5 traits that predict success more accurately than intelligence

Let’s face it, we all want to be successful in life.

It comes with a ton of benefits.

Whether it’s that dream home by the sea, being able to provide for your family, or simply never having to worry about money ever again.

Then there’s the immense satisfaction that comes with achieving your goals.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

“But, I’m not smart enough to make it big!”

Well, I have some good news.

Being top-of-class isn’t everything (far from it).

Research actually suggests those high-flyers from school usually grow up into average adults.

Here’s the thing.

There are a bunch of other personality traits that predict success more accurately than simply having Einstein-level brain power.

Let’s take a look. How many can you recognize?

1) An unstoppable work ethic

This has to be one of the top traits needed to hit it out of the park.

It includes motivation, drive, conscientiousness, and industriousness.

In other words, you’re willing to put in the hours and take pride in your work.

The best part?

It has nothing to do with IQ!

Mike Tyson, Andy Warhol, and Kim Kardashian all famously have below-average intelligence.

Yet, in terms of success, they smashed it.


Because of (you’ve guessed it) their work ethic!

“Iron” Mike was one of the hardest-working boxers in history. He’d put in over 60 hours a week, training multiple times per day, sparring over 200 rounds (without head protection).

He understood the importance of out-working the competition.

And this applies to everything (not just boxing).

Rival businesses, work colleagues, or even your gym buddies.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? To get ahead, all you have to do is work harder.

Well hold on, there are a few more traits you’ll need…

2) Resilience (and adaptability)

Life isn’t always a bed of roses.

When you’re trying to achieve greatness, you’ll inevitably face some setbacks.

But, just remember this.

How you deal with adversity is super important.

Here’s an example.

Covid-19 came out of nowhere for many small businesses.

Imagine the scenario – you’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into launching your new restaurant right before the global pandemic.

Some might say you got unlucky.

So, what do you do?

Bury your head in the sand, complain about your terrible luck, and effectively give up.

Or, demonstrate some resilience. Look for pivot opportunities. Bounce back.

What if I told you that Uber Eats showed incredible growth in the US during 2020?

Those restaurants that catered to food delivery boomed during this period. In other words, they showed resilience and were able to adapt to changing conditions.

This leads nicely to our next point.

3) Creativity

If you want to be successful, you’ll need bucketloads of creativity.

I’m talking about thinking outside the box, coming up with original ideas, and being a trailblazer in everything you do.

It has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with open-minded innovation.

Look at the birth of the automobile.

It’s easy to look back with hindsight and take it for granted. After all, cars have so many advantages over horse-drawn alternatives.

But at the time, it wasn’t so obvious.

Remember, nothing like this had ever existed before.

People were afraid, they thought cars would be dangerous and unreliable. You can never replace horses!

Pioneers like Henry Ford and Alexander Winton were extremely creative individuals. They had a clear vision that few others could see coming, and it paid off big time.

What does this all mean?

Don’t overlook the power of creativity. Ideas have incredible power. They can literally change the world.

4) Social skills (EQ not IQ)

Did you know there’s more than one type of intelligence?

That’s right, being smart isn’t all about math equations.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) measures how well you can control your emotions and understand the feelings of others.

And guess what?

It’s a key ingredient for becoming successful.

Let me explain.

People with a high EQ are better at developing relationships, dealing with conflict, and motivating others.

It comes down to empathy.

If you’re able to put yourself in the shoes of others and understand their point of view, it gives you a huge advantage in life.

Especially for leadership, management, and team building.

But there’s more.

Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware. This means they recognize their strengths and weaknesses. This comes in handy when dealing with stressful or challenging situations.

Being mindful of anger and frustration is the first step in turning these negative emotions into something more productive and positive.

Then there’s sales.

There’s no doubt that social skills and charm can help you sell. And trust me, if you’re going to be successful, you’ll need to sell!

Whether it’s your overall vision, or your specific product, communicating new ideas to investors, clients, and employees is an essential part of the magic formula.

5) Optimism (growth mindset)

Finally, a lot can be said about having the right mindset.

Because when all is said and done, this is what can carry you through those rough times.

Being optimistic and having a can-do attitude goes a long way.

But understanding the idea of a growth mindset is when things can really take off.

In short, a growth mindset is believing that anything is possible.

With enough hard work and dedication, you can become a master of anything you choose. Your skills can be developed. There’s no such thing as “I can’t.”

You get the idea.

It’s the complete opposite of a fixed mindset

People from this school of thought believe they’re simply not good at something (permanently). They say things like “I’m a bad swimmer.” or “I’ve never been good at presentations.” They avoid things they can’t do and never try to improve.

It manifests itself in other areas of their life too.

Open-minded, “growth mindset” folks love to explore exotic destinations and try strange new foods.

Close-minded, “fixed mindset” people prefer to take vacations in comfortable, familiar spots and always stick to the same thing from the menu.

Sound familiar?

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what’s required to hit it out of the park.

But remember one last thing.

Success can be defined in several different ways. It doesn’t always have to be wealth, status, and material possessions.

Having loving relationships and people around you who care is also a massive sign that you’ve made it.

Think about that.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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