Develop the Characteristics, Attitudes and Aptitudes of the Most Successful People

This is from an article I wrote years ago and dusted back off to remind myself of these principles. I can't find the original, so this is from my notes and I have provided my own thoughts on each character trait.

Millionaires come in all shapes and sizes. Despite what many have been led to believe, there is no one “look” that the financially successful have. However, even though there is no specific profile into which all successful entrepreneurs fit, there are common characteristics they all seem to share:

An eye for opportunity. This is the essence of entrepreneurship: seeing a need and rushing to fill it. Often, the best ideas come from our own experiences. For example, once upon a time, someone thought to himself or herself that it would be great if they could pay for their gas at the pump. The rest is history.

An appetite for hard work. Entrepreneurs are the people who sometimes seem to rest to work while others might work to rest. They don’t spend a lot of time in community events or watching television. In the early stages of their business, they work almost maniacally. Sometimes it does not seem to be work to them because they enjoy what they are doing so much.

Self-discipline. Years ago, Dr. Dana Carson, gave me one of the best definitions of self-discipline I have heard. He defines discipline as the commitment to do what one must do as opposed to what one wants to do. Well said. As I have heard said elsewhere, “great men make sacrifices while others make excuses.” That which is easy to do is also easy not to do.

Independence. Entrepreneurship can be intensely lonely and isolating. If you are the kind of person who craves a sense of belonging and acceptance, starting your own business might not be for you. Starting a business can plunge an entrepreneur into a life of late nights, busy weekends, and solitude. An entrepreneur must be willing to walk alone and even appear the fool for a time.

Self-confidence. Entrepreneurs must have an intense belief in what they are doing. This is the quality that helps them build a team, sell partners on their ideas, convince others to help them, find customers, and attract investors. People are attracted to confidence and enthusiasm. Belief can be contagious.

Adaptability. Nothing ever goes as planned. A lasting entrepreneur has to be able to plan thoroughly, but scrap those plans and start over if the market doesn’t accept their ideas as he or she thought that it would. Adaptability also requires courage. It can be hard to change everything that you’ve planned for a long time. Successful entrepreneurs do the hard things.

Good Judgment. This is the ability to gather facts, analyze them, and make sound decisions. There are two ways to learn good judgment: by making and learning from your own mistakes or by learning from others’. Learning from others’ mistakes as much as possible hurts a lot less and gives you the chance to gather a broader base of knowledge and experiences to help you down your road to success.

Ability to tolerate stress. This quality is not just the ability to put up with intense pressures. That’s not enough. An entrepreneur must be able to continue to think clearly and function effectively in the midst of the stormy situations. The late Wilson Harrell, self-made multi-millionaire and author of "For Entrepreneurs Only" believed the ability to cope with pressure, which he calls Entrepreneurial Terror, is the single most important ingredient of entrepreneurial success. Amar Bhide, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Harvard University, says the problems that entrepreneurs face everyday would overwhelm most managers and cause them to be gripped by panic. I believe him. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.

The need to achieve. A lot of people desire to be successful in business. Desire is easy to find in people. Everybody wants something. In my line of work, people who desire their own business constantly approach me. On the other hand, rarely do I come across people who are determined to own their own business. There is a big difference. Determined people act, sleep, eat, think, walk, and talk differently. They inject an increased sense of purpose into everything that they do. Determination beats desire.

Keen Self-awareness. Successful entrepreneurs know their strengths and weakness. They understand how these qualities affect their abilities to succeed in business. Then they attempt to put themselves in the best position to succeed while exposing their weaknesses as little as possible. It may take time to develop such a keen sense of oneself, but I believe people find more success and satisfaction once they do so.

Did I miss anything? What would you add to this list? Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?  If you need help developing your business skills, check out The Sales Monster and get your copy today! 

Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!

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excellent article! I enjoyed reading it! You're absolutely right! Entrepreneurs like Yuri Mintskovsky, Larry Page or Donald Trump also share these characteristics mentioned above. I would add to this list qualities like patience, ambition, optimism, determination or passion. They are also necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur today.

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