It is always so interesting to me why certain people are able to achieve great success in life while the rest just plods along and gets by. If you don’t know high achievers in your personal life, you certainly know about them. These are the Oprah Winfreys, Richard Bransons, and Elon Musks in the world. They are exceptional people who can take a vision and miraculously turn it into reality, or take a project that’s heading south and turn it into a success story.
People are all different and have different backgrounds and circumstances. Despite their diverse life stories, all successful people tend to share a few similar traits. The wonderful thing that I’ve discovered during my research is that all of these traits can be learned and developed. So, if you want to take the first steps in turning your dreams into reality, pour yourself a cup of something and read over these basic traits of the high achiever personality.
If there’s one thing that all high achievers have in common, it’s grit. With grit, I mean determination and the ability to persevere through challenging times. I have read the biographies of many famous and successful people and time and time again their stories describe a determination to succeed no matter what.
When you read their stories, you’ll be surprised to learn just how many of the great people in history met with great adversity or tragedy. What set them apart from the rest was that they never gave up. An integral part of grit, therefore, is resilience. Successful people have the ability to bounce back from the negative events in their lives and move forward in spite of these.
In fact, many highflyers state that they are motivated by failure and adversity. As such, success is not so much about what happens to you but rather about how you react to what happens to you. In the end, it is wonderful to have many talents and a high IQ. However, if you lack determination and resilience, such talents and intelligence may amount to nothing more than untapped potential.
2. Individual Responsibility
All high achievers take complete responsibility for their lives and choices. This means that instead of thinking that life is something that is happening to them, they have the courage to admit that their thoughts and actions create their circumstances. Although it can be very scary to realize that you actually have control over how your life pans out, it is also hugely empowering.
While unsuccessful people tend to complain about their ill health or lack of money, and typically blame others for their bad luck and everything that’s wrong in their lives, successful people realize that they shape their own realities. They recognize that neither life nor other people owe them anything, and they take responsibility for what’s happening in their lives.
Taking ownership of your life is a powerful and positive action. Instead of playing the passive victim who has no control or say in your own life, taking individual responsibility provides you with the agency to steer your own ship and direct it towards the accomplishment of your goals and dreams.
3. A Focus on People
Truly successful people are never just “out for themselves.” Instead of competing against others, they choose to collaborate. In the end, it’s impossible to achieve great things if you opt to function as a single, self-functioning unit. If you have a great vision, it will point to something that’s bigger than yourself. Although some high achievers are all about ego, those who truly change the world aim to benefit those around them.
Great achievers realize that relationships are key and put them at the center of their lives. However, they don’t form relationships because of what others can do for them. They do so because they realize that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
In addition, successful people know how to delegate. They realize that other people have skills and talents that they may lack. Also, by entrusting those around them with responsibilities, high achievers empower others and encourage them to develop their strengths.
Being open-minded refers to adaptability and openness towards change and the unknown. Successful people definitely have these traits. In our world, change is constant and inevitable. In addition, people are all different and have their own unique ways of interpreting what they perceive to be reality. It would be foolish to expect others to think the way you do.
To be successful in this world, you cannot be closed off and set in your ways. Creativity, innovation, and opportunity pass those by who are not open to new ideas, novel ways of doing things, and constant change. To achieve success means taking calculated risks. Facing risk is dealing with the unknown and being willing to fail. Being open-minded is waking up each morning and being excited about the possibilities that may come your way.
Most people talk about the things they intend to do and achieve — and this is where it stops. Successful people, however, are people who act. Yes, they do dream up new ideas, but then they draw up plans of how to achieve their dreams and put these into action.
Action is the polar opposite of procrastination. High achievers push aside their fear of failing, their laziness, and all the excuses not to do something, and create positive momentum by getting busy. They figure out what works and then set out to replicate it.
Apart from the fact that action yields results, individuals who are action-oriented tend to cope better in adverse circumstances, and have an improved ability to mentally bank negative events and move on. This means that taking action has a positive ripple effect and can provide you with increased resiliency.
I can’t think of any successful person I know or know of who doesn’t work hard and live a disciplined life. It is not really possible to achieve your dreams or great things if you don’t have control over yourself. Discipline is all about honing positive daily habits that translate into success in the long run.
Firstly, high achievers are typically health-conscious. When you’re always low on energy or suffering from constant ill health, you cannot really achieve great things. Successful people often exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Being disciplined also means giving your mind and body the chance to recuperate by getting enough sleep and taking days off.
In addition, being disciplined means being on time for appointments, creating daily to-do lists and sticking to these, and generally being consistent and reliable. Lastly, self-discipline also means having control over your thoughts and emotions, as opposed to them having control over you. As with most things in life, control over your thoughts and emotions can be learned. A helpful tool is meditation. In the end, being successful and happy is a decision and a constant recalibration of the mind towards positive thoughts.
7. Realistic Optimism
Successful people are positive people across the bank. They believe in themselves, their dreams, and others. They live in faith, knowing that they will achieve great things, even when they are currently broke and without a job.
The optimism of successful people influences all aspects of their lives. When these people fail, fall ill, or meet with adverse circumstances, they don’t give up and wonder why life has dealt them such a bad hand. They get up, dust themselves off, and try to learn from negative events or circumstances. For them, failure is not the end, but merely a hiccup along the road towards success.
Successful people aren’t blindly optimistic, however. They always have the courage to meet with reality head-on. This means, although high achievers truly believe they will succeed, they don’t foolishly believe it will happen overnight or just fall in their laps. They recognize that on the path to success there will inevitably be challenges and failures, and a lot of hard work.
8. Lifelong Learners
Great achievers have an insatiable thirst for learning. This is because successful people are always striving to improve and become better versions of themselves. They are constantly updating their skills, gathering information, and developing new and innovative ideas. Plus, they are good at listening to and learning from others.
Success is not about achieving a specific goal or having a lot of money in the bank. It is an attitude of which an integral part is continuous development and reinvention of self. High achievers are naturally curious people who are interested in the world and the people around them. Another trait of truly successful and intelligent people is their humility. They never think that they have enough knowledge or know it all.
In addition to constantly improving themselves, high achievers also encourage those around them to learn and grow. High achievers who own businesses or are in leadership positions typically provide ample opportunity for employees to grow their talents and knowledge.