Whilst each persons path to success is different, the world’s most successful people share some distinct common traits.
In his book, “The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common,” author Richard St. John conducted intensive interviews with more than 500 highly successful people, from Bill Gates to Martha Stewart and collated the data to see if any common traits existed.
He found all those interviewed shared 8 traits, which he calls the “8 to be great” because “they’re the foundation for success and greatness in any field.”
1.Passion – they do it for the love
They didn’t start their field to make a quick buck, they started and continue to work because they genuinely enjoy, believe and love what they do.
It makes sense that business phycology today shows the most successful business marketing is the most authentic – “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it – Simon Sinek”
2. Failure is an art
Failure is a means to develop and nothing less. When hit with a curveball these people use it as a stepping stone to learn and become even better.
“Failure can be heartbreaking, and when it happens you have a choice,” St. John writes. “You can let it be your school or your funeral.”
The right choice, of course, is using failure as a stepping stone and building off it. Once you do, St. John says it’s all about relentlessly moving forward.
3. A niche
To be successful, it’s important to specialize in a certain area and build your expertise – become indispensable to your industry.
“Success means narrowing down and focusing on one thing, not being scattered all over the map,” St. John writes.
4. They habitually stretch their comfort zones
Richard Branson during his interview told St. John, “I think whatever you’re doing in life just push yourself to the limits.”
You must push through shyness, doubts, and fear, St. John writes. Remember if it scares you, thats a good thing, you are actively challenging yourself and developing as a result.
5. They never stop thinking of new ideas
“Ideas light the way to success,” St. John writes. This is true across the board – ideas form innovation – innovation is the difference between success and market dominator.
The key here is creativity. St. John lists eight ways to come up with big ideas:
1. Have a problem, because big ideas come from everyday problems.
2. Be observant: Eye-Q can be more important than IQ.
3. Listen: Ears are antennas for ideas.
4. Asking questions leads to ideas.
5. Borrow an idea, and build it into a new idea.
6. Make connections: Take one thing and connect it to another.
7. Make mistakes: Mistakes and failures lead to great ideas.
8. Write your ideas down.
6. They seek to continually learn
Self development plays an integral role in these leaders lives. They are never too old or wise to be students – this eagerness to learn keeps them at the forefront of trends, innovation and allows them to be reactive.
Continuous learning means becoming good at something, then getting better, and then seeking to be our absolute best, St. John writes.
7. They provide value to others
It’s important to ask yourself who you serve
Once you’ve determined who you serve, you need to figure out what unique value you can offer. Martha Stewart, for example, learned to be a master homemaker, and “her expertise had high value for millions of women clamoring for tips to make a better home,” he writes.
According to St. John, shift your focus off of yourself and onto the people you serve, to set yourself up for financial success: Do what you love. Serve others what they love. Get money in return.
8. They work hard and play hard
All of those interviewed admitted to working very long hours, on average each person was working up to 14 hour days. Oprah Winfrey, for example, told St. John that she “would never see daylight.”
Whilst hard work is necessary, it’s also important to have fun whilst you work – this allows you to avoid “burnout”. St John writes that successful people aren’t workaholics; they’re “workafrolics” because they have fun with their careers.
He recommends having an 80/20 split – meaning 80% of your work should be enjoyable and the remaining 20% should consist of the serious, not-so-fun stuff.