If you are down on your luck, you may heard that you need to adopt a “can-do attitude.” The most effective promoters of “can-do” are folks who have been through hard times themselves. It can be inspiring to hear a story of success from someone who has overcome poverty, addiction, discouragement, childhood traumas, negative influences or other barriers.
Is attitude everything? Or is success dependant on luck, fate, and circumstances beyond our control? I’m sure that you can find examples of individuals with undeserved success just as easily as I can find examples of folks who have created success out of misfortune.
Here’s the practical question: Of the factors that contribute to success, which can you control? You can’t control where you were born or who your parents are. But you may be able to control, or at least influence, other factors.
One important factor is whether you choose to blame others for your difficulties. Dr. William Glasser categorizes blame as a deadly habit for relationships, and it certainly can be a relationship-destroyer. But blaming affects more than close relationships. Strangely enough, it’s possible that blame’s most destructive consequences affect the blamer, rather than the person being blamed.
Blaming someone for your misfortune relinquishes your control over your situation. Do you believe that your elementary school teacher is still holding you back from success? Or that your self-esteem was ruined by a parent’s cruel comment long ago? If so, are you allowing them to take charge of your life? Is that what you want?
Is it possible to move away from an attitude of blame and toward an attitude that puts control into your hands? Well, you could give a new attitude a try. What do you have to lose?
How would you do that? By choosing actions and creating habits that contribute to success. What we do influences what we think and how we are perceived by others. It may not be fair but it’s reality.
Focus on things we can change to become more successful. What do we need to learn? What skills could help?
Because we don’t always have the information we need, help may be useful. If you find yourself seeking help, keep in mind that different types of help lead toward different directions.
Consider: Do you want to be encouraged to blame others for your difficulties?
Or do you want information that will enable you to overcome difficulties and achieve satisfaction for yourself?
As with many decisions, both have upsides and downsides. If you choose to go with blaming, then you can feel a pleasant lack of responsibility. Your lack of happiness is someone else’s fault. However, that gives up your control to someone else. If they don’t change, you can’t be happy. Realistically, how well can that work for you?
If you choose to drop the blame and attack your difficulties through your own efforts, then it’s possible you may not succeed. Life can be hard. Success can take a long time. You may not get what you want. On the other hand, you have the satisfying sense of charting your own course, and isn’t that what it means to live your own life?
Which would you choose?
Welcome to Reality Check:
articles and observations inspired by the work of Dr. William Glasser
- Choosing Behaviour
- Choosing Perspective
- Control and Choice
- Develop Understanding
- Doing, Thinking, Feeling, Physiology
- How it is sometimes
- Love & Belonging
- Perception & Reality
- Personal Freedom