This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David J. Schwartz. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What does it mean to have an attitude for success? What kind of attitude sets apart a successful person?
Our attitudes speak for us, broadcasting disinterest and boredom, or energy and success. If you want the latter, work on nurturing these three attitudes: 1) “I’m activated,” 2) “You are important,” and 3) “Service first.”
Keep reading to learn about the three attitudes that all successful people have in common.
The Power of Attitude
An attitude for success isn’t something you either have or don’t have—anyone can cultivate it. Successful people hone three specific attitudes to help them lead people effectively: 1)“I’m activated”, 2) “You are important”, and 3) “Service first.”
The “I’m Activated” Attitude
Being activated means being enthusiastic. You have to be enthusiastic if you want anyone else to get excited about your cause. Students will tune out a monotone, unengaged teacher, but an enthusiastic, activated teacher will capture their interest. A fundraiser who is truly passionate about his cause will generate more donations than someone going through the motions.
You want other people to look at you favorably as someone who’s alive, purposeful, and enthusiastic.
You can develop the enthusiasm skill in three ways:
- Learn more about something you find uninteresting. You might find something boring only because you don’t know enough about it. When you dig enough, you’ll dig up enthusiasm and interest.
- If you’re not enthusiastic about a subject, learn about it. It’s likely way more interesting than you thought.
- If there’s a person you don’t get along with, learn all you can about her. You’ll find your interest and enthusiasm toward her grow.
- Have a task you are avoiding? Dig deep and learn everything you can about it.
- Add more life to everything you do. Practice enthusiasm in your actions and words.
- When you shake hands with someone, grasp their hand firmly, make eye contact and smile. They’ll feel great and you’ll feel engaged.
- When you say “thank you,” or “how are you?” smile and speak sincerely. Others will see an enthusiastic, warm individual.
- Spread good news. Good news makes people happy and spreads enthusiasm.
- You can broadcast good things happening in your life. “My kid got into college!”
- Share good company news. “We made our quota!”
- Relay positivity. “I ran into your friend the other day; he spoke so highly of you!”
- Likewise, avoid negative news. Don’t complain about the weather.
The “You Are Important” Attitude
Everyone wants to feel important. Others — customers, employees, friends — react positively to you when you make them feel important. They’ll work harder for you, cooperate more and offer more help.
Three tips on conveying the “You are important” attitude:
- Show sincere appreciation. People thrive on praise and compliments.
- Give sincere, deserved compliments. For example, tell someone helping you that “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
- Write notes or make phone calls to convey appreciation.
- Remember people’s names. No one feels important if they’re invisible.
- Pronounce and spell names correctly.
- Give credit to others. Accomplishments are the result of a team effort.
- Praise the people on your team when an accomplishment is recognized.
The “Service First” Attitude
By default, think about what you can do for other people. Don’t focus on how you benefit. If you take care of other people, you’ll be taken care of yourself.
- Give people more than they expect. Ask yourself, “How can I go above and beyond?”
- Good services prompts customers to stay loyal to your business.
- Loyal customers help your business grow through referrals.
You can use this service-first attitude to elevate your personal relationships, as well. Asking yourself “How can I go above and beyond?” for your partner and family will create happier relationships and goodwill.
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