KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Aug 02 2011

Posted by

If it’s to be, it’s up to me

One Harvard Business School study determined that there were four factors critical to success: information, intelligence, skill and attitude. When these factors were ranked as to importance, this particular study found that information, intelligence and skill combined amounted to 7% of the effectiveness and attitude amounted to 93%!  Could it be that 93% of our success in work, and in life, results from our attitude?

I remember hearing a story of two people going to work each day in New York City and every morning they would stop at the same newsstand where one of them would buy the daily paper. After paying for the paper, one of the men would say thanks with an enthusiastic smile and walk away. The odd thing was the owner of the newsstand wouldn’t even acknowledge the man or smile back. He just took his money and ignored him. Well, the two of them passed the same newsstand every day for four years and every time the owner would respond in the same cold way.

One morning after the man purchased his paper with a big smile and said thank you as he normally does, his friend turned to him and asked him why he still smiles and says hello every time when the guy is so rude and doesn’t even respond in a semi-positive way. His response was: “I’m not going to let that person determine the way I act for the day.” How many times have we let other people determine the way we act for the day, week or year!

I know things can get bad and some days we wonder how we even survived through them but I have to tell you another story that seems to put the attitude factor in its place. On one of the Nightline-type programs, there was a story about a boy named Charlie who was 8 years old and had a rare form of thyroid cancer. Doctors told Charlie’s mom that he had less than six months to live.

When they interviewed Charlie’s mom, she told the reporter that when she would give Charlie his allowance money he wouldn’t buy anything for himself. Instead, he went to the toy store and bought toys for all the other kids on his floor in the hospital.  When the reporter asked Charlie why he did that, his answer was: “Because it makes me feel good.”

Because it made him FEEL GOOD…Charlie was 8 years old with 80 years of wisdom and he didn’t live up to his doctors diagnosis. His cancer went into remission and he lived four more years to the age of 12. We have a choice every day how we will live and how we will react to others. It’s impossible to have a great day with a bad attitude. It’s also impossible to have a bad day with a great attitude.

—Barry Farber consults with a variety of industries to help them grow and expand their business. He is the best-selling author of 11 books on sales, management and customer service. His latest release, the “Diamond in the Rough” CD program, is based on his best-selling book, radio and television show. Visit him at: www.BarryFarber.com or email him at: barry@barryfarber.com.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Roberta |

    Barry, Thanks for reminding us. We set the tone for our day and our lives – we are responsible for our own happiness and attitude. Remembering that is empowering. It sets us free.

    Have a wonderful day – and I will too!