Success Mindset – an approach to excel in life

Sai Kumar Chandran

Success has many forms and faces. Success has many definitions. At the same time, in all open and fair discussions on what brought success or can bring success: a part of the credit for success will go to the person or the people involved and at the same time, some credit will always be due towards an invisible aspect termed as chance, luck, or God’s hand. While the prior elements factor in an individual’s mindset, habits, behaviors and actions, the later factors, attribute a causal connection to how the probability worked out in favor rather than as odds against.

I have had no doubts about chance, luck, or God’s hand; and it is also not the subject of this elaboration. This sharing is about the part a person plays, or people play in their own success. What I share today, is from observing, talking to, and learning from individuals about their successes and failures. This sharing also emerges from facilitating an unlock of outcomes and impact for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Think about this: All of us encounter people who have deliberately worked towards success and have also earned it in many cases. What makes these people stand out from others who do not make consistent efforts toward their success? There are a bunch of factors such individuals display, and this I collectively term as Success Mindset. 

The success mindset here is a collection of relevant behaviors and habits that translate into observable actions. Success Mindset has 6 Pillars:

A success mindset is useful and can be a driving force for any individual, in any walk of life. Success mindset equally applies to a student, businessperson, independent professional, etc. In an organizational context, this is especially beneficial, when dealing with the complex things that we do. Success here can be from climbing the corporate ladder, to achieving a big bang salary, or winning with relationships, to connecting successfully, to influencing successfully, to building a brand.

All 6 pillars must be put into practice for a well-rounded success. Additionally, these approaches are born from sufficient reflection, engagement, and action with relevant frequency and intensity to create a consistent pattern of observable behaviors that aid success.

  • Discovery Approach*
    • Is characterized by 

√ Internal Discovery to identify and objectively state intent, aspirations, vision, and possible goals.
√ External Discovery to be aware of the context of all roles and responsibilities one has. This aspect also helps an individual to gain information in subject matters that can help handle core and non-core aspects of life.
√ Inferring and insight generation to crystalize lessons from one’s experiences of life.

    • Antipattern:

√ Ignorant or avoidant approach e.g. I don’t know, I don’t care, I can’t handle this, I don’t think I have time, I will handle it when I get to it, etc.
√ Dependency on others as a repeat pattern to be told or instructed.

  • Relevance Approach* 
    • Is characterized by

√ Contemporary w.r.t. macro environment. The individual is updated with knowledge, skills and tools that help the person be capable and excel.
√ Contextual w.r.t. to roles and immediate environment. The individual is agile, nimble, and purposefully changes as roles and responsibilities evolve.
√ Timed correctly to situations. An individual is on time and in the flow of events and contexts. Also, the individual is logical and invests emotions as much and when required, hence doing the right things at the right time.

    • Antipattern:

√ Individuals with outdated capability and capacity trying to hide, impose or manipulate to tide the wave.
√ Individuals with Irrelevant skills try to fake it and make it by copying others.

  • Value Contribution Approach* 
    • Is characterized by

√ Contributing to self by staying true to life goals in all areas. Slips are corrected, and gaps are worked upon without external push.
√ Contributing to others by staying true to the collective purpose of relations and groups.
√ Contributing to the environment by improving the living conditions and culture of immediate surroundings.

  • Antipattern:

√ Taking but not giving, being needy or greedy, wanting others to come through for self.
√ Victim position and blaming others and situations for own challenges and inabilities.
√ Becoming an obstacle or coercive force to derail the good efforts of others.

  • Learning Approach*
    • Is characterized by

√ Willing to learn and develop a relevant body of knowledge rapidly and through the application.
√ Learning to learn in two ways, formal through deep learning and informal in quick ways.
√ Learning to deliver and enhance relevance and value.
√ Learning to overcome obstacles & solve problems.

    • Antipattern:
    •  √ Externalizing problems and pushing others to contribute without developing their own capabilities.
      √ Outsourcing new work or borrowing capabilities continuously is the only response mechanism.
      √ Becoming a ‘tricks of the trade’ person only – without mastering things required for the long term.
      √ Resistant to moving without full preparedness and discounting the importance of agile learning.
  • Resilience Approach*
    • Is characterized by

√ Resilience readiness

      • By developing the power of logic to regulate emotions
      • Through a flowing adaptation and avoiding resistance to uncontrollable factors.
      • By conditioning body and mind to physical, and mental labor / hard work.

√ Recognizing and overcoming challenges by application of learnings and generating relevant value.
√ Predicting and overcoming possible challenges through proactive solutions.

    • Antipattern:

√ Avoidance and giving up in the face of adversities.
√ Being risk averse despite having backups and fallback options.
√ Offloading problems to others.
√ Throwing money, resources, and power at problems to avoid genuine work.

  • Giving Approach*
    • Is characterized by

√ Genuine empathy and being available for others within ones capability and capacity.
√ Helping contractually when someone asks or needs help. Being contractual here is about agreeing to the nature, extent and outcomes of the help extended.
√ Sharing to force multiply by building the capability of others.

    • Antipattern:
    •  √ Looking out only for oneself and leaving others to always fend for themselves.
    • √ Helping with an unfair expectation of rewards/returns.
    • √ Discouraging others from helping someone in need.

Individuals and groups can learn and master each of these pillars to build the Success Mindset. At times, when a person doesn’t have one of the 6 approaches, they can take support from another person who is strong in that approach. However, this must be done to get by in the moment and to be primed for what thinking and behaviors to develop. Hence, the permanent solution is to develop each pillar and the overall Success Mindset.

Nothing succeeds like success. Nothing shines like sustained success. Cultivate the Success Mindset and maximize your chances of sustained success.

There are no elevators to success. You have to take the stairs. – Zig Ziggler

Sai Kumar Chandran is the founder of OrbitShift. He is a coaching and consulting practitioner and an entrepreneur at heart. He can be reached at

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