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Fixin' to Cook up a New Career? Don't Forget the Number One Ingredient

There is one ingredient in your recipe for success in your job search – and in life in general – that is vital and irreplaceable.

You may think that your skills and abilities are the only things a potential employer is interested in. Yet why is it that some individuals have the education, the training, and the ability, but never reach their potential? They never find the professional position they desire. Why is it that some individuals are successful, while others are not?

Two people graduate from the same college with the same major, the same grade point average, yet one is successful in life and the other is not. Why?

What is the ingredient that one has and the other does not have?

You have met people like this: They blame everyone but themselves for their failures in life. What, you may ask, is their real problem? Is it a lack of personal motivation? Did they never finish growing up? Were they raised poorly? Has their self-confidence been so diminished by a constant flow of defeat that they consistently look over their shoulder for someone else to assign the challenges they alone have created?

Lou O’Dell, a coach to business professionals, maintains that success is a habit, as is defeat. Successful people expect positive results, he maintains, and unsuccessful people expect defeat.

“Often,” O’Dell continues, “unsuccessful people know what is needed to become successful; they just seem to defeat themselves on purpose.

“Attitude isn’t the only thing, it is everything,” O’Dell maintains.

What is attitude? A dictionary defines attitude as “a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter; disposition.” A thesaurus uses the following words: condition of mind; mental state; philosophy; demeanor; frame of mind. The thread that seems to bind all of these words into a common fabric is word “mind.”

One’s thinking is what controls one’s attitude.

But rather than focus on the negative, focus instead on the positive. What are the characteristics of successful people? What attri-

butes do they have that less successful people do not? The number one ingredient for success in a job search, and in life, is attitude.

A good attitude means self-discipline. The ability to cooperate with others. Personal responsibility. Persistence. A positive personality. Optimism. Enthusiasm. Belief in one’s self. Ambition.

Wow. Tough stuff, huh?

If one has a sour personality yet is able to see through the maze of negativity and desire change, what does one do? O’Dell suggests that one take a strong and honest look at oneself, and take inventory.

“Everyone has strengths,” he maintains. “The key is to emphasize those strengths, which in turn diminishes the weaknesses.

“Take a pad of paper, and be honest, even brutal, with yourself,” says O’Dell. “Write down what and who you are. Do not try to rationalize why, or make excuses, just factually write down your positive and negative personality attributes. Try using two columns, one positive and one negative.”

What will be the results of this technique? O’Dell maintains that it will cause you to become more aware of your strengths and to focus on eliminating the negatives. The first step, O’Dell says, is to act positive and upbeat whether you feel that way or not.

In the employment arena, says Mason Smith, senior vice president and outplacement expert, companies want to hire positive, up-beat people.

“No one,” he elaborates, “wants to be around negative, complaining, unpleasant, people.”

And you know, he is right.

Have you noticed how you are drawn to positive, enthusiastic, people? Conversely, have you noticed how you are repelled by negativity?

“The same is true in the workplace,” Smith maintains.

Further, have you observed how people with a positive enthusiastic personality even seem to be more attractive? What is the lesson here?


Richard M. Knappen is the president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally owned companies of its type in Southern California.

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There is one ingredient in your recipe for success in your job search – and in life in general – that is vital and irreplaceable.

You may think that your skills and abilities are the only things a potential employer is interested in. Yet why is it that some individuals have the education, the training, and the ability, but never reach their potential? They never find the professional position they desire. Why is it that some individuals are successful, while others are not?

Two people graduate from the same college with the same major, the same grade point average, yet one is successful in life and the other is not. Why?

What is the ingredient that one has and the other does not have?

You have met people like this: They blame everyone but themselves for their failures in life. What, you may ask, is their real problem? Is it a lack of personal motivation? Did they never finish growing up? Were they raised poorly? Has their self-confidence been so diminished by a constant flow of defeat that they consistently look over their shoulder for someone else to assign the challenges they alone have created?

Lou O’Dell, a coach to business professionals, maintains that success is a habit, as is defeat. Successful people expect positive results, he maintains, and unsuccessful people expect defeat.

“Often,” O’Dell continues, “unsuccessful people know what is needed to become successful; they just seem to defeat themselves on purpose.

“Attitude isn’t the only thing, it is everything,” O’Dell maintains.

What is attitude? A dictionary defines attitude as “a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter; disposition.” A thesaurus uses the following words: condition of mind; mental state; philosophy; demeanor; frame of mind. The thread that seems to bind all of these words into a common fabric is word “mind.”

One’s thinking is what controls one’s attitude.

But rather than focus on the negative, focus instead on the positive. What are the characteristics of successful people? What attri-

butes do they have that less successful people do not? The number one ingredient for success in a job search, and in life, is attitude.

A good attitude means self-discipline. The ability to cooperate with others. Personal responsibility. Persistence. A positive personality. Optimism. Enthusiasm. Belief in one’s self. Ambition.

Wow. Tough stuff, huh?

If one has a sour personality yet is able to see through the maze of negativity and desire change, what does one do? O’Dell suggests that one take a strong and honest look at oneself, and take inventory.

“Everyone has strengths,” he maintains. “The key is to emphasize those strengths, which in turn diminishes the weaknesses.

“Take a pad of paper, and be honest, even brutal, with yourself,” says O’Dell. “Write down what and who you are. Do not try to rationalize why, or make excuses, just factually write down your positive and negative personality attributes. Try using two columns, one positive and one negative.”

What will be the results of this technique? O’Dell maintains that it will cause you to become more aware of your strengths and to focus on eliminating the negatives. The first step, O’Dell says, is to act positive and upbeat whether you feel that way or not.

In the employment arena, says Mason Smith, senior vice president and outplacement expert, companies want to hire positive, up-beat people.

“No one,” he elaborates, “wants to be around negative, complaining, unpleasant, people.”

And you know, he is right.

Have you noticed how you are drawn to positive, enthusiastic, people? Conversely, have you noticed how you are repelled by negativity?

“The same is true in the workplace,” Smith maintains.

Further, have you observed how people with a positive enthusiastic personality even seem to be more attractive? What is the lesson here?


Richard M. Knappen is the president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally owned companies of its type in Southern California.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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