“Most overnight successes are just plain lucky. Just ask any failure.”
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to look like nails.”
Here’s a sure-fire prescription for how to fail in the game of life:
Develop an attitude, personality and spirit that are critical, complaining, cynical and comparative.
Demonstrate these characteristics on a regular basis, and I can just about guarantee you failure in life.
How to Be Critical
You’ve heard it said that some people see the world through rose-colored glasses. The person who has mastered the fine art of criticism sees the world through glasses colored by something I’d rather not mention.
These folks seem to live to find fault in everything with which they come in contact. Because we live in an imperfect world, something or someone can always serve.
In order to be truly successful at criticizing, these people must never offer solutions for what they don’t like. This is because these folks believe people and things will be motivated to change if they are just criticized enough. It’s a full-time job.
Instead: There are times in life when we all need to give and receive criticism. The wisest people know that you can truly benefit from useful criticism.
Criticism is a tool that is used sparingly at best and needs to be coupled with some positive comments as well.
How to Be Complaining
A close cousin to criticism, complaining is a way of life for some. Others have raised it to an art form. Nothing is ever good enough, not even close. If the adults who usually do this were children, they’d be accused of whining.
Again, it’s crucial to refrain from offering any suggestions as to what could be improved upon, much less what is appreciated. These folks would complain in heaven, if they ever got there.
Instead: Define the problem, state how it affects you and then offer suggestions for what you would like to be different.
How to Be Cynical
We live in an age where cynicism is thought to be sophisticated. At the same time, remember when smoking was thought to be sophisticated?
In order to be truly cynical, you have to be totally convinced that the world, the people in it, and even yourself are only out for themselves and can never be trusted. Cynicism in its purest form totally rules out the possibility of hope, solutions and joy in life. David Letterman without the humor.
Instead: In no way am I suggesting that we should all approach the world like naive children. Any negative taken to the opposite extreme is still a negative. Instead, keeping a healthy skepticism about you protects you and allows for the possibility of hope, solutions and true passion in life.
How to Be Comparitive
Anyone who has ever been compared to a sibling, teammate or co-worker knows just how fun it is to be around this kind of person. “If only you were more like … ”
Other good comparative things to say are: “This time is not as fun as last time,” and “the way you do it here is not nearly as good as we did it back there.”
Remember to say these and all comparative statements with a certain air of superiority, nose slightly turned upward for full effect.
Instead: Start with what is working or is good about the situation, and then ask the powerful and rarely asked question:
“How could we make this even better?”