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15 Characteristics Correlated With Success

What makes one person successful while another flounders? While luck will always play a role, there are a number of personality factors that can also be a big part in helping individuals get ahead, whether it's in school, work, or their personal lives. Though there is no one recipe for a successful life, there are some characteristics that are found in many people who've made it big in one way or another. If you're looking to stand out from your peers at work or in your college years, consider honing the characteristics we've listed here. Many are strongly correlated with success, but even if they don't lead you to a corner office they will make you a better, stronger, and possibly even happier person, which is well worth anyone's time to pursue.

  1. Personal accountability

    Honor is something that will get you respect no matter what you're doing. If you do what you say when you say you're going to do it, people will trust you because your word will mean something. This can be a big deal when it comes to getting promotions, managing others, or even negotiating business deals. Honesty, integrity, and fairness are all aspects of personal accountability worth working on and will help others view you as more responsible and dependable.

  2. Resilience

    It's nearly impossible to make it through life without facing a little adversity, but you can't let these obstacles throw you off your game if you're really going to succeed. Some of the most successful people aren't those who got it right the first time but who instead had to work hard, make mistakes, and even fail to get where they are. Your ability to come back from a loss or a setback is a strong indicator of your ability to succeed, much more so than many other factors.

  3. Lifelong learning

    The truly successful know that seeking knowledge, improving oneself, and learning don't stop when you get to the top. Even the best of the best have to keep learning and moving forward, something that often takes a great deal of time and effort to complete. No matter where you are in your life, never forget that being open to new ideas and being willing to learn new ways to do things are always key components to success.

  4. Strong work ethic

    There are few things that will drive you toward success as quickly as a strong work ethic. People notice when others work hard, just as they notice when others are lazy. While working hard isn't a guarantee that you'll be a CEO or jet-setter one day, it certainly doesn't hurt. Few successful people got to where they are by sitting back and doing nothing, as it's often a hard road to the top.

  5. Perseverance

    There is no way around it: sometimes life gets hard. Really hard. Obstacles can seem insurmountable, hurdles too large. Yet success is often the result of pushing through these problems. People who find success rarely have an easy path (think about how many light bulbs it took Edison to get it right) but their willingness to persevere helped them to eventually meet their goals.

  1. Communication

    Whether you call it communication, teamwork, or interpersonal skills, this trait is often an essential component in what separates those who are successful from those who are less so. To get what you want, you need to be able to communicate your goals and ideas to others. Good communication skills will make you better able to negotiate, sell your best attributes, and form lasting relationships that can help you build a better career. Of course, communication isn't just about talking. It's also about listening and keeping your ears open to new ideas and potential problems.

  2. Balance

    While there are many people who are financially successful that don't really have much balance in their lives, balance really is an essential component to a happy life. After all, what does money mean if you're lonely or miserable? Giving the mind time to relax, step away from work and responsibilities, and just enjoy life can actually lead to greater success as a rested mind is better able to think quickly and be creative.

  3. Risk tolerance

    Getting ahead in the world isn't a sure thing, and those who are successful are often those who are more willing to take risks. Risks can just as easily result in failure as success, it's true, but successful people know that without risk there is no chance for reward.

  4. Attention to detail

    While you don't have to strive for perfection at all times, paying attention to the small things will help to set you apart from the crowd. Think about a successful product out there. What makes it so great? Chances are it's the little things it offers that set it apart from similar products. This applies to people, too. Looking professional, paying attention to mundane tasks, and double-checking for mistakes will all go a long way toward success.

  5. Calm

    If you picture a successful person facing a crisis in your head, chances are pretty good that they aren't freaking out. Levelheadedness in the face of adversity or even just a small upset can be an amazing tool in the workplace, at school, or even in your personal life. It allows you to think more clearly, rely on logic, and makes you look infinitely more confident.

  1. Creativity

    Most great ideas don't come from within the box. Instead, you'll need creativity to get ahead. Whether it's in how you market yourself, the products you design, or thinking about a new, more effective way to do things, great, creative ideas are almost always at the heart of successful endeavors.

  2. Adaptability

    Much like in nature, those who can't adapt in the professional world often go extinct. It shouldn't be a surprise that adaptability very often makes the list of important traits for success. The person who can change quickly, adapt to new needs, and deal effectively with change will always stand out from his or her peers.

  3. Decisiveness

    The ability to make decisions on your toes, make sound analyses, and employ good judgment are all traits that will get you ahead in the world. It is important to note, however, that this doesn't mean making knee-jerk decisions. Instead, those that are most successful in their decisiveness are neither paralyzed by decision-making nor rushed in it, falling instead into a happy medium where the information at hand is used to make the best decision possible at that moment.

  4. Motivation

    Finding success in anything, whether it's business, science, or the arts is a hard road and it can sometimes be very easy to get discouraged. Those who are most successful are often individuals who can self-motivate and find new reasons to keep pushing ahead. It's important to remember that motivation, no matter how small, has to come from within, and it needs constant care and feeding if it's to be sustained. It's key to always give yourself new reasons to push yourself and excel.

  5. Self-confidence

    If you believe it, you can achieve it. It sounds corny, but few successful people got where they are by having a wishy-washy attitude about their abilities. Before anyone else can believe in you, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve what it is you want to achieve. Those who are confident are often more successful as leaders, regardless of the field, and chances are you can't name too many leaders in business, politics, entertainment, or any other field who don't exude this quality.

January 15th, 2012 written by Staff Writers

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