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What are the common traits of highly successful people?

What are the common traits of highly successful people?

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What are the common traits of highly successful people?

May 1, 2015

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley

There’s much focus in today’s society on intelligence and higher education as a precursor to success. Yet, some of the world’s all time successful people have been described as “losers” when they were young. Robert Greene, authors of Mastery reveals that Charles Darwin was once an “underachieving schoolboy” and Leonardo da Vinci an “illegitimate outcast”. Both learned social rules early and after a period of mediocrity, turned them on their head to become elite, joining the ranks of world’s very first life hackers.

Some leaders in recent years also have spoken out about the value of real world experience over getting an MBA. Author Tim Ferriss of the infamous Four Hour Work Week goes so far as to describe the latter as “effectively a two-year vacation that looks good on a resume.”

Whatever your path to higher learning, the true differences between ordinary and extraordinary people might surprise you. Greene has identified some common themes among highly successful people he has studied. Some of his finding are listed below.

They’re emotionally invested in their work

It seems doing what you love trumps intelligence every time. Passion gleans the right kind attitude to see you through the tough times. Drive and resilience improve your chances of success over failure.

In her book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying author Bronnie Ware puts “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” as people’s number one regret. So, successful people may also be more content in their twilight years.

They’re able to focus and get things done

Successful people are not addicted to checking their phones and understand the importance of taking time out from technology in their ability to concentrate and connect with their creativity. They don’t get distracted unless they want to.

They don’t care what others think of them

Embracing their own uniqueness, successful people are very secure in their own individuality and their often controversial or unique business style reflects this. Reid Tracy, president of self-help publisher, Hay House says, “if you’re not polarising people, you’re not trying hard enough”. It seems attracting haters is a mark of success, and a thick skin is par for the course.

They’re in tune with themselves

They meditate, listen to their intuition and have a ritual for mental relaxation which allows to remove themselves from stressful situations, respond calmly and manage anxiety more effectively than most.

They’re don’t live in the past

They’re on the path of continuous improvement. Instead of resting on their laurels or basking in the glow of past successes, successful people are always challenging themselves and operating outside of their comfort zone.

They employ daily systems

Successful people avoid getting caught up in minituae. There’s a place for everything and everything has it’s place. Through automation and organisation, they reduce decision fatigue and preserve their mental energy for the important tasks of the day.

Now we know that great success not just reserved for the highly intelligent. Finding work that you love to do and employing a few daily disciplines can hold you in very good stead for a bright future. If you’re unsure about what you truly love, it can be helpful to consider whom you look up to, or are even jealous of.

Greene suggests writing down the things that excite you when they come to mind, and then trying to find the common themes around what makes you tick.

Sabrina Matuda - GM

IT Recruitment Consultant
  • author
  • author

I am a real people person and spent over a decade in language studies, coaching and sales. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and Literature, a Master's degree in English and a PhD in Translation studies (#nerd). However, a serendipitous event got me into IT recruitment. And I’m loving it! Why? Recruiting has allowed me to leverage my passion for building and maintaining rewarding relationships with my clients while remaining challenged to find the perfect candidates and, in my case, it has also allowed me to keep updated with all the technology trends out there. I take pride in ensuring that placements are a strong match for both parties. There’s nothing more exciting than helping smart people find their next challenge. If I’m not working, I’m probably learning a new language, enjoying a glass of nice champagne or traveling. Also, I love meeting new people and learning new things, so feel free to connect and share your experience. :) If you are looking at hiring or contemplating your next career move in IT hit me up on sabrina@citirecruitment.com.

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Meet the CITI Team


  • Adrian Spurrier - Head of IT Talent

    Head of IT Talent
  • Sabrina Matuda - GM

    IT Recruitment Consultant

IT & Digital Recruitment Without Guesswork

"Our strength lies in understanding the complete client environment, which includes not only the technology but also the mindset of the individuals working in IT environments. We provide a hiring solution that serves both the needs of its clients and candidates. We provide a premium IT talent management service supported by well thought out business processes and operating methodologies." - Steve Wilson, Founder CITI Recruitment

  • Adrian Spurrier - Head of IT Talent

    I’ve successfully built up 8 years of local industry knowledge specialising in the recruitment of Infrastructure professionals with a focus on Open Source, emerging and Cloud Technologies and DevOps Engineers. Combining strong sales skills with excellent technical knowledge, I provide exceptional service to both my clients and candidates. Please contact me for more info - adrian@citirecruitment.com

    Adrian Spurrier - Head of IT Talent
  • Sabrina Matuda - GM

    I am a real people person and spent over a decade in language studies, coaching and sales. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and Literature, a Master's degree in English and a PhD in Translation studies (#nerd). However, a serendipitous event got me into IT recruitment. And I’m loving it! Why? Recruiting has allowed me to leverage my passion for building and maintaining rewarding relationships with my clients while remaining challenged to find the perfect candidates and, in my case, it has also allowed me to keep updated with all the technology trends out there. I take pride in ensuring that placements are a strong match for both parties. There’s nothing more exciting than helping smart people find their next challenge. If I’m not working, I’m probably learning a new language, enjoying a glass of nice champagne or traveling. Also, I love meeting new people and learning new things, so feel free to connect and share your experience. :) If you are looking at hiring or contemplating your next career move in IT hit me up on sabrina@citirecruitment.com.

    Sabrina Matuda - GM

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