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John Seckel, Philadelphia, on the Mentality of a Successful Career

Success can be defined very subjectively. A person can live a rich, fulfilling life in just about any career, as long as they maintain a certain standard of living, including their health, autonomy, and overall happiness. Whatever field someone chooses to work in, however, there are a few universal characteristics that define the ideal mentality […]

Success can be defined very subjectively. A person can live a rich, fulfilling life in just about any career, as long as they maintain a certain standard of living, including their health, autonomy, and overall happiness. Whatever field someone chooses to work in, however, there are a few universal characteristics that define the ideal mentality needed to propel through each stage of a lifelong career.

First, a positive attitude sets the stage for success and goes a long way, both toward achieving goals and establishing new ones for the next phase in the journey. The minute that glass-is-half-empty feeling enters the mind, there’s a setback in productivity. It’s a lot harder to focus on the job that needs to be done if that initial burst of energy has to go toward an attitude adjustment. Attitude needs to be permanently and positively adjusted. Any other way is a waste of time and resources.

Second, choose and cultivate good habits, beginning right now. “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” Whether the day’s plans include mopping floors, teaching a class of students, or hitting the links with a potential client to close the deal, it needs to begin on the right foot and with some measurable success in the books before heading out the door. Making the bed, not hitting the snooze button, eating 20 grams of protein… It almost doesn’t matter what the good habit entails, but successful people have them and practice them without fail every day. People are often surprised how small adjustments to the morning before work make a big difference in how they attack the day.

Lastly, successful people are confident people. This doesn’t necessarily entail a cocky or extroverted personality. In fact, some degree of humility is virtually essential to a successful career. However, so is a basic feeling of someone being okay with who they are. Whoever they are, every working adult out there has experienced some kind of disappointment or failure, but the ones who can take a hit, learn from it, and rise above it are those who find themselves satisfied both in the workplace and in life, in general.

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