Characteristics Common for Success
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 2018 (re-written February 05, 2021)
We can dream; hope enlivens and motivates. But success requires action—correct action. Motivating correct action is success traits.
We desire great things. We should. A motivated person can achieve much. The world is full. While chasing dreams, we must consider the natural laws for success involved. Just wanting is not enough. We can want so bad that we ache; but unless we honor the associated laws, our desire will fail to materialize, leaving us suffering and depressed.
Rules prevail. Some rules are natural laws, the actions necessary for the blessing. Such as, if you want to strengthen your muscles, you must exercise. Other rules are socially invented. Both must be respected and obeyed (most of the time). If I want to be a doctor, I must obey the social rules of education to be hired. If I want to be a sports star, I must practice, seek professional training, and play on competitive teams. Rules natural and social must be recognized, honored and obeyed.
See Natural laws of Life for more on this topic
Each Endeavor has A Set of Rules
The media world, and especially the self-improvement circuit like to generalize, using common key words such as success. "To Succeed Do these Five Things..." Each reader, however, has a different vision of success, with endeavors that have very specific requirements. So, success boils down to a very simple formula: Know what needs to be done (the rules) and be motivated to do it.
Requirements of Success and Effort
Requirements sting the lazy dreamer. We float on unsubstantiated fantasies. Thoughts provide an escape from anxieties of the moment. "Life will be all better soon," we console ourselves as we sit, doing nothing to make life better.
A future vision that drives present action is necessary. We need more than a fancy imagination while we are sitting comfortably on the couch. The contingencies are points of action. They stand as centuries at the gate, blocking entry to lackadaisical action. We must research, delving into the intricacies of success, attending to actions in the moment. Success comes to the bull-headed pursuer, undeterred by setbacks; but wise in action, seeking advice, insights and support.
We fail to honor the small and unheralded contingencies. Building skills, investing resources, and working through frightening failures. Success is more costly upfront than simply drifting, arousing hope with dreams. The great successes in life repeatedly demand the same success traits—courage, patience, skill, and self-discipline.
Behind every great success is courage. The courage to act. The courage to become. Taking opportunity requires venturing into the unknown, abandoning comforts and reaching a little higher. These movements require courage. Research utilizing the Big Five personality test, repeatedly find successful people score high on openness. (Baek, Martin, et al. 2016). Openness to experience abandons many protective inhibitions.
See Courage to Become for more on this topic
Worthwhile success takes time. We must not only do the right things but consistently do the right things. Many actions don't have an immediate reward. The reward comes from patiently continuing in actions we know are essential. Patience is being future minded.
Studies find the people that score high in conscientiousness on the Big Five personality test are more likely to succeed at work. People who slow down, attend to the intimate details, do better in the office (Teodorescu et al. 2017). This take patience. We can't be caught up in a constant rush.
Short-cuts typically fail. Impatient for results the promises of an easier way lures us away from proven practices. We think we are wise, cheating our way to the front of the line; but in the end, the impatient cheater is the fool.
See Why is Change So Difficult? for more on this topic
Each profession has its own set of skills—these
we can learn with courage, patience and self-discipline. A common group of skills improves likelihood for success across the board. These are:
Success is not the reward for those chasing every impulse. Success requires consistent purposeful effort, sacrificing time consuming amusements for more substantial behaviors.
Self-disciplined paths are barren of joy. We must find joy along the long winding path. Self-disciplined individuals find the balance. They know what must be done and do it, even when that means passing on a few pleasures along the way.
See Delay of Gratification for more on this topic
The riches of the world are for dreamers—the dreamers that wisely work, doing the right things, at the right times. We must keep the dreams alive, imagining the joys of fulfillment, letting the excitement drive work. If we never cross the line, moving from ideas to reality, we stall—an apathetic dreamer. Develop the traits of success that activate your dreams, moving you one small step at a time until, at last, you are the success you knew you could be.
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Baek, Y., Martin, P., Siegler, I., Davey, A., & Poon, L. (2016). Personality Traits and Successful Aging. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 83(3), 207-227.
Marcus, L. (2013). Traits of Successful Women. Nurse Educator, 38(3), 109-109.
Teodorescu, A., Furnham, A., & MacRae, I. (2017). Trait correlates of success at work. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 25(1), 36-42.