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What Makes a Successful Person? The Top Traits of Successful People

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Often, we see a hugely successful person and wish we could emulate them. Some people seem to have it all - lots of money; a great lifestyle; an amazing house; an interesting or exciting career. It seems as though life comes so easily for these people, whereas we are struggling along on a path of monotony. We once had plans and dreams to be 'something bigger' (doesn't everyone when young) but somehow they became lost along the wayside. But what are successful people really like? Are they simply blessed with good luck and a predetermined destiny to 'make' it? Or is it more likely that the way in which they approach life brings with it a better chance? Here, we examine some of the top personality traits of successful people:

They are Driven

Successful people are almost always very driven. They know what they want and they go for it. Sitting about, dreaming of 'one day', is not for them - they get on with it. Anyone can talk. Successful people have a goal and they chase after it. They take up every opportunity that might lead them to the place they want to be - because they know that success is a journey and if they're not on the road then they won't get anywhere.

So many of us have dreams in life, yet let our dreams evade us through procrastination and apathy. We carry in our heads an idea of the person we want to be, but we don't actually do enough about it. Sometimes the easy option seems just that - easier. Then, before we know it, we have wasted vast amounts of time and going for it seems so much harder. Successful people are always driven to head towards the next post. What they do not do is sit about thinking and wondering instead of moving.

They are Hardworking

So many of us see a successful person with a great life and are instantly envious. Much of the time, we are unaware of the journey that person took to get there. Probably, we didn't know them before they made it. Many successful people have come from nowhere - perhaps from a home where money was tight or aspirations were low. Often, this is what drives them - to break out of the cycle and to build a better life. Of course, not every successful person comes from a background of poverty. However, one trait all have in common is that they tend to be very hardworking.

It is very easy to sit at home and say we want to be successful, whilst procrastinating and doing little to achieve it. Successful people can work hours that greatly exceed the normal 'nine to five' day. They might work for many days in a row without taking a proper day off, if that is what is required of them. Even those who we consider to have a glamorous existence work far harder behind the scenes than most of us realise. We only see the end result, not the hard slog it took to get them there. The 'easy life' is usually a myth - successful people are driven to work as hard as they can to achieve their goals. Of course, some might get the ultimate 'lucky break', but even then only hard work will maintain it. Success doesn't usually come along in one big swoop, but in little stepping-stones of achievement that eventually build up.

They Are Not Held Back By Fear

For many of us, fear is the greatest obstacle on our path to success. We fear that our dreams are too big; too unrealistic. We fear the rejection and criticism of others. We fear that we are not good enough, that being 'big' is unattainable. We fear that we will fail. The trouble is, if we don't give it our all and try, how will we ever know what could have been?

Successful people don't travel down the easiest path. Many have been rejected and criticised, but they have fought through the down times and come up smiling. Harry Potter was rejected twelve times by publishing houses before JK Rowling secured the deal that led her to phenomenal success. Now, she is said to have a net worth of over £500 million. Life is full of ups and downs - allowing the fear of failure to deter you from your dreams is as detrimental as not bothering in the first place. Successful people believe in themselves - even when it seems as though no one else does. They keep their dreams alive in their minds and they don't stop until they reach them.

They Will Take a Risk

Sometimes in life we can't be sure what the outcome will be, but we have to try anyway. Playing the safe card all the time might lead to less stress and the comfort of familiarity - but not necessarily an exciting or fulfilling life.

Successful people are not afraid to take risks. That doesn't mean that they gamble recklessly, without thinking it through. What it does mean is that they will take a chance on an opportunity, if they think it has a reasonable chance of success. Often, we just can't see what is around the corner, but if we have weighed up the odds and calculated the risks (what is the worst thing that could happen?) then sometimes we just have to jump in with both feet and go for it.

They Have Good Vision

Successful people tend to have good vision when it comes to realising their goals. They know what they want and they go for it. More importantly, they know how to go about it. They have a clear picture of the direction in which they are heading. Vision is important in achieving success - without it, it is too easy to meander here and there, getting stuck into this and that, whilst never achieving the ultimate goal. Vision gives you clarity - it is a bit like having a map to take you where you want to go, as opposed to roaming aimlessly and hoping you will still end up in the right place.

They Don't Give Up

Successful people don't give up at the first hurdle. They accept that not everything turns out perfectly the first time around. Achieving success is a continuous journey - if at first you don't succeed, just keep trying until you do. It is so easy to wallow in self pity when it all seems to be going wrong, or to assume that you're just not cut out for it after all. Really, though, that is taking the easy route. To live the life you really want, you have to be prepared to jump on the roller-coaster sometimes.

A good example is music mogul Simon Cowell. Years ago, when he was starting out in the music industry and had his own record label, he lost it all and became bankrupt. He lost his cars; his house; his business - and was forced to move back in with his parents. But instead of giving up and wallowing in self-pity, he started all over again. Now, he is worth over £200 million.

They Are Passionate About What They Do

Passion is an important part of success. After all, if you are going to put your heart and soul into striving for the top, then you really need to care about what you are doing. Many successful people care so much about their work that they don't even want to retire - or if they do, it is well after the usual age. Some never completely retire, keeping a hand in right through their later years if they can. They simply don't want to give up doing what they love. Seeking only money, without enjoying what it takes to get it, might bring material comfort but it is unlikely to bring contentment. To find true success, you have to listen to your heart as well.

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Kara Skinner from Maine on July 01, 2017:

Nice article. You are right that successful people are very hardworking.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on March 01, 2013:

Really good hub. It's encouraging and uplifting to remind people to be determined and to keep reaching for their goals. It's true if you believe in yourself, others will believe what you say. If you never try, you will never know how far you could have gone. Thanks and have a good weekend.

MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on March 01, 2013:

Thanks Polly, you're right on the money with the feeling mediocre thing. I've been there most of my life and finally starting to crawl out of that hole:)

Polly C (author) from UK on March 01, 2013:

@MissJamieD - sounds like things are really on the up for you! It just proves how we really can achieve our dreams if we are prepared to believe in them and go for them. I think so many of us hold ourselves back because we believe we are 'mediocre' and don't see our own greatness or potential. Good luck, I hope everything goes well for you :)

MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 28, 2013:

This is a great hub especially for me today. I'm in the midst of trying to leap into a career choice I never thought I'd be in. I originally applied at this company for one position but the interviewer thought I'd be superb for a bigger, better position. I was so delighted that she brought this to my attention. I always think I'm just mediocre at life, but she apparently saw something in me that I had not. So, I will be going from jobs where I dress casual to a job where I will be dressing in business casual attire. I'm so excited about this alone! lol....I used to say, "I'd never want a job where I have to dress up and wear fancy clothes and high heels", but deep inside I DID want to do that I just never thought I'd reach that goal. I thought I was being realistic. Now I'm very excited to have my final interview next Monday, I believe I will get the job and for the first time in my life I am going to put everything into this position and take me and my family places in life I never thought i'd be. I have the potential to make a 6 figure income within a few years. To start, I'll be receiving a $1500 bonus in six months. I've never worked in a position where they even offered a this is amazing. I love this hub because it allows people to realize that they can reach their goals and dreams, they just have to work at it. And as long as you're taking the steps necessary, you'll get there. Sometimes you can leap into your dreams, sometimes you have to take baby steps, but either way you must have dedication and a good work ethic to reach these goals. Great job on the hub. Voting UP!

Polly C (author) from UK on February 17, 2013:

Hi Careermommy, thank you, glad you liked the article :)

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on February 15, 2013:

Nice article Polly C. You are right, successful people are very driven and are goal-oriented. I believe that having written goals is the key to their success. Thank you for sharing!

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