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The overlooked key to success

Do you ever tire of people implying success is just effort and hard work? Having been in poverty, I know that effort isn’t the most important factor in success.

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Do you ever tire of people implying that success is just about effort and hard work? Having been in poverty, I know that effort isn’t the most important factor in success.

Just around 10 years ago, our family was in poverty after a series of layoffs and pay cuts. We were about to lose our house in foreclosure. Everything felt hopeless.

From the pit of despair to success

The WORST part about feeling hopeless is how everything feels more hopeless with each passing day.

Hopelessness is a monster that just keeps growing if you don’t slay it, which is easier said than done.

I often hear people talking about how if poor people only tried harder, worked harder, managed their scant funds better, they would get out of poverty. Some people make perpetually dumb life choices. No argument there.

But a bigger factor is your mindset.

Poverty does terrible things in your brain. Living life in survival mode, in a constant state of stress, is bad for your physical and mental health. I know when I was in poverty, I couldn’t think clearly. I needed a clear head to claw my way out of the pit we were in.

Intentional gratitude and success

The overlooked key to success

One habit I used to turn this ship around was intentional gratitude.

I am NOT saying, “If only those poor people were more thankful.” Nope. Not at all.

I am referring to the exciting ways gratitude helped my brain see the good. With intentional gratitude, I noticed the opportunities and relieved the stress in my life.

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools for increasing happiness. Research shows it is the single most powerful method of increasing happiness. Having an attitude of gratitude doesn’t cost any money. It doesn’t take much time. But the benefits of gratitude are enormous.

31 Benefits of Gratitude, The Happier Human

Now at first, it was lame stuff. Thankful for crumbs, really. And hey, no shame in humble beginnings.

Gratitude in small things leads to bigger changes. I regained my creativity and see solutions. Solutions and opportunities slowly came into my field of vision again.

I’m not referring to gratitude as a sort of mantra or magic word you say.

Noticing new opportunities

Think of it this way. I bought a used Jeep Cherokee a few years ago. After I bought that vehicle, I was suddenly noticing Jeep Cherokee’s everywhere. Now, I know people didn’t suddenly run out and buy the same 20-year-old Jeep Cherokee I did. But now I noticed that vehicle because it entered my line of sight.

In the same way, when you notice good things, you will see more good. Focus on the positive stuff and opportunities, you find more of those.

This outlook energizes you. You’ll feel positive after a while, too.

Seeing a way out

I have a family member who crabs about how life has done him wrong.

He’s experienced some terrible circumstances in life. By focusing on how various political leaders and the decisions of others are ruining his life and eliminating opportunity, he only sees dead ends. He doesn’t realize he’s a solution to these problems. He believes others have thwarted any opportunity.

His mindset has made him blind to opportunities he might otherwise notice.

Now, he has experienced the negative impact of the decisions of others. Solutions are harder to find when you focus on negative circumstances. Focusing on the negative will never improve your life.

If you focus on the good things, your outlook will improve. Train your mind through reflection and journaling to notice the good. This way, you see the positive instead of the negative.

Your mindset really is the overlooked key to success, and changing it starts with gratitude.



I help small business and solopreneurs grow their businesses through strategic design services for web and print, while patiently guiding them around tech hurdles. My mission is to positively impact small businesses and their communities with awesome design for web and print.
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