We often hear the phrase, ‘your behavior determines your results.’ It was made popular by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

It may sound too simple, but this is more than just a saying. It is a reality that many people fail to recognize. Our behavior encompasses our actions, thoughts and attitudes. It is part of our identity that profoundly influences our choices, decisions and outcomes.

I would argue that one’s behavior is the MOST SIGNIFICANT driving force behind his/her success or failure in life! One’s behavior shapes his or her

  1. relationships,
  2. career,
  3. finances and
  4. personal growth.

Behavior is an essential factor in determining whether a person achieves significant progress or stagnation.

The Fruits of Positive Behaviors

Positive behavior results in positive outcomes. It’s a direct cause-effect reaction. A person’s ability and willingness to interact, collaborate and influence others positively can contribute considerably to them reaching their life goals.

Positive behavior also fosters the development of essential competencies such as leadership, self-discipline and resilience.

Positive behaviors in the workplace might include:

  • Keeping your hands/feet to yourself.
  • Being kind to others.
  • Using manners.
  • Being a good listener.
  • Respecting the property of others.
  • Completing assignments.
  • Giving credit where credit is due.

The Results of Negative Behaviors

Negative behavior, on the other hand, has detrimental effects — including deteriorating relationships, missed opportunities and career stagnation.

Negative behavior includes

  • procrastination,
  • pessimism,
  • finger-pointing,
  • lack of initiative and

If you don’t like where you are or where you are headed, check your behaviors.

What Drives Behavior?

Two things: beliefs and values.

Beliefs are the things we hold to be true, whether or not they can be proven. They are both developed and inherited. As children, we take on the views of our parents and teachers. Later, we look to our mentors and colleagues to form our behavioral norms. We also develop beliefs resulting from personal experiences and the feelings associated with those experiences.

We also develop beliefs through repeated actions. If you are consistently late, you start to believe that you are terrible at time management.

We have beliefs about

  • ourselves, such as “I’m beautiful”; “I’m strong”; or “I’m accident-prone” and
  • others, such as “That ethnic group is lazy” or “My cousin catches all the breaks.”

While beliefs about others can lead to xenophobia, racism and sexism, or the opposite of those, beliefs about ourselves drive our self-image. The gap between our beliefs about others and ourselves creates our attitude and, eventually, shapes our belief about our world in general.

Values tell us right from wrong. They often come from our beliefs, but not always. Some values are easy to understand by their name—honesty, fitness and curiosity, for example. Other values are more difficult to define because they mean different things to different people.

For instance, a person who values honesty and success might not sacrifice honesty for success if honesty ranks higher in their system of values. But what about when things are reversed? At what point does the value of success push you to ignore the value of honesty?

Changing Your Behavior

The great thing is, your beliefs and values do not control you, as long as you become self-aware and take charge of your life. Behaviors can be changed through self-awareness, mindfulness and intentional effort.

Positive behavior is a skill that can be learned and nurtured over time. You can start by identifying negative behaviors, setting achievable goals and practicing positive behaviors daily. If you need help, a certified life coach or mental health counselor can assist.

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