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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
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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…

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    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

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

    17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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    If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

    Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

    You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

    Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

    Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

    You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

    1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

    Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

    When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

    • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
    • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
    • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

    2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

    A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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    Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

    3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

    As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

    Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

    4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

    Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

    Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

    If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

    5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

    If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

    Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

    6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

    Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

    Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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    7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

    The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

    Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

    8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

    Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

    Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

    9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

    The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

    Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

    Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

    10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

    Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

    And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

    You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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    How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

    11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

    A short and sweet lesson for you:

    You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

    Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

    12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

    A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

    Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

    13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

    Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

    Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

    • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
    • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
    • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

    14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

    Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

    The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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    Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

    15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

    There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

    Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

    16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

    In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

    Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

    17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

    The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

    Keep your mission in mind.

    Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

    Final thoughts

    Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

    What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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