Open Thinkering


3 things common to most successful people

This post represents my current thinking on the nebulous concept of ‘success’. A prerequisite to what follows, of course, is that an individual’s conception of success is aligned with that of the majority of the populace. That’s not always true (or desirable!)

I don’t think talent makes you successful.

Talent doesn’t make you successful because talent is just a word which sums up three different character traits. These can all be developed; they’re not ‘innate’.

People who are successful tend to be:

1. Confident

Confidence is a preference. I strongly believe that. Confidence isn’t something borne out of particular experiences; it’s a decision, a statement of intent, a way of approaching the world that can’t really be taught. It has to be grasped.

2. Tenacious

There’s a time to let things go. Of course there is. But that dogged determinism is why people gain PhD’s and top jobs. It’s all about commitment and, quite often, sacrifice.

3. Articulate

This, of course, involves being able to present well. In fact, for some people, the ability to present other people’s ideas (without credit) leads to their success. But being to articulate your thinking, in words spoken and written is extremely important.

8 thoughts on “3 things common to most successful people

  1. Succinctly expressed! I’ve stuck your three points on my computer monitor (with Post-it notepad – antiquated system but always visible!) so that I don’t forget them.

    I particularly agree with your point about articulation. It’s a bit like acquiring a foreign language: once you’re able to assimilate new grammar/vocabulary (or great ideas), make them ‘yours’, and reproduce them as part of your own framework, then you can call yourself an articulate person.

  2. These three points are important. In relation to being tenacious, I think the greatest success can be found when you can let go after having the ‘dogged determinism’.

    After putting in so much effort, it can be difficult to leave the achievement behind. The ability to move on to the next thing is just as important in finding ongoing success.

  3. I think “tenacious” and “persistence” may be interchangeable, I love the idea that confidence is an approach to the world, and I think being articulate comes from careful, deliberate practice.

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