The One About “The” Key To Success
In the context of success, which of these is THE most important, which is THE key?

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Attitude

The actual answer is a lot more complicated and a lot more in-depth than many would have us believe!

Join Keith as he explores why the “usual” answer is unhelpful (and potentially even dangerous), and as he takes a look at what’s actually going on and what “the” key really is…

The Keith Blakemore-Noble Radio Show
The Keith Blakemore-Noble Radio Show
The One About "The" Key To Success

Note – this is currently a highly automated transcription, so some of the text might not be wholly accurate – we are working on improving this over time!

You’re listening to the Keith Blakemore-Noble radio show, helping you transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths. Here’s your host, Keith Blakemore Noble…

Success. Everybody wants success. Everybody wants the shortcuts to success.

And therein lies an interesting question. It’s a question which many people have asked countless times over the years. It’s often asked in personal development fields, it’s often were asked in business development fields. And I’m going to ask you the same question. This isn’t a question I came up with. It’s a question that does the rounds frequently.

The question is this in terms of success, which is or in terms of achieving success, which is the most important. Is it knowledge? Is it skills or is it attitude? Knowledge, skills or attitude? Which is VTHE one. The most important one. THE key for success.

Now, anytime this is asked, there’s always a great debate about it. It’s great. If you ever want to set up a get a lot of engagement on a thread on your favorite social media, ask this question. Lots and lots of engagement on it.


Every time it’s asked, virtually every time he’s asked, the person asking has a very definite answer that they want to to give the answer that they want.

The one answer which they see as being the answer is attitude. Attitude is a key. Attitude is the key to success. Attitude is the one thing you need to succeed.

It is the most important one. Forget knowledge, forget skills. It’s attitude with attitude. You’ll go all the way.

That’s often how it’s presented. And yes, let’s make no bones about it.

Attitude is very important. It is a very important component of success. If you approach something with the wrong attitude, your chances of success are slim at best. Yes, you might have a reasonable model, a reasonable degree of success in the short run, but as soon as you hit some problems or as soon as things start to go wrong or as soon as people start to object to whatever it is. If you don’t have the right attitude, yes, you are going to fall by the wayside sooner or later. Let’s not beat about. The Bush attitude is incredibly important.

Indeed, as many people point out.

If you start with the right attitude, it makes it far easier for you to learn the skills you need and to develop and gain the knowledge that you need in order to succeed. Which means attitude is the most important thing for success. Whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let’s back up their second game with the right. Excuse me. Sorry about that.

With the right attitude. You can gain the skills and knowledge you need for success. OK, that’s telling us something very important there that is telling us you need skills and you need knowledge for success.

It’s also telling us and this is the point which gets completely overlooked, completely escaped, and which I think is sufficiently important for us to discuss this.

Discuss it right here, right now. It also means. Attitude in and of itself, by itself alone is not sufficient for success. Yes, attitude will enable you to gain the skills and knowledge you need, but that’s key. It’s the skills and knowledge. Which enable you to create a success?

Yes. The attitude is an important point, but it is not the most important point. In fact, I would kind of venture to suggest that far from being right, although it’s far from ideal, it is possible to have success with skills and knowledge, but without much of the right attitude. So in a way, under some limited circumstances, don’t say attitude is the least important of the three. However, generally, I would say attitude, knowledge and skills are equally important. All three are equally important. You need all three of them for success. You need to have them balanced. And that is a key point. You need to have them. Balance is a balance between. Think of think of as a stool with three legs or three legged stool. If one of those legs is longer than the other two, completely out of balance. Bam. It’s no use when all three legs are equal length. They all provide support. They all provide balance. That’s where you get the stability. That’s where the stool. Become successful. That’s where the store works well, solidly. As a store, when all three legs are imbalance, attitude, skills and knowledge, you need all three. Now, why, why? Why are you making a big point of this, Keith? Good question. I’ll explain why.

When we say attitude is the key, attitude is the thing you need.

The more we focus on that, the more we are dis serving the very people we should be helping, because when we focus purely on attitude, attitude is the key.

That’s the one you need. Six’s skills, knowledge. Attitude is the one you need. We are denigrating the value and importance of skills and knowledge. We are. We are saying they are unimportant. We’re saying they’re far less important in attitude. We are making attitude had to be far more important than it is, far more valuable than it is. And we are causing a lot of problems further down the line. We can see it. We can see it looking over around the world today in. In political arenas. And so on. I don’t want to get into political debate because it’s not not what this is about.

But it’s interesting to see there are areas where.

Attitude belief is seen as the key. If we believe in this, it will succeed regardless of lack of knowledge, lack of skills, its belief.

That’s all. That’s all it takes. But who needs experts? As long as we believe in this course of action, it will succeed.

And if we can see is causing lots of problems. I mean, do you think if you go into a negotiation, for example?

Believing you will succeed, you have the right attitude. You actually being, yes, we will create a winning deal, but you’re going without any negotiating skills and you go in without knowing what it is that you want to get or how it can work or what the obstacles are or what the challenges and opportunities are. If you go on without knowing those, without the skills, no amount of believing that you’re gonna get a good outcome will create a good outcome.

Yes, attitude is important. It is not more important in skills or knowledge. All three are equally important.

And it’s time we focused on skills and knowledge as well as time we recognized the importance of expertise, of skill, of knowledge and bring it all in.

It’s time we stopped pretending that success is trivially easy. All you need is the right attitude and you will succeed. All you need to do is dream it and you will win.

No, that is not the case. Yes, a good attitude is a great starting point. But as the song says, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Attitude is a very important component, but it’s not the most important. Let me pose you a question here. Just imagine for a moment and heaven, heaven forbid, this should ever happen to any of us. This is disappearing in imaginary scenario, just to illustrate where I’m going. We’ve got some debilitating conditions. There is the option of a life saving operation which will completely transform everything for us, totally fix everything.

There are four surgeons who are capable of doing this or for surgeons who put themselves forward as being capable for doing this. Only these four you have the choice of these. For the first one, they could have brilliant attitude.

Yes, we can do this. We will. We will succeed. We will. We will sort you.

They have got great medical knowledge. They have read every medical textbook. Back to front. Inside. They know it. They know it. Word for word. Their knowledge, encyclopedic skills. They’ve never even seen a scalpel, let alone wielded one or done an operation. But they got great attitude and they got encyclopedic knowledge.

That’s number one. Number two, again, they’ve got a wonderful attitude that knife skills, their skills with a scalpel at heart of this world.

They got absolutely no medical knowledge of the human anatomy whatsoever. They trained in woodworking.

But then life skills are brilliant and they got an amazing attitude. Or number three, they’ve got solid skills, impeccable knowledge of your exact situation, but their attitude sucks.

Or you can number four.

They’ve got good skills. They got proven knowledge and they have a great attitude. Those are the four options you have. Which surgeon are you going to select? I’d like to suggest you’re going to go for surgeon number four, the one with the skills and the knowledge and the attitude.

I very much doubt you can go for number two. The one who’s got excellent skill. I are excellent attitude, excellent skills, but no medical knowledge. Yep, almost certainly not gonna go for number one. The one with a great attitude, encyclopedic knowledge, but has never even seen a scalpel, let alone operated successfully on on another human. You might go for no. Number three, the one with a great knowledge and the great skills, but with a lousy attitude.

They might work.

You suddenly have a greater chance of success than you would have with with one or two. But the one you’re going to go for. I’d like to suggest is number four. The one with the skills and the knowledge and the attitude. Why? Because you want to maximize your success chances. Right? And what better way to maximize your chance of success than to have the one who has the attitude? Yes. And the skills and the knowledge, because all three are equally important.

That’s the point when we focus on, say, attitude is the key. Forget all the rest.

Attitude is the one you on where we’re where we’re off to a rocky start already.

That’s the point. Yes, attitude is important, but so is skills and so knowledge.

And yes, having a good attitude will help you to develop the skills and the knowledge, because having the right attitude, the right mindset will enable you to overcome the obstacles which may get in the way of you developing the skills and the knowledge.

But it’s the skills and the knowledge that are the key important thing here.

Now, something else just to touch on here with with regards to attitude, sometimes sometimes the attitude is what comes after you’ve developed the skills and the knowledge. Sometimes the attitude comes after the skills and the knowledge. Let me explain. Let me illustrate. I’m not going to mention the name of this person because I don’t think they’ve gone fully public with this and it could impact their career in in the future. I’m not about to drop people in it. This is, however, a true story. Whether you choose to believe it or not, that is entirely up to you. I totally respect if you go, oh, he’s not. My God. Not naming the person ever. He’s made it up. Totally get you. That’s absolutely fine. Either way, I hope you’ll respect the reasons why I can’t name this person. Maybe they’ll name themselves one day in their memoirs. Who knows? But there is a very, very successful accomplished chef.

Very good chef. Building a very solid name for themselves. They have a great reputation, really building. Building up well, growing up, they didn’t want to be a chef. They had absolutely no interest in cooking, sharing, baking, any of that stuff. No interest in that whatsoever. Zero attitude towards cultivating those skills. None whatsoever. As they were growing up in their late teens, early 20s, that sort of sort of thing. They said this is not careers advice. This is not recommending this as a as a as a good career route whatsoever. Please do not think that I’m recommending this as a career. I’m absolutely not. But it’s a good illustration. They not to put too fine a point on it. They were a bit of a drug dealer, a little bit on the side as it was an easy way of making money for them. It was it was basically they didn’t go any further than that than dealing weed, cannabis, whatever you want to call it. They didn’t go for any of that. The stronger ones. But that’s what they do. They would buy some from their dealer and they would would sell it to friends and sell. As I say, this is not career advice, but this is an illustration of how attitude can sometimes come after we get the skills and the knowledge.

Now, they were doing OK.

They were making salads, a bit of money wheeling and dealing here and there. They then realized, hang on, I need to offer something that’s a bit better than everybody. And then the other dealers out there. You know, what’s really popular and what’s really, Poppy, is not everybody wants to roll up and smoke and all of that stuff.

What would really get. I guess some people would be cookies, hash brownies, whatever you want to call it, baked products, basically cookies, brownies, those sorts of things with cannabis baked in them, hash cookies, all that hash brownies, those sorts of things. So.

He started figuring out how to make brownies, how to make cookies, started baking, baking these these things with with the hash in them so that he had something to sell that wasn’t just going to be smoked. It was a different way for people to consume it so that he could sell to more people. Had no interest in cooking up until that point. However, here’s the interesting thing. Once he started doing that, he really started getting in to baking.

It really started to become something that was interesting, interesting to him. He really enjoy it until it reached a point. He jacked in the hole dealing side of things. Gave it up completely and focused on cooking, on baking, and eventually trained to become a very good chef. Now he has the attitude to enable him to succeed as a as a good chef. He absolutely has the knowledge and he really does have the skills.

But the interesting thing is the attitude to develop his culinary expertise came after he’d started building the knowledge and gaining skills. It was building on the knowledge and gaining the skills which cultivated the attitude.

Not the other way round.

And again, this isn’t saying attitude is not important, of course attitude is important, but it neatly illustrates that all three components, attitude, skills and knowledge are all equally important.

And it’s not always the case. That attitude comes first and enables you to generate the other sometimes. Sometimes it is the other way around.

It’s interesting. It goes completely against everything that we get taught.

Yeah, goes completely against the perceived wisdom in the personal development field and in some of the business development field. That attitude is king. Attitude is everything you need attitude. All the rest, as easy as attitude is, is where it’s at.

Attitude, skills and knowledge all are required. And that is true, whatever it is you are doing.

I’ll give you another really quick fictional example. This is from The Simpsons long running cartoon. And it was an episode where, if I remember rightly, Lisa and Bart were both are exchange students and foreign exchange students. I can’t remember what happened with Lisa situation, but with Box, he ended up a working exchange student for a family in France who were basically using him effectively as slave labor was locked away in a locked away in the shed for his for his bedroom that that all all that sort of stuff. He had zero interest in France, no interest in learning French, any of that sort of stuff. Absolutely no attitude for learning languages. As anyone who’s watched The Simpsons will know, zero academic at attitude whatsoever. But he was trapped, struggling to survive and to to to get out of the situation he was in.

And there’s one key scene in there. When something happens and he then says something and then, as has been dawning realization on him and his next words are.

Uncle Bob, the ship, our phones, cement and all. Incredible. I’m speaking French now.

Yes, it’s fictional example, but he gained the skills and knowledge without having the attitude, he didn’t particularly want to learn French. But he was in that environment. He was absorbing it and ended up speaking. Speaking French. Enough French to enable him to get out of the situation.

Attitude isn’t the be all and end all. Yes, attitude is important, but so is skills and so a knowledge. So let’s not diminish the importance of any of the three of them.

I am not diminishing the importance of attitude very much need a good attitude. Really good. Good mental attitude. Good mental approach, good mindset. Determination. The why.

All of that will set you up nicely, but do not diminish the importance of knowledge and skills. It is a balancing act.

Quick example, we saw the example of surgeons equity example around driving, driving a car. You need to have all three in balance.

If you have the attitude, yes, I am the world’s greatest driver.

And maybe you have the knowledge, you’ve got encyclopedic knowledge of the highway code and of how a car works. You could strip a car down and rebuild it. No ball. But your driving skills are rubbish.

How good a driver are you going to be? Not very you are very likely going to crash sooner rather than later.

Suppose you have a great at driving at you? Yes, I am very good at driving. I know what to do. You’ve got plenty of skills about driving, but you do not know the highway code. You don’t know the rules of the road, any of that stuff. How good a driver you’re gonna be. Man again. Not very good driver. And chances are you’re going to have all cause accidents. Suppose you’ve got the skills to drive you, Very good driving skills, you got very good knowledge of how to control a car, how the car operates, how to maintain it. You’ve got great knowledge of this, the rules of the road, highway code, all that sort of stuff. But your attitudes such aren’t useful. While I’m under or no, I hate drive, I’m no good at driving. How good a driver are you going to be?

You’re not clearly.

In order to be a good, competent, safe, effective driver, you need to have the skills to be able to drive the car, you need to have the knowledge of how the car operates, of how the car interacts with the road and without with other vehicles, knowledge of the highway code, the rules of the road. And you need to have the right attitude. You need all three and accessing one.

Lead can lead to danger.

That’s the point I’d like you to take from this. Yes, attitude is important. So a skills and so a knowledge, all three are equally important.

They are the three legs that make that stool balance, if any one of them is out of out of out of balance with the others, the stool ain’t going to work.

All three are equally important.

In fact, let’s throw in a fourth one just just for the hell of it action. It’s no good having just the right attitude, the knowledge and the skills. If you sit back and don’t do anything, he need action as well. And again, that has to be in balance with the others.

Now we’ve got a four legged stool. Even better, even more stable – Wait!. That’s another component for success. Exactly. Success is a lot more complicated.

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go for it. Doesn’t mean that we can’t attain success. What it does mean is we need to be aware it’s not as simple and straightforward as the glib attitude is.

What matters? Forget all the rest.

You need all of them and they need to be in balance. They all work together. There is no one more important than the other. All are equally important.

What do you think makes sense? Am I talking a load of rubbish? Let me no comment. Post share. Let’s get a debate going. And above all, whatever your view of this, whatever your opinion is, and please let’s get a debate going, let’s have a discussion. Love to know what you think. Like comment. Share to the world above all.

Whatever your position on this. Truly, I wish you every success in your endeavors. Every success in fulfilling your ambitions.

You’ve been listening to the Keith Blakemore Noble radio show Helping you transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths. To find out more, please visit

Keith Blakemore-Noble – Fear Strategist, coach, international speaker, multi-time best-selling author, hypnotist, occasional magician, and presenter of this show.

And someone who, for far too many years, was massively held back by a very strong social phobia – speaking with strangers, or even meeting strangers, was at best deeply uncomfortable, and at worst utterly terrifying for him. For far too many years.

So he did the logical thing – he pursued a 20 year career in IT with some success (becoming a Fellow of the BCS in the process).

Until one panic attack too many, which forced him to reconsider his life.

So he studied NLP and hypnosis, used those tools to conquer his own fears and phobias, and since 2010 he has helped others around the world to transform their deepest fears into their greatest strengths through his coaching, speaking, books, and trainings. Indeed, since 2010 he has helped over 5,000 people to transform their lives.

Having travelled the world for a while doing this, he has settled back in his native Scotland, where he is focusing on the next step in his journey of helping as many people as he can to conquer their fears. Which includes this Show!

Since 2010 Keith has helped over 5,000 people to transform their lives.

Now he brings the distillation of his experience into a weekly show designed to help you to transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths.

Some episodes feature Keith running solo, discussing topics related to fear, phobia, mindset, and taking an interesting look into where it all comes from and what we can do about it.

In other episodes, Keith invites a special guest to join him and to discuss their experiences in overcoming their own fears, so that we can gain some insight into how we might do the same, or even to explore the more esoteric areas around fear – sometimes in some unexpected yet very interesting ways!

Presented in both audio and in video, across multiple platforms, so that the show can meet those who need it where they are.

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