Those who know me know that I am an avid collector of quotes. One quote that has significantly influenced my life is the following by Zig Ziglar: “It’s not your aptitude but your attitude that determines your altitude.”
When I first read that quote years ago, I thought, What? Certainly one’s ability counts far more than one’s attitude. But the more I thought about it, the more I had to admit that Mr. Ziglar was right. The most successful people I knew were not the ones with the greatest ability but the ones with the best attitudes.
Think of it. Your attitude will get you farther than your ability in a given area. Most of us know people who are successful in their field of endeavor but who are far less capable than others in that same field of endeavor. Why? The answer lies in their attitude.
So what is it about attitude that has so much to do with success? What, indeed, is attitude?
Attitude is the way one looks at one’s life and one’s world. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines attitude as “a mental position with regard to a fact or state.”
So what does all of this have to do with writing? Plenty. Every writer has a mental position with regard to her writing. That mental position can be boiled down to the way the writer sees her writing and her world. And the way the writer sees her writing and her world will determine her level of success as a writer.
Here in Jersey where I live, we often say about a person, “She’s got an attitude.” What we mean is that a certain woman has spunk, feistiness, and confidence almost to the point of cockiness. While I am not advocating cockiness about our writing, I am certainly advocating confidence about it. But here’s the clincher: Our confidence must not be in ourselves but in the God Who made us and gave us our writing talent.
Scripture tells us to have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). The flesh is comprised of the body and the soul (the mind, the will, and the emotions). What God is telling us here is that placing confidence only in our own strength and in our own ability as writers will ultimately lead to failure.
Notice I said “ultimately” because clearly there are those who, from the world’s perspective, achieve temporary writing success without putting their confidence in God. But true success is measured not only in book sales, fame, and money earned. True success includes every aspect of a writer’s life: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social, and financial. And true success depends on a right attitude about oneself, one’s writing, and one’s world.
In our next Monday Makeover, we’ll talk more about what that right attitude is in terms of a writer’s self-image. But for now, I’d love to hear from you. What role do you think your attitude plays in your success as a writer?
Tune in on Wednesday for Wednesday Wisdom: Resolving the Art vs. Business Conundrum