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Mike Mangino

June 1, 2022

Close-up of hand using scissors cutting the word on paper, “I can’t” becomes “I can”.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

Henry Ford

In the seven and half years since we started a business together, Michael Niessner and I have had the opportunity to interview well over 500 people and hire more than 60. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about what traits correlate with people who are successful engineers. We’ve increasingly found that while there is a minimum technical bar linked with success, attitude quickly becomes the most important thing to look for. Given a choice, I will hire a slightly above average developer with a great attitude over a great developer with an average attitude any day of the week.

It’s important to explain what I mean by a positive attitude. I’m not talking about the person who is perpetually smiling. That person is just delusional. Instead, I mean the person who believes that things will work out in the end and puts in the effort to make sure that happens. I’m talking about the person who sees the best in others and knows that setbacks are opportunities to learn something new.

Sometimes, it’s easier to talk about a certain attribute by considering those who lack it. I’ve worked with people that started on a project and are making significant progress. Before long, however, they hit a roadblock and gave up. Maybe you’ve had that experience with a book you wanted to write but stopped or an instrument you wanted to learn that just seemed too difficult. Everybody suffers from adversity. It’s not something we can avoid or control. People with the best attitudes realize they can control how they react to this adversity. It’s not that things aren’t hard for them; it’s that they know that the hard work will be worth it in the end.

Having a positive attitude can also cause a virtuous cycle. If you’re a person who can smile and be excited even when things get difficult, you’re more likely to make others want to help you. This, in turn, makes you more likely to succeed and proves that your difficulties really were something you could overcome. On the contrary, if adversity ruins your mood, you’ll get less help from others.

It’s easy to say that our attitude is a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose to be positive. It is possible, however. One of the benefits of practicing mindfulness is learning to truly see your feelings and recognizing that you have the power to decide to change them. I’m a person who sometimes gets frustrated. I find that since I’ve been focusing on mindfulness, I’m better able to realize when I’m starting to get frustrated. I’m also more likely to realize its cause, then intentionally move my thinking to curiosity.

I recognize that I am remarkably privileged. I get to work in a great company with an amazing culture. That makes it much easier to have a positive attitude (which you can find out by joining us! View available positions at TriumphPay here.) At the same time, showing up every day with a positive attitude is still a choice I make. It’s also a choice that will make you more likely to succeed.

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Mike Mangino
About the Author

Mike Mangino

Mike Mangino is the Chief Technology Officer for TriumphPay where he leads the development and dissemination of advanced technologies that improve and increase business for our customers and TriumphPay. Prior to joining TriumphPay, Mike was the Chief Technology Officer for HubTran where he was responsible for designing and building software to automate back-office payables for the transportation industry and built and managed a team of engineers including software development, DevOps and customer support.

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