“Man’s biggest mistake is to believe that he’s working for someone else.”
For a long time, I’ve noted that “Winners concentrate on winning, and losers concentrate on getting by.”
Presuming you want to be in the winner’s column, I see five things that will guarantee your winner’s status.
1. Stop the blame game.
The world renowned nursing leader, Florence Nightingale learned that first hand. She said, “I attribute my success in life to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”
When you see a real winner in any role or any profession, you will immediately notice that she takes personal responsibility for the results in her life. And when you come across a loser, you’ll also notice that he is constantly blaming others or making excuses for his lack of success.
That’s sad. As John Butler, the author of “Odyssey: The Business of Consulting,” summarizes his ten years of research, “Making excuses and blaming are the verbal manifestations of an immature person … someone who is not truly aware of the concept of responsibility … and the powerful force that it plays in preventing them from achieving their true potential.”
You see … the loser … the truly irresponsible person uses victim language, consistently blaming other people and circumstances for his inability to the get the job done, make progress in his career, or improve his life situation. He’ll often be heard saying such things as: “I can’t … I’ll try … It’s not my fault … or … If it hadn’t been for that other person.”
Don’t do it. Oh sure, blaming others and making excuses may buy you a little short-lived sympathy, but it will never bring you the happiness and success you’re looking for. So stop it!
Of course, it’s always easier to point out the pitiful excuses that others make than the ones we rely on ourselves. To get beyond that…
2. Root out your irresponsibility.
Start with a look at your language. The “already” questions are very powerful in rooting out your favorite excuses.
For example, when you ask yourself why you haven’t achieved certain things … already … look for your natural tendencies to trot out your favorite excuses. As Butler observes, “99% of the time your excuses are not valid or legitimate. In other words, if you were really determined and took a step-by-step approach to the achievement of whatever goal you have in mind, you could probably achieve it.”
One of the first steps towards being a winner is stop surrounding yourself with good excuses as to why you cannot do something.
3. Change your self-talk.
Once you stop the blame game and root out your irresponsibility, start talking to yourself positively.
And don’t be shy about it. As business consultant James T. McCay makes clear, “No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime.” So you have lots of good stuff inside of you that will come out when you affirm it.
Mary Lawrence proved that when she had to decide whether she was going to make a comeback or lay down and whine.
It all began when Mary’s car was hit by a reckless driver, her injuries so severe that the medics thought she was dead and simply carried her to the ambulance. Only a chance pulse check in the ambulance before the medics drove off showed that she was still alive. At the hospital, the doctors expected her to either die or survive without being able to move or even think normally.
But Mary decided to survive and focused all her energy on it. She faced incredible tests; two major operations on her face without anesthetic and 15 root canals. She also had to deal with not being able to recall common names or even the simplest of thoughts.
How did she do it? Without any excuses, whining, or blaming. She took responsibility for her future by adopting and repeating the two-word motto, “I can.” Then she set some very high goals for herself.
She astonished everyone by studying for a real estate license. She often had to read the material over 50 times in order to comprehend and retain it. Yet her focus on the goal helped her not only pass the test but do so on her first try.
She found work as a real estate agent, but nothing came easily. She failed at two firms — and responded by setting her goals even higher. She decided to make into the Million Dollar Club that her third employer reserved for its most successful agents. Right away she bought a beautiful evening gown — to wear the night she anticipated being named to the club. She looked at the dress every day as she pursued her goal. And as you can guess, she won entry to the Million Dollar Club and wore her dress … right on schedule.
Talk to yourself positively. And then…
4. Keep on learning.
Even though we know and we can prove it is absolutely vital, only a small percentage of managers, for example, get a degree in management or study the profession of management. The evidence also indicates that the vast majority of managers or business owners never read a book on their subject or attend a training program. Perhaps they should remember what Mark Twain said, “The person who does not read a good book has no advantage over a person who cannot read at all.”
As Butler points out later in his research, “To remain personally and professionally competent with your global equivalent, it is imperative that you take responsibility for personal learning … This is the competitive weapon of choice.”
Or as my friend Scott McKain puts it, “Your business gets better when you get better.”
Of course, the losers like to talk about winners as “being lucky” or “getting the break” they never got. Unfortunately, the losers just don’t get it. As Branch Rickey, the old manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, used to say, “Luck is the residue of design.” In other words, it takes a lot of hard work to be lucky. Or as the great French chemist Louis Pasteur would say, “La chance s’occupe de la tete prete” or “Chance favors the prepared mind!”
5. Don’t be disturbed by the sore losers.
If you do the first four things mentioned above, you will be a winner. But I warn you … the better you do, the more visible you are, and the more people will be looking at you as undeservedly successful. They will be jealous, envious ,and resentful of you. They will feel morally entitled to have what you have worked so hard to accomplish and they will leap at any opportunity to celebrate any mistakes you might make.
Marketing genius Dan Kennedy writes extensively about this so-called myth of the “undeserved success.” As Kennedy says, “The losers of the world must cling to and promote the theory of ‘undeserved success,’ otherwise they have no way of explaining their own status. For many, the theory of ‘undeserved success’ is quite literally their religion: a means of providing comfort and shelter against fear, terror, and despair.”
Success is seldom the result of pure luck and good fortune, It is almost always the result of doing the right things. And losing is seldom if ever caused by some kind of perverse universal intelligence that punishes the just, pure, dedicated, and competent in favor of charlatans and thieves.
Take time to apply these five points to your life, your career, and your relationships, and you will find more success than ever before.