12 traits of highly successful people

A dozen easy traits that will help you reach your goal—whatever it might be.

Success. Everyone wants it, but few have it to the degree they would like. Whatever your definition of success may be, here are a few practices that are guaranteed to help you achieve it:

1. Read

Several sources indicate that less than 15 percent of the American population reads with any regularity. Information is ubiquitous; unfortunately, most people are taking in frivolous information. Reading is making a deliberate choice as to what you introduce to your psyche. If you want to get ahead, this is not an optional activity. (Aimlessly surfing the Web does not count.)

2. Question

Don’t question for the sake of being argumentative. Question for the sake of clarification and comprehension. Make sure that the beliefs you hold are your own and not inherited conclusions.

3. Create a diverse circle of friends and associates

Establishing a broad range of individuals with whom you interact ensures that you remain open-minded. More possibilities and opportunities exist for those who can see beyond their biases.

4. Reflect

It’s never a good thing to wallow in the past. However, it is beneficial to evaluate what worked well, what didn’t, and what needs to be revised. You can’t drive looking in the rear view mirror, but you do need to know your position at any given time.

5. Look ahead

Ongoing success requires that you be a visionary. Nothing stays the same. Just because you have had success in the past does not mean you will have it in the future by doing the same thing. Anticipate changes and act accordingly, allowing room for flexibility.

6. Learn to delegate

Although it’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of processes that directly affect you, it is impossible to be a master of all. Don’t waste your genius by trying to conquer the tasks in which you lack efficiency.

7. Prioritize

Everything cannot happen at once. Focus on what is most important at the moment. Scattered energy will only yield scattered results.

8. Challenge yourself

Success is a dynamic state. It grows as you grow. Challenging yourself forces you to enlarge your comfort zone. By doing so, you enlarge your sphere of accomplishment.

9. Reframe failure

The things that don’t work can still work for you. Failed attempts are simply navigation tools. Use them for fine-tuning your approach. There’s always something to be learned if you choose to see it that way.

10. Share

Keeping success to yourself will always limit you in how much you can experience. The act of sharing the fruits of your success or “secrets” of your success will always come back to you exponentially.

11. Rest

No one can sustain a go-go-go approach without consequence. Take the time to rejuvenate in ways that work specifically for you. We give all of our devices time to recharge to full capacity. We owe ourselves the same courtesy.

12. Align with purpose

This is the secret sauce of success. It comes most easily when you are aligned with your true purpose. The elements of passion and personal meaning add that cosmic fuel that elevates individual success to unimagined levels. Find the path that is meant for you and achievement is a given.

Are any of these elements missing from your success strategy? What, if anything, do you have to strengthen, add, or remove? Are you limiting the amount of success you could be experiencing?

Dr. F. Emelia Sam is a writer, speaker, and oral surgeon in the Washington, DC area. She is the author of “I Haven’t Found Myself but I’m Still Looking” and “How to Create the Life You Really Want.” A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.


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