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8 Distinguishing Traits of Hugely Successful People

by James Anderson
Posted: February 09, 2017

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Overnight success stories of people who found fame, fortune or made a big mark in the world in one way or another seem to be more commonplace than ever - especially in the digital information era. Is their recipe to "success" a mystery? Perhaps not. Business Entrepreneur, James Anderson drills down into the qualities they all share.

Although successful people come in many shapes and sizes, they all seem to leave the same clues for us to find as to the distinguishing traits and characteristics that build the foundation for their success. 

Here are eight of the most distinguishing traits of successful people that you need to know about.

1.    They’re action takers

Barack Obama has all the traits of successful people

Instagram: @barackobama / Image via 


Actions will always prove that words often mean nothing. Successful people don’t just talk about doing something, they follow a simple process: 'Think, act, get'.

They think about what they want, they take action towards what they want, and they get an outcome. It’s not always going to be the outcome they want, but it's always closer than if they had never tried.  

2.    They understand setbacks are part of the recipe for success

Following on from the above point, far too many great ideas stay as ideas because people are too scared to take the steps for fear of "failure"

Successful people understand that failing is an inevitable part of the process, but it's also one that they're going to be able to learn from and build upon. Failure is simply a stepping stone to success.  

3.    They’re self-aware

Instagram: @emmawatson / Image via 

Self-awareness must be one of the most valuable commodities one can possess, not just in business, but in every area of your life. 

Successful people have the ability objectively understand their thoughts, beliefs, values, strengths, and weaknesses - having an ability to control their responses so that they are based on rational thought, rather than emotional response. 

4.    They work both smart and hard

“Life hacks” are all the rage these days, touted as being the “smarter” way to do business by getting more, for less. However, what’s often missed by many is that any time saved by successful business people is often reinvested back into their business.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working smarter, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it will ever replace hard work. 

5.    They plan goals to success

Instagram: @richardbranson / Image via 


Every single successful person has goals, as, without them, they have no way to measure their success. 

This allows them to wake up with purpose and a plan each day directing it towards actual goals rather than stumbling around hoping a goal finds them. 

6.    They love the game

Successful people are competitive in nature. You’ll often find that they love the game of business and making deals more than they love the money; using it as a scorecard for their successes instead of the reason for doing what they do. 

7.    They’re flexible

Instagram: @rogerfederer / Image via 


Successful people are fluid; they mould themselves to their surroundings, ensuring they remain relevant and up to date. 

They understand that if they remain rigid and inflexible in a world that is constantly changing that eventually their model will break under the pressure and they’ll be left behind. 

8.    They’re lifelong students

Proving the point above, successful people are always learning. They choose to move through life striving to learn, grow, and develop themselves as much as possible to ensure they stay on top of their game. 

They find the lesson in every experience – good, or bad. This allows them to adapt, become stronger and more resilient in the process.

Inspired to step up in the world of business or perhaps even start your own? Read the most current tips and advice from Australia's leading business experts.


James Anderson

James is the owner of a women’s only tribe based at Bondi Beach that focuses on strength and conditioning team training for optimal outcomes and long-lasting solutions.

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