Success is the accomplishment of a particular aim or purpose. That’s pretty vague wouldn’t you say?  One thing that is clear however, is that one person’s success may be worthless to another because of where they are in life, who they are, and what they want to accomplish with their time. Yet there are fundamental commonalities involved with success which are a set of very specific traits all successful people share.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard 100% of the time. Any person who dedicates their time, energy, and resources to a cause are undoubtedly more prone to reach the goals they set out for, compared to those who let life pass them by.

Life is about developing habits. Some habits are desirable, while others are detrimental to our success. Submitted for the approval of the millennial society, I call this article, “10 Character Traits Highly Successful People Share.”

1] Undying Passion

Successful People Passion

Passion is the enabler of confidence, enthusiasm, dedication, and the happiness to attack our dreams. You may be able to achieve short term success without a fierce passion for what you are doing, but any long term success requires a immense unrelenting desire.

Times will get tough and struggles will come for you whether you are prepared for them or not. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. It is that passion that drives you, motivates you, propels you to put on the gloves and go 12 rounds with any adversary that blocks you from achieving your dreams.

Passion allows you to have fun, and find enjoyment in work where other people give up from boredom. Passion gives you precision focus, determination and acts as a means to an end. When successful people fail, they pursue and innovate. They do so with such resolve that separates them from the unsuccessful schlubs who gave up when the going got tough.

Lastly, passion is contagious, coming off like a pungent aroma that attracts those who see its benefits. It gives us energy to commit that extra hour when the competition chooses to sleep. Focus on your dreams, without laying in bed. If you woke up unhappy from being unsuccessful you had no business going to sleep.

2] Push Themselves Outside Comfort Zone

Successful People Outside Comfort Zone

Among the many insightful articles Forbes has in their vault, it was their assessment of self-awareness as one of the most imperative qualities of the successful that brought me to where I am today. I recommend you give it a read.

Successful people are self aware of their inefficiencies, their faults, their weaknesses and their boundaries. Knowing these things, they make the conscious decision to push themselves outside of their comfort zone in order to evolve. They are always looking for opportunities of growth, not only in their professional life but in their personal lives.

We as people are not “living” if we are not learning. However it takes a strong person to charge straight into uncomfortable, unfamiliar circumstances with confidence and poise. All successful people have failed at least one time in their pursuit of happiness. They all made tons of mistakes. Most people however will tell you its not failing but it is learning.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

Setting aside their ego, they are able to objectively look at themselves and the things that need changing in order to reach their goals. In reading Ego Is the Enemy, I learned that our ego impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. Self awareness allows us to rid ourselves from the shackles of our ego.

3] They Are Not Afraid to Take Risks

Successful People Take Risks

In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. Too often people stay stagnant in their careers because they become complacent. Complacency chooses to play it safe instead of standing out and taking risks. Those who take risks have a greater perspective on life in that failure is not authentic, it just doesn’t exist.

Rather in theme with the aforementioned passion, it is an acquisition of knowledge and an understanding of which methods of success work and which do not. They become innovators, outside of the box thinkers, and they get the job done. Taking risks is about taking charge and doing so with confidence.

As noted in the Huffington Post article 7 Reasons Why Risk-Taking Leads to Success, success will neither fall into your lap, or come at a moment’s notice. We must take the calculated risks to build our confidence as well as rid ourselves from the threat of failure. As noted failure doesn’t exist.

However, absence of fear of failure causes people to underestimate or miscalculate risks. A balance must be present between our emotional attachment and rational consciousness to recuse ourselves from the unnecessary and sometimes life-damaging risks. This balance is backed by the convictions of a decisive and confident risk taker who has overcome each and every “failure” placed before their path.


4] Hold Themselves Accountable

Successful People Accountability

Our word is our bond is it not? Each and everyday people wake up with some semblance of a plan for the day. Maybe its a go to work and file this stack of papers I have had on my desk, or an I need to hit a sales target kind of day. Either way upon returning home from the unsuccessful attempts who is really there to hold us to our word besides ourselves?

The difference between the winners and the losers (no offense, but I need to tell it like it is) is that winners actually do hold themselves accountable to the goals they set, whereas losers leave that failure at work for the next day, always being one step behind. Winners climb the success ladder in their professional lives by setting goals and maintaining their achievement.

However setting a goal is not as simple as saying to yourself, “I am going to own a business one day,” backed by no plan. A goal must be an accumulation of five factors. Goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound: most commonly known as S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Successful people write down their goals to make them more tangible. They do not create excuses as to why their goal was not achieved. Instead they continue to pursue with undying passion and determination to find resolve. If people are not laughing at your goals, they are not big enough.

“One person’s embarrassment is another person’s accountability” – Tom Price

5] They Are Coachable

Successful People Coachable

Not one person walking on this earth has everything figured out perfectly from the gate. Success is about learning, practicing your craft and to be the very best one can be in a particular field.

To become the best would suggest that currently you are not where you would like to be. The best source of information on how to become better is from those we are competing against and those who have been in our shoes.

Being coachable is not just about listening to someone who instructs you on better practices. It is at first, a self awareness and understanding that we do not know everything. It is the subsiding of our ego to readily and willingly accept criticism and to most importantly execute on said criticisms.

Because successful people are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone, being coachable is a given attribute. They are flexible and adapt to changes quickly.  Here are 5 Ways to be Coachable!

6] Goal Oriented

Successful People Set Goals

Being goal oriented is not just thinking about the end result. Instead its about planning and calculating each individual step in between that culminates with the final product. Which choices do we make or not make and which actions do we pursue that actualize the goal as a tangible truth.

We spoke a little before about how to create goals, or rather S.M.A.R.T. goals. We also touched on the notion that writing your goals down is more beneficial than mulling them over in your head.

Elite Daily posted a great article that talks about the 5 Reasons Why Writing Down Your Goals Increases the Odds of Achieving Them. I would like to further add that when accomplishing a written goal, the triumphant feeling of checking it off your list inherently builds a confidence that all S.M.A.R.T. goals are achievable with hard work and accountability.

With each accomplished goal a person is able to track their success against the time they set themselves aside. Even accomplishing simple goals like making your bed in the morning or working out in the morning go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of the day.


7] Positive Attitude

Successful People Positive Attitude

“It is your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

If you consider the picture above you can see that while having both knowledge in a particular field and hard work are essential to the overall picture, it is attitude at 100% that dictates what we do with our knowledge and work ethic.

Whether you realize it or not, your attitude has a major influence on your appearance, your finances, social life, and your career. The big question, is how do we maintain a positive attitude through all of the negatives in our life? First and foremost we have to look at the bigger picture. Successful people are masters of emotions

Let’s talk about the sinking of the Titanic. Stay with me, the relevance is coming momentarily. The Titanic sunk not only for hitting an iceberg, but a cascade of events and design flaws, in this case, the bulk heads. The bulkheads were only watertight horizontally and because of this, water was able to spill over into the remaining compartments and the rest is history.

Now examine your entire day as the Titanic and the first negative moment of your day, say “spilled coffee on yourself,” represents the water. If we allow that spilled coffee to negatively impact the remainder of the day, each other opportunity in the day will be viewed with a bad attitude as our emotions would cloud our decision making abilities.

That bad attitude will create fears, raise doubts, and showcase insecurities that limit the aforementioned idea of taking risks. One of the only things we really have control over in our life anymore, is our attitude, and we have to remind ourselves through affirmations to think positive. Regardless of what obstacles confront us, we have no control over those circumstances, only how we respond to them.

For more great reads about having a positive attitude, pick up a copy of Believe You Can–The Power of a Positive AttitudeEdit – John Mason

8] Great Communicators

Successful People Great Communicator

All successful people got to where they are today by their ability to communicate with others. Communication is not just about verbiage and diction but a collection of mannerisms, body language, eye contact, inflection, and attentiveness. One could argue that majority of our interactions are non verbal.

So how does someone become a better communicator? Well interestingly enough it starts with listening and asking questions, a lot of questions. Too many people who have yet to hit their success are stuck in the mud because they only listen to respond, instead of listening to actually understand and recognize the problem and the solution to the problem.

With listening comes empathy and honesty. Great communicators can understand the tone and body language of their audience. When all the facts are present, they respond with respectful and constructive criticisms. By giving each interaction their full attention and respect, they indirectly invest in other individuals which influences growth in their business.

Secondly, after receiving all the facts, they are confident in how the respond. Successful people are the subject matter experts in their field. People tend to pay more attention to those who speak with convictions and expertise. Their expertise allows them to capture the attention in the room, and when it is their time to speak, their words carry more weight of influence.

Lastly, great communicators will not waste your time. They set clear defined guidelines and expectations for their managers to follow. They do not micromanage their teams, but hold themselves and their managers accountable for the desired result. When clarity is present, there is less room for misunderstanding and error which is essential to run the well oiled machine required for success.

For more tips in becoming a successful leader with exception communication skills, read Power of Communication, The: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively

9] They Provide Value to Others Through Leadership

Successful People Leadership

In the thick of winter, through threat of hypothermia, soldiers were seen trying to mount a log on top of their defenses. It was a gruesome almost impossible task as the soldiers grew visibly tired. The only thing keeping the men going was a corporal commanding the troops from his position of authority.

In strolled a man riding on horseback who approached the corporal and asked, “why are you not helping your men?” The corporal with a grin of disdain replied, “because I am a corporal,” as if that fact recused him from labor. The man dismounted the horse and began to help the soldiers until the task was completed.

With a commanding stature, the man told the soldiers, “if you require any further assistance, call for me, the commander-in-chief. This man was George Washington, and the underlying message is that no successful person is willing to give orders that they themselves are not prepared to follow.

Leadership such as that creates a loyalty so fierce, a nation was born. Great leaders recognize that when their team is taken care of, they will work more efficiently and with greater capacity.

10] Confidence is KEY

Successful People Confident

Nothing is more appealing to an attentive audience or consumer than a confident person peddling the product. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he didn’t timidly address his keynote with suggestions of revolution. Jobs flat out told the world that this product HAS these features, they WILL do this for you, and that it WILL revolutionize the world.

Confidence is about speaking with intention and conviction. When successful people speak about their goals and their ambitions you will never hear words like, maybe, I think, or possibly: there is just no room for doubt in their master plans.

Confidence allows people to attack their goals even when the odds are stacked against them. It creates your risk takers and it influences people to stray away from their comfort zones. Most importantly, confidence is the self awareness of potential and self worth.

The reason that successful people became successful is because they couldn’t settle for less. Notice I said couldn’t and not didn’t. Didn’t would suggest that they had a choice, and successful people envelop themselves so deeply with passion into their goals as if they are the only option. Couldn’t confirms that they had no other option but to succeed for their livelihood because failure is not an option.

Confident people do not settle for anything less that what they know their worth to be. They are the ones who have successfully been able to break ceilings, test uncharted lands, and cement everlasting legacies. They know they are the right person for the job and they get that job done.

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So there you have it. Each trait is practicable by every individual alive. To be successful it takes hard work, time, dedication, grit, perseverance, and I can go on for days explaining the cost of success.

There will be long nights with no friends, but the most important thing to remember in pursuit of success is that you only can only live for today. Be present in the present and give all you have got to give for your purpose.

Thank you for reading! Please comment below with your thoughts of success and make sure to share with all of your friends and family.

For more information on self growth, check out 7 Must Read Books For the Beginner Entrepreneur!