It's rare for a postcard to change your life. But a few years ago author, entrepreneur, and Inc.com columnist Dave Kerpen received such a note in the mail.

It was from Andy Bailey, the CEO of Petra Coach and the creator of Align Software, Kerpen explains in a LinkedIn post, and it managed to squeeze 16 fundamental differences between successful and unsuccessful people into one tiny square of cardboard. (Hat tip to  Business Insider for first spotting the post.)

Kerpen pinned it to his wall and claims the postcard had "a profound effect on me, reinforcing values I believe in and reminding me on a daily basis of the attitudes and habits that I know I need to embrace in order to become successful." You can check out LinkedIn to see if the note card has similar inspirational effects on you, but to get you started, here are a handful of these key differences, as explicated by Kerpen.

1. Embracing change versus fearing change.

"With the world moving so fast and constantly changing, and technology accelerating faster than ever, we need to embrace what's coming and adapt, rather than fear it, deny it or hide from it," Kerpen comments.

2. Wanting others to succeed versus secretly hoping others fail.

Being big-hearted isn't just nice, it's also good for your self-interest, according to Kerpen, who asks of your co-workers: "If you wish for their demise, why even work with them at all?"

3. Accepting responsibility versus blaming others.

"Blaming others solves nothing; it just puts other people down, and absolutely no good comes from it," contends Kerpen.

4. Talking about ideas versus talking about people.

"Gossip gets you nowhere... Instead of gossiping about people, successful people talk about ideas." Though it should be noted, when it comes to gossip, science disagrees (at least partially) with Kerpen and Bailey on this one.

5. Sharing info versus hoarding info.

"Hoarding data and info is selfish and shortsighted," argues Kerpen (and a host of creativity experts).

6. Giving people credit versus taking credit from others.

"Letting others have their own victories and moments to shine motivates them. And in the long term, the better they perform, the better you'll look anyway," Kerpen reminds glory-hungry bosses.

7. Operating from a transformational perspective versus operating from a transactional perspective.

"Transformational leaders go above and beyond to reach success on another level. They focus on team building, motivation and collaboration across organizations. They're always looking ahead to see how they can transform themselves and others, instead of looking to just make a sale or generate more revenue or get something out of the way," Kerpen explains.

8. Having gratitude versus not appreciating others.

"Be sure to thank everyone you come in contact with, and walk with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation and even wonder about the world around you. Gratitude is the ultimate key to being successful in business and in life," says Kerpen. For this one, science is solidly on his side.

Would you add any other key differences to this list?

 

Published on: Mar 29, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.