Exceptional Qualities Of Very Successful People

Akash Sehrawat

5 min read | Jan 27, 2016

This article has evolved in my mind over a period of a few years. Reading about successful people, I have drawn out the basic (core) qualities that almost all of them have. But before we get into that, I want to point out an important fact.


Being successful and being very successful are light years apart. Very successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Homes, Barrack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Jack Ma, and Mark Cuban operate from a totally different mindset.


One Major Trait Common Between All These Very Successful Individuals Is That They Are Emotionally Committed


Best-selling author Greene says it best, “We live in a culture that tends to emphasize intellect and going to the greatest schools and all that, but success is more dependent on a resiliency and a love of what you’re doing.”


In his book, ‘Mastery,’ Greene noted that most of them were failures in the early part of their lives. For example, he points to Charles Darwin, who, as a youth, was always in the shadows of his cousin, who had a much higher IQ. He further states,


“Darwin was a bit of a loser. His father thought he wouldn’t end up amounting to much,”


“He kind of wandered around and took this job on a boat sailing around the world, and it ended up with Darwin becoming perhaps one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. But at an early age, if you looked at him, you would say, I don’t see it there.”


Winston Churchill’s reality of his early life did not bode well for his future prospects. Up until his school days were the period he did not recall fondly as he labels it as. 1https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/manly-lessons/the-winston-churchill-school-of-adulthood-is-now-in-session/


‘A time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony.’


Another example is today’s billionaire Mark Cuban. Mark was 23 and had no money. He had no idea what the future would bring. So he worked jobs he didn’t like and barely paid the rent. He even said that he had so many jobs his parents wondered if he would ever be stable.


As Mark would justify in his mind- he was getting paid to learn, and every experience would be of value when he figured out what he wanted to do when he grew up. But, in reality, he had more doubt than confidence with this.


Also, don’t forget that KFC was launched by a colonel when he was around 65 years old. Some more examples of successful people who were failures in their early years. 2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KFC Read them here. 3https://blog.adioma.com/lost-in-life-people-indirect-path-to-success-infographic/


These examples, however, don’t mean that exceptional people have to be failures early on or the fact that because their first idea did not strike gold, then all efforts leading to it were futile. My main reason to highlight this point is to motivate individuals who feel that they have been a failure for the majority part of their lives.


There is a lot of hope, and you need to make a decision about what you want from your life, starting today.


Now Let’s Look At Some Of The Exceptional Qualities Of These People And What Makes Them What They Are


1) They Don’t Just Have Goals. What They Have Is Visions Of Changing The World


Very successful people strive every minute of their day to turn their vision into reality. They disrupt industries and cause revolutions. Larry Page and Serge Ellison Google’s founder’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.


Bill Gates had a clear vision of ‘A computer on every desk and in every home.’ Elon Musk dreams of not only revolutionizing the automobile industry and the power industry but also establishing a colony of humans on Mars!


2) They Say ‘No’ To Almost Everything Else 


A note from Warren Buffet, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful person say no to almost everything.”


Of course, they don’t say no randomly to everything, but only to things that are not in alignment with their goals.


3) They Are Voracious Readers


Mark Cuban used to read every book or magazine he could get his hands on. He would tell himself that one good idea would pay for the book and could make the difference between him making it or not. Even after he became a billionaire, he insisted on reading for at least 3 hours every day.


Pick up any person you admire who is successful, and I am willing to bet that they spend an incredible amount of their time reading.


4) They Give Back


Log on to givingpledge.org and see how many billionaires have pledged more than half of their wealth to various causes. 4https://givingpledge.org/ You can watch the video here to learn more. 5https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXYjgKylAKE


5) They Don’t Strive For Work/Play Balance. In Fact, Their Work Is Their Life


They are always working. Elizabeth Homes, CEO of Theranos and the youngest billionaire on the 2014 Forbes 400 list with an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion, says she doesn’t own a TV and works every day from when she wakes up until she goes to sleep.


She further adds that “What matters is how well we do in trying to make people’s lives better. So that’s why I am doing this. That’s why I work the way that I work. And that’s why I love what I’m doing so much.”


However, please understand that they do value downtime. But instead of using it to gossip or watch TV, they select activities that rejuvenate them. It could be a walk in the woods, reading an exceptional book, a meaningful chat with an old friend, or even extra sleep, as Ariana Huffington illustrates in her fabulous talk at TED. 6https://www.ted.com/talks/arianna_huffington_how_to_succeed_get_more_sleep?language=en


6) Money Is A Tool For Them To Make Things Happen


Most successful people’s primary motivation has always been to build something lasting and not to make a lot of money. Money is usually a byproduct or just a tool to make things happen.


The very best people are seldom motivated by money. When the first company Musk founded Zip-2, which sold for $307 million to Compaq, he made a cool $22 million from it.


Anyone would have taken it easy after hauling in so much money and retired on an island in the Bahamas, but not Elon. He immediately founded another company, X.com, which later became paypal.com, which was bought by eBay for 1.5 billion dollars!! 7https://www.forbes.com/global/2003/0512/054.html?sh=258626841796


Elon’s net worth rocketed into hundreds of millions which he invested further in founding Space X, Tesla and Solar City. However, these people never work for money, nor does it motivate them.


7) They Hire People Smarter Than Them To Help Achieve Their Goals


No one does it alone. They know that to achieve their dreams, they cannot do it alone. They need a team of super achievers bonded together with a common cause.


8) They Have The Strength To Recover From The Severe Crisis


They take dealing with the crisis as part of the struggle. For example, nothing was going right for Elon Musk at one point, from the death of his infant child to his divorce from his wife, Justine, and losing all the millions he earned from Zip-2 and Paypal into his new ventures. Yet, he remained cool and came out even stronger. Adversities make these people stronger.




I will say it again, being successful and being exceptionally successful are light years apart. To be counted amongst the individuals mentioned in this article, one needs to develop a unique mindset, somewhat of an idealist, where you have your own vision of how the world should be like.


You would be so consumed by your idea of changing the world that nothing else would matter to you!


What do you think about being very successful? Have anything you like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Akash Sehrawat

Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.


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