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There are no elevators in the house of success

USA | Sunday, 23 January 2011 | Views [199]

They say that success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pocket. We have all read or heard about people who are briefly successful; They win a gold medal, make an instant fortune, or star in one great movie and then disappear…These examples do not inspire me. My focus and fascination has been with people who seem to do well in many areas of life, and do it over and over through a lifetime. In music, I think of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley. In business, I think of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. We all know examples of people who go from one success to another. In fact, I've had the pleasure of surrounding myself with some very successful individuals that have inspired me along the way to follow in their lead.

Over the years I've studied these kind of human folk from afar and have noticed they have the following traits in common:


  • They work hard.. And they play hard too! They get up early, they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Repeated, high-level success starts with a recognition that hard work pays off.

  • They are curious and eager to learn. They study, read and always ask questions. They apply or take advantage of what they learn. Repeated success is not about memorizing facts or figures, it's about being able to take information and create, build, or apply it in new and important ways. These kind of people want to learn everything about everything.

  • They network. They know lots of people, and they know lots of different kinds of people. They listen; to friends, neighbours, co-workers and bartenders. They don't have to be the life of the party, in fact many are quiet, even shy, but they value people and they value relationships. Successful people have a Rolodex full of people who value their friendship and return their calls.

  • They work on themselves and never quit. While the "over-night wonders" become arrogant and quickly disappear, truly successful people work on their personality, their leadership skills, management skills, and every other detail of life. When a relationship or business deal goes sour, they assume they can learn from it and they expect to do better next time. Successful people don't tolerate flaws; they fix them!

  • They are creative. They go around asking, "Why not?" They see new combinations, new possibilities, new opportunities and challenges where others see problems or limitations. They ask for advice, try things out, consult experts and amateurs, always looking for a better, faster, cheaper solution. Successful people create stuff!

  • They are self-reliant and take responsibility. Successful people don't worry about blame, and they don't waste time complaining. They make decisions and move on...Successful people take the initiative and accept the responsibilities of success.

  • They are relaxed, composed and keep their perspective. Even in times of stress or turmoil, highly successful people keep their balance - they know the value of timing, humor, and patience. There's never any need to panic or make decisions on impulse. Successful people breath easily, ask the right questions, and make sound decisions, even in a crisis.

  • Extremely successful people live in the present moment. They know that now is the only time they can control. They have a gift for looking people in the eye, listening to what is being said, enjoying a fine wine, a good song and appreciate the finer things in life. They take full advantage of each day. Successful people don't waste time, they use it.

  • They look over the horizon to see the future. They make goals, and always have a plan of attack. They can picture themselves and where they'll be in one, five or ten years down the track. These people live in the present, but always have one eye on the future and work towards a series of short and long term goals.

  • Successful people respond instantly. When an investment isn't working out, they sell. When they see an opportunity, they make the call. If an important relationship is cooling down, they take time to renew it.


I don't believe these traits are genetic, they are to be learnt. I've been blessed enough to have acquired the type of friends and surrounded myself around other such mentors who have taught and shown me many of these traits. I look at the success' of my mum, whose abrasive past has been well overcome with the achievements of her family, marriage, self directed business and most importantly (to her, at least) her faith. I'm sure she would agree...

Whatever your idea of success is - whether it be a level of social status, an achievement of an objective or goal, or simply the opposite of failure - If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but doesn't feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.

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