While listening to John Maxwell’s audible book “Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success,” this quote gave me pause.
“All things being equal, attitude wins.
All things not being equal, attitude sometimes still wins.“
– John C. Maxwell
It’s a simple thing, but a positive attitude can impact so much in our lives, As Maxwell says, “possessing a great attitude is like having a secret weapon.”
A Tale of Two Test Takers
I hear from people almost every day telling me that they’ve passed the Security+ exam (or another cert) using material I’ve created. These emails are always a joy to read.
As an example, here’s part of a note I recently received.
“Passed today with a 823. I used your book quite extensively as well as the website. I read the book front to back and took a ton of notes. I got great value out of the online resources as well. The practice questions were helpful, but like you said, eventually you start to memorize things. I started to see this was happening so I withheld from the practice exams and focused on going through the actual material I struggled with a couple of extra times leading up to the exam.
“Your advice on skipping performance-based questions was the best advice I received. Doing this allowed me time to not just make sure I finished and reviewed my multiple choice responses, but a lot of the questions triggered stuff in my brain that allowed me to nail the performance-based questions.
“Thank you so much for the resources and knowledge you provide. It is incredibly helpful.”
Reading between the lines, I perceived a positive attitude as this person did everything he could to pass the exam. Not only did he study the material, but he also took the time to understand critical advice on study habits, and test taking strategies.
Occasionally, I hear from people saying that they dropped the exam. Some of them ask for help and advice, which I happily offer, while others blame the failure on others. As an example, here’s part of a note I received last month.
“I have taken the exam twice as of today and I’m a bit upset at my results. I have scored from what I thought pretty good on the practice exams provided by your online questions and the book as well. However, the actual exam is not 90 questions for me, it has been 70 questions and has lowered the chances of me being able to get any of them wrong. Also, the multiple choice questions as extremely difficult and nothing from your book and the online practice questions for the most part. I even purchased another book that was a bit different and I was scoring no less than 85% – 90% on all practice tests. Am I taking the wrong exam? Are others having as much difficulty as I am? What can I do to get the correct study notes and practice exams for my next, and probably last try at this exam? And yes, I am a IT Analyst (10 years in the field).”
Looking at his online quiz history, I noticed three things:
- He never scored higher than 57% on Set 10 of the performance-based questions (the newest set that includes over 30 questions).
- He took some practice quizzes repeatedly to get better scores. However, the timing (less than 15 seconds per question on the most recent retakes) indicated he memorized the questions and answers.
- He took the Test Your Readiness quiz multiple times, but scored a passing score (84%) only once.
More, looking at his words, I noticed a significantly different attitude.
- He blamed the exam for giving him fewer questions than he anticipated, which he perceived as making the exam harder to pass.
- He blamed the book and online resources saying that there was “nothing” helpful in these resources.
- He didn’t ask what he could do differently to pass the exam. Instead, he asked how he could get different resources.
Attitude – The Secret Weapon that Makes the Difference
“All things being equal, attitude wins.”
If the test and study resources are equal for both test takers, what’s the difference?
The test taker.
Someone might suggest that the second test taker doesn’t have the intelligence to pass the exam, but I sincerely doubt that is the case.
If the second test taker decided to change his attitude, and focus on learning the material rather than blaming others, he can pass the test. The key is deciding to change.
Gratefully, I’ve enjoyed some success helping people learn technical topics and get certified and get ahead in their lives.
And even better, it’s great that people like John C. Maxwell have enjoyed some success at getting people to think about their attitude and deciding to change.