100 Ways to Succeed #5:

Target #1: Me!

Stand in front of the mirror ... Smiling. Saying ... "Thank you." Doing ... Jumping Jacks. Whatever. (See below.)

Fact: "It" begets "it."
Fact: "Not it" begets "It-less-ness."

Smiling begets a warmer (work, home) environment.
Thanking begets an environment of mutual appreciation.
Enthusiasm (those Jumping Jacks) begets enthusiasm.

Love begets love.
Energy begets energy.
Wow begets Wow.
Optimism begets Optimism. (I've been devouring Martin Seligman lately.)
Honesty begets honesty.
Caring begets caring.
Listening begets engagement.
Etc.
Etc.

How do you "motivate others"? Take a B-school course on Leadership?
No! (You were joking, right?)
Answer: Motivate yourself first.
By hook or by crook.

Call it: Leadership By Unilateral Attitude Adjustment.

Are there things that can be labeled "circumstances"?
Of course.
Do bad things happen to good people?
Doubtless.

Is there such a thing as "powerlessness"?
No!
No!
No!

Take charge now!
Task one: Work on ourselves.
Relentlessly!

If you can figure out how to go to work with a smile today, I (trained as I was as an engineer, and indeed carrying the baggage of an MBA from a "quant school") will guarantee you that you will not only "have a better day," but will (eventually) infect others! (And, uh, "productivity" will soar ... once "they"—your boss, your peers, your subordinates—get over the shock.)

John Kerry looks exhausted. (He has every right to be.)
But his look of exhaustion, more than words or deeds or shrewd analytic explications, dramatically reduces the odds that I'll go to headquarters tonight and man the phone banks.

So it goes, whether the issue is the fate of a nation, the progress of a project team or the likelihood of getting your way with a reluctant Motor Vehicles Department clerk.
"Effective Leadership" (and "Gettin' Things Done" in general) Step # 1: Work on yourself!

Smile!
Enthuse!
Thank!
Wow!

Win!
Now!