The secret to success is perhaps that there is no secret. Observation of successful people can give some insight as to what differentiates them from the crowd since their habits are on display for all to see. These could be the result of natural tendencies, acquired by osmosis from a business environment or crudely practised as the direct result of professional training. However they are acquired, these habits are highly rewarding in careers or business. Let’s look at the 5 key habits of successful people:
Successful people are notoriously capable of discussing a wide range of subjects. This is the end result of an innate curiosity. Once interest is aroused they are prone to compulsively seek more information. Some will launch into an obsessive burst of activity researching everything they can about their new found interest. The successful are sometimes also able to retain, not only the concepts learnt, but also the details that they will share enthusiastically with others. The basic skills of reading and retaining knowledge is not a voluntary activity for the successful, it is an entrenched habit. The famously curios and successful Walt Disney is quoted as saying “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Whether it be for gaining information or making contact for self-advancement successful people will be charming. To some charm appears to come naturally whilst with others it is more as a manner turned on to meet the occasion. Displayed as an easy manner to start a conversation they can introduce themselves with an interesting introduction and get a conversation started. An ancillary talent is also letting the new found friend tell their story. Charm, when applied professionally, includes a lot of interested listening. To quote Oscar Wilde, “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”
Sometimes to a fault these high achievers readily see opportunity when others are more circumspect. Not for them to worry about a glass being half full or half empty. The successful see beyond this immediate detail and envisage any glass totally full. As surely as the greatest strength is the greatest weakness the reverse can also apply when they fail. The glass was empty and they crash. Of course true to form after any crash they see it all as a learning experience and bounce right back. This habit may be natural or learnt.
A seriously famous optimist is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft is quoted as saying “When I’m impatient, I am very optimistic about the things that I see ahead.”
Whilst some people like their job, others are happy building a career but successful people are in love with their work so such they see their job as following a higher calling. Successful people are totally committed by habit. Work life balance is not a concept to which they can relate. Work is life and life is work. The down side of this situation is that to compete with a successful person you will need to be so committed that it is a habit. As management consultant Peter F. Drucker said “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.”
Selling an idea or a product requires the ability to capture another person’s imagination. Hearing an idea being discussed such that it becomes a desire or maybe even a dream is the sure sign of a successful person leading the discussion. You may feel that they could sell ice cream to Eskimos. Be ready, this person is not only successful but deep down they are a dreamer. Dreamers make great story tellers and sales people inevitably are telling a story to make a sale. Oprah Winfrey, with a nett worth $3 billion, says that “The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
To be described as a curious, charming, optimistic and committed dreamer is a torturous way of saying successful. However, whilst the above habits are on display by successful people there is no fixed formula for success. The question being begged would have to be, could I be successful? Many of us could be if we were just a tiny bit braver. I wish you that bravery!
Alan Manly is the founder of Group Colleges Australia and author of the new book, The Unlikely Entrepreneur. To find out more visit www.alanmanly.com.au