Success isn’t always linear, and it doesn’t have a standard definition, either.
While people might measure and achieve success differently, there are some traits that set high achievers apart from others.
These attributes don’t just happen by accident or luck — they’re built through intentional habits, practiced every day until they become second nature.
The habits of successful people tend to be profoundly powerful, yet “incredibly simple,” says Steve Adcock, a self-made millionaire who retired at 35.
In 2016, he and his wife Courtney retired after accumulating about $870,000 working in information technology. With the right investments, their net worth increased to $1 million shortly after.
Adcock credits much of his success to smart habits he adopted in his 20s, modeled after the traits of high-achieving mentors and colleagues he admired throughout his career.
There are three traits in particular that set successful people apart from everyone else in the workplace, Adcock says — here’s how to develop them:
“Believing in yourself and having the confidence to put yourself out there is the first step to success. If you adopt the mindset that you can do almost anything you set your mind to, that level of optimism will shine through in the work that you do and make it 10x better.
Optimism isn’t just about being more positive about the future of your career — it’s about having a sunny outlook on life in general, too. If you smile a lot and are kind to people, you are going to instantly separate yourself from 99% of the population because most people just don’t do that.
At the start of my career, I quickly noticed that people wanted to work with the people who walked into the office smiling, who said hello to everyone, who just had a natural, upbeat personality. I started following their lead, and that attitude got me way more opportunities both inside and outside of the office than if I had been sullen and serious all the time.”
“For a long time, I thought that your intelligence quotient (IQ) determined your future success — I wasted a lot of time trying to impress people with my knowledge about random things.
But as I progressed through my career, I learned that IQ is only a small part of the success equation. Developing a strong emotional intelligence (EQ), or a heightened awareness of other people’s emotions, as well as your own, will get you much farther in life.
People with strong EQ are more self-aware and willing to take responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming someone else, which is a bad habit that a lot of people do. But to build wealth and be successful, you need to be willing to learn from your mistakes and understand your shortcomings.
Improving your emotional intelligence can also help you navigate challenging situations calmly and rationally, and work with many different types of personalities more effectively. Practicing EQ helped me become a better communicator and build stronger relationships with my bosses.”
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