Ideas in Motion

Two Mental Traits of the Most Successful People

Oct 8, 2019 8:35:47 AM

Think back to your first couple of semesters as an engineering student. You were flooded with new concepts. Likely, the mathematics were more difficult than anything you had encountered in high school, and you worked around the clock to absorb it all. But you knew some of the difficulties when you applied for school in the first place. The challenges weren’t a mystery to you, and something drove you to take them on. Becoming an engineer is a big, challenging goal that many people are not ready to accomplish or could not, even if they tried.

Almost everyone who contemplates accomplishing something difficult, something they have never accomplished before, grapples with two opposing ideas: self-acceptance and self confidence.

The first idea is the need to accept yourself as you are today. Self-acceptance is the foundation of confidence and the belief that you are not only valuable as a person, but up to the challenge of achieving your goals. The larger your goals, the more self-confidence you will need. It will buoy you to endure the inevitable challenges. Self-confidence helps you believe that you can succeed at whatever you choose.

James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh (1903), concludes, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

If you focus your thoughts and actions on your goals, they will help to build your confidence, and lead you to believe that you can achieve even loftier goals. The better you become at managing your thoughts and expectations, the easier it will be for you to succeed with the second part of the achieving formula.




Self-acceptance is directly opposed by the realization that who you are today is not enough to accomplish your future goals. You will quite literally need to evolve into someone as different from your present self as you are from the person you were when you were five years old.

Your skills, habits, knowledge and experience all need to grow and improve for you to create improved results; and the bigger the goal, the more you must change. Business philosopher, Jim Rohn, summed it up quite nicely by advising those who wish to have more or achieve more to “become more,” and to “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”

Most people get confused when they begin planning a new goal. They start by asking the question, “What do I need to do to achieve this big new goal?” But they are asking the wrong question!

The question to ask when setting a big goal is, “Who do I need to become in order to achieve this goal?" And, "Is this type of person I want to be?” Being able to answer these questions is transformative to the outcome of your endeavor, and a pivotal point on the road through "life."

If you are contemplating your next big endeavor, keep in mind the two traits and internalize them—belief and transformation. You must believe you can do it if you put in the proper time and effort, and you must plot how you will become someone more than you are today.


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Topics: Engineers, Self-Development, Career

Anthony Butler

Written by Anthony Butler