Skills, education, experience–all are important, but each is based on embracing the right mindset.
There are a number of qualities that help you succeed. Learning to be more likable and charming is one; so is becoming more charismatic. Developing greater willpower and mental toughness — both of which you can definitely develop — can also help.
And so does approaching certain situations with a consistent mindset. There are certain qualities that successful people tend to share — especially the successful people who also make a significant impact on the lives of other people.
See how many apply to you.
1. They look past the messenger to focus on the message.
When people speak from a position of position of power or authority or fame, it’s tempting to place greater emphasis on their input, advice, and ideas.
Warren Buffett? Yep, gotta listen to him. Sheryl Sandberg? Yes. Richard Branson? Absolutely.
That approach works to a point — but only to a point. Really smart people strip away all the framing that comes with the source — both positive and negative — and evaluate information, advice, and input idea based solely on its merits.
When Branson says, “Screw it; just do it and get on with it,” it’s powerful.
If the guy who delivers your lunch says it, it should be just as powerful.
Never discount the message because you discount the messenger. Good advice is good advice — regardless of the source.
2. They work hard to collect knowledge …
Competing is a fact of professional life: with other businesses, other products, other people. It’s not a zero-sum game, but it is a game we all try to win.
Smart people win a lot.
Smarter people win even more often.
Continually striving to gain more experience, more experience, and more knowledge is the second-best way to succeed.
3. … But they work even harder on collecting knowledgeable people.
You can’t know everything. But you can know enough smart people that together you know almost everything.
And, together, do almost anything.
Work hard on getting smarter. Work harder on getting smart people on your side.
4. They give before they even think of receiving.
The goal of networking is to connect with people who can provide a referral, help make a sale, share important information, serve as a mentor, etc. When we network, we want something.
But, especially at first, never ask for what you want. Forget about what you want and focus on what you can give.
Giving is the only way to establish a real relationship and a lasting connection. Focus solely on what you can get out of the connection and you will never make meaningful, mutually beneficial connections.
Approach networking as if it’s all about them and not about you and you’ll build a network that approaches it the same way.
And you’ll create more than contacts. You’ll make friends.
5. They always work on what’s next.
It’s impossible to predict what will work, much less how well it will work. Some products stick — for a while. Some services flourish — and then don’t. Some ventures take off — and flame out.
You will always need a next: a new product, a new service, a new customer or connection …
No matter how successful you are today, always have a next in your pipeline. If somehow your current products or services or ventures continue to thrive, great: You will have created a bigger line of products and services and ventures.
That’s how successful people weather the storm when times are tough, and become even more successful when business is booming.
6. They love to eat their words.
If you’re always right you never grow. When you look back, one of the best things to be is wrong because when you make a mistake you are given the chance to learn.
(Don’t worry. Every successful person has failed numerous times. Most have failed more than you. That’s why they’re successful today.)
Own every mistake, every miscue, and every failure. Say you made a mistake. Say you messed up. Say it to other people, but more important, look in the mirror and say it to yourself.
Then commit to making sure that next time things will turn out very differently.
7. They turn their ideas into actions.
The word “idea” should be a verb, not a noun, because no idea is real until you turn that inspiration into action.
Ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets.
Every day we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure are what stop me, and may be what stops you, too.
Think about a few of the ideas you’ve had, whether for a new business, a new career, or even just a part-time job. Looking back, many of your ideas would have turned out well, especially if you had given them your best effort.
Trust your analysis, your judgment, and your instincts. Trust them more than you do. Trust your willingness to work through challenges and roadblocks.
Granted you won’t get it right all the time but when you let an idea stay an idea, you almost always get it wrong.
8. They find happiness in the success of others.
Great business teams win because their most talented members are willing to sacrifice to make others happy. Great teams are made up of employees who help each other, know their roles, set aside personal goals, and value team success over everything else.
Where does that attitude come from?
Every successful person answers the question, “Can you make the choice that your happiness will come from the success of others?” with a resounding “Yes!” (Here’s more on the power of “Hell, yes!”)
9. They relentlessly seek new experiences.
Novelty seeking — getting bored easily and throwing yourself into new pursuits or activities — is often linked to gambling, drug abuse, attention deficit disorder, and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes without a parachute.
But according to Robert Cloninger, “Novelty seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age. … If you combine adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the creativity that benefits society as a whole.”
As Cloninger says, “To succeed, you want to be able to regulate your impulses while also having the imagination to see what the future would be like if you tried something new.”
Sounds like every successful person I know.
So go ahead. Embrace your inner novelty seeker. You’ll be healthier, you’ll have more friends, and you’ll be generally more satisfied with life.