Most good attributes are choices, not symptoms

Seth Godin’s post today talks about confidence being a choice, not a symptom.

The batter has already hit two home runs. When he gets up to bat for the third time, his confidence is running high…

It’s easy to feel confident when we’re on a roll, when the cards are going our way, or we’re closing sales right and left. This symptomatic confidence, one built on a recent series of successes, isn’t particularly difficult to accomplish or useful.

Effective confidence comes from within, it’s not the result of external events. The confident salesperson is likely to close more sales. The confident violinist expresses more of the music. The confident leader points us to the places we want (and need) to go.

You succeed because you’ve chosen to be confident. It’s not really useful to require yourself to be successful before you’re able to become confident.

I couldn’t agree more. I’d like to extend his message to say that most good attributes are by choice and are not symptoms. It is easy to be kind, forgiving, and empathetic when everything is going great. The real test is how we behave when the chips are down.

The best way to get out of a negative spiral is by being good, kind, forgiving, and confident. This relationship between success and good behavior is a classic case of chicken and egg.

And it is of course easier to start with good behavior rather than wait for success..