”

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    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 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.

    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!

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

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

    With each achievement, you will find your self-confidence getting stronger as you begin to say “I can do this.” This then, will lead to more action, which will lead to more success…

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

    More Tips for Building the Right Attitude

    Featured photo credit: Christin Noelle via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Dean Bokhari

    Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

    50 Self-Affirmations to Help You Stay Motivated Every Day Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation How to Actually Make Your Goals Happen 7 Things That Cause a Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them) books about spirituality 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life

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    Published on February 19, 2021

    8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

    8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

    Whether it’s planning a public speech or a kid’s birthday party, our intentions lean toward success no matter the endeavor. And whatever success we are hoping to attain, there will likely be obstacles that we must face. When these obstacles surface, we can either shy away and miss our chance or meet these challenges informed and ready.

    Although obstacles can seem like the outside world is plotting against us, in reality, these external challenges are merely triggering hurdles that already exist within. They might be memories or beliefs we have about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can be trapped by our own self-sabotage.

    What could happen if you knew about and prepared for these obstacles beforehand?

    If you knew what you were up against, perhaps you could come equipped with just the right tools to get through anything that threatens your chance at success. Perhaps you could take an obstacle that felt like a mountain and turn it instantly into a mere molehill!

    Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:

    1. Perfection

    One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone prone to perfectionism is going to find it difficult to remain on the road to success if everything has to be “just so” all the time.

    Perfection is the killer of creativity, vitality, and accidental discoveries! There are so many instances of people fortuitously discovering things that we use every day.[1] If they had been so concerned with perfection, they may never have enjoyed the success of their “mistakes!” Plus, learning from our mistakes is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. Therefore, “perfect” will never provide a straight shot to success.

    How can you stop going for perfection? Just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired, it takes practice to undo perfectionism.

    Try the following:

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    • Try new things and let go of your expectations.
    • Don’t do everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens when you leave it for tomorrow.
    • Learn how to prioritize (no, everything isn’t equally important all the time).
    • If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, send an email with a typo in it!

    Have fun with this and learn how to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of being human.

    2. Fear

    Fear is triggered when we have a thought or perception that we are not safe and secure. This is quite a useful tool when there is a real threat to our safety. However, when the threat is imaginary, fear can actually prevent us from doing the work we need to do to achieve our goals.

    As with perfectionism, the best way to deal with fear is to become more mindful.

    Here are some steps you can try in working through fear:

    1. Sit with the emotion of fear and notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
    2. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen and write down your answers.
    3. Visualize yourself experiencing your worst fears. How did you feel imagining your worst fears coming true?
    4. Ask yourself when you have felt this way before. How did you cope with it that time? What strengths could you use in your previous visualization?
    5. Imagine yourself using your strength with the imagined worst fear. How does it feel to know that no matter what happens, you have the tools and resources to handle it?

    In this exercise, we’re trying to be okay with the emotion of fear. Fear is actually trying to help by keeping you “safe.” It calls upon memories of when you were threatened in your life. But when we spend all of our energy trying to prevent the feeling of fear, we make it stronger. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced our fears and triumphed.

    Allowing the fear to be present and calling upon memories of making it through challenging times helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”

    3. Lack of Clarity

    Imagine that you are going on a trip and you need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you don’t know any details of the trip. You haven’t decided where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, or what you’ll be doing. How easy will it be to pack for this trip?

    If we’re trying to run our careers or lives without clarity, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to be doing to get to our destination of success. So, how do we get clarity?

    Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to just about any area of life. According to Sinek, when clarifying your “message,” you should start with your WHY.[2] In other words, why are you doing what you do? Once you are clear on your “why,” it will be much easier to figure out your “how” and your “what.”

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    Let’s go back to the packing analogy. Perhaps your why for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest as you have been stressed out lately. That tells you that a quiet vacation might be better than one with lots of museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don’t want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by spending a few days at a nearby spa. Less travel means less stress. Looking at the spa, you see they have a 3-day retreat. Now, you know how to pack.

    See how easily those details fell into place once you got clear on your “why”? Imagine what success you could achieve once your “why” is uncovered!

    4. Making Comparisons

    It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to other people. That’s how we know whether we’re doing things correctly or not and how we can continue improving. When we get into a habit of making comparisons all the time and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Jones’,” this can pull our energy down. And when our energy is down, so is our motivation to keep working toward our goals.

    As with perfection, it’s important to be mindful about how much importance you’re placing on “keeping up” with what you think everyone around you is doing.

    Want to stop sizing yourself up to others? Try the following:

    • Notice the feelings that come up for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
    • Ask yourself, “what information am I really getting from this comparison, and what’s helpful about it?”
    • Keep the helpful bits from that line of questioning and let go of the rest.

    Remember that when you compare yourself to another person, oftentimes you are seeing the potential that already resides within you.[3]

    5. Untamed Inner Monologue

    How do you talk to yourself? Do you tend to say uplifting and encouraging things to yourself? Or is your self-speak often negative? An untamed inner monologue can serve as a great obstacle to many people.

    Many people grow up with the idea that the inner monologue is what drives us to become better people. We get “tough” on ourselves to prevent laziness or sloppiness. If unchecked, the monologuing can quickly become negative and purely critical. Despite our intentions for self-improvement, this constant habit of pointing out what’s “wrong” with what we do and who we are can become a huge energy drain.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, overcoming negative self-talk is good for our health.[4] Some of the benefits of maintaining a compassionate inner voice include lower levels of depression, better immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful times.

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    Activities to develop awareness about your inner monologue and make it more compassionate include:

    • Keeping a thought diary (there are so many great apps for this!).
    • Reframing negative self-statements neutrally or compassionately.
    • Asking yourself what a trusted friend might say to you.
    • Thinking about what you might say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
    • Considering EFT Tapping or saying affirmations.
    • Allowing yourself to follow the inner critic down the worst-case-scenario path (this version might have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic’s imagination truly is).

    6. Unclear Boundaries

    So far, we’ve covered several ways that internal boundaries are necessary on the road to success. These include monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfectionism, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue.

    How about those boundaries we need to clarify with other people in our lives? To be clear, boundaries are not about saying “no” to everything and cutting yourself off from everybody. Healthy external boundaries are about being communicating to others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and what your plans are.

    If we have unclear boundaries with others, success will result only by accident, if at all.

    People pleasers and empaths especially know how challenging it can be to set boundaries with others. The desire for harmony can be so strong for some people that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make the decisions rather than risk creating conflict.

    The problem here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves that results in roadblocks to success. If you have trouble setting clear boundaries with others and you want to be successful, start building your muscles around this skill slowly.

    Here are a few steps:

    1. Identify little things that you like and want.
    2. Tell people about what you like and want in your life.
    3. Notice what happens in your body when you say this out loud.
    4. Identify things you don’t like or want.
    5. Notice what happens in your body when you think about these things. (Your body is really smart when it comes to telling you what you don’t want!)
    6. Tell trusted people what you don’t like or want.
    7. Notice how it feels in your body to say this out loud.
    8. Practice saying “no” to something really small that you don’t want and work your way up to bigger things.

    Without boundaries, it’s like being water and trying to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to create your own container and watch your success take form.

    7. Unreasonable Expectations

    It’s important to dream big. It’s how we allow inspiration and big ideas to come to the surface of our awareness. But if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we might be headed for some disappointment or even worse, the loss of our dreams!

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    Setting reasonable expectations is the bread and butter of success. If you haven’t been introduced to setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it would be a good idea to try it out.

    It might not always be possible to know whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you’re trying out a brand-new-to-you project. If the expectation is for a new project to work without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unreasonable. The consequences of this experience could be losing your drive to succeed.

    If the expectations for a new project include the idea of bumps and glitches that hold seeds of learning and growth, then even the perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the positive benefit of fueling your motivation to keep working toward even more success.

    Be mindful of where you set the bar—neither too high nor too low.

    8. Unreasonable Definition of Success

    What is your definition of success? Asked in another way, from what perspective are you seeking success?

    It’s easy to think that success means achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. But there are so many ways to look at success. You might be missing out on some opportunities to really feel like you are shining in your life.

    An unreasonable definition of success might be one that only allows for one specific outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then success is not the result. But if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we might find that success is much easier to come by than we previously thought!

    To expand your definition of success, ask yourself the following:

    • What would need to happen to make me feel successful?
    • What else could happen to make me feel successful?

    Keep brainstorming all the outcomes you could experience to create a feeling of success.

    Final Thoughts

    Being successful requires overcoming a lot of obstacles, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to tackle these obstacles one step at a time. In the words of Joyce Brothers, “Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

    More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

    Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

    Reference

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