7 surprising traits which predict success and happiness in life

What do you imagine a successful person to be like?

I think there’s a common belief that successful people operate at 100 miles per hour.

I.e., they’re highly motivated, incredibly driven, always busy, and a little bit ruthless in how they treat people (and when it comes to reaching their goals!).

Which, of course, are traits of most successful people.

But these people aren’t always happy. They’re often burned out, exhausted, and a little lonely.

Happy, successful people, on the other hand, are very different.

While they may have some common traits of successful people (like motivation, drive, and a tendency to keep busy), they have some unexpected traits, too.

Starting with the following 7:

1) A sprig of laziness

Bill Gates famously said that he always hires the laziest person for the hardest job. Why? Because they’ll find the quickest and easiest way to do it!

That doesn’t mean lazy people make the best employees. If your laziness goes too far, you’re just lazy and you don’t get anything done.

But if you’re just a little bit lazy, this is completely different! And Bill Gates is right. You’ll find the easiest and quickest way to do most things.

This applies to anything in life, from job hunting and interviews to designing a workout plan for the gym. A slightly lazy person will find the easiest way to reach their goal and complete insignificant tasks.

I.e., they’ll develop customizable templates to apply for jobs, study for interviews in batches, and find the most effective workout for their body.

So if you have a little bit of laziness in you, quit thinking it’s your worst trait. It could, in fact, be your very best!

2) A slight lack of care

Yes, it’s important to care about things if you want to be successful.

Say you want to become a doctor but don’t care about your studies, you’re obviously not going to make it.

But you also need to have a slight lack of care for some things if you want to be happy and successful in life.

Let me explain.

If you care too much about what other people think, it’s never going to bring you joy.

Likewise, if you care so much about passing your exams that you sacrifice everything fun in life to study, you aren’t going to be very happy in the long run.

But if you don’t care too much if you fail or what other people think of you, this goes a long way.

You can bounce back from failures all the while keeping your spirits high. You can also be flexible when the goal post changes (which happens a lot in life).

Ultimately, when you don’t care too much about your plans, you can find ways to live happily when you can’t do what you originally wanted.

3) A strong, internal restraint

You’ll need it when you want to say something to your boss when they’re driving you mad. You’ll need it when your mother-in-law is overstepping the mark. And you’ll need it so many more times in life!

What is it? Internal restraint. I.e., the ability to hold back on saying what you want to say or doing what you really want to do.

More moments will need your internal restraint than not when you want to find happiness and success in life. Which is why it’s another unexpected trait of such people.

If you give in to every urge and say exactly what’s on your mind, you’re probably going to burn a lot of bridges. And upset a lot of people.

When those people include your boss or in-laws (or anyone, really), this is going to cause more problems than solutions in years to come.

It’s unlikely to bring you success and it almost certainly won’t bring you happiness!

4) A ton of discipline

You might think it’s obvious that people who find success in life need to be disciplined. But what’s not so obvious is that you actually need a ton of discipline to be happy in life, too!

Being disciplined means you say no to the snacks when you need to take care of your health. It means you say no to social events when you need to save money. It also means you say no to procrastinating when you need to study or work.

But it’s not just the work-related stuff you need to be disciplined with to find happiness. It’s your own head, too!

Our brains sometimes want to complain, gossip, and think negative thoughts about ourselves. Or relive bad things that happened in the past.

But giving in to these urges all the time isn’t going to make you happy.

If you have the discipline to stop yourself when you’re thinking bad thoughts, you’re more likely to find happiness and success overall.

5) A somewhat disorganized nature

Disorganized is perhaps the wrong word. What I mean is, happy, successful people don’t always have a plan in life.

They aren’t the person with the 25-year plan, complete with a list of what they want to achieve by what age. I’m all up for having goals in life, but these kinds of plans are just toxic!

They can lead to disappointment and feeling like a failure when things don’t pan out the way you want them to (which, as mentioned before, is something that frequently happens in life!).

Instead, successful people don’t mind going with the flow and keeping things flexible. They appear somewhat disorganized when it comes to “what they want to do in life”.

But that’s only because they’re careful about what they commit themselves to. And they don’t want to set themselves up for failure. Plus, they’re happy to just enjoy life as it comes most of the time!

6) A conscientious mind

Conscientious people are seriously misunderstood. They’re often labeled “overthinkers” because of how deeply they think things through.

But when you set aside their tendency to overthink, conscientious people are incredibly mindful. They pay attention to things, ruminate carefully on certain topics, and always think before they speak.

These traits form the basis of their personality. Which, in turn, forms the basis of their careers, friendships, relationships, and everything else they do in life!

It’s a huge contributing factor to their success and also their happiness.

Why? Because their thoughtful nature helps them trust themselves, build genuine connections with the people around them, and (most importantly) be happy with the person they are.

7) A kind heart

This one might be obvious, but maybe it isn’t. Some people believe you have to be “tough”, “ruthless” and “brutal” to find success in life. But that isn’t strictly true.

Being cruel and critical all the time isn’t going to win you friends and influence people, as the saying goes. It also isn’t going to bring you much happiness.

If someone at work annoys you, holding a grudge forever won’t bring you peace. Likewise, if someone is “better” than you at something, criticizing them behind their back (or even to their face) won’t make you any better at it.

But being kind to people, accepting your limits, and showing forgiveness to others is a much better way to live.

It can help you build meaningful connections with people (including your boss and coworkers!) and find more genuine success with the things that matter most.

Final thoughts

Finding success in life isn’t all about networking 24/7 and running yourself into the ground. It also doesn’t have to be about being ruthless and putting others down to get ahead yourself…

In fact, success in your life can be whatever you want it to be.

It can mean having a bit of downtime to work on things other than your main goal. It can also mean being a little disorganized and unbothered about where your next step really takes you.

Provided you’re happy with the way your life is panning out, and you trust the process that as long as you keep pushing, things will come together in the end, that’s all that matters.

Because ultimately, being happy and content with your life is what living successfully truly means. 

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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