I love reading about successful people and how they became successful. I talked about the 80 richest people before and think that it is important to learn from great minds. While learning their strategies and habits won’t stop you from failing, learning from others is a great way to jump start you down your own path of success.
So after reading up on many of the world’s most successful people, I came up with a list of common traits that they all possess. I broke them down into 10 of the most common traits for you to see and learn about.
The good news is that you too can embody these traits as well. Most of them are simply outlooks on life and what motivates them. As such, you too can experience success just be changing in a few areas of your life. Let’s get started looking at the traits of successful people.
Of course, before I dive into the traits of successful people, we need to take a step back and ensure you have a definition of what success is. This is important because success to me might not be success to you. Therefore, it makes no sense for you to follow my path to success because the success you achieve won’t feel like success to you since the outcome is not what you desire.
For example, let’s say that to me, success means retiring by the time I am 55 years old. Because of this, I might save a lot of money every year and really pay attention to my expenses. If retiring by 55 is not success to you, then you have no interest or need to save as much as I do or be as diligent with watching your expenses like I do.
Success to you might mean becoming the CEO of a company. Because of this, you might spend a lot of time networking to build your inner circle. You might go to graduate school and take courses on leadership and how to become the best you possible. While I am interested in becoming the best I can be, I have no interest in becoming a CEO. So going to graduate school and networking like you do is not beneficial to me as it relates to success.
Because of this, take some time to think about and write down what success means to you. Once you have that understood, you can then start following the path to success laid out by others.
10 Traits of Successful People
Now that you have success defined for you, it is time to see what common traits successful people tend to have. These traits are in no particular order. Use them as a guide for helping you to achieve success.
Being competitive is important. You don’t have to be mean or rude or unfair to be competitive. You simply just want to be the best at what you do. There is nothing wrong with this. You could even switch the word competitive for passionate. At the end of the day, they really mean the same thing.
If you are passionate about something, you want to learn everything you can and fully understand it. You also probably want to be really good at it. It’s the same thing with being competitive. To be the best, you have to learn and understand everything there is to know about a subject. You have to be relentless and focus your energy in that area.
If you aren’t competitive or passionate about something, you are going to have a hard time being successful at it. Sure you might reach some goals or milestones here and there, but you will never see long term, continuous success.
Take Tom Brady for example. Love him or hate him, he is successful because he is competitive. He wants to be the best. So he goes to bed by 9pm every night. He doesn’t drink alcohol, not even during the off-season. He is always training and watching film of games. Doing all of this allows him to be successful.
#2. Ability To Let Go
Nothing works out the way we want 100% of the time. We have to overcome adversity and adapt. This is a key trait of successful people. They have a great ability to let go. This doesn’t mean they give up, it means they are OK when things don’t work out the way they wanted. They simply dig their heels in and try again using a different approach.
If you never let go and hold on to past mistakes and failures, they are going to eat away at you. They will distract you from your real goal. Take a failed relationship. If you never let go, always trying to understand what went wrong and why, odds are you will never have another meaningful relationship. You are going to be alone for the rest of your life.
Accept that the relationship ended. It just wasn’t right and move on. You can take time to learn from the mistakes you made, but don’t focus so much on the past that you ignore the present.
#3. Accept Failure
Related to the above is the ability to accept failure. Too many of us are afraid to fail. In order to get better, you need to fail and learn from your mistakes. Everyone great failed and still fails. It’s a part of life.
Don’t let failure define you. Use it to your advantage and grow from it. So the sooner you accept this and don’t allow it to limit you, the better off you will be.
Take the example of a failed relationship again. I’m sure you were hurt when it ended. But you cannot let that pain and hurt make decisions for you in the future. If you never enter into a relationship again because you are scared of getting hurt, you are going to miss out on a lot of fun times.
Remember, there are no guarantees in life other than death. Your next relationship might work out or it may not. You can’t let that uncertainty decide if you should date again though. You need to live each day to its fullest and enjoy the present.
#4. Be Grateful
One of the overlooked traits of successful people is being grateful. When good things happen to them, they acknowledge it and are thankful for it. I’ve never seen a successful person be ungrateful. If they are, odds are they won’t be successful for very long.
Learn to be grateful for all you have. Even if you think you have little, most likely, you have a lot more than you think.
For me, I take 5 minutes every day and reflect on the things I have and the great things that happened to me. Many times, I am most thankful for the small things, like getting my daily exercise in or hitting the green lights on the way to work.
While it sounds odd to be grateful for these small things, doing so puts me in a good state of mind. I focus on the positive things in my life and that gives me energy and motivation to see what other great things are going to happen in my life.
#5. Reward Yourself
Even though we think success means we are hustling 24/7, in reality, we all need to take a break and relax.As one of the traits of successful people, this cannot be skipped over.
You can’t work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You have to take a break and reward yourself for your hard work and your achievements. How do you reward yourself? That is up to you to decide. Maybe it is splurging on a fancy steak dinner. Maybe it is a week-long vacation somewhere tropical.
At first, your reward might be small. Maybe it is just a long weekend getaway. But as you become more and more successful, your rewards will grow in size and you will be motivated to achieve more and more.
Of course, don’t just reward yourself in big ways just because you think you should. Many times, it is the small rewards that make the most impact.
So make sure that the reward is meaningful to you. This will help drive you to be more successful in the days, weeks, and years to come.
#6. Give Back/Be Selfless
All successful people remember where they came from and as a result give back to others. No matter your situation or circumstances, you should always give back. Whether it be time or money doesn’t matter. You just need to give back.
And don’t think you need to volunteer a lot of time or money either. You can start small. Hold the door for a stranger. Smile and say hello to people you pass by. Ask a friend or co-worker how things are going and really listen to their answer. Even small gestures like this go a long way.
#7. Go Above And Beyond
To be a truly successful person, you have to go above and beyond what is asked of you. If you simply do what is asked, you will never be successful. Find ways to add value to the company or your business. Find ways to keep your relationships with friends and loved ones fresh. Don’t just sit back and let life pass you by.
Take steps to help out more in every aspect of life. It will not go unnoticed.
If you fail, don’t let it define you as mentioned above. Use it as a springboard to greater things. All of the successful people I read about all go above and beyond what is asked of them. This is easy when you are passionate about what you are doing.
#8. Create Your Own Opportunities
I hear many people talk about being lucky or waiting for something to happen to them. Don’t be like this. Make your own luck. Make things happen in your life. This will come naturally if you are competitive and go above and beyond on a regular basis.
When you put yourself in the right place, you will see more opportunity come your way, which will potentially lead to more success down the road. Stop sitting around waiting for life to happen and make it happen. You control your life through the choices you make. Make smart ones and things will begin to fall into place.
Pay off your debt so you can save more money and take the vacations you dream of. Save for retirement so you can retire on your terms. The more you do to take control, the more times you will be able to act on the opportunities that come your way.
#9. Ask For Help
This is probably one of the most overlooked traits of successful people. Why are so many people afraid to ask for help? Maybe they think it makes them look dumb? I’d rather look dumb, get help and be successful than look smart, not get help and not be successful. Successful people ask for help all of the time and you should too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know the answer, find someone who does. Otherwise you are going to waste your valuable time searching for an answer when you could be out doing something else to help you succeed.
No one knows the answer to everything. Not even Ken Jennings. So tell your pride to take a back seat and get the help you need. The sooner you do, the sooner you can continue to move forward down the road to success.
#10. Stay Positive
Many of us listen to the negative voices in our heads. There is enough negativity in the world as it is and you don’t need to pile it on yourself. Successful people learn how to tune out this negativity and focus on the positive things in life.
They know how to turn off that negative voice in their heads and keep pushing forward. If you listen to others telling you it won’t work or it’s not possible, nothing is ever going to get done. Tune them out and tune into the possibilities of being a success and reaching your goals. You’ll go much farther in life when you do this.
There you have the 10 traits of successful people. Remember, you have to define success first before moving onto the traits that are listed. If you don’t define success, you are wasting your time at being successful because it won’t feel like success to you.
Once you define what success looks like to you, make sure you work at turning the traits listed here into your own habits so that you can reach your goals. Start slow and take one trait at a time. As you begin to master it, move on to another. In time, you will see results and success.
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