Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Zig Ziglar

Your mindset, not your circumstances, will determine your level of happiness and success.

Your hard work, not your talent, will determine whether you achieve a goal or not.

You can paraphrase Ziglar’s quote in many different ways. But essentially, the message is always the same.

Your own decision to think, feel, and act a certain way will be a much greater indicator of success compared to your natural talents.

Now, that’s not to say that talent and innate skills are not important. They are. And by cultivating those, it’ll be much easier to achieve anything.

The issue is when we fall into the trap of thinking those skills are enough. Whether it’s for our own success, or other people’s.

For example, we like to think certain actors, entrepreneurs, artists etc. got to the top because of their talent alone. We tend to be oblivious to the blood, sweat, and tears.

Similarly, society tends to glorify what’s called overnight success. Which is usually what comes after years of dedication, patience, and consistency.

Your attitude determines your altitude

Let’s go back to the core message of the quote, what it refers to fundamentally: your own decision to think, feel, and act a certain way.

That’s what we call “attitude.” Our altitude, the heights we reach in life, are the result of our own attitude. Which is the result of a choice or decision.

This can sound daunting or motivating depending on how you look at it.

One one hand, it makes your “aptitude” — your innate skills, your talent, or even your current skills — seem insignificant, worthless.

On the other hand, it reminds us that all it takes is a decision. It’s that simple. A single decision can shape your future.

Yes, there will be hard work and all that. You’ll make mistakes. Your path won’t be as easy as everyone else’s.

But that comes after your decision to excel at what you do, to be the best, to never give up, to use failure as fuel, to always find a way.

Just decide; what it’s going to be, who you’re going to be, and how you’re going to do it, and then from that point, the universe will get out of your way.

Will Smith

Choose your attitude


So if there’s a take-home message, it’s this: your attitude is the best indicator of whether you reach a certain altitude or not, and you get to choose.

You can consciously choose to let go of all the thoughts, feelings, and actions that don’t lead anywhere, and replace them with empowering ones.

Then there is discipline and dedication and hard work. But those are the result of a decision to change your attitude, to make your attitude align with your vision.

That is something you have control over. Your talents, how you grew up, your environment, luck or bad luck — those just happen to you. Your attitude doesn’t happen to you, you create it.

And again, luck plays a role. Your environment plays a role. There are a lot of external factors that can influence your path to greatness. To pretend they don’t is to be naive.

But at the end of the day, your attitude will be the main difference. And it will be a constant, too.

You cannot rely on luck or external influences in the long run. If you do, your life will be a roller coaster.

You can rely on your attitude because once it becomes a part of you and your personality, it will always be there.

Your attitude determines your altitude: quotes

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Thomas Jefferson

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.


Having a positive attitude isn’t wishy-washy. It’s a concrete and intelligent way to view problems, challenges, and obstacles.

Jeff Moore

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.

Khalil Gibran

If you’re willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly.

Edward Albee

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Tim Notke

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Stephen King

Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.

Maya Angelou

Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.

Susan L. Taylor

Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.

Coco Chanel

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. In the past, whenever I had fallen short in almost any undertaking, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all.

Arthur Gordon

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Thomas Jefferson

Changing your mindset is a game changer.

Frank Sonnenberg

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Japanese proverb