Three Advantages Successful People Have That You Can Cultivate Too
Successful people have obvious advantages over the rest of us. These range from being born into a wealthy family to education, gender, race and even having nurturing parents.
What if we controlled for factors such as wealth, health and background, then started sorting through by benefits that can be learned?
The Ability to Resist Temptation
Delayed gratification is an important measure of success. It’s what keeps the ambitious from cashing out as soon as they make a little money, and the successful people to continue working hard long after they make their first million.
The ability to resist temptation means sticking around for the long-haul, even when short-term rewards seem more attractive. In finance, long-term investors such as Warren Buffet have always fared better than quick traders. Even Cinnabon’s president Kat Cole, who has an amazing success story, took a massive pay cut to go from a Hooter’s girl to take her first corporate job. A singular focus was key to Cole’s success.
One way to harness your willpower? Practice not giving in to every craving as soon as you get it.
Being Eternally Optimistic
Scared to fail? In a world filled with examples of young, accidental millionaires, it’s hard to find the strength to try again once you’ve faced adversity.
Every successful person has faced rejection hundreds of times. Sara Blakely, the youngest self-made female billionaire on Forbes’s billionaires list, had lost count of the number of mill owners who refused to make the first Spanx prototype when she started. Blakely’s unfailing motivation kept her going strong.
Practicing optimism requires discipline, especially for those of us who grew up in risk-averse cultures. In much of Asia, fear of “losing face” continues to be a very real threat to entrepreneurship. Women in general, are less likely to take risks for fear of failure. Training yourself to always believe in positive outcomes isn’t easy, but it can be an acquired skill with practice.
Not Caring What Others Think
Rather than seeing success as a zero-sum game, “not caring what others think” is important to succeed.
What differentiates successful people, is they don’t always get influenced (and sometimes, side-tracked) by what others think.
Many of the greatest innovators – from Leonardo da Vinci to Elon Musk – were once ridiculed, or told to abandon their ideas by loved ones.
This doesn’t mean abandoning all advice and inhibitions in pursuit of your ambitions, but rather, being selective about who you listen to. And if advice doesn’t match your gut instinct, you listen to yourself first.
These are the three advantages that can be cultivated. You can’t change the family you’re born into, height and/or physical attractiveness. But many successful people who have overcome these disadvantages by channeling optimism, self-restraint and self-belief.
Which of these three could you develop and practice to be more successful?