Is Having a Positive Attitude Overrated?
By Mike Mahler
There were no self-help groups, personal coaching, cheerleading, or handholding. The philosophy was very basic. You know what you want. You know what you have to do. You know how to do it. Just do it. If you can’t then tough shit!
—Randy Roach, Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors
Self-help gurus often talk about the importance of having a positive attitude, claiming it's fundamental to the success of any and all endeavors. On the contrary: attitude is irrelevant. Couple the brightest of attitudes with a flawed plan and you'll create only failure, while taking that same action with an effective plan--even if your attitude is less than cheerful--will surely succeed. Quoting former Navy SEAL Team Six leader Richard Marcinko, you do not have to like it--you just have to do it. This is the critical factor in success: Doing what needs to be done even when it's the last thing you want to do.
If you're only capable of taking action when you're attitude is positive--then don't bother. If you require extrinsic motivation to make your move, you should just give up, now. If you only perform at a high level when you're feeling your best, then you are the exact opposite of a professional and destined to remain an amateur at life and everything else.
Not only is positive attitude beside the point, it can actually hindermeaningful change...and ensuing success. I'll share a personal example.
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