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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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Friday
Dec022011

9 Things, Part 4

This post is part of my series on Heidi Grant Halvorson’s 9 Things Successful People Do Differently and my experiences with her advice.

Thing #4: Be a Realistic Optimist

Here’s the skinny: Research indicates that believing you will succeed at your goal does help you achieve it, but only if you believe you will have to work to get there. Believing you will achieve success easily actually makes it less likely you will. Why? If you think success will just happen, you don’t focus on the steps you need take (which Thing #1 reminds us is important). If you think the path to success will involve obstacles, you plan to deal with them, which means that when you do encounter them (as you always will, even if you think you won’t), you’re better equipped to overcome them. Optimism gives you emotional resilience in the face of setbacks, but it has to be combined with a realistic assessment of the situation in order to carry you to success.

This is one tip where I can’t offer a specific example of how I’ve done this, because it’s a mindset — albeit a mindset I do share — rather than a technique. But it does allow me to share a fantastic quote on the subject I found yesterday from Carol Dweck.

“Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.”

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