9 Habits of Successful People

Leo Tolstoy starts the novel Anna Karenina with the line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” There’s a measure of truth in that idea, which applies to successful people. Successful people exhibit common traits, while the habits of unsuccessful people are all over the place.

Here are nine common habits of successful people.

  1. Hard work – Successful people are not afraid of challenges. They have vision and can see what the successful outcome looks like. They don’t quit when things go wrong but see mistakes and failure as another challenge to overcome.
  2. Creative thinking – Successful people realize creativity is not a “gift” for a select few. They know they can develop their creativity by looking at things from new perspectives.
  3. See beyond the obvious – This is much more than the cliche “thinking outside the box.” Sometime, the problem must be solved within the constraints of the box and sometimes, the box needs to be made larger. Successful people go beyond what is comfortable, challenge assumptions and change their routines.
  4. Respond Appropriately – David Allen uses the “mind like water” analogy. That is, when you throw a stone into a pond, the water “responds” appropriate to the size of the stone and the force of the throw. There is no over– or under-reaction. Likewise, successful people respond in just the right way to the forces that have an impact on their lives.
  5. Sensitive communication – Good communication does not magically happen it is built, one step at a time. Successful people do not try and dominate the communication process but learn how to listen carefully and respond appropriately.
  6. Thoughtful listening – The most difficult communication skill is listening. We’re anxious to be heard and less focused on what others are saying. However, if we’re to be effective in the way we communicate with others, we must focus at least as much attention on our listening skills.
  7. Generous cooperation – Successful people realize success does not happen in a vacuum. They know the importance of working with others. Successful people do not jealously hoard information and resources but are willing to share so that others may benefit.
  8. Give recognition – Recognition is not just a nice thing to do. Recognition reinforces and rewards important outcomes others create for you. By giving recognition, you reinforce the actions and behaviours you most want to see people repeat.
  9. Integrity – “Integrity is completeness or soundness… A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It’s sound. It’s solid. It’s complete.” —Charles R. Swindoll