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Traits Successful People Have in Common

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Helen Hoart

It’s like the search for the Holy Grail—the search for those traits that make a person successful.  Are people born with the success “gene” or is it something we can develop?

In his book “The 8 Traits Successful People Have In Common: 8 To Be Great,” Richard St. John assures us success traits aren’t inherited.  Rather we develop them by taking action.  What are these actions that will lead to success?

  • Doing what you love.
  • Working hard
  • Focusing
  • Pushing yourself
  • Coming up with ideas
  • Improving
  • Serving others
  • Persistence

 Passion for what we do is, indeed, a driving force towards success because it pushes us to work harder; it helps us focus and makes sure we don’t give up even when things get tough. 

Where do ideas come from?

One of the other traits of successful people is coming up with ideas—easier said than done.  But St. John suggests some tactics that will help generate winning ideas. To open the idea floodgates look at the problems you’re encountering.  Ideas are solutions to problems.  Be observant.  Look carefully at the world around you. What are people doing? How can you, with your special skills, help them do it better?

Other idea-generating tactics, according to St. John, include listening. Find out what others are wishing for. The desires of others can help get your creative juices flowing.  Being curious will also spark ideas.  And don’t be afraid to look at others’ ideas and see if you can make them even better.

And if your first idea is a flop, don’t worry, because often it’s those mistakes that eventually lead to winning ideas.

Successful people are never satisfied. They are always looking for ways to improve.  And they are persistent.

The most interesting trait St. John highlights is “serving others.”   Successful people serve others something of value.   By striving to better the lot of others, be it customers, students, community or family, we solidify our success.

I would add two more characteristic for any roadmap for success—being honest and trustworthy.  Without those two traits, success will ultimately be unsatisfying and empty.

St. John interviewed hundreds of people for “The 8 Traits Successful People Have In Common: 8 To Be Great.”  It’s a quick read with valuable insights.

Here’s to your success!


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