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Qualities of Successful People

Updated on July 20, 2016

Have you ever wondered what makes famous or successful people different? Why do they succeed where others have failed? Do they have special abilities or have been given a better hand of cards?

I have often wondered if they knew that they would win an Academy Award, take a gold medal at the Olympics, or be a Fortune 500 CEO. There are a few common threads that seem to separate those who live common lives from those who live extraordinary ones.

Successful People are Risk Takers.

They understand that "if you risk nothing, you gain nothing" (Bear Grylls).

There is a poignant scene in The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne is attempting to climb out of an underground prison. He is told that no one has ever successfully climbed out, except for a child. He ties himself to a rope and makes several painful and unsuccessful attempts at freedom. In desperation, he asks the old blind man how to do it and he replies, "Like a child, no rope." To make the harrowing leap across the final gap with no safety net, meant sure death to the failure. With unwavering resolve, he rises out of the pit with no safety net or backup plan.

Successful people put all the chips on the table because they value the outcome above the consequences.

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions

#6: Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

#17: Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

Successful People are Resolved

Successful people live with intense personal resolve. They have often gone through the gauntlet and come put the other side with the trait of long suffering.

If you created a list of successful people you would be looking at a world's greatest list of failures, who failed so many times, they finally got it right!

Matt Damon dropped out of Harvard 11 units shy of a degree, wrote Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck and won an Academy Award.

Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times while tallying his 714 home runs.

Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs, yet he obtained two bachelor's degrees and has given motivational speeches to over three million people.

The man who defined personal resolve was American Theologian and Philosopher Jonathan Edwards, who at the age of 19 created a list of 70 resolutions he intended to live by. Know for extraordinary intellect, he served as the President of what is now Princeton University and fathered the Great Awakening.

Michelangelo's Peita
Michelangelo's Peita | Source

Successful People are Visionaries

Visionaries don't act upon what is considered mainstream and popular, but upon their own idealistic vision.

Michelangelo had an extraordinary ability to see his creation in a dirty block of marble.

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."

Often society acts like sheep and does everything exactly the same just because it is the way it has always been done. Are you not taught to follow the crowd, go with the flow, and conform from birth? Why then are so few successful? Oscar Wilde said it best.

“Everything popular is wrong.”

Visionaries see the unseen, almost a divine view of how the world should be, not how it is. Very rarely, a Winston Churchill, a Thomas Edison, or a Steve Jobs graces the world's stage and asks us to see everything differently.

Successful People are Ordinary

While genetics may hand out higher IQ's and more gifted physiques to a small percentage of us, most successful people are just ordinary people, put in extraordinary circumstances, and came out still standing.

Anyone can be a millionaire. Anyone can start a company. Anyone can dine with Royalty. The question is, "What price are you willing to pay?"

Are you willing to never eat out again, shop at The Goodwill, drive a thirty-year-old car, and spend an extra twenty hours a week managing investments to become a millionaire? It's not that hard really. 99% of ordinary people have the capabilities to succeed in that goal. Everyone seems to want to "get rich" but very few are willing to count the cost of it. To succeed you must always give up something to gain something else.

It's not unreachable. 99% of ordinary people have the capabilities to succeed in that goal. Everyone seems to want to "get rich" but very few are willing to count the cost of it. To succeed you must always give up something to gain something else.

Some of the world's most famous success stories are of people given a good hand in life, and others are of people who tried so hard that the only possible outcome was success.

© 2013 Jennifer Arnett


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    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      5 years ago from California

      Joe, Thanks for the encouragement and warm Aloha!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Availia, I appreciate inspirational pieces like this. Thank you for doing a great job of researching, writing, and presenting this hub in a very reader-friendly format. Kudos to you, and let me be the next person in line to welcome you to HubPages! Aloha!


    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California


      Thaks for sharing how this hub made an impact on your decisions. Good luck in your business ventures!

    • Kasman profile image


      6 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I think you're absolutely right about being a risk taker. I think it's good to know who you are in this. I need to know if I'm willing to risk enough to be successful. It's going to be a strong motivator to see something done and done correctly! Great job on this and it made me reflect on my own business decisions personally. Voting up, sharing!

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Glad to see another Vujicic fan. I'd take an industrious person over a book smart person any day. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • idigwebsites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Good thing you mentioned Nick Vujicic. I just admire the man...

      Yes, it's true about about the most successful guys being just extraordinary people. In school they may not be the most intelligent, but later in life these seemingly less-mentally-gifted people come out as the more successful than their more intelligent counterparts simply because they really always try harder. Also, they have the better social skills (as far as I'm concerned) which help them deal with people (such as potential customers, for instance). They use their industriousness and street-smarts to compensate their perceived lack of academic intelligence and high IQ.

      Interesting hub you've got. Thanks for posting! Up and useful. :)

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Thank you for the encouragement soconfident and tillsontitan.

    • soconfident profile image

      Derrick Bennett 

      6 years ago

      This was an awesome hub, I truly understand where you are coming from. Keep writing!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      This was very interesting Availavision and you made some very good points. Risk takers, resolved, visionary and ordinary...characteristics many of us possess. How we use those characteristics certainly determines what happens in our lives.

      Voted up and interesting.


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