What describes a successful person?

What are the qualities needed to be successful?

  1. What qualities are absolutely mandatory for success in any given field?
  2. What qualities are usually needed or would normally contribute to success?

I’d like your input on these two questions. I hope for a good brainstorming πŸ™‚


109 thoughts on “What describes a successful person?

  1. 1. Adaptability
    2. Intent or Conviction
    I define success as any outcome correlating to initial intent, which is pretty vague but sound.

    1. For truly great and lasting success, caring/love would be mandatory. This is “the stuff of life/aliveness.”

      1. What is “great and lasting success”? Is 10 years “lasting success”? and how great must it be to constitute “great”?

        1. Maybe you can’t pin it down like that. It’s relative – the uncertainty principle all over again. πŸ™‚

          1. I cannot understand your statement if you don’t explain what you mean by “lasting” and “great” here. You certainy had something in mind when you wrote those words. Would one year of soaring success be enough – or must it be 10 years to count as lasting – or the majority of a lifetime? And what (at least) would “great” amount to?

            1. Then I guess we should have asked you how you are defining “successful.” What would constitute “success,” including how long it would have to last?

            2. I didn’t introduce any time-frame into the OP. I would define success as “rising above ones peers in any given field, notable as among the top performers in the field or expertise”. And what is “lasting” and “great”?

  2. I think to choose what you want to succeed in, and to make sure the choice is your own, are most important. Then follows loving what you do etc.

    1. I would agree, Spyros. But even when the job chooses you, so to speak, if you operate with love, I think you’ll be a success.

      1. I could find elements inside a job that’s chose me, to do with my own will, and love it. But it feel like patching it up, to me. It doesn’t compare to the real thing.

        1. You could still be successful, even if “chosen” for the job. But more so if you yourself choose it, I would have to agree.

          1. Yes. I’ve been considered relatively successful in mine, because within that job, I make my own job. The main purpose is to make money (much for the owner, little for myself). But that’s not what drives me, or else I’d hate it. If I like a customer, I’m glad to help him out.

            1. Compared to what I’d like to do, it’s a major failure for me though, no matter the other successes. I’ve experienced it, to fully like and want what I do, and fully agree with the purposes. It just doesn’t compare. Success comes naturally and its a pleasure, then.

            2. Thing is, if you don’t have love, you’re down in the effort band. And in that band. it’s pretty hard to get a good flow going towards production. Above that band, you can be creative, intuitive, and playful – this is what gets good results.

  3. Mandatory qualities? —
    + Clear goal visualization. + Great confront. + Team player.(if applicable) + Dogged persistence!

    Qualities usually needed/contributing to success?

    Firstly, clearly define exactly how the success will be measured!! Then act with:

    + Conscious discipline.
    + Irrepressible enthusiasm. + Capacity to think ‘out of the box’.
    + Willingness to accept wrong direction/s taken, correct and/or recover quickly. + Willingness to review whether one is staying ‘on track’ or being led astray and to rather compromise ‘perfection,’ for the sake of attaining excellence.
    + Capacity to act/deliver as efficiently/rapidly as possible.

  4. To clarify my intention; I want to get to the bottom what is actually required for success (rising above ones peers) in any given field. I don’t have the answer to this and would like to inspire a brainstorming that can get to a conclusion as to what is required to be successful. There’s a lot of superficial “theories” floating and miles of book shelves dedicated to this subject. Lots of coaches promote a number of required characteristics, but seldom do we see Karl Popper’s requirements for a valid scientific theory applied. Case in point; “You need to be a caring person to be successful”. Apply Popper and see if there are any successful people in history that have not been caring. Oh yes, Isaac Newton. Out goes that theory. Or; “You need to be sane to be successful”. Nope – insane Van Gogh blasts that theory. Or; “You need to be happy to be successful”. Again no – Edward Munch was a depressed mess. Etc. And before anyone goes ahead and gets defensive by redefining “love” or “strong” or “tenacious” or such to fit a specific flavor of successful, I want to find what is actually the requirements for any success rather than a debate of defensive views. This would be a real nice test for brainstorming on this blog. Can we get to the bottom of this?

    1. Whatever you are doing compulsively or continuously is where your highest chances of success lives. It’s usually not in the forefront of your mind, like where your dreams live. Love, in my view has no more to do with it than any other emotion. All that I am, all that I have, is poured into this vessel. Dreams be damned. Might as well rip your own heart out by dreaming. πŸ˜€ hope that helps.

      1. What I am a success in, is not my passion, I have no love for it, my attention is chewed up by it, and I try to escape it on many occasions. Last thing I ever wanted to do or care about πŸ˜€ but damn am I good at it. :0. If I choose another compulsion, this one would fall, like any other skill. This is why “we aren’t successful” because we haven’t found that compulsion that we are successful at yet, therefor cannot make the decision to change it or not.

        1. Perhaps a survey in what persons are actually successful at? I find its usually what they are sub consciously doing. I can’t say I have tenacity at raising my children, but they will vouch for me as a successful mother amongst peers by far. I had tenacity for Linux and computers in general for 20 years, and completely failed and live in grief. πŸ™‚

          1. I don’t belief tenacity is needed. Yes, hungers need to be eliminated ( or in my case, what would make me ‘happy’) and yes, doing what I had to do, made me a success at what I do.

  5. I think in the long run intention. tenacity and capacity to change are mandatory, communication skills and understanding people around you are quite helpful

  6. Geir. This ‘seeking’ may not have a ‘bottom line answer’ that is reducible to a single theorem, that can be applied as a generality!

    Since you have inserted ‘rising above one’s peers’, as the main criteria defining ‘success’, then surely one is talking in terms of a ‘champion’? Then we are asking about what it takes to BE exceptional at (blank)

    Hussain Bolt, for example, simply has the TALENT (gift) to qualify here.

    Donald Trump, Bill Gates, (or Warren Buffet) similarly, are exceptionally ‘DRIVEN’ individuals, who answer to your criteria of ‘rising above one’s peers, in success.

    Perhaps the combination of the above two qualities, are at the heart of the ‘formula’, which gives the greatest chance of success.

    Of course, the making of a ‘star’, is most often, a ‘team effort’, still utilizing the twin combo above.

    Perhaps then — DISCOVERY of exceptional TALENT, developed / DRIVEN to stellar heights/performance, comes close to the answer you seek?

    1. Well. That leaves me out of ever ‘ succeeding’, and my kids certainly don’t believe being driven is successful, only stressful. 😦 Not everyone in the human race is my peer.

      1. Uh-uh! On the contrary, dear kuryzma, Both you & your kids already know & regard you as successful. (ON YOUR TERMS!!) πŸ™‚

        ‘Talent’ and ‘driven’, are only relative terms, you know. And I’m sure you apply both just as diligently for your own measure of success. πŸ™‚

        1. “On your own terms ” was not the terms of success. I never said I felt or considered myself a success. The terms are rising above ones peers. I have seen my peers and its depressing LOL! Geir is way out of my league for Peer. I can’t even touch him. So, how can I be successful within my peer group, because I believe that is where I can be the most help.

      2. Oh, btw, if we insert “gift”, in lieu of talent … and “inspiration”, in lieu of ‘driven’, we still achieve comparable results, (for us ‘ordinary’ mortals πŸ˜€ ) Don’t we?

        Coming from a highly competitive family, where ‘winning’ meant the size of your paycheck, I unfortunately am already ‘blooded’ in that hard reality.– Thus spoke in that context, in reply to Geir’s thread of ‘rising above one’s peers.’

        I personally prefer the less-serious, light-hearted approach in my life, until the circumstances demand uncompromising combat!! Then I’m happy to oblige, to balance things out a bit, you see? LOL πŸ˜€

      1. Of course you are! And I bet YOU smile most of the time, too! πŸ˜€

        1. Thank you Racing. I just had a discussion with my family and we are going to try Geirs Outstanding performance with outstanding under the heading of attention and performance under the heading of precision. Simple, we think.

          1. I do believe we have found a way to acknowledge our accomplishments, we didn’t realize they were accomplishments.

      2. Wow! It’s 3.45am here in Durban (South Africa) I have a big day ahead folks. Please excuse me while I snatch some of those vital zeeee’s. πŸ™‚

    2. Upon reflection, though, perhaps one individual who “rocks the boat” in many of the ‘recognized essentials for success’. — would be Richard Branson. In that the man also happens to be the seeker of ‘fun’ in everything he sets out to do. + πŸ˜€ +

      I’ve read most of his books, which also highlight yet one other ‘unlearnible’ quality, (yet another TALENT?) which makes up his success arsenal! — His INTUITION, (sixth sense) which invariably helps him sniff out a great (successful) deal.

      There you have a couple of tidbits which I see as essential/invaluable to ‘rise above one’s peers’ Hope you can cull some ‘peer topping’ moves from our diverse views, ramblings, rants and outpourings! LOL!

  7. Ye gads, Geir! Whenever I take a peek at some of your earlier postings ie “The floored management system” footnoted under your latest OP. — I am just flabbbbberghaaasted! πŸ™‚ Listen here, Dear Geiru! You realize (i trust) that you have been blessed with such a totally unfair quantity of inputs from some of the brightest sparks in this immediate Galaxy! You do, don’t you?????

    And yet…… you still want MORE? from us ‘mere mortals’, to boot????

    I’m going to have to ‘sweariously’ reconsider my association here, (unless we can broker some sort of ‘spin-off’ for services rendered, you know? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ )

    Luckily, I have developed a sort of ‘graviton response’ that sort of mediates in your favor. Just please don’t get too over-enthusiastic with the ‘grabit-on’ leanings, OK?

    We don’t want to spoil a good thing here! πŸ˜€

  8. Which two people define success in the same way?

    There would be broad categories and ways of thinking of the directional flow of success such as egocentric vs altruistic. And of these two categories, success can also be general or domain specific.

    I’ve been waiting for Marildi to give the Scn definition of “optimal survival across the dynamics,” but as she won’t, there I did.

    Og Mandino says that success is “achieving one’s goals in life, whatever they may be.”

    I agree with the old Romans who said that “all success is fleeting.”

  9. Success can be binary or analog in nature, depending on how general or specific the view. But examined very closely, it would be binary. Therefore, general success is comprised of many little successes.

    1. I’m not too sure about that Chris. My cat thinks it is above all in this house and my new puppy is trying to rise above the cat. My cat thought the puppy was getting too much attention so did a climb the wall, jump on the top of the door, and jump on the roof trick where she then taunted me to do the same. I would say she succeeded in rising above her peers in this house. No way was I going to do that.

      1. I have also watched her with the neighborhood cats. It’s almost bragging now that I think of it. She lets them know she has the best food (she has seen what they eat) pick of warm dry place to sleep, her big dumb cats to protect her. Success may be a universal thing. Hmmmm.

        1. Interesting. I think she is disappointed I don’t even try to do flips in the air. I know she tries to teach me how to play. Disappointment is a human trait also when we don’t succeed, no?

      2. kurz, there’s a ‘superiority’ about cats and the arrogant way they show it, hey? πŸ™‚

        1. Morning Racing. πŸ™‚ how closely related is success to superiority. Hold up. Cart before the horse. Do we need to be wearing superiority before we succeed?

          1. Well, kurz, have you seen that flawless, blinkless TR-O? Our feline counterparts, just put the whole superiority ‘thang’ to bed! …. NO contest! πŸ™‚

  10. Trying to focus in the characteristics of an individual person will get you nowhere. The range of possibilities which life provides is so rich that even an asshole can be a President .(See the actual President of MΓ©xico or some former presidents of the US like George W Bush).
    Life’s fΓ³rmula for success is abundance. That’s how the human race has survived even catastrophic events.

    1. Amazing thoughts there, Rafael. But what are the odds of any other ‘races’ than the human ‘race’ to consist largely of ‘assholes’ ?? (ie the voters) πŸ˜€

        1. Yessir, Rafa! So then who else can see that ‘life’ is perhaps one of the biggest ‘practical jokers’ of all??? ( as in — “GOTCHA!” πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ )

    2. Rafael, Yes, Nature’s Way is abundance. But I don’t think Nature thinks in terms of success or even abundance or even thinks at all! lol. I mean, it might but it doesn’t need to.

      1. Yes brother and that is amazing too!!!
        I mean, I’m trying to be that way, just being instead of just thinking haha

      2. Evolution isn’t thinking of success? Well I guess not. Natural seems to have mastered the conceptual to actual. Talking about being a success. Imagine being such a success, you don’t even have to think about it

  11. One way that success can be defined is “duration.” The longer, the more successful. Example: The Rolling Stones rock-band and Coelacanth, both 360 million years old.

      1. Have you seen the wrinkles on the neck of a 100 year old iguana? You have?
        Now just X this by 3, 600.000 years! 😦 (((((

      2. Yeah, Rafael. On the personal level, the subjective level, if a person feels like a winner, if his brain fires like “a winner” he must be a winner!

    1. The way I was looking at success was the moment I mastered what I was doing. Maybe we trip up on the enjoy /not enjoy part.

        1. I am saying if we complete our goal. Only that moment is success. Afterwards I would consider it a job, because even you are done, others are not.

  12. If you are able to love life and have faith in yourself wether you are at the top or the bottom, You are successful

      1. Success is contextual. I could point to Hitler’s successes but another might disagree. There was a point where Hitler was enjoying immense success through the failures of others (as do modern athletes, politicians, businesses, etc.). But later he felt the sting of failure. These are relative terms.

        1. Well “success” seems by abstraction to require consciousness of its own success. My theory is that success is an abstraction. A pattern that we label. WE say evolution has been successful, that is our abstraction. Evolution like honeybadger, “don’t give a shi*.”

      2. I’d say yes if you define succesful in an objective way, but for a subjective definition, it is unavoidable.

      1. Well possibly “rising above others” IS a common denominator. I don’t, haven’t thought about success very much for years in these terms or as labeled “success.” I do think about what I have to do to get along each day. I feel good when I have a success. I feel not as good when I fail. These are incremental successes and failures. I have spent so much time and effort conditioning myself to think in terms of trends rather than incremental success and failure . . . wait. No I worry about the details as well… I don’t know where I was going with this thought.

      2. The common denominator for success seems to be achieving a goal. I tried and tried to avoid using the word tautology… did I succeed or fail?

  13. To be successful you need a set of relevant skills. To rise beyond your peers you have to have ability to improve your skills faster than your peers. How this is achieved is irrelevant. Thus if you are going to raise to be successful, adaptation would be the only mandatory quality. As for contributing qualities I think that motivation would be the strongest one, then the ability to identify and improve potentials.

      1. Cool! That triangle seems to cover the bases.

        It makes me wonder what the underlying, universal principle(s) would be. Unless “success” itself is an ultimate. Wait…I’ve got an idea – how about “evolution”?

        1. I would say that success is just a relative measurement. Success is in the eye of the beholder at a given time. The very same achievment could be a success or a failure depending on the observer and the sourroundings. E.g. A 100 meter runner could finish a run in say 9,57. It would be a world record at the time. Success! Perhaps he had an unofficial personal record of 9,55. (Personal) failure. Maybe in the next heat a opponent ran in 9,56. He would then be 2nd place. Failure! Maybe it was the olympics. He got an olympic medal. Success! etc. etc. So how can you succeed when you can’t control the observers? Actually you can’t. You can however succeed by your own criterias. You can surpass your own goals. But I don’t think there is an underlying, universal principle regarding success as it is a manmade principle. A virtual “force” like the centrifugal force.

          1. Ro9: “But I don’t think there is an underlying, universal principle regarding success as it is a manmade principle. A virtual ‘force’ like the centrifugal force.”

            That’s well said. I probably should have left out the word “universal.” But I think the principle that things either improve or they worsen, with no in-between, does apply to all life organisms (as in evolution) as well as to man-made systems – social, economic, political, etc. If they improve, they are successful in terms of survival potential. This is close to what I meant about evolution being an underlying principle – evolution in the broadest sense, including the evolution of species and systems. “Survival” is essentially the same thing.

            But in this discussion, Geir narrowed down the meaning of “successful,” as he was using it, to include “compared to most others in the field” (paraphrased). However, that is only one type of measurement, and might not be the most valid or useful one. As you say, success is a relative measurement. Nevertheless, I think Geir’s triangle takes all the relativity into account.

            1. Yes, I agree that you can use the triangle to achieve what you define as success, and yes we’re straying off the topic. Anyway, I think that evolution is all about adaptation, not succeeding. Evolution craves balance not winners, because the ultimate winning species would be all alone in the world with it’s own species as the source for food… And perhaps the ultimate creature must consist of all organic material, undying, ever changing… Hmm funny… I think I stumbled upon god here…

            2. “…undying and ever changing” – you’ve tumbled upon God AND the universe. I’m convinced they’re one and the same. πŸ™‚

  14. Well, the brainstorming seems to have plateaued, just a tad, Geir.

    Is this an indication that you have had your question/s answered?

    Ahem!! Any conclusions you care to share, Sir?

    Or does the communication cycle just sit ‘here’ — (incomplete) ? ? ? ? ? πŸ™‚

      1. That’s nice. Say, what about looking afresh at a most intriguing topic?

        — The whole plethora of OBE’ s (out of body experiences) communication with the dis-embodied, or recently “departed,” actual telepathic messages. all with some backing evidence other than anecdotal.

        Just spiritually speaking, (literally) for a change, you dig? πŸ˜‰

          1. Rafa, yes of course, my friend, The picture tells a thousand words. “Life’s longing for it’s self.” Every wave that breaks, and rushes to the shore, only to die in a bubbling froth, yet recedes to whence it originated — only to re-form, grow, crest and repeat it’s SELF, over and over and over for ever more — That’s life — that’s death — that’s TRUTH — Amen! πŸ™‚

          2. Yes too, to our amazing collective Books Of Life/Death, that we have apparently ‘written’ . Countless Chapters long since forgotten. We are just too busy, you see, consumed with writing the present one!. What about the n-e-e-e-xt chapter, and then the next and the next, etc, etc??

            I guess we’ll only find out, when we finish the present chapter, right, Rafa? πŸ˜€

        1. “…communication with the dis-embodied, or recently ‘departed’…”

          Hey Calvin, there’s been some compelling research on this subject. Watch this interview and see what you think (and I’m sure it won’t hurt that Lilou is the interviewer! πŸ™‚ ). At least watch the 10-minute section from 5:00 to 15:00.

          1. Done, Me ❀ Kudos on yet another great find! And yes, btw, I found the entire vid entirely fascinating! Especially,the "amazing" (unscripted?) occurrence at about 25.40, where Al is re-describing a patient's description of "the greenest green, I have ever seen…" — only to have (as if they were in on the act, accentuating the point πŸ˜€ ) — a whole bunch of beautiful GREEN leaves from a nearby tree branch, fortuitously 'lean over' in front of the vid, camera! As if to ask; "LIKE ME?" πŸ˜€

            Btw, Having veered completely away from the (now "closed") OP, I'm hoping Geir will pick up on my suggestion above, to open the door for a fresh view of an "OP" now beginning to show signs of really great interest. πŸ™‚

            What about it, Geir? πŸ˜€

          2. Oh yeah, btw, my (artistic) File Clerk – handed up a facsimile of Jenna Elfman, to do a comparison with “Juicy” Lilou.– Wotchoo think, Me ❀ ?

  15. Yes, indeed Rafael. It may not be a popular subject, but that mostly comes from non- ‘confront’, imho!

    Like anything else that overwhelms us, we need to face this realty (death), head on. And that all boils down to simple acceptance. Is-ness. Then we can come to the point of recognizing our fear. That of the ‘unknown’. That’s all, And it’s conclusion “I just don’t REALLY know”.

    This fear, as have come to see, IS conquerable.It is done via a quiet acceptance, that we simply CANNOT hang onto this body forever! Since “All things shall pass!”

    ‘Acceptance’, begets RELIEF. And thus, one is able to overcome (as-is) one’s fear.

    I face mortal danger regularly, in my working environment, so have realized the futility in trying to ‘not-is’ this fact. That is not to say I’m apathetic about it! πŸ™‚ Merely completely philosophical.And thus, really comfortable about this ‘irrational fear’.

    Whether one believes in the hereafter, or re-incarnation, heaven, or hell, one certainly can get a head’s up on this ‘critter’ (death), by becoming willing to confront it.

    Full ACCEPTANCE! After that — it’s a breeze! πŸ˜€

    Gee, Rafa, then we even get to comm with those no longer IN, but rather OUT of bodily existence. I’m hoping Geir will open a post about this, right here in his ‘lounge’. For, who knows WHO may drop in??? πŸ˜€

  16. I thing the mandatory factors for success are following:
    #Being able to take full responsibility for perceptions, emotions, thoughts and creations
    #Being able to improve oneself
    #Being able to “be” in the present moment and focus
    #Being able to competently perform the key abilities
    #Being able to differentiate the important+urgent/important+not-urgent/not-important+urgent/not-important/not-urgent
    #Being able to solve problems by combining the problem-solving algoritms, psychology knowledge and knowledge from various science fields
    #Being able to produce the valuable final products which helps others
    #Having passion in the life and being able to love everything
    #Being able to cope with stress
    #Knowing the outcomes, be perceptive on the way of reaching them and being flexible while attaining them
    #Taking needed actions and being persistent in it when neccessary
    #Being able to stand-up after the failure

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