The 20 Absolutely Essential Qualities For Success

The 20 Absolutely Essential Qualities For Success
The 20 Absolutely Essential Qualities For Success


By Anubhav Srivastava


This article will list 20 of the most tried and tested qualities that have led to success for millions of people over thousands of years. The best part about these qualities is that they can be cultivated even if you are not born with them and this list does not include factors you cannot do anything about such as luck, timing and talent. So go through this article in one go, take a stock of all the qualities that you believe you can improve upon, work on improving those qualities and maximize your success!


1) Burning Desire

One of the biggest factors for any kind of success is simply how had you want it. If you don’t want something bad enough, the chances of you getting it are pretty slim, especially if it is something that is particularly hard to achieve. When you want something bad enough, your actions are in sync with the desire and the chances of you getting it skyrocket.


2) Work Ethic

Your work ethic is in direct proportion to your burning desire for something. If you think about it, when it comes to getting or achieving something, you really have no control over many of the factors that would determine whether you get it. Whether it is a business deal or a relationship related issue, the other person’s response is not under your control. What is under your control are your actions and how hard you work to make that thing come to fruition. The more you focus on work, the lesser you have to worry about luck.

At the same time, remember that hard work isn’t enough to guarantee success. It is a bare minimum. You still need to work in the right direction and in the right way.


3) Working Smart

Working in the right direction and the right way basically means you are working smart while working hard. It does not mean you get lazy. It just means that you make sure all your time is directed towards activities that deliver the highest return on investment on your efforts. That’s it, plain and simple. Working hard in the wrong direction will lead to disaster. Working smart but being too slow will get you nowhere either. Working hard and smart makes you the best of the best in business or any other field in life.


4) Self Confidence

If you don’t believe you can do it, you will never put in the effort to do it, as a result you will fail by default. Self belief gives you the courage to start when it all seems impossible and the courage to keep going on when things inevitably get tough. Everything in the world has been achieved because of people who believed they could do something even when the world around them believed they were crazy.


5) Healthy Fear

You maybe surprised to hear this as the above point is completely opposite to this point. However, a healthy degree of paranoia and fear is actually very important for success because if you become too confident, you will become too comfortable and you will be completely unprepared when life or your competitors smack you in the face.

Not all fear is bad. The fear that motivates you to perform better is crucial for your success. Only the fear that paralyzes you is bad. That is where self confidence comes in and gives you the courage to start.


6) The attitude to constantly improve

If you are not moving forward you are moving backward. If you are not improving, you allow someone else to get ahead of you in the race. If you are not improving constantly, you become like stagnant water. After a while, stagnant water stinks and so do stagnant people.

The most important thing to realize in order to foster an attitude of constant improvement is that, even if you are great at what you do, there is always someone better. Even if you are the best today, you cannot remain the best forever. The only way to make sure you remain the best for the longest time you can is to absolutely commit to constant improvement.


7) Patience in expecting results

People expect results overnight and get discouraged when they don’t get them. The truth of the matter is that most great things take time to achieve and unless you win the lottery, they will not happen overnight. It is important to have the quality of patience in order to overcome the obstacles and struggles that you are inevitably going to face in your journey. If you don’t have patience, you will quit at the first sign of difficulty and set your self up for failure.


8) Impatience in Action.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to waiting for the result. However if you are patient in terms of your action, everybody else will beat you in the race. You need to be massively patient when it comes to expecting results. However, when it comes to your action, you need to be so impatient that you need to always be thinking about what you ought to be doing next to achieve your goal. Edison said, Good things come to those who wait, but only those who hustle while they wait. Like the Gita says – Focus on your actions, do not be attached to the rewards. Ironically, if you focus on actions, eventually the reward will come.


9) Financial Management

If you don’t know how to manage money, it doesn’t matter how much you earn, you will still inevitably end up losing much of it. In particularly bad cases, people have even gone bankrupt after earning a lot of money because of their terrible spending habits. The world is filled with famous examples of such people. The simple formula to grow the money you have already earned is –  Spend less than you earn and invest the difference.


10) Focus

It is possible to achieve multiple goals in your life. Many people have done it. However, they have done usually one thing at a time. Very few people have been able to pull off achieving multiple goals. When you set your eyes on multiple goals at the same time, you split your energy into two or even more directions.  As a result, it becomes extremely hard to achieve either of them. The people who are able to do it have an insane work ethic but are also exceptional multi-taskers. Elon Musk is one of them. However, most of us are not gifted with those talents and most people who end up taking on multiple things end up piling on loads of stress and achieving very little in return.


11) Seeking The Right Group of Friends

As the saying goes, you are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. Dan Pena says, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” The peer group you have is so important is because it can either push you up immensely or pull you down greatly. The wrong group will reinforce all the habits that will set you up for failure. The right group of people will inspire you to be great just by watching their actions. You don’t need to leave behind your old group of friends but always be on the look out for people who will help you improve and seek to spend most time with them.


12) Setting Up Systems

If you set up a business or something that totally depends on you for its survival, you will be in for tough times if you, for some reason are not able to work on it for a duration of time. Many businesses have gone down under because their founder got sick or was unable to work. Although most businesses start like this, it is best to set up systems as quickly as possible that don’t require you to always be present in order to work.


13)   Adaptability

One of the most important traits required for success is the ability to change with changing times and scenarios. When Edison came out with the light bulb, the candle making industry people complained that it killed their jobs. When Henry Ford started mass producing cars, the horse carriage industry complained that it was killing their jobs. Much of these businesses are not around anymore. Instead of complaining, if many of those business owners had instead adapted to changing times, the companies would have still been around.

As Darwin said, life is about the survival of the fittest. Change is inevitable. You can either accept it, adapt and survive or you can resist it and die. The choice is yours.


14)   Pursuing Your Passion

Steve Jobs said that your work will fill up much of what you do in life and you need to be really passionate about what you do because if you don’t, things inevitably get so hard that any rational person would give up. The only thing that sustains you through those tough times is your passion for what you are doing. Jim Carrey said that he saw his father getting fired from his “safe job” as an accountant and came to the following conclusion: You can fail miserably doing what you don’t love, so why not take a chance on doing what you do love!


15)   Honesty

People think that in order to succeed in today’s world you need to be dishonest. In the short term, dishonest people tend to succeed more than people who are honest. But in the long run, people who have used dishonest practices to run their work have eventually crumbled. The greater the magnitude of their dishonesty, the greater the chances are the eventually things will implode. Things do not get hidden for too long. Stick to honest practices to ensure the long term sustainability of your business or any work you are doing.


16)  Giving Value

People pay when they think the value of what they are getting is equal to or higher than the price they are paying for it. Now sometimes, you maybe able to convince people to try something without them knowing its value but in the long run, you will only get repeat customers or have people trust you when you can demonstrate the fact that the value you provide is far greater than the money they pay you for it.


17)   Ability To Take Calculated Risks

If you can’t take risks, you will never achieve what you want in life and will forever be a slave to fear. Along with the ability to think intellectually, risk taking is one of the most crucial qualities that have led to the progress of human kind over thousands of years. When you stop taking risks, you become stagnant and stagnancy is actually the biggest risk of them all as it becomes only a matter of time before a major change happens and smacks you in the face.

At the same time, taking risks does not mean gambling or getting into life threatening situations. It simply means assessing all the possibilities and understanding the rewards involved. You then take the leap, knowing that even if you fail, it may result in setback but not a disaster.


18) The ability to not be afraid of Criticism.

One of the biggest reasons that people don’t go after what they want is because they fear that they will be laughed at by others. What they don’t realize is that one day, it will be too late to go after their dreams and they will be miserable with regret. The only thing they can do then is cry at themselves.

Being laughed at by others but being happy is way better than crying at yourself.  Understand that most of the times, criticism is just an opinion. If the criticism is grounded in facts, study it and then make a decision objectively. But if it is just an opinion, forget it and move on. What is true, correct it. What is not true, reject it!


19) The ability to sell/persuade

It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in business, self employed, doing a job or involved in any other nature of work, we are all salesmen/saleswomen. If you do not have the power to communicate and convince the other person of your value or your product/service’s value and sell them on why you/your product/service will be highly beneficial for them, you simply won’t be able to get very far in life.

Although sales has gotten a bad rep because of many sales people, it is the single most important quality which will help you grow your business or work. Even a sportsman,  artist, an actor or any creative has to be a brilliant sales person in addition to being great at their craft. Because if they cannot do that, it becomes close to impossible for others to notice them.



20) Persistence

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the talented Indian film actor who only recently achieved the fame he always deserved had to struggle for 15 years with small roles before he finally made it big. Because he was not particularly good looking he mostly got forgettable roles which no one would really be proud of.  Yet he kept at his job with absolute focus and finally made it big.

He was asked he did it and whether he knew he would be successful. He said he did not know what destiny had in store for him in terms of success, but he knew one thing he would either succeed or die trying. After 15 years he finally succeeded became a household name, but he said  that even if he continued to fail forever, he was determined to spend the rest of his life trying. No wonder he succeeded, after all fortune favors the brave!

There are no guarantees of success and huge successes often have a healthy dose of luck involved but luck is unpredictable. It may come to you at anytime and it may desert you at anytime as well. If there is one thing above all that will raise your probabilities of success, it is a single minded determination to keep pushing when everyone else quits.  Every time you work on something with focus you keep getting better at it and you raise your probabilities of success. Because at the end of the day, success is a game of probabilities and the more you try the higher your chances.

So keep marching forward and keep pushing on. If you succeed you will become a role model to the world and reap all the rewards. If you die trying, you will die as a hero in your own eyes with absolutely no regrets about not having given your best. Not all great dreams can ever be accomplished but it is in the process of trying that we discover our greatness.