5 Very Positive Things that Successful People Do!

5 Very Positive Things that Successful People Do!

thumbs up“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Successful people have developed very powerful and deeply held habits.

Here are 5 of them:

1. They live for the future and they don’t dwell in the past. They learn from mistakes and errors but they never brood over “what could have been.” Successful people know that the past is history and that taking risks involves the possibility of failure…but taking reasonable risks is also necessary to succeed.

2. They don’t obsess over perfection. It is not attainable in any measurable way and making perfection the objective is a Sisyphean task and sets one up for failure. Successful people are realistic in their goal-setting and apply themselves and do the best they can. When the job or task is done…it’s time to move on. History will judge if it was good enough.

3. They associate with successful people. And avoid people who are “downers” …those who are negative. Just as a positive attitude is contagious, so is a negative attitude. Negative people can poison a team or an organization. Putting up with negative people is a waste of time and energy that can be used to build positive relationships and networks. Associating with winners helps people become winners themselves. You can’t pick all you interact with … but you sure can for a lot of them. If you are a supervisor – don’t tolerate it in any of your reports. If you supervise supervisors, instruct your people to not tolerate it and train them how to eliminate it from their domain.

4. They never stop learning. Successful people learn on two different tracks: first, studying the components of success and failure and secondly learning more about what interests them personally. The first one is the same for all successful people; learning what the dynamics of success are, how to achieve them as well as learning from past mistakes. One way to do so is to study the success and failures of others. What were the habits, practices, mindsets, and strengths of the great successes of history; Winston Churchill, George Washington, Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie Steel that became U.S. Steel),  Steve Jobs (Apple), Jack Welch (GE)…and Michael Jordan, to name just a few. These great success also made mistakes – big ones along the way. Learn from these greats.

The second area of learning will also make you a more interesting and personable person! In my case, it is history – especially of the American Civil War and the two World Wars. My two universes of learning are therefore reading  biographies and military history. The lessons to be learned overlap. Every now and then, however, an Elmore Leonard novel sneaks in!

5. They bring a healthy amount of skepticism to the table when it is appropriate. They have a bit of “Missouri” in them – Missouri being the “show me state”. It helps them separate the “wheat from the chaff” – the useful from the not-so-useful when absorbing information or needing to decide a course of action. The world is full of people with agendas. A certain amount of skepticism helps to get through that minefield. They know not to take things at face value without probing the details and understanding the consequences of the action being considered. They challenge claims that just don’t seem to make sense.

Step back mentally and evaluate how well  you do in these five dynamics. Make them part of your personal planning journal and incorporate them into daily thinking. Good luck!

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Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions!

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions!

blank list of resolutions on blackboardMany people contemplate New Year’s Resolutions; some actually make them – either mentally or in writing. During my academic years, I really liked the start of school – new notebooks and binders… and a clean slate grade-wise. Today it is the beginning of a new calendar year that has me thinking of the opportunities that will present themselves in the new year….and those that can be made to present themselves.

More importantly, however, is to keep in mind the basics. What are those basics to make the new year a winner?

Here is my top five “gonna do it…or continue to do it…in the  new year”… resolutions  – in no particular order:

  • Pledge to stay in (closer) touch with those who are important to you. Spend more – and quality –  time with your spouse or significant other, your children, and stay in touch with distant relatives and college/high school friends. Time flies by – don’t let it slip by. I took my daughter to college yesterday and today she graduated a year ago – that is how fast it seems that the time has zipped by. Be mindful of the lyrics to “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin –  lost opportunities to relate and share time with others  that will never return.


  • Get organized. Clean up, sort, file, throw away. In a two words – Get Organized. One stack at a time grab that pile of papers, newspapers, magazines, etc. and sort into three piles:
  1. Toss/re-cycle
  2. File
  3. Back into the to-be-read-or-processed pile

I live in a paper world – and it can get the best of me. I go through this process a few times a year (yes – I am aware of the “only touch a piece of paper once theory” – and it is just that – a theory that rarely works with ALL of the stuff I get). My to-be-read-or-processed pile is aways big – but at least this process winnows out the chaff and junk!

I file a lot of stuff – mainly two categories of it. American Civil War articles by battle or biographic subject. It is a favorite subject/hobby of mine and I have visited, re-visited or plan to visit many of them over the years ahead… so I have accumulated a wealth of source material and add to it regularly. The other category is stuff that makes my family look at me and wonder – such things as the history of Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC  or underwater photos of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I am sure it will all be of continuing interest over time! I give you the green light to do the same!

  • Do something you have wanted to do for some time… but never got around to it. Target a project you want to get done by spring or summer… or at least make headway on it. I want to write an essay on a Civil War direct ancestor of mine. I will get started in January and make weekly progress. What is yours?? Identify it – and put it near the top of your “to do” list. Build a patio? Better organize the garage? Color code your sock drawer? <smile> Whatever it is – identify it – and do it. You will feel better afterwards!
  • Stay – or become – fit. Your body is the carriage you ride in every day 24/7. If you aren’t fit – it will manifest itself – and more frequently as you get older. Exercise and eat what is good for you and sparingly what is not so good for you. Many of mankind’s ailments are self-inflicted through bad habits.
  •  Chill – enjoy every day. Take – or make – the time to enjoy life. Read a great book. Take a walk in the rain or snow. Walk the dog. Visit a museum. Take a local tour. You get the idea. Falls into the category of smelling the roses. As the phrase goes – “we are only passing through”… so enjoy each and every day.

A big “thank you” to all of the loyal readers of this blog – I hope it has been helpful and interesting! More career, job-changing and management stuff coming in the New Year!!

Look out – 2015 is right around the corner!! Happy New Year!!

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Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

To The Kid On The End Of The Bench; Careers and Success Don’t Happen Overnight!

Careers and Success Don’t Happen Overnight!

A sign hangs on my office wall that is entitled “To The Kid At The End Of The Bench”. It has been on every office wall I have had since my first job with an office to sit in. It has been both a motivator as well as reminder.  A motivator to keep me on track and focused. A reminder that it takes time to achieve success. As the phrase goes “Rome Kid at end of the benchwasn’t built in a day”.

“To The Kid At The End Of The Bench” – powerful words….maybe hang them on your wall?

Champions once sat where you’re sitting, kid.

The Football Hall of Fame (and every other Hall of Fame) is filled with names of people who sat, week after week, without getting a spot of mud on their well-laundered uniforms.

Generals, senators, surgeons, prize-winning novelists, professors, business executives started at the end of the bench, too.

Don’t sit and study your shoe tops.

Keep your eye on the game.

Watch for defensive lapses.

Look for offensive opportunities.

If you don’t think you are in a great spot, wait until you see how many would like to take it away from you at the next spring practice.

What you do from the bench this season could put you on the field next season as a player, or back in the grandstand as a spectator.

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Want to Build a Great Team and Be a Great Motivator?

Want to Build a Great Team and Be a Great Motivator?

If so – you can take a page or two from John Wooden’s playbook.

woodenJohn Wooden was the legendary basketball coach at UCLA whose accomplishments are in the record book and will probably never be matched:

• 10 NCAA National Championships – 7 consecutively

• 4 30 and 0 seasons (4 perfect seasons)

• Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as BOTH a player (1960) and coach (1973)

John died in 2010 at age 99… but his comments and homilies live on forever. John’s ability to build a basketball dynasty with “ordinary” talent was renowned. Part of his formula was to instill in his players a sense of responsibility, self-sacrifice and humility to meld them into a team. His quips and quotes are great training and motivational aids… use them in sales meetings… add them to your vocabulary to be a better communicator…use them to illustrate lessons when training and mentoring.

Being motivating translates into leading people beyond their envelope – their comfort level. It is done by instilling in them self-belief and self-confidence…and the ability to spring back from failure or setback.

No one was any better at it that Coach John Wooden. Make his comments your own!

  • “Treat all people with dignity and respect”.”
  • “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
  • “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
  • “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
  • “Never mistake activity for achievement”.
  • “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”
  • If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
  • “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”
  • “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
  • “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.”
  • Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
  • “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

Take a look at John’s “Pyramid of Success”. It has been used by managers and coaches world-wide to illustrate the components of success.

john-wooden-pyramid1For further readings about John – see his biography “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” by John Wooden and Steve Jamison.

Wooden book cover

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