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Published on March 4, 2020

13 Essential Personal Qualities for a Successful Life

13 Essential Personal Qualities for a Successful Life

There are a few personal qualities and traits we can all strive to embody to bring more success into our lives. We have to slowly build these traits over time, like a slow-growing, beautiful flower.

These successful traits and personal qualities truly are shared by people from all areas of life. They aren’t something you just stumble onto, and they don’t just happen by chance or luck. They come from small habitual changes we make throughout our lives, one step and one day at a time.

The key lesson here is this: If you live an average lifestyle, don’t be surprised when you only get average results. If you want something more, you need to get out there and earn it! Striving to step out your door as your best self every single day is a great way to point yourself in the right direction. The better you perform every day, the more success will find its way back to you.

Here are some of the personal qualities, traits, and attributes that cultivate success in our daily lives.

1. Resilience

All of us, at some point in our lives, are going to be knocked down. Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t, but what’s important is that you develop the ability to get back up.

Resilience will help you keep going through difficult times and help you bounce back when people try to push you down.

When we lack resiliency, we run from our problems, avoid admitting mistakes, and shy away from growth. This robs us of chances to develop into someone truly amazing.

2. Drive

You need to be willing to work hard to get to the top of any ladder. That goes without question.

You need that drive to remain disciplined when the going gets tough. You need to understand your “why.” Why are you striving to accomplish this goal? What are you going to gain from it?

The clearer you can be on why you are doing something, the more driven you will remain through the difficult and challenging times that you’ll inevitably face on your journey.

3. Self-reliability

You can depend on yourself. How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to get something done on a particular day, or in a week, or in a month, only to either forget about it or push it off until a later date. Have the strength to shoulder these responsibilities and then hold yourself accountable.

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You need to be able to remain accountable when it comes to your goals and values. Understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are and acting accordingly is a great way to start living a successful life.

4. Patience

This is probably one of the most difficult of the personal qualities on this list to develop. Very little in life happens overnight.

We use the term “overnight success” to describe the people who become successful almost instantaneously. However, we often don’t see that what looks like an overnight success to us was likely years or even decades in the making for the individual.

To achieve true success and happiness in your life, you need to cultivate patience. Only through patience will you gain the clarity required to overcome the problems that you face in life.[1]

Without patience, you’ll likely succumb to the shiny-object syndrome, where you chase around the next big thing continuously but never stick with anything long enough to reach your goals.

5. Courage

Far too often I see people fail to reach their potential because they’re afraid. They aren’t afraid of the growth, but they’re afraid of taking the risk that they might fail at something, especially when it’s in public, at a work place, or on social media.

This fear prevents them from truly committing to and achieving their goals.

When you find yourself fearing failure, remember this phrase:

“Fail forward!”

The most successful people in the world have continuously said that failing, and learning from those failures, is key to success.

Stop fearing what could go wrong and begin focusing on what could go right.

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6. Commitment

“Commitment is key.”

If you’ve never heard this phrase, commit it to memory.

When you commit to your goals, there is another level of determination that your mind develops, and reaching goals becomes that much easier.

If you aren’t committed, chances are you’ll lose focus. Be realistic, but find that balance so that you can commit to the goals you feel you can attain over time through true dedication and commitment.

7. Willpower

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

This is the ability to see things through to the end, a willingness to find solutions and work through the problems and challenges you face along the way. If you can’t work through your problems, it’s likely that you won’t get very far very fast.

The most successful people in the world are often the people who are also the best problem-solvers. These are the people who can work through the challenges that impede their efforts and progress. These people overcome hardships instead of just quitting and moving on.[2]

8. Passion

You need that fire burning inside of you that continually pushes you toward your goals. This is one of the most important personal qualities.

Passion motivates you to take on that next challenge because you know what’s on the other side. Success so often follows passion that it is almost an essential part of the equation.

Sometimes, passion isn’t always easy to come by. You have to try a few different things before you find something that really gets you going.

However, when you’ve found it, you’ll know. You’ll know because you’ll be excited each and every day to deal with the problems and challenges that face you as a result of that passion. When you feel passion for something, it will make you want to improve and become a better person each and every day.

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9. Connection

This trait is very underrated in our modern world. People lack true connections. We hop online or onto social media and talk to people through our phones and hope that’s enough.[3]

However, humans are social beings by nature. Everyone should take the time to find people with similar goals and values. When you find these people who have similar goals and values, you can support each other through your individual struggles and invest in the relationships.

10. Integrity

Integrity is integral to any life of true purpose, meaning, and success. If you don’t have your integrity, living an honest, successful life may be difficult.

Practice this attribute daily. The best way to cultivate integrity in your life is by being honest, open, and transparent in everything that you do.

Through actions like these, we define our true character, and that character defines who we are and who we eventually develop into.

11. Optimism

Optimism, the “glass half full” mentality, is incredibly important. If you are optimistic about your ability to take on challenges and achieve success, you’ll be more likely to positively approach difficult situations. This will help you keep an open mind and find effective solutions.

If you approach a problem with a closed mind, finding solutions will likely take longer and involve less creativity. If you’ve got a problem and try to force a solution onto that situation rigidly, you will likely struggle. Remain open and optimistic.

Be careful, though, because optimism can be taken too far. If you have blind faith in your abilities or someone else’s, you may end up putting yourself in a difficult situation. Be optimistic, but sprinkle in a little bit of realism as well.

12. Self-confidence

You need to have faith in your abilities. You need to believe that you have what it takes to achieve your goals. Be realistic about how you are, and have confidence that you’re going to use your unique personal qualities to find success.

Creating a support system around you will also help with your self-confidence. When you stumble, you will have the right people around you to help you push through and remind you who you are.

Overall, you need to trust yourself. It truly is that simple. To be successful, you first need to believe you have what it takes to get there. If you don’t, you may not take actions to move forward or invest yourself fully.

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However, if you don’t have this type of self-confidence at this moment, don’t worry. Remember, we don’t all have all of these qualities naturally. The goal is to pick some personal qualities to cultivate over time. You can gain this confidence if you work at it.

13. Communication

Communication is an essential trait that any successful person should have in their arsenal.

If you can’t communicate with people, chances are that you’ll struggle to relate to them. This will make it more difficult to solve problems when they do arise between you and someone else.

If you can’t communicate, you may also struggle to establish and maintain true connections with the other important people in your life.

Communication isn’t just about hearing what someone is saying; it’s also about hearing what they aren’t saying and responding appropriately.

When the proper methods of communication are established between two people, respect and trust follow nearly 100% of the time. This is why communication is so important as it allows you to understand someone else at a deeper level and form a true connection.

Learn more about effective communication: How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Final Thoughts

All of the above personal qualities can help you develop success in life.

If you don’t have some of these right now, don’t worry. While some will come more naturally than others, each of these personal qualities can be developed through mindful practice.

Remember, nobody ever plans to be average. Average happens when you fail to strive for something more, when you fail to apply yourself and your skills to become something more.

So begin today.

Identify where your goals are and what steps, skills, and personal qualities will get you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Featured photo credit: Jude Beck via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Rationality and Competition: Longevity and Patience
[2] Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience: Willpower over the life span: decomposing self-regulation
[3] Diana Earl, The University of Queensland: The Healthy Relationships Series: An Untapped Potential for Human Connection

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Mark Lynch

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life

What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life

What is life about? What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist?

Everyone, from ancient Greek Stoics all the way to modern lifestyle gurus, have answered these kinds of questions in an endless variety of ways. And yet, we still search for a satisfying answer.

Neither this article, nor any other one, can deliver a tangible solution to the curious case of life. And that’s okay!

The truth is, part of what makes the meaning of life so alluring is its engrossing diversity, mystery, and intangibility. However, it’s important to point out that the lack of a solid answer doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking for one. The search for what life is about is a journey that each individual person must embark on for themselves. Each person must look for their own, uniquely fulfilling answer to the question.

Fortunately, there are many different behaviors, ideals, and actions that humans have found over the centuries that can be excellent methods to draw us towards that final, inner conclusion of why we exist. Here are a handful of ways to kickstart the adventure of finding out just what life is really about.

1. Love People

Like life, love is one of the most commonly discussed yet, elusive things that humans encounter. Is it a behavior? A lifestyle? A person or object? A relationship with God? It’s used in all of these ways, depending on the context.

However, one thing that always remains is that love is a powerful force for good. Many of the most meaningful things in life are borne out of love — whether we’re loving things, others, or even ourselves.

One of the best ways to find the meaning of life through love is to practice connecting with our families. From parents and siblings to a spouse and children, loving our family is a powerful way to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of what life has to offer.

A spouse, children, friends, life partners, and strong platonic relationships provide a unique and powerful feeling that is difficult to find anywhere else. This is largely because they’re intimately connected to the eye-opening, natural desire to reproduce and leave our mark on the world through posterity.

2. Detox from Technology and Gain Perspective

Next up, we have the extremely important need to detox from time to time. Modern life is fraught with dangerously addicting distractions like social media, that can take up gobs of time without our ever even realizing it. And the effects can go beyond simply frittering away time. In fact, one study suggested that perhaps as much as a staggering 30% of divorces originate with Facebook interactions.[1]

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Life doesn’t simply happen in a vacuum, though. Once you’ve managed to disconnect from those devices and social profiles, it’s important to take that time and energy and redirect it towards a healthier mindset.

Spend time meditating, praying, and even simply dwelling on an attitude of gratefulness. Find things that you’re thankful for and make an effort to express appreciation for what you have on a regular basis (you know, rather than envying others as we scroll through our Facebook feeds).

One of the keystones to life that numerous wise men throughout history always hearken back to is the simple appreciation, gratefulness, and thanks that come with a good perspective.

3. Look for Meaningful Ways to Give Back

Donations and charities aren’t lacking these days. In fact, the phenomenon of charitable giving is at an all-time high. Awareness has skyrocketed in the age of information, and Americans gave a record-breaking $410.02 billion to charity in 2017 alone.[2]

But just because we know how to give doesn’t mean we’re really, truly invested in giving back to others. Real, honest giving doesn’t come out of personal abundance and overflow, nor does it typically take the form of a crisp dollar bill. It comes out of a desire to help others — a desire that can be huge in helping to get a healthy perspective of life.

If you want to find out more about life, consider genuinely giving back to the world around you. Don’t just scrounge up your extra cash and give it to a cause someone else is passionate about.

Find out where your own passions are. What needs and hurts in the world get your heart racing and your mind searching for a solution? Find those, then invest yourself. Give until it hurts. The results are exhilarating. This article can help you: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

4. Try a Hobby

While we’ve already talked about what we can do for others, that doesn’t mean a little self-care isn’t needed once in a while too. We’re not talking about indulging those shallow, fleeting desires like a bowl of ice-cream or a trip to the spa, though.

Small treats are perfectly fine, but they don’t go very far in helping us truly appreciate life itself. Instead, try looking for a new challenge.

A challenge can be the perfect formula for helping to open our eyes to the beauty of the world around us. They provide value without the perpetual responsibility and financial concerns that come with our careers and professional lives.

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Find a hobby that indulges your interests and simultaneously challenges your skills. Dive into a pursuit that has always intrigued or fascinated you, but you’ve never had the time to explore on your own. Practice a new instrument, go fly fishing, try painting, learn a language — the world’s your oyster! This list of 50 low-cost hobbies will inspire you.

If you’re thoughtful in your selection, you may even be able to pursue an interest that can inadvertently develop your life skills and possibly even add to your resume.[3]

5. Overcome Insecurities

Let’s circle back around to the personal, inner thoughts and behaviors. One of the critical elements to a life well lived — and thus better understood — is overcoming insecurities.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Everyone has insecurities.

Sometimes those insecurities are a bit difficult to pin down and see for what they truly are. One of the best ways to rise above the fears and anxieties of life is to work on your insecurities. Try to practice mindfulness, look for thought patterns, analyze your behavior, and identify when you’re being influenced by insecurities.

The more you become aware of your own insecurities, the more you’ll be able to rise above them, prevent selfish behavior, and enable yourself to do things that would have been impossible before.

If you’ve been trapped in a job you don’t like, for instance, due to insecurities about financial failure or peer pressure, overcoming those insecurities at their roots will enable you to move on somewhere else, to ask for that promotion you’ve been eyeing, or even simply move horizontally within the company in order to find better work that better satisfies your personality and talents. [4]

6. Never Stop Learning

Twelve years of structured school (not to mention a mini-career arc through college after that) can leave many of us feeling like we’re done with academics, school, and learning in general.

But the truth is, learning should be a lifelong process. Healthy humans are always in a state of learning. They see what’s around them and want to learn more, understand more, and see why everything is the way it is.

This doesn’t mean you need to manufacture a desire to start reading textbooks on calculus in order to see what life is about. It’s simply an encouragement to start to take an interest in the world around you. Investigate, probe, and learn more about things that catch your interest, and your passion for learning will start to grow on its own before long.

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For instance, even if you pushed yourself all the way through a masters degree already, don’t close the book on your academic career quite yet. Consider going back to school (no matter your age) in order to get a post-master certificate. [5] This won’t just give you an edge in the professional arena; it will also serve as a way to satisfy that inherent desire to learn.

While that’s just one example out of many, the point is, it’s important to find ways to continue learning and growing on a regular basis.

7. Go Minimalist

It’s easy to hear about concepts like “minimalism” and think about extreme lifestyles, like Buddhist monks living in barren temples up in the mountains. But the truth is, minimalism is an easy lifestyle to adapt even in the cluttered, materialistic West.

If you take small steps like avoiding purchasing unnecessary new things, storing seasonal items, and generally decluttering, you can ease into a minimalist mindset without much trouble.[6]

This doesn’t just help with finances and your cleaning schedule, either. A life with less clutter often leads to a clearer, more grateful mindset. And a grateful mindset can be a key part of gaining deeper insight into what this life stuff is really about in the first place.

8. Travel

You saw this one coming, right? Those that seriously travel tend to gain a deeper perspective of life as a whole. The trick is, though, you can’t go into your travels as a fanny pack-touting tourist that’s only interested in “seeing the sights” and hitting up the pristine beaches.

Here’s a good litmus test for you: if you expect everyone to talk to you in your native language as you travel, you’re not in the right headspace.

If you take the time to travel, make sure to do so with the specific purpose of seeing the world outside of your own comfort zone. How are other cultures different from your own? How do other geographic areas affect how people live? What does a developing or war-torn country truly look like?

If you set out with this perspective, you’re much more likely to have your heart and mind opened in ways you never could have expected.

9. Try to Be More Aware

Finally, we have one last, gigantic call to action: be more aware.

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If a person can truly foster the ability to pay attention to everything around them, they develop the ability to break free from the self-centered mindset that all humans naturally slip into when we’re not paying attention.

Just to clarify, this isn’t a call not to pay attention to your own thoughts and needs. They’re important too. In fact, the Dalai Lama said,

“One must be compassionate to one’s self before external compassion.”

Whether it’s ourselves at first or others afterward, truly developing the ability to be aware of and empathize with the life that goes on in and around us is a critical part of understanding just why we’re all alive in the first place.

So, What Exactly Is Life About?

Hopefully, by this point, you don’t really expect an absolute answer to that question. On the other hand, you may not feel it’s a hopeless inquiry, either.

Remember, the reason we don’t have a good answer about what life is about is that it’s too complex to fit into words in the first place!

The complexities and nuances of a “good life” are so profound that they take an entire lifetime of exploration — both of ourselves and the world around us — to even begin to formulate an answer. And even then, we’ve typically only scratched the surface.

When you break it down, the meaning of life is so deep and valuable, it’s worth chasing, even if the end goal is only to catch a glimpse of the glory that keeps us all moving forward day after day.

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

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