14 rare traits that set extraordinary people apart

Most of us are taught to stick to the status quo.

We’re told to follow the safe path in life: go to school, find a stable job, then wait till we’re senior citizens before we can start living life on our own terms.

But others are different.

Some look at the way things are and decide to make their own path.

They don’t rely on luck for success; they take the initiative to hunt for opportunities.

By doing this, they set themselves apart to potentially find better ways to achieve their goals in life.

While these people tend to be one of a kind, here are 14 of the traits they tend to share.

1. They Get Their Foot in the Door

While luck does play a role in success, nothing is going to happen if the person doesn’t work hard for it.

Someone could catch their big break but be so unprepared as to squander the opportunity.

Besides learning and improving their skills and abilities, extraordinary people go out and make their own luck.

They meet new people, try to form new relationships, and acquire a wealth of life experience.

That way, they not only increase the amount of places opportunity might appear, but they’ll also be ready for it when it does.

2. They’re Calm Under Pressure

High-pressure situations can make ordinary people get antsy and panicked.

Having only one chance to have a meeting with the person that could make or break their career; trying to get a loved one to the hospital in time; meeting a tight deadline.

These moments could cripple one with anxiety – but not an extraordinary person.

They don’t crack when the heat is on.

This is what makes them so extraordinary.

They ooze calm and confidence so much that they glide through the motions of a high-pressure situation.

Their grace under pressure is often what makes them someone who is highly reliable for other people.

3. They Shoot for the Moon

They’re called “extraordinary people” for a reason. If they’re musicians, they aren’t the type to settle for just a record deal and some album sales.

They shoot for the moon: they imagine themselves winning the Grammy.

Others might already say that they’re a success already.

They’ll be performing at various concerts and shows often throughout the year.

But extraordinary people never stop climbing; they’re always striving for more.

They do this by understanding the big picture and then setting smalls over a period of time to achieve that picture.

This allows them to keep going and avoid being stuck in a rut.

4. They Try Something Else

While other people are busy following the status quo, buying trendy clothes to fit it, following tried and true methods of earning more money, the extraordinary person tries something else.

They dare to look for an alternative solution to the problem.

For instance, back in the late 19th century, modes of transportation were limited to horses.

But Henry Ford did something differently. He made the first 4 wheel car.

Though rudimentary by today’s standards, it was revolutionary before.

He has since been commonly attributed for saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Extraordinary people are creative thinkers; they’re the ones that think outside the box.

They go beyond social conventions and try something else in hopes of finding a solution no one’s thought of yet.

5. They Maintain Strong Relationships with Many People

Forming relationships is important to any extraordinary person.

They’re people too, and so need others.

But what makes them different is how they go about maintaining the relationship.

Some extraordinary people tend to have powerful memories; so powerful that they could even remember everything about someone after meeting them for the first time, even if it was someone that didn’t seem too significant in the moment.

When they see that person again, they don’t fumble that person’s name or forget that they already met.

The extraordinary person would recall everything they talked about in the first meeting.

This ability to recall such details is what helps extraordinary people maintain strong relationships.

This actually a trait that makes you happy as well. If you’re interested, watch our latest video on 9 other things that a happy person always does:

6. They Make Others Feel Special

According to David Sack M.D., one of the reasons why extraordinary people stand out is because they make others feel special.

People enjoy feeling special.

We enjoy it when someone listens to what we have to say and makes us feel like we’re their highest priority.

When we feel that with someone, it makes us like them more. This makes them extraordinary because they make us feel heard and validated unexpectedly.

7. They Pay Attention to Small Details…

Extraordinary people tend to sweat the small stuff more than most people.

Bob Iger, former CEO of Disney, once told a story about how Steve Jobs paid such careful attention to detail.

Jobs took Iger to see laptops that were still in development behind the scenes at Apple.

The charging ports were going to be made with magnets.

So Jobs told Iger to put his ear down close to the charging port to listen to the sound of the cable clicking and connecting to the laptop’s magnet.

To others, it might seem like nothing, but Jobs loved that sound.

Iger was confused, so he told him, “That sound tells the user that the connection has been made. It’s convenient.” Iger later praised Jobs for his eye for design.

8…But They Also Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Extraordinary people always keep things in perspective.

They understand what’s actually something worth stressing about and what is simply a trivial thing.

It’s easy for us to get caught up in the daily busyness of life that we forget how tiny some of our problems actually are in a larger context.

While ordinary people might focus on problems that may not actually move the needle, extraordinary people always look for points of leverage, whether it be talking to a specific person or making a certain business decision, that will make the biggest progress to their larger goals.

9. They Can Explain Complex Ideas in Simple Terms

Quantum physics tends to be among the most difficult topics for common people to wrap their heads around.

It usually takes years for someone to understand it. But that’s not how Richard Feynman sees it.

Feynman popularized a method of learning and teaching where he attempts to explain something complicated in very simple terms.

His physics lectures have garnered millions of views online because of it.

It highlights the fact that the true test of your knowledge isn’t by taking a test, but how well you can explain to, say, a 5th grader.

This is rarely easy, especially with complex topics.

10. They Always Look for Solutions

When an ordinary person encounters a problem, say a traffic jam, they might get frustrated at the world.

They’ll complain and drive angrily for the next few minutes.

But extraordinary people don’t let their emotions get the best of them.

When they encounter a problem, instead of complaining and getting angry, they’d rather spend their time looking for a viable solution to it, such as looking for alternate routes or simply accepting what they can’t control.

11. They Persevere Longer than Others

Extraordinary people tend to have what Angela Duckworth calls “grit”.

This is a trait where they can keep going for years at something, which leads them to become more successful than those that give up too early.

When an ordinary person feels pressured or stressed about something they’re doing, they might consider leaving in search of something easier to do.

But in the case of extraordinary people, they keep pushing, even if the returns aren’t even yet noticeable.

12. They tap Into Their Personal Power

Extraordinary people take responsibility for their lives and tap into their personal power. They don’t let insecurities get the better of them.

I know, it can be difficult in the best of times to not dwell on your insecurities.

But extraordinary people know that overcoming insecurities start with embracing your strengths.

We all have them, even if we’re not always aware of them.

This is where you start to really tap into your personal power. It’s a process that takes time, but the more you work at it, the stronger you’ll feel — and the stronger it’ll be able to help you.

You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it.

We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.

13. They Are Disciplined

You can’t take a thousand steps without taking the first.

Where others might see an impossible goal, an extraordinary person might see a daily task: take one step at a time.

In the case of writing a book, an extraordinary person doesn’t work on it only when they feel like it.

They know to complete it, they need to be consistent with their efforts.

So they’re disciplined. They show up every day, writing a little at a time.

Before long, they’ll achieve their goals much faster than those who only write when inspired.

14. They Are Deep Thinkers

Extraordinary people don’t only work harder than those around them, but also have a clear understanding of what to work hard on.

They realize that there are certain leverage points that, if they really focused on it, would yield great results.

For an accomplished writer, a leverage point might not exactly be the newness of the topic, but how clearly they can write.

So they focus on learning and mastering grammar rules, which would then lay solid foundational leverage for everything else.

For some extraordinary investors, instead of looking to hop on trendy companies, they might focus more of their time researching which companies have the best long term potential.

This gives them the leverage of both compound returns as well as the perseverance to last longer than those losing money on trends.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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