By: Charles E. Ward, DC
I have been working for many years as a success coach and consultant to thousands of Chiropractors at all levels of practice. I’ve paid particular attention to the achievers I have gotten to know, and there have been many. They are the men and women who have accelerated to and maintained their very lofty positions at the uncrowded top of their profession. I have always admired achievers, and because of that admiration, I have also had a lot of interest in what got them to where they are. I’ve watched winners at work and play. I have observed them in social settings and in the presence of colleagues and associates. I have visited with them casually in their homes and, of course, I have talked with them for hours professionally in a client/coach relationship. I have asked an endless number of questions, while all the time listening and observing. The fact is, I have learned as much from them as they have learned from me.
While observing winners, I have also characterized what I feel are the six most common traits of losers, those things that winners don’t do. I offer the following thoughts and observations not to accentuate the negative in any way at all, but rather in hopes that the elimination of just one or two bad habits may go a long way toward helping you or someone you know move steadily upward on the professional ladder of success. Yes, I believe that in recognizing the negative for the purpose of avoidance, we are in fact accentuating the positive.
Loser Trait #1
The first negative characteristic is the failure to find purpose in what one does. The great industrialist T. T. Munger said, “There is no road to success but through a clear, strong purpose. Nothing can take its place. A purpose underlies character, culture, position, and attainment of every sort.” And to quote Carlisle, “A man with a half volition goes backward and forward and makes no way on the smoothest road, while a man with the whole volition advances on the rockiest, most winding road and will reach his purpose, there be even a little wisdom in it.” I have always defined purpose as the reason we do the things we do. The reason or purpose can be either positive or negative in nature. Each and every winner I’ve known has had a very strong footing in positive purpose.
Loser Trait #2
The second characteristic of losers is “stinking thinking”. Unsuccessful people subconsciously tell themselves why they will never win and why the cards are always stacked against them. For many, this excuse is actually comforting, since it helps them accept the failure that consumes their lives. Those who fail to achieve share in common the tendency to lie about a lot of things, and most of the lies they tell are told to themselves. Winners, I have found, avoid any kind of stinking thinking and feel strongly about the prospects of personal success in everything they do.
Loser Trait #3
Characteristic number three is negative association. Surely you have noticed that successful people cluster; unfortunately, so do the not-so-successful. You have heard the phrase, “Misery loves company.” Well, it is true. Winners who I know, socialize, and work with avoid negative association at all cost. These people prefer to spend quality time doing quality things, with quality people in quality environments.
Loser Trait #4
Our fourth characteristic would be waiting for the ship to come in. I frequently meet young doctors, and veteran doctors as well, who seem to be constantly waiting for some miracle to just swoop down and magically take them to the place of their dreams. It is sad, but I see far too many men and women, young and old alike, waiting for their ships to come in without ever having sent one out in the first place. They believe that somehow, somewhere, some way, something is going to happen without the lease of effort and direction that will propel them to the top. Winners don’t wait for things to happen to them. The winners I have known make things happen.
Loser Trait #5
The fifth characteristic that losers seem to possess is the inability to prioritize. Unsuccessful people have a difficult time setting priorities. They too often end up doing what I call “majoring in the minors.” These people have a strong tendency to continuously shuffle those really important things and events in their lives to the bottom of the “things to do” stack. Successful people are able to place important and meaningful duties and responsibilities day to day, month to month, and year to year at the top of their activity lists.
Loser Trait #6
The final characteristic of those who seem never to win is low self-esteem. It is a scientifically proven fact that the way one feels about oneself is paramount to success and fulfillment. This applies to both personal and professional life. The many winners I have known and consider my friends always think and act like winners. Losers, on the other hand, are constantly degrading themselves consciously and subconsciously in everything they do. Success and fulfillment indeed begin with a strong belief system in oneself and the ability to address every task at hand.
The Good News
Recognize any of the above in yourself or in someone you know? Well hopefully, not very much. If you do, fear not, because the recognition of the problem is the first action necessary in its elimination. It is never too late to change your life. I remember somebody using the following quote of the great boxer Joe Louis, and I believe it has great application here: “A man is never out by getting knocked down; he is only out when he fails to get up and get back in the fight.” Don’t put off winning for even one more day. Assemble your new list of priorities right now and by resolve that instead of waiting for things to happen to you, you are going to start making things happen. After all, it does begin with the basic and very true belief that “ALL GOALS WORTH WORKING FOR ARE IN FACT POSSIBLE.” That thought alone is very much a basic characteristic of a WINNER.