THE saying that attitude determines altitude is a truism. The statement is almost a cliché bearing in mind that it is quoted and spoken in many instances.
Business Talk with Ian Ndlovu
Attitude is very important because it has to do with the mind. It goes without saying that the mind is one of the most important faculties of human nature.
Without a mind, a human being is reduced to the biological existence and life situations of animals hence the importance of using our minds to distinguish ourselves from the rest of creation on earth.
A beautiful or handsome mind is a mind that can think positively and constructively. Such a mind is able to telescope solutions when a person is facing a myriad of problems and other uncomfortable situations.
The human mind is like a muscle, it has the capacity to expand and it may shrink. The mind is to be distinguished from the brain which is a physical organ located in the skull which cannot grow beyond a certain threshold once a person has fully matured to be an adult.
According to psychology the mind refers to the intellectual, emotional and intuitional faculties normally associated with the activities or functions of the human brain. These faculties are the subject of the present essay.
Attitude is very critical to personal success in any life endeavour because attitude implies a delicate balance of intellectual, emotional and intuitional energies that operate in any human being to produce consequent action. Human action does not just arise or break out like a bolt of lightning.
All human actions can be traced to people’s inner life and state. Those whose inner life and actions are replete with futile and poisonous cogitations are bound to engage in foolish and directionless action.
This obviously leads to frustration because lack of direction and repeated foolishness leads to lost time, resources and benefits.
There are four important business attitudes that any successful business person or entity must have to ensure success.
The first attitude is having a positive outlook which implies anticipating the positive or good outcomes even when facing obstacles. There are no business obstacles that are insurmountable.
Impossibility is a state of mind which can be changed through proper orientation. It may take time to see possibility where other folks are only seeing impossibility, but if one cares to look more deeply, less hurriedly, more patiently and intelligently one is bound to see the unseen.
If business opportunities which yield high returns were obvious, many of us would be US dollar billionaires. It needs to be underscored that the most important things are basically not obvious but tend to be simple.
Who could have thought that by harnessing the already existing Internet one could create a company as popular as Twitter, Facebook or Google? The men and women who formed these successful companies had to think in a smarter way than most of us.
The good thing is that no one is holding any one of us back from thinking positively, acting out our dreams and realising phenomenal success within a lifetime or generation.
The second business attitude is confidence. In the language of the spiritual, confidence is synonymous with faith. Confidence or faith complements being positive, but the two concepts must not be confused. While being positive has to do with one’s favourable or amiable outlook pertaining to something, being confident is inextricably linked to action. It is impossible to divorce confidence from action.
The fact is — a person can be positive about a certain business venture having a potential to succeed, but as long as they do not take action congruent to that belief, their hoped for business would remain a pipedream. This attitude explains why people with mediocre ideas and product offerings or services at times dominate certain markets.
The third business disposition which all business people must have is patience. An investigation of why many businesses fail or why many businesses disappear with the passage of time reveals that most business people are not patient.
It is useful to imagine markets in terms of specific creatures in the animal kingdom. In the animal kingdom there are flies, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans and mammals.
Life expectancy, performance, gestation period and rate of proliferation differs according to species.
Generally it takes a number of years to establish a successful retail outlet that may withstand the tests of time. Time is usually generous to all of us, but at times it throws at us painful and tough circumstances to teach us certain lessons in life.
There was a time when Tashas and Buscod supermarkets were household names in Bulawayo. But within a few short years they have all but disappeared. A careful study of these retail outlets shows that they expanded too fast and priced most of their products too low because they were not patient enough to build a niche of customers or clientele over a reasonably long period of time. The unwise rush to where angelic ones fear to tread.
The fourth attitude that all successful business people need to cultivate is humility. Humility is defined as esteeming others better than self or elevating the welfare or status of others ahead of self-interest. This attitude is very important because being in business is about service or serving others instead of personal aggrandisement.
This attitude implies that a business person must not rush to convert short-term success into symbols of high status in life like expensive cars, clothes and houses to mention a few.
Business success needs consolidation over time. As a rule of thumb, it is generally known that those who allow short-term success to intoxicate them, wake up from their slumber with a hangover of a business that has crumbled. Being humble is the mainstay of any successful person.
The moment a person becomes arrogant in business or any area of life and starts taking other people for granted, one can be certain that the fall of such a person would have begun. Customers or clients naturally gravitate to a person who makes them feel important, useful and necessary.
IAN NDLOVU is an economics lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology. He researches on e-commerce, business and economic issues. He writes in his personal capacity.