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The Personality Traits of a Successful Person

In a long and varied career, I have spent a few decades in coaching, sales, sales management, IT and running my own businesses.


If you are in business (or want to be), or work for a company and want to progress in your career, or simply have a burning desire to be successful in whatever you do, there are certain personality traits that, if you have them already or, indeed if you can develop them will give you the ‘edge’ on any endeavours you may pursue, whether that is in your career, entrepreneurial activities, or indeed relationships.

Let's go through a few of these now.


Perseverance, Empathy and Resilience


Perseverance is the ability to continue on your desired course of action, in spite of the difficulties that you come across.

Not giving up at the first few hurdles counts for a lot, and the more we persevere in the face of adversity the stronger we often become, a little like the old adage: ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I’m sure, you, like me, have felt the need to persevere with a task, only to look back at it later and think maybe that wasn’t so tough after all.


Empathy is the ability to experience another person's thoughts, feelings, or emotions.

Empathy is when you understand your customers, clients, or friends' perspectives, but you do not necessarily agree with that perspective. Being empathetic allows you ‘put yourself in their shoes’, to understand their feelings and emotions, and when you are able to do that it is much easier to build rapport and communicate successfully. Empathy is the oil that lubricates the cogs of communication.


Resilience is the ability to bounce back from disappointments that you may have with your projects or business, it is basically ‘bounce-back ability. So that when you encounter what you might consider a failure, you are able to learn from that failure and then ‘bounce back’ even stronger than you were before. Resilience is obviously tied in with perseverance, and again, becomes easier with practice.

Sincerity, Open-Mindedness and Ambition


A key success personality trait is that of sincerity, you need to be genuine and honest in all your dealings with friends, customers, or clients without conceit or any pretense. I’m sure you’ll expect the same thing from them, and that is more likely to happen if you are ‘straight’ with them.

Keep an Open Mind

In any interaction or situation, you also need to go in with an open mind, don't be prejudiced, and don't prejudge situations or people you may bump into, this is particularly important in any business interactions. Keeping an open mind also helps you empathize with people, whilst having pre-set ideas or a ‘closed mind’ makes any attempt at empathy difficult.

Keeping an open mind also ensures that you are more receptive to any opportunities that come your way, allowing you to analyze them logically without dismissing them out of prejudice.


A successful person would also need the ambition to succeed. You need to have the ambition to achieve your predetermined goals. Without ambition, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.

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Self-Confidence, Human Relationships and Common Sense


You'll also need self-confidence, this is simply a personal belief in your own abilities. Without self-confidence, you will struggle to succeed at anything,

Human Relationships

You also need to understand human relationships. You need to show consideration and kindness when dealing with other people. Remember, if you are empathetic and you can put yourself in ‘other people’s shoes’, then this shouldn't be a difficulty.

Common Sense

Another personality trait is common sense, often overlooked, but you need to absorb relevant facts and learn from experiences. This often means concentrating on ‘really’ listening, rather than thinking about what you want to say next – which we are all occasionally guilty of.


Enthusiasm, Simplicity and Direction


Another personality trait would be enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious and a great motivator. Think back to a time when you've been ‘sold to’ in the past and have a think about how the salesman was? Were they enthusiastic about the product, if they weren’t and they were very downbeat about the product, did you end up buying the product? Probably the answer is no. So, enthusiasm is key. To be genuinely enthusiastic, you need to believe in yourself and your own ability and believe in the integrity of your product/business or your company or your colleagues.


Simplicity is another aspect of personality that is often overlooked. It is important that you communicate in a language that others will understand, and watch out for the visual signs that you are not being understood, obvious non-verbal signs might be a furrowed brow or a blank expression, so keep things simple.


You also need a sense of direction. If you set your goals properly, this shouldn't be a problem. Essentially you should have a daily plan or daily targets, and short, and long-term plans to ‘direct’ you towards your goals.


Knowledge, Good Listening Skills and Leadership


You also need knowledge and information regarding the marketplace (if you are in business) and the market trends that you are interested in. Without knowledge, it is impossible to perfect or update your presenting or your selling skills concerning the product that you are selling.

Good Listening Skills

Also, whatever you want to achieve, promote or sell, whether it be first to face or online or any of the media, you need good listening skills. So if it’s ‘face to face’, when you're in conversation with your customers, you need to listen carefully to the answers they give you. If it's online, you need to gather as much information from your prospective customers and your current customers and listen to what they have to say.


You also need good leadership skills, so that you can guide or inspire others. Whether you work within a team or as an individual, you will still come into contact with other people.


Sense of Humour

And finally, you need a sense of humour.

It is important to appreciate, and express humour and use it with your common sense when appropriate. Often, especially in a business setting, things can be seen as very serious, but a little appropriate humour can lighten the mood and enhance communication.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Jerry Cornelius

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