Everyone has their own interpretation of what success means to them, but when you break it right down, everyone can agree that it always has something to do with accomplishing a valuable goal or reaching a meaningful purpose. It could be a career advancement, a loving relationship, a useful skill, a form of artistic expression, a spiritual connection, or even an intention to help a certain person or group of people.
Real success is often not a stable and upward journey that can be achieved quickly and easily. The most successful people are often fully aware of this, and they tend to hold certain behavioural traits that set them apart from everyone else.
If you’re struggling to get what you really want out of life, consider taking a good long look inside yourself so you can start working on the following characteristics listed below. If you can shift your mindset to be much more in line with what successful people do, you’ll drastically improve your own chances of succeeding at whatever it is you want to do.
1. They never sacrifice their long-term goals for instant gratification
Certain goals can take weeks, months, and even years of persistent effort before they’re reached. The types of people who do end up reaching them, though, are usually disciplined and motivated enough to give up short-term rewards and distractions that waste too much of their time or inhibit their progress.
When successful people do decide to take some time off from progressing toward their goal by indulging in guilty pleasures, they usually know how to do it intelligently — in a way that actually supports and enhances their creativity, motivation, focus, and stamina. Any other form of instant gratification that doesn’t serve to rejuvenate them in some sort of way is treated as a hindrance that they need to avoid.
2. They never execute without having a proper plan in place.
It shouldn’t be any surprised that a lot of successful people are also very organized and take their planning processes very seriously. They’ll often take every preliminary step they need in order to ensure success, carefully planning out their calendars, project stages, research requirements, testing phases, professional consultations, skill training, and more.
The fact that successful people put so much effort into planning out what they need to do doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad at responding to sudden changes or avoid following their gut instincts when immediate decisions need to be made. Most find a happy balance between sticking to the plan and responding accordingly to unexpected obstacles along the way.
3. They never let their fear of challenge get in their way
It’s normal to want to avoid struggle and hardship as much as possible, but in truth, that’s exactly what keeps most people from moving forward. Successful people think differently about struggle and hardship, knowing and embracing the challenges they need to face to achieve what they want. Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most powerful women in entertainment, is just one famous example of someone who faced unemployment and money troubles shortly after she came out as gay on one of the last episodes of her sitcom “Ellen,” long before she made herself into hit a daytime TV talk show host.
While regular folks react on impulse to challenging situations and worry about making big mistakes, successful people have a way of interpreting each challenge they face as a valuable lesson that will make them better for it. They also view challenges in a way that makes the reward of achieving the end goal even more worth it. Whatever stands in their way, the people who are most likely to succeed are the ones who feel confident enough in their own abilities to rise above the obstacles they face.
4. They never allow their egos to control their values, actions, or goals
It’s not uncommon for the idea of a successful career person to conjure up images of egotistical “Mad Men” type businesspeople in suits, with fancy cars and tremendous amounts of money. In reality, though, many of the most successful people in the world are actually very humble and grounded — even in business. In the book “Inside Apple” by Adam Lashinsky, CEO Tim Cook describes himself by saying, “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.”
The people who truly succeed in life are the ones who never inflate their own self-importance and consider themselves equal among everyone else. After all, it can be pretty hard to become successful all on your own without any help from colleagues, teachers, friends, family, fans, customers, and supporters — especially if everyone thinks you’re completely self-absorbed.
5. They never succumb to other people’s negative criticisms and opinions about them
Despite being humble and grounded among their peers, successful people are able to succeed because they believe in what they stand for, and they’re confident in what they can do. This is an especially important trait to have when it seems like nobody else is on their side.
People who have a low sense of self-efficacy often let their doubts, fears, self-comparisons, and public criticisms derail their efforts. People who are destined for success, on the other hand, will use negative feedback and criticism to lift themselves up and strengthen them — even in the most extreme cases.
6. They never do the easy and unnecessary things first when more important things require immediate attention
The way you set your priorities can make you or break you. The most successful people not only plan well — they also know exactly what needs to get done first before anything else, where they need to focus most of their time and energy, and what can be delegated to others.
People who spend too much of their time focusing on frivolous tasks just because they enjoy them and would rather procrastinate on the tasks that are more difficult and important are guaranteed to struggle with moving themselves forward. If you want to be successful, you need to make a commitment to tackle the most critical and influential things first, regardless of how much you enjoy or dislike doing them.
7. They never ignore the opportunity to get extra help from others when they know they really need it
When you get excited about achieving a big goal, it’s natural to want to do everything your way. But getting help when you really need it goes hand in hand with the previous point about sticking to what’s important, and the most successful people are often the ones who seek out the right help at the right time.
Whether you need a mentor, an assistant, a trainer, a teacher, a coach, group support, or just someone who can help take those menial tasks off your hands, it’s important to seek help from other people who are good at what they do. Instead of obsessing over the desire to do everything yourself, aim to get more help so you can free up more time for the most important tasks and build relationships with people who can teach you new things.
8. They never let themselves worry too much about the past or the future.
When it comes to moving forward toward a specific goal, some people end up getting trapped by spending too much time and energy dwelling on the past or planning extensively for the future. While learning from past mistakes and planning for future challenges are both very important and necessary for success, they’re both useless if you’re barely taking any action at all in the present.
The most successful people don’t let past feelings of embarrassment or shame from previous mistakes prevent them from doing what they need to do in the now. They’re also quite aware of how spending too much time in the planning process can easily turn into a procrastination method, so they know how to limit their preparation for the future to what’s only necessary in order to really focus on active progress.
9. They never take their biggest fans and supporters for granted
Even when faced with intense hardship and unrelenting hatred, the people who succeed at achieving their goals are the ones who never forget who their biggest fans truly are. By continuing to serve their admirers and take in their positive energy, successful people are able to supercharge their motivation and stay focused on what matters most.
People who end up succeeding at their goals regularly surround themselves by loved ones, get help and support from the people they look up to, and make sure they keep providing value to the ones they’re serving. Anyone who wants to succeed at something that’s challenging absolutely can’t afford to ignore who’s standing right there with them and backing them up the whole way.
10. They never surrender to failure
Last but not least, people who end up reaching their goals and making their wildest dreams come true are able to do so because they simply just never quit. Many of them even fail their way forward, taking mistake after mistake and struggle after struggle as valuable lessons that they can use to improve everything they need to do along the way. Co-founder and CEO of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, says failure is really “a stepping stone to success.”
One of the most essential traits of successful people is their ability to persevere no matter what gets thrown in their way. If they’re passionate about achieving what they set out to do, they always find a way to get there without ever giving up.
So, which of these ten powerful behavioural traits do you think you could work on to improve your own chances of success? It might not be easy to accept the fact that you’ve got some work to do, but if it’s all in the name of something you want to achieve real badly, then it’ll be worth it.