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How Very Successful People Think Differently Problems will arise. How you handle them is key.

By Meiko Patton Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Would you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

  • I wish I had fewer problems in life.
  • I wish I didn't have to struggle so much in life.
  • I wish I had the opportunities that other people have.

If you agreed to any one of the above statements, then you are not thinking like an incredibly successful person. Success leaves clues. What clues can we glean from incredibly successful people? Let's break down each of the above statements.

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1. I wish I had fewer problems in life.

You learn some of the best lessons in life from struggles. So instead of wishing things were easier for you, become better. Learn what you need to learn to overcome the challenges in your life. Then teach what you know to others.

The only way you grow in life is when you face your problems head on. Stop wishing for fewer problems. Whatever you focus on grows, so instead of focusing on your problems, focus on the solutions. A great way to do that is by becoming more skillful. Get useful advice from a mentor. Attend that seminar. Make the needed changes.

Iron is sharpened when it is refined by fire. Challenges will sharpen you when you learn how to cope with them. The best way to cope is to gain wisdom. Wisdom will help you defeat challenges and enable your growth.

Incredibly successful thinkers are a lot like Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born into poverty and struggled to overcome every setback in his life. His mother died while he was young. He accumulated debt and struggled to pay it back. Lincoln ran for office and lost more than once. A fiancée died, prompting a nervous breakdown.

Still Lincoln did not give up. Finally he ran for president of the United States -- and, of course, you know the rest. Lincoln failed numerous times but did not stay down in defeat. He learned, pivoted and is remembered as one of the best presidents in history.

If Lincoln had not encountered all those setbacks, would he have known how strong he really was? Most of us have no idea what we are capable of until we have no choice but to be that way.

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2. I wish I didn't have to struggle so much in life.

Incredibly successful thinkers are a lot like author and crusader Helen Keller. If there was one person who really had to struggle, it was Keller. Born blind and deaf, she never gave up. To her, life was either an adventure or nothing at all. She said, "The world is full of suffering; it is also full of the overcoming it." If Keller could overcome her struggles, shouldn't you be able to?

New York Times best-selling author Brendon Burchard says incredibly successful people make it their job to go learn what they don't know. "They take their current limitation and put it on their agenda as a job to do, as a thing to figure out, as something to make happen."

It all starts with your mindset. Our feelings and thoughts create the circumstances in our lives. If your thoughts are negative, you will not achieve success. It's that simple. If you can master your psychology the way Keller did, you can master how incredibly successful people think.

Name one successful person who did not struggle in their life. Can you name one? Exactly, there are none. In order to reach the summit of the mountain, the prerequisite is the valley. If you want to reach the top, you must go the lows of the valley. If you picked up a football and ran across the goal line, would it be a touchdown? No. The touchdown only comes when you are facing a fierce opponents on the field -- only when there is a struggle to win.

Who would David be without Goliath? Who are you shaping up to be if you only have an easy going, pain-free life?

3. I wish I had the opportunities that other people have.

There are only two ways in which change happens in your life. Either you create something new in your life or something new will come to you without you having to work at it all. Which one do you have control over?

Incredibly successful people don't wait for circumstances to come looking for them. They go out and find it, no matter how long it takes. Opportunities in life are created by incredibly successful thinkers -- people like inventor Thomas Edison.

Related: Why 'Trust Your Gut' Is a Myth

Where would any of us be without the lightbulb? Suffice it to say, all us are immeasurably grateful that Edison did not give up after the struggle. It has been estimated that he failed more than 1,000 times before he created the lightbulb. Now, what if he just stopped trying, or what if he just kept wishing that he had the opportunities that the wealthy have?

Each so-called failure got him one step closer to the real thing. As Jim Rohn said, "Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better." Keep trying until you succeed. You must not give in to defeat. Each challenge in our life is an experience to learn and grow from. If there is no friction in your life, you will not grow. Whatever does not grow, dies. Take a look at the common house plant. If it does not get the water it needs, it will cease to exist. If we have no struggle in our life, we will cease to exist as well. Don't wish for more opportunities, go out and develop more skills.

Lincoln, Keller and Edison didn't know they had what it took to succeed in life until they were forced to test their inner strength. New doors open in life only after you rise from a previous defeat and begin to walk anew. When you refuse to let failures hinder your progress, you will eventually arrive at your new destination.

Meiko Patton

Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author

Sacramento-based Meiko S. Patton is a writer for the federal government and author of How a Postage Stamp Saved My Life.

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