LinkedIn and other social media sites are publishing a lot of articles and graphics lately about things successful people do and don’t do. There are many good points in all of them, and they at least give us things to strive for. This graphic in particular caught and held my attention:
For the most part, I agree with this one.
Before I started to bring my demons to heel, many of my traits fell into the yellow. I hoped for certain people to fail. I held too many grudges to count. I criticized everyone and everything, and I was terrified of change. Over the years, I’ve learned to do a lot of what’s in the green column. And I’m much happier and more successful for it.
But the advice in the image isn’t as simple as the creators would have us believe.
Back when my demons were in control, I read every day, kept detailed to-do lists and accepted responsibility for my failures. Some colleagues used to tell me I beat myself up too much when things didn’t go well. Those traits are in the “successful” column.
In recent years I’ve enjoyed a lot of success. But I still do some of the things in this graphic’s “unsuccessful” column. I horde information and data. I fly by the seat of my pants much more than I used to — and I enjoy it. I find it hard not to pat myself on the back for jobs well done.
The lesson? The path to success or failure is much more complicated than an image can show us. And no matter how successful we are, there will always be room for improvement.