Those on Track to Achieve Success Share This Mindset

And the good news is, it's possible to change direction if you're headed toward failure.

learn more about Jeff Olson

By Jeff Olson

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Every year, I speak to thousands of audiences throughout the United States and around the world on how to achieve new levels of financial freedom and personal development. Here's one question I'm asked time and again: How do you know if you're on the road to success or on the road to failure? The answer is remarkably simple!

Related: The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

My career as an entrepreneur started more than three decades ago. The transition from beach bum -- spending my days lifting weights and hanging out on the beach in Florida -- to world-traveling and successful businessman did not happen overnight. I learned a lot through trial and error and, of course, from observing others. In all this time, I've noticed a clear difference in mindset among people who eventually succeed compared to those who do not. In my book The Slight Edge, I explain how nothing is linear -- especially your life. Your life is a journey that will take many turns. The best part is that you have the power to change direction! And it starts right here, by determining if you fall on the success curve or the failure curve.

It's reality: Bad things happen to good people. It's how you react to your situation, environment or setback that makes all the difference. That's the key to succeeding or failing. I think American author Stephen Covey says it best: "Accountability breeds response-ability." Never forget that your limitations are self-imposed. Don't complain about what you allow.

Make the right choice.

Here's what I've learned. The predominant state of mind displayed by people on the success curve is responsibility: When faced with negativity or any kind of criticism, their immediate response is to take responsibility and figure out a way to resolve the issue. This type of personality will never blame circumstances on someone else -- even if that person was in the wrong. People on the success curve take full responsibility for who they are, where they are in their lives and everything that happens in between.

Related: 10 Ways to Develop a Success-Oriented Mindset

Take responsibility.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the predominant state of mind displayed by people on the failure curve is blame. It's never their fault. The issue is, always playing the victim prevents you from having the power to initiate change; in fact, when you don't take responsibility but blame others, circumstances or fate, you're giving away all your power.

Are you taking responsibility for where you are in your life and for everything that has happened to you up until now, or do you blame others for all the bad luck, setbacks and hurt you've experienced in the past? If your answer is the latter, don't worry -- about 95 percent of people fall on the failure curve. You see, when you take responsibility for everything that happens in your life, you're placing yourself in the driver's seat -- you are in control of your life, your career, your health and your happiness. By not taking responsibility and instead blaming others or circumstances means you're giving away your control and don't have the power to act.

Where are you on the curve?

Related: 4 Defeat-Based Mindsets That Keep Your Business Stagnant

Change your mindset.

I can give you lots of business advice, but without focusing on correcting your mindset, your road to the top may be filled overwhelmingly with many obstacles. Your mindset allows you to see and celebrate life's victories (or curses) no matter how small they appear. I'm here to tell you that yes -- you can change your circumstances. I have done it and so can you. People on the success curve focus on the now and look to the future. If you're in a dead-end job, what can you do to change it? If you're not getting along with your boss, what can you do to improve the relationship? You have the power.

Overcome obstacles.

Life happens. I'm not asking you to forget about the past and only focus on what you can accomplish in the future, I'm asking you to use past experiences as a tool for making better decisions in the present. Review your past, but do that only to make a better plan -- don't dwell! Remember when I told you about how 95 percent of people live on the failure curve -- that means only 5 percent are moving up and moving forward. Why not make today the day you choose to be part of the 5 percent? What's stopping you?

Related: Success Comes When You've Mastered Your Mindset

Define success.

What does success look like to you? I think to be genuinely successful means you need more than financial success but also success in health, happiness, relationships, personal development, your career, spirituality, a sense of fulfillment, your legacy and the impact you have on the world ... it means all these things and more! Others agree. In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, almost 4,000 interviews and more than 80 surveys revealed that senior executives consider factors such as "making a difference and working with a good team in a good environment" necessary in defining success and "rewarding relationships were by far the most common element of personal success." The truth is that if you're not adding assets to your personal and professional life every day, you're heading down the curve.

Try this: When you're faced with resistance, negativity and unproductive criticism instead of blaming others for your hardship take responsibility and react in a way that will make you stronger and will get you a step closer to reaching your goals. Take the high road and focus on what you can do to get where you want to go. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Life waits for no one. Make one positive change in your life today and another one tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. I suggest you make these words by Thomas J. Watson your life's rule -- I know I have: "[M]ake mistakes, make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On the far side of failure."

You've got this.

Jeff Olson

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Founder & CEO of Neora

Jeff Olson is the founder and CEO of Neora and is a leader in the direct sales industry. He's also the author of The Slight Edge, which shares the philosophy he used to achieve success as an entrepreneur and CEO. He aims to help others reach financial freedom and personal excellence.

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