12 Qualities Of Truly Successful People (And How To Develop Them Yourself)

Licensed Social Worker By Amita Patel, LMSW
Licensed Social Worker
Amita Patel, LMSW, is the owner and founder of AlignedHolistics.com, a coaching services company that empowers individuals to achieve their goals and make them stick. She received master's degrees from New York University in both philanthropy and fundraising, and clinical and medical social work. Her unique, no-nonsense, holistic approach combines nutrition, physical activity, relationships, career, and personal philosophy. Patel has been featured on CBS, NBC, and the Huffington Post.

Photo by Stocksy

Most people define success by the amount of money in their bank account. And while money provides a certain amount of security and peace of mind, it gives us safety. Safety is not success. From an evolutionary standpoint, the absence of financial fear is tied to our instinct to survive.

Since we unconsciously view money as the factor that determines whether we live or die, it's no wonder we're unhappy, stressed, and constantly focusing on what we don't have. The good news is that we've evolved far beyond our lizard brain. If you're looking to thrive instead of survive, it's time to redefine success.

Over the years I've been coaching clients, I've noticed that those who define success on their own terms are not only the happiest people I know; they are the wealthiest across all dimensions (finances included!). If you're ready to create more joy, success, and abundance in your life, check out the 12 qualities truly successful people share"

1. They have positive attitudes.

This doesn't mean they sugarcoat or deny their problems. Instead, they habitually focus on what they want, not what they're trying to avoid. It's the difference between "I take steps to create a thriving business that energizes me and serves others," and "I work so I don't lose my home."

Article continues below

Try it:

When you notice yourself focusing on lack, reframe your internal dialogue to focus on what you want. Ultimately, what you say is what you'll see.

2. They prioritize physical and mental health.

While illness and disease affect us to varying degrees, the successful don't define themselves by their limitations. Instead, they take action to change what they can. After all, your health is your wealth and can't be bought.

Article continues below

Try it:

Incorporate daily self-care practices that sustain health (drinking more water, exercising, connecting with yourself, etc.).

3. They focus on their relationships.

The happiest and most successful individuals actively work to create harmony in their relationships by learning to be the best friend, partner, and family member they can be.

Article continues below

Try it:

Take responsibility for what you bring to the relationship. You can't change others, but you can change yourself.

4. They embrace difficulty.

The successful embrace hardship rather than avoid it. While fear and doubt may continue to exist, the successful adapt and stretch their limits to create more freedom.

Article continues below

Try it:

Don't wait until you're "in the mood" or "ready" for change. Acknowledge your fear and act anyway.

5. They focus on the future rather than the past.

Successful people focus on what they'll create—not on the circumstances that brought them to this point.

Article continues below

Try it:

Identify and focus on one goal. Whether it's a project, vacation, or a skill you want to hone, focus your thoughts, energy, and actions on how it feels to get closer to something that matters to you.

6. They believe they're capable of accomplishing any goal.

Successful people have faith that if they set their minds to something, they'll find a way. It's the reason I love Marie Forleo's phrase, "Everything is figure-out-able." This mindset is the key difference between dreamers and doers.

Try it:

Create a fearlessness list: List the times you've felt you couldn't achieve something but persevered anyway. Then, ask yourself if what you're feeling now resembles how you felt in those moments. If so, remind yourself that you've conquered self-doubt in challenging situations before and you can do it again. Take action and then add your latest win to the list.

7. They believe abundance is less about what you have and more about what you give.

Successful people are eager to share their gifts and talents with others. Whether it's by volunteering, mentoring, or supporting loved ones, you can always give even when you don't have money.

Try it:

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by sharing your abundance with those around you. Not only will you feel good, but your mindset will shift, helping you to create more of what you want and less of what you don't.

8. They're willing to challenge their preconceived notions.

The reason most people stay stuck is that they don't know what's possible. Most accept the unwritten "rule" that work equals unhappiness. The truly successful are willing to challenge that idea, creating space for creativity and resourcefulness.

Try it:

If you already love what you do, great! Find a project or hobby you truly enjoy putting your time and energy into. If you're still trying to figure it out, it's time to get out of your head. Write down what your ideal day would look like. Ignore any preconceived notions: Would you work outside? Would you wake up at noon? What kind of people would you interact with? The first step in creating what you want is to figure out what you want. Brainstorm with a friend or coach to help you get outside your head and into your heart (as cheesy as that sounds).

9. They never stop learning.

The smartest and most successful people know there is always more to learn. They have an open mind on all subjects.They are willing to hear others' opinions, even when they don't agree.

Try it:

When listening to someone you disagree with, most of us zone out and mentally prepare our rebuttal. Instead, ask yourself what you can learn from the interaction. Appreciating another's worldview opens us up to new ideas. After all, if we continued to put more effort into rigidity than flexibility, we'd still think the world is flat.

10. They are motivated by pleasure, not pain.

They are plugged into what lights them up, no matter the goal. The difference is taking action to feel the joy of achieving your goal versus taking action to avoid the pain of a missed deadline or negative consequence. Many people think that being motivated by discomfort or their inner critic propels them forward. That type of motivation may temporarily push you, but it prevents you from taking the actions that make you a game-changer. Resourcefulness, creativity, and aligned action come more easily to those who are moving toward what they want instead of running away from what they don't.

Try it:

The next time you're struggling to take action, focus on how good you'll feel once you achieve your goal.

11. They know their greatest strength is empathy.

Our greatest source of strength is our ability to tap into our human side and relate to others in an honest, genuine, and vulnerable way. Simply put, successful people look to connect and commend rather than compare and compete.

Try it:

In moments you feel compelled to compare, look for opportunities to serve others. Not only will this help you to focus on your strengths, but it will shift your mindset to gratitude and abundance. This, in turn, will lead to greater success.

12. They don't find time; they make time.

They know that having more success, freedom, and energy comes from creating systems that work for them. Rather than putting out one fire after another, they learn from their mistakes and anticipate challenges moving forward. Whether it's kicking procrastination, refining your home organization, or coming up with go-to strategies to avoid distractions, successful types are proactive, not reactive.

Try it:

You might not have learned time management skills in school. Create these systems now. Rather than being at the mercy of your ever-growing to-do list, take one hour each week to plan, organize, and prioritize. This may seem like a lot when you're already crunched for time, but investing one hour each week will save you thousands of hours (and dollars) each year.

Related reads:

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

More On This Topic

How To Find Your Calling

Popular Stories

Latest Articles

Latest Articles

Sites We Love

Your article and new folder have been saved!