"It's An Attitude"



What would you say if you'd never driven a car before and we told you that driving was all a matter of your attitude? We seat you behind the wheel for the first time in your life, give you the keys, and say "Okay, drive!" First, you look at us like we are nuts. You fumble around and possibly manage to get the thing to turn over a few times before it dies. "Hey," we say, "don't get down. The secret of confidence with driving is having a good attitude, everybody knows that. Look at you, you are getting stressed out. Now try again, but have the right attitude!" You take a deep breath, take on a "good attitude," and try again. Perhaps this time you get the car moving, just enough to drive directly onto someone's front yard. "It's no use," you say. "I can't do it." "Well of course you can't," we come back, "with an attitude like that! We certainly can't help you 'til you get that attitude fixed!"


It's obvious what's missing here: we never told you anything about the technical skills of actually driving a car. We never taught you how to start the car, how to stop it, to steer and to shift. We never taught you the rules of the road and all the skills you'd need to be a confident driver. Of course you didn't have the right "attitude." Of course you failed.


Now imagine that we've taught you everything you need to know before seating you behind the wheel for the first time. You've studied the textbooks, learned about how other drivers tend to behave, and the best ways to interact with them to get what you want. You've spent time in an automotive simulator where you could make mistakes with no real-world consequences, and when you first get behind the wheel, you know exactly what to do. What might your attitude be like then?


We think that saying "the secret of success is to have a better attitude" is about as useful as saying "the secret of success is to have success." In our opinion, the word "attitude" is horribly overused and tells you nothing useful. Attitude and success are both outcomes of doing certain things on a consistent basis. When you understand driving inside and out, know what to do when and how to do it, you automatically have the right attitude and have success.