Thoughts on Becoming Successful – Eight To Be Great

In my last post I shared with you the McKinsey study on why some corporate hot-shots had made it big. In this post I will summarize the findings from an interesting study among TED’stersEight to be great

Briefly about the background of the study

Richard St. John, an analyst, author and speaker, decided to interview some of the greatest thought-leaders, leaders and celebrities of our time to get a better understanding of, what had led to their success within their field of expertise. Why? Because he one day on a plane was asked by a kid what really leads to success. That one question got him thinking. He thought who better to ask than TED’sters (those of you who do not know what TED is hurry and go to TED.com).

Eight traits lead to success

After 10 years of research, 500 face-to-face interviews, thousands of success stories and in-depth analysis of words Richard reached his conclusion; successful people seem to share eight traits, that have led to their success

  • Passion
  • Work
  • Focus
  • Push
  • Ideas
  • Improve
  • Serve
  • Persist

In the following I’ll briefly describe each of the eight traits. If you find his study inspiring I will recommend to you that you read his book, “The 8 traits successful people have in common”.

Passion is where it all begins

Are you able to say “yes” to the following questions? Do you love what you do? Does the time fly by when you are working without you noticing it? Do you speak passionately about it when people ask what it is you do? If you can’t say yes to these answers, it will get difficult to succeed. Why? Simply because, it takes many and long hours to succeed at what you do. If you do not love what you do you will most likely quite somewhere along the way.

Be ready to work hard for a long time

Everybody he interviewed mentioned how it takes extremely hard work to succeed. But hey – if you love what you do it is ok. You might think that talent tops work. It is actually the other way round. If you are not willing to work hard talent will not take you far. One example from the book is a quote from Michelangelo, “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful after all”. When he says is – one of the most talented painters of all time – there is probably something to it.

Focus on one thing

Aim to become world champion in your field of expertise. That will make you extremely valuable. You will only become world champion if you focus. Do not spend all your time on several projects at the same time.

Push yourself both physically and mentally

You have got to be willing to push yourself. It can be a deadline, a mentor your shyness or something different that works for you. Set the bar high and push.

Ideas – and the ability to execute them

Richard learned that successful people have an ability to come up with great ideas. Not just once in a while but continuously. You might say by now that coming up with ideas has never been your strong side. That is bull. Everybody can learn to be creative. Furthermore, the best ideas do not have to be the new space shuttle. Some of the best ideas come from our everyday life. Identify the problems you have in your life. Maybe that specific problem is the same for millions of other people. Finally, never forget to keep your antennas out. Keep your eyes and ears open and something might just fall into your hands.

Never stop improving

It is important that you always try to improve the product or the service you are delivering. Do not ever feel that enough is enough. In the fast paced world we live in today competition will soon catch up. Therefore keep improving.

Be obsessed with how you can serve others something of value

This is what successful people do. In order to be successful your audience or your customers need to feel that you are delivering great value. If you do that every time you will be able to retain your customers and attract new ones.

Start by making one customer happy at a time. If every customer go out the door happy, they will spread the word.

Be persistent

Persistence is about being able to keep going through failure, pain, rejection, criticism, negativity and crap. No matter how passionate you are and how hard working etc., you will always experience hard times. Just move forward, be persistent. That is the only way you will be able to go through these times and come out stronger on the other side. It is a thousand times easier said than done, but try.

Remember one thing . Success takes 10,000 hours. Keep that in mind and then reach out for it.

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