Negative People Are Career Success Killers

I saw some great career success advice in a Facebook posting by Nancy Arroyo Perez the other day.  It was a simple quote…

“I do it because I can.  I can because I want to.  I want to because you said I couldn’t.”

I love what Nancy has to say here.  As we go through life, all of us encounter naysayers and negative people.  The best way to deal naysayers and negative people is to prove them wrong.  Even better, hold them at arms’ length.  That way you won’t have to waste time proving them wrong.

Tweet 50 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Jettison the negative people in your life.  They are energy black holes.  They will suck you dry; but only if you let them.”

I was leading a career success workshop the other day and I mentioned that self-confidence is the hinge on which career success swings, and that optimism and positive people are the most important ingredients in the self-confidence mix.  On the other hand, pessimism and negative can cause the success hinge to rust and become difficult to swing.  That’s why some of my best career advice is to hold tight to the positive people in your life and run – as fast as you can – from the negative ones.

For me, optimism begins with the ten points of The Optimist Creed.  I have given away a couple thousand copies of The Optimist Creed.  If you would like one, just visit them here

Let’s take a look at the difference between positive optimistic people and negative pessimistic people.

Positive, optimistic people tend to see problems, failures and setbacks as temporary.
Negative, pessimistic people tend to see problems, failures and setbacks as permanent – almost their destiny.

Positive, optimistic people see problems, failures and setbacks as isolated occurrences.
Negative, pessimistic people see problems, failures and setbacks as omnipresent – things from which you can’t escape.

Positive, optimistic people don’t take problems, failures and setbacks personally.
Negative, pessimistic people personalize problems, failures and setbacks.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am an incurable optimist.  I see problems, failures and setbacks not only as temporary, but as opportunities to learn and grow.  I expect things to go well.  When I run into problems, failures and setbacks, I’m always a little surprised because I don’t expect them.  I do, however, plan for them.  Finally, I never take a problem, failure or setback personally.  I’m a human being.  Sometimes I make great decisions.  Sometimes I make poor ones.  My self-worth is not threatened by the occasional problem, failure or setback.

And I choose to hang around with positive, not negative people.

I’m a big fan of Mark Twain.  One of my favorite quotes of his gets at the heart of surrounding yourself with positive people and jettisoning the negative people in your life…

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Negative people are a drag on your goals, your ambitions and your life and career success.  They are quick to tell you what you can’t do, offer little encouragement, and hate to see you prove them wrong by succeeding.  Hold these kinds of people at arm’s length.  Don’t spend time with them.  Instead, invest in friendships with positive, upbeat people; the kind of people who not only don’t belittle your ambitions, but do what they can to help you make them a reality.

Cynics are negative people.  They are also dangerous, because they are seductive.  They always have something witty to say about others – usually others’ shortcomings.  At first, they seem to be funny and amusing.  But spend time with cynics, and you’ll find that they have little joy in life except in pointing out and reveling in others’ problems and failures.

Ambrose Bierce may well be the biggest cynic the world have even seen.  I often see quotes attributed to him on line.  In the early 20th century, he published a book called The Devil’s Dictionary.  Even I admit that some of his definitions are pretty funny.  However, I get tired and frustrated after reading more than one or two.  Here are a couple of quotes from The Devil’s Dictionary

“Optimism:  The doctrine that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong… It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.”

“Calamities: Two kinds – misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.”

No wonder ole’ Ambrose was called “Bitter Bierce” by his contemporaries.  First, he bashes optimism, then he suggests that human beings see the good fortune of others as a personal calamity.

Here are a couple of other entries in The Devil’s Dictionary

“Politeness: The most acceptable hypocrisy.”

“Perseverance: A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.”

Do you know any people like Ambrose Bierce?  If you do, my best career advice is to hold them at arm’s length.  While you may find them to be witty and entertaining at first, they will drag you down in the long run.  They will not help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.

Point 6 of The Optimist Creed says…

“Promise yourself to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are of your own.”

This is 180 degrees from what Ambrose has to say.  Successful, self-confident people aren’t jealous or upset by the success of others.  They are genuinely pleased when they see others succeed.  They see the success of others as an inspiration.  They use it to motivate themselves to achieve bigger and better successes.  Negative people choose to see others’ successes as a personal affront.  Take it from a career success coach, these kinds of people will not help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.

Don’t let negative people into your life.  In my career success coach talks, I tell people…

“Allowing a few negative people to make themselves at home in your life is dangerous.  Their poison will quickly infect you.  Negative people try to clone themselves.  Spend too much time with them and you run the risk of becoming one yourself – and of limiting your chances to create the life and career success you deserve.”

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful, self-confident people don’t let negative people hamper their life and career success.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 50 in Success Tweets.  “Jettison the negative people in your life.  They are energy black holes.  They will suck you dry, but only if you let them.”   Cynics are negative people.  Avoid them.  They may be amusing at first, but in the long run they are jealous and petty, often unhappy when others succeed.  They will only drag you down.  Make a conscious choice to spend time with positive, optimistic people.  Avoid negative, pessimistic ones and you’ll be on your way to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

That’s the career advice inspired by Nancy Arroyo Perez’ Facebook post, “I do it because I can.  I can because I want to.  I want to because you said I couldn’t.”  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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  1. You have definitely boost my positive-ness. 🙂

    Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Xuan.

    Your comment shows that you are a positive person too.

    Keep surrounding yourself with positive people and letting go of the negative people in your life.

    All the best,


  3. Dear Bud,

    This is an amazing piece. I love the positivity you put in it. I met many negative people in my life here and I avoid them at all cost. I choose wisely people that are in my life. Again, you are the replica of your environment. Gotta love the positive and optistimistic people! 🙂

  4. Thanks for you very kind words, Harumi. I appreciate them. Stay positive!

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