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stairs-to-anspirition-4-clThe more you look at it, the more obvious it becomes: successful people possess a ‘success mindset’. While we may disagree on what constitutes ‘success’, let’s just say it is the ‘attainment of one’s goals’ – whatever those may be.

There are so many examples from all facets of life to substantiate the idea of a success mindset – people who consistently deliver top performance under a variety of circumstances. Businesses, sports, academics, medicine – even charity work – all have a pantheon of stars to prove that everything is possible. In the work environment,  we see so many colleagues fall by the wayside purely because of their poor mindset, yet no one ever tells them the truth.

One of the prime reasons for this comes from our conditioning/environment and the messages we receive in our formative years. These negative messages concern our social standing, financial situation, lack of ‘connections’ as well as a host of other factors. To this you can add ‘female’ and ‘minority’.

However factual the circumstances may be, if we carry these messages around like a millstone around our neck, we will sink under its weight. As a counter-argument to this way of thinking, remember that everyone with high social standing, a good financial situation and lots of ‘connections’ does not automatically make it to the top. They also have to compete with everyone else.

I also see people with a poor mindset confuse ‘desire’ with ‘ambition’. ‘Ambition means putting in a lot of passion and energy towards achieving your goals, whereas ‘desire’ is more about wishful thinking. But what happens when your conditioning is driving you to aim low because “one has to do immoral things to get to the top?” Or it is driving you to be content with your lot in life at the cost of your being unable to fulfil your dreams? If we confuse ambition with greed, and wealth with immorality, we are demonstrating our poor mindset.

There are many great books out there to help us redress this situation. You may not be able to do anything about the past or your situation until now, but you CAN do something about your future.

Now that you know it is possible to change, what are you going to do about it?

 – Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, professor-of-practice,executive coach and writer.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 2, 2014.