7 Personality Traits That Are Responsible for 85% of Your Success


7 Personality Traits That Are Responsible for 85% of Your Success

Building anything of value requires change. But when we’re talking about personality, the question is to what degree can we change our own personalities? The Carnegie Institute published the scientific evidence identifying the 4 reoccurring key traits of financially successful people, which simply confirmed what good financial advisers have known for years:

85% of your financial success is due to your personality, ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Only 15% is due to your technical knowledge.”

If you believe we are all born with a fixed personality unable to change, grow and improve, I’m going to go out on a limb here to say ‘then you’re dead in the water already.’

But if you believe one’s personality can change, grow and improve with effort – you’d find yourself in agreement with the esteemed Dr Carol Dweck PhD and her work about how mindset type is an accurate predictor of a person’s future struggle or happiness.

Any meaningful discussion about personality begs the question about perfection versus the wear and tear of life.  Nobody escapes life and business without collecting some hurts, disappointments and dashed expectations. It’s perfectly normal to ‘all have our own baggage’ – life and business produces a lot of it.  But it’s not acceptable to have it still strewn around the baggage carousel at the airport, if you get what I mean. We all have to make sure we don’t let our personal issues negatively affect business decisions. Sometimes you just have to choose to be happier because it’s good for you and your team.

The 3 personality advantages of financially successful people are their ability to lead, communicate and negotiate. Their technical expertise accounts of a deceptively lower percentage of their success. This is because smart people with poor emotional and relational skills often find themselves frozen into inaction.  They fear learning or doing something new outside their natural giftedness that could make them appear less intelligent.

Here are the 7 personality traits that are responsible for 85% of your success:

1. They constantly work on getting better at speaking and listening.

Learning to listen so you can respond with interest, rather than just waiting to say your next line, is a core skill at helping people feel understood and valued.  Learning the ability to reflect back to the speaker what you heard them say, (even if just pretending what you’re talking about is interesting) is a core skill successful people continue to cultivate.

2. They are natural list makers and goal setters.

Successful people help clear space in their mind for thinking by making physical lists of things to do and lists of things to remember for later.

3. They are working on their negotiation skills (not their pester and pout skills).

If you try to bully your Facebook friends into reposting material using words like, ‘because most people on Facebook wouldn’t have the guts to share this … <insert relevant bully theme here> … this may be a sign your pester and pout skills are stronger than your negotiation skills.

4. They have courage to act even when they feel uncomfortable.

Courage is the step that comes before confidence and just because a task is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s meaningless. Being prepared to do the hard work, even when it feels uncomfortable is a core trait of successful people.

5. They are self managed and self motivated.

Successful people don’t usually need to wait to be told what to do. Feeling persistently boarded and requiring entertaining is not a feature you’ll often find in the attitudes of successful people.

6. They are more deliberate about how they use their time.

Time is one of the great social levelers because we all have the same amount of time.  Successful people just try and use it better than most.

7. They accept failure is not optional but a compulsory

part of anyone’s life and business who are trying to do something better. They also understand failure is part of learning anything new and not part of their identity.

Success in life and business is more about personality and a willingness to try someone new outside your comfort zone rather than then just technical ability alone.

The Nobel Prize laureate for behavioural economics Professor Emeritus Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with a person they liked and trusted rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price.

So the question for all small business owners remains, to what degree are you prepared to develop your own personality?

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  • Karen Finnin

    Thanks so much Drew. People think technology has made the world more anti-social, but the reality could not be further from the truth. Personality is such a massive sales tool in business now, and it’s so great to see the ‘nice guys’ consistently finish first, not last!

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