6 Traits of Successful People

Disney, Babe Ruth, and Einstein did things differently. So can you.

Posted Apr 01, 2015

We’ve all heard the stories of highly successful, famous individuals that were faced with failure, doubters, and nay-sayers:

  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked ideas.” He then went bankrupt several times before he developed an entertainment empire featuring what's known as “the happiest place on earth.”
  • Babe Ruth, arguably the most famous baseball player of all-time, set the records for most home runs—and most strikeouts.
  • Albert Einstein did not speak until age four, and he didn't read until age seven. His teacher described the boy as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.”  He was expelled and was refused re-admittance to the Zürich Polytechnic School.
  • After Fred Astaire's first screen test in 1933, MGM's testing director wrote a memo stating, "Can't act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept it over the fireplace of his Beverly Hills home.
Michal Kowalski/Shutterstock
Source: Michal Kowalski/Shutterstock

These individuals absorbed their setbacks and continued to approach life with determination and resolve. Following are 6 traits that embody this type of determination. Embracing them could help lead you along a similar path to success:

  1. They faced their fears—and conquered them.  

    Most of us develop confidence by confronting our anxieties and discouragement, and determining to do what we have set out to do. When you admit that most of your fears are homegrown, you can make the decision to stop feeding them, hold them up by the roots, and regain control of your life.
     
  2. They stayed focused and flexible.

    Success will probably not come your way overnight. Progress takes time. Achieving anything of significant value not only takes long hours but demands long periods of courage and stamina. These attributes will help you do your job with greater confidence, provide you with more wisdom, and make you a more resilient person.
     
  3. They refuse to give up on their dreams.

    Whenever we have a dream, we must realize that there will invariably be dream-snatchers lurking in the most unsuspecting places. They may be well-meaning family members, colleagues at work, and even some we thought would be the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for our new venture. You will learn to accept these individuals as temporary obstacles around which you must either walk or run. Never allow them to determine your direction.
     
  4. They maintain a spirit of optimism.

    To develop a spirit of confidence and optimism, we need to establish and maintain enthusiasm about our goals and dreams and see them as already coming true. To do this, we will give up all things that oppose our goals, focus deliberately on what we want to accomplish, and desire it above all else.
     
  5. They thought with their hearts.

    The amount of thinking required for you to move in the direction of your dreams and see them become reality may vary from project to project. But when you are confident that what you are doing is right, you will get the job done regardless of the amount of thinking time it takes. Be strategic and creative about how you will achieve your dreams.
     
  6. They used their stumbling blocks as stepping-stones.

    What is your burning desire? What if you knew you couldn’t fail? We need to realize that “failure” as we often see it is merely a stepping-stone to success. The more you fail, the closer you are to succeeding.
Dirima/Bigstock Photo
Source: Dirima/Bigstock Photo

Gregory L. Jantz, PhD is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and an internationally-recognized best selling author of 28 books related to mental wellness and holistic recovery treatment.