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You want to be successful.
You see other people achieve success but it is just not happening for you.
What are you to do?
The best thing you can do is understand the traits of successful people and make sure you have the same traits.
What I mean by this is, look at the common personality traits people have who you find to be successful.
Then look at yourself to see which ones you have and which ones you lack.
You can then begin to improve the ones you have and learn how to get the ones you don’t.
To save you time, I created this list of the personal qualities that are most common in successful people.
You can use this list as a checklist for yourself to help you improve your personal skills so you can finally experience success.
And this will set you up for exponential growth and success throughout the rest of your life.
10 Traits Of Successful People
Of course, before I dive into the important traits of successful people, we need to take a step back and ensure you have a definition of what success is.
- Read now: Click here to learn how to define success
- Read now: Learn the 5 critical questions you have to ask yourself for greater success
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.
This is 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.
You need to take some time to think about the idea of success and write down what it means to you.
What is your end goal? What do you want out of life?
Learn to set goals for what success means to you.
Once you complete this step, you can start following a path to success that was laid down by other like minded people.
Now that you have success defined for you, it is time to see what common qualities successful people tend to have.
These key 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.
One of the best examples of this is Tom Brady.
Love him or hate him, he is successful because he is competitive.
He wants to be the best.
So he goes to bed before 9pm every night. He rarely drinks alcohol and follows a strict diet.
He is always training and watching film of games. His work ethic is off the charts.
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.
Step out of your comfort zone and admit 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.
Realize that most times failure isn’t from a lack of ability, it’s more often because you went about things the wrong way.
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 most overlooked qualities 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. But I have seen plenty of unsuccessful people be ungrateful.
If a successful person is ungrateful, 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.
One way that works for me is 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 helps me keep a positive attitude all day long.
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.
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.
It’s part of the process of being successful.
What is the best way to 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 And 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.
A great way to do this is to 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.
It’s a lot of work to go above and beyond in every aspect of life, but the rewards are immeasurable.
If you fail, don’t let it define you as mentioned above.
Use it as a springboard to greater things and a better life.
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.
Live with an open mind and accept people for who they are.
Embrace the idea of lifelong learning so you are always current on things in life.
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
An overlooked personality trait of successful people is asking for help.
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.
This is one of the character traits I admire the most.
I see people who have achieved great success always asking other people questions and asking for help.
Many easily admit when they don’t know something.
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, believing there will be a positive outcome
It may not be the outcome they want, but they will find the positive in it.
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 with positive thinking than you will without it.
Additional Qualities Of Successful People
There are a few more qualities that most successful individuals have.
If you want to reach both life and financial success, developing these qualities will benefit you greatly.
#11. Looking At The Bigger Picture
Don’t get caught up in the moment.
Always try your best to look long term to understand the impacts of your decisions.
For example, buying the cheapest item might make sense now, but if you have to replace it every year, it will probably end up costing you more compared to a higher priced, higher quality item.
To help make this a habit, ask yourself how something will benefit or impact you today, and in the future, like 5 or 10 years from now.
#12. Focus On Important Tasks
We all have a ton to do every single day.
Most of us make a list and then pick the easiest things to do.
In our minds, this is smart because we get more done.
But usually the easiest things don’t have a measurable impact on our lives.
Instead, you need to organize your to do list.
Put at the time the few things that will have the biggest impact on your life and focus on doing these things first.
By doing this, you will become more successful in every aspect of your life because you are getting done things that matter.
And here is an important thing to remember.
Your first task should be the hardest item on your list.
You are most focused first thing in the morning and getting this task off your list will motivate you like you’ve never seen before.
#13. Take Care Of Your Physical Health
Most successful people not only manage to have a great career, but they are able to have family time and exercise.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day.
Start off slow and go for a 20 minute walk every day.
Then add in some weight lifting 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day.
If you take an objective look at your day, you can figure out how to fit this into your schedule.
Additionally, try to pick healthy foods to eat.
When you are hungry, instead of mindlessly grabbing something to eat, stop and ask yourself a question.
Will this food fuel my body?
In other words, if you put junk into your body, you are going to feel like junk.
But if you put good food into your body, your will feel good.
Try to eat healthy as much as you can and make junk food a special occasion.
#14. Limit Instant Gratification
We are prone to give into urges in our fast paced world.
Advertisements only add fuel to this fire.
You need to work to delay gratification as much as you can.
This goes back to looking at the big picture.
I know it can be hard to not give into a strong desire you have.
But the more patient you can be and take your time, the better results you will see.
#15. Learn To Communicate
Learning good communication skills is an overlooked personal trait that you need to have.
This includes not only speaking but listening as well.
Before you speak, take a moment to make sure you have the right words you want to say.
Speak clearly and calmly.
If you are in a disagreement with someone else, try to make the issue about you and not them by saying “I” and not “you”.
This will help the conversation move forward and not put the other person on the defensive.
When listening, truly listen.
Don’t think of what you can say in response.
It helps to repeat back to the person what they said, but in your own words, how you interpret what they said.
This helps to ensure you are both on the same page about a topic or issue.
#16. Express Empathy
Finally, learn to be empathetic more.
Put yourself in someone else’s situation before you come to a decision.
If someone is talking with you about a difficult situation, express to them how you can see how it’s hard and comfort them.
Just make sure you are genuine when you do this.
This helps you to form a connection with others which leads to greater happiness in life.
There you have the most important characteristics 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.
Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.