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5 traits all successful people have

woman looking over seascape at sunset

We all know there is no formula for success. It’s also the case that everybody’s journey towards success is unique—and never linear!—as is their perception of what success is exactly.

However, there are certain characteristics that are essential to even begin to plant the seed for success. Here are five traits we think successful people share…

1. They don’t let failure defeat them

Anything that’s worth doing in life is (a) hard and (b) risky. It’s for this very reason that most people don’t even try. The brutal truth is that when you forge your own path, the odds are often stacked against you. Whether in the form of your own self-doubt, naysayers around you or the small matter of not having enough time/capital—setting out on your own and pursuing personal ambitions is fraught with hazards and therefore the possibility of failure.

However, what separates successful individuals is their ability to learn from failure. Instead of getting despondent, they’ll look at the reasons why they failed and strive to do better next time. When looking at failure this way, it becomes a positive thing because that experience has only made you stronger, wiser and more resilient.

2. They’re good at building relationships

Successful people are acutely aware of the value of surrounding themselves with like-minded individuals. By building up a network of people you trust and admire, you establish a foundation of mutual support and advice, which is crucial both in the good and challenging times.

Understanding other people and being aware of how they perceive you is also crucial when building a team and retaining talent. In the same breath, knowing when someone isn’t the right fit or could become a toxic element in your business is another intuition most successful people are blessed with.

3. They understand the value of suffering

man sitting on hilltop with mountain bike
Photo by Daniel Llorente on Unsplash

As we stated above, anything worth doing in life is hard. And anything that’s hard is going to take you out of your comfort zone. And the only way to get better and grow as an individual is to be willing to suffer—there is no way around this.

This might sound morbid, but the voluntary suffering we’re talking about is really referring to the acceptance that there will be periods where you will work long hours and that you will feel exhausted; it’s also the acceptance that to be a rounded and driven individual requires that you choose learning and self-development over the ease and comfort of binge-watching a series on the couch.

Of course, there will be times to relax—downtime is a crucial element of wellbeing—but successful people know, and embrace, the fact that the comfort zone isn’t their comfort zone. Whether it’s mental or physical discomfort, successful people know this is where the growth happens.

4. They never stop learning

Successful people want to know everything. Whether it’s everything about their chosen field, or just a general curiosity about the world. In this manner, successful people are also happy to accept that they don’t know everything!

Being open to new ideas, new concepts and new ways of thinking and perceiving is vital in continually being able to define and adapt your version of success, as well as the pursuit of it. Whether it’s reading challenging books, watching documentaries or simply surrounding yourself with other learned people, broadening your mind is only going to take you further in every aspect of life.

5. They know what they want

On the surface, this seems like a simple one, but the truth is most people don’t know what they want from life and couldn’t be bothered to find out. Again, this comes back to a willingness to leave your comfort zone—it’s the only way to find out what truly drives you.

Knowing what you want, and having a solid plan of how you’re going to get it, is what gets you out of bed in the morning, as well as what makes you prepared to put in the hours and the physical and mental effort. And if you’re clear on what it is you’re trying to achieve, it’s much easier to get others to believe in your vision and come on the journey with you.

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