Just this morning I finished reading a great book on success. And since success and happiness overlap to quite an extent, it was great to find a book that narrowed down 8 specific traits that highly successful people have in common. And since a ‘trait’ is like a characteristic, it is something that can be learned or developed if you don’t have it now.
Richard St John, the author of ‘The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common’ conducted over 500 interviews over several years and tabulated all of the data, to narrow down to 8 specific things that are common in the most successful people in all walks of life. He is also successful himself, so comes from a personal point of reference as well.
So what did he find were common in all highly successful people?
The 8 Traits are:
1. PASSION. They loved what they do.
It is not surprising that passion is at the top of the list. Without the passion all the other things that need to be done would not happen. I also believe that every person’s passion (and style) of it is uniquely theirs. We may be passionate about similar stuff as others, but our passion has it’s own unique fingerprint. So finding and expressing your passion in life, I think, is key to not only success, but true happiness.
2. WORK. They work very hard.
Work ethic. This is something that is not really supported by the modern marketing message, which is all about getting something now (or preferably yesterday), with minimum ease and no effort. But the fact of the matter is that success really does require work. And that applies not only to success in business, but in relationships, parenting, physical fitness and health. It is ‘work’ that builds a lasting foundation and real personal transformation.
3. FOCUS. They focus on one thing.
Focus. Focus. Focus. SO HARD in this modern world with things constantly competing for our attention – and I can not imagine how it would be even harder if I have a couple of children to take care of. As the gladiators used to say, ‘Parents! I salute you!’ Doing meditation is actually one of the ways we can build up our focus muscles. We also need to ensure we don’t put our focus in so many different projects, that each of them are watered down.
4. PUSH. They keep pushing themselves.
This is also a hard but necessary trait and made even harder if you don’t have the passion or an inspiring goal. So it is about learning the most effective ways to kick your own butt. In some cases it may mean finding the person or persons who can help give you a shove when you falter yourself.
5. IDEAS. They come up with good ideas.
I think the main thing successful people do is ask themselves better questions. They are solution oriented and not problem focused and develop a habit of asking questions like: ‘How can we improve this?’, ‘How can we turn this around?’ or ‘What else?’ They also realise that you don’t have to be a painter or poet to be creative. They apply creativity to their work and products.
6. IMPROVE. They keep improving themselves and what they do.
The other great question they ask is: ‘How can I make this even better?’ Regardless of how well they do something, they ‘know’ they can do better. They don’t sit on their hands and think they have achieved something great, so now it is time to stop. Because when they stop improving they start a backwards slide. This is the same for all of us in life. The day we stop working on our personal growth is the day we start sliding backwards.
7. SERVE. They serve others something of value.
No value for others = no business. So these people are all in the business of providing the highest level of service to the most number of people. They serve the needs of others. They are outwardly focused; rather then self-interested. When I wrote The Guidebook to Happiness, I kept asking myself, what are the most useful tips and strategies I can share? It is interesting to hear a little bit of the Carl Massy story (I think), but if it was all about me I am sure I would have got more abuse then my thick skin could handle. 😉
8. PERSIST. They persist through time, failure and adversity.
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Practice, practice, practice. Persist, persist, persist. Failure shares the winner’s podium with success (not sure if I made that up or it was pilfered from my subconscious library). The other point the author brought up is that he is yet to find and overnight success. There is always a trail (of the other 7 traits) leading up to the point of success. So know that the best of the best did not do it easy, gracefully or in a matter of months. It takes years for the really big successes in life.
So do you think Richard St John left out any of the biggies that you have personally realised in your life? Please share below if he has.
Click on the link if you want to get a copy of Richard St John’s book: ‘The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common’
To listen to Carl Massy discuss this book in more detail on a PODCAST Click Here
See Richard St John present on TED