How to Acquire a Success-Oriented Mindset

Your mindset is a critical factor in producing successful results, since it helps you create the character traits and habits that move you towards your goals, your ambitions, and your dreams. The following list highlights several enduring elements of a success-oriented mindset. Technologies and tools may be helpful in producing certain results, but they are impotent without the fundamentals of a life well-lived.

A Future Orientation

You are building your future this very moment. You might be creating a future that you have designed intentionally, by dreaming big and setting the necessary goals. What you do today echoes in your tomorrow.

You might also be building a future that isn’t at all what you wanted. Don’t let yourself get caught up in “The Drift,” allowing external forces to drag you in a direction that doesn’t serve you.

Independence and Self-Reliance

The most important way to be of value to other people is to become independent and self-reliant—not because you don’t care about others but because you can make something of yourself, carving some sense of order out of chaos.

As Covey rightly pointed out, to be interdependent you first have to establish your independence. Once you can contribute value, others will recognize your worth and want to partner with you.

Can-Do, Will-Do

One of the primary indicators of success is a can-do, will-do attitude. The “can-do” part might be described as competence, the ability to use your competence effectively, while “will-do” is your willingness to tackle new projects (and develop new skills) with resourcefulness and enthusiasm.

Do not underestimate the power of resourcefulness, determination, and initiative. When those attributes are powered by the right attitude, positive results are all but certain.

A Diligent Work Ethic

The word “diligent” isn’t used as often as it should be. It means something like conscientious, an idea that I close every email with: “do good work.” But developing diligent work habits is more than that. One way to make diligence practical and tactical is to think of it as “caring.”

The best possible way to make your work more interesting, more meaningful, and of greater purpose it to imbue it with a high level of caring. Keep asking “how can I make this better?”—even when you’re doing well. The drive to do better creates an upward spiral of improving results and greater success.

Pursuing Success

Success doesn’t come easy, and like Gandalf, it arrives precisely when it means to. It ignores those who ignore success, especially those who dream without taking action. In this way, success is an auditor. It keeps careful track of your commitment, your effort, and your willingness to put in the work it requires—and don’t even think about cheating! You are not entitled to success: you must earn every inch.

Silent Strength

The ancient Stoic philosophers developed a way to deal with life’s hardships without complaining, utilizing a practice of “silent strength.” Complaining or having an overly emotional response to discomfort limits your long-term success. The Stoics even practiced being uncomfortable, as a way to remind themselves that they were capable of surviving discomfort and hardships.

Adapting a stoic demeanor does not mean refusing to experience human emotions, which are part of human nature. Instead, it requires shouldering your hardships without complaint. At some point, you are going to need to do things you don’t want to do, even unpleasant things. You make that easier when you maintain a stoic demeanor.


There is a Buddhist saying: “You are perfect just the way you are, and you could use a little improving.” Think of it this way: you are creating the person that comes after the person you are right now. That means you are always growing, always transforming, always working to improve yourself and to reach your full potential.

You are put here to grow, and not just vertically or horizontally. You are here to grow in your competency, your character, your wisdom, and your contribution. You are put here to be more, do more, have more, and contribute more. Even if perfection is unreachable, there is no better goal than trying to get there with all your might.

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