Day #208: Qualities that Make Ordinary People Extraordinary

Warren Buffett is successful for investing and building long-term businesses.Steve Jobs was successful for creating one of the greatest companies in the world with products that are changing the way we live. Gandhi was successful for leading India into independence from the British.

Success comes in many ways and forms. What’s interesting is that most successful people have very similar qualities.I have been obsessed with understand the core qualities that make ordinary people stand out and become extra ordinary. In my search, I have come up with a list of qualities we are all familiar with but we never really know if we have those qualities or not.

After generating this list of qualities, I try to see how I stack up against it.It feels good when I recognize qualities of success in myself. For the qualities that I don’t have, lists like these tell me what I need to work on.If you want to achieve your life’s dream and be wildly successful, you need to model yourself after people who are living their dream. The more qualities you have in common, the higher your chances for being wildly successful.

For next few days, I will try to write on some of these qualities. Let me know what you think after reading them.

1. Definite Aim, Vision and Purpose – Successful people constantly seek clarity in their lives. They know what they want and they follow their own dream. Vague desires and beliefs lead to vague outcomes. It is this sense of direction that gives them the staying power to stick to their goals and achieve their dreams.

2. Expertise and Excellence – No matter what they pursue, they become the best in their field. There is no job too small and successful people strive for excellence. They pursue mastery and understand that money is a by-product of the value they offer. As Steve Jobs said ‘In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great’.

3. Focused – People who experience success know how to concentrate. They realize that they cannot do everything and they focus on the activities that will give them the highest return on the goals they want to achieve. They don’t believe in the hype of multi-tasking and they know that the fastest way to finish your to-do’s is doing them one at a time.When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, Apple was struggling and it had so many doing badly in the market. Apple had lost focus. Steve knew for Apple to become great again it had to focus. In his first meeting with Apple execs, he drew four boxes and defined that as the four range of products Apple was going to make from then on. He effectively got Apple out of businesses where it was struggling and got it to focus.

4. Positive Attitude and Perseverance – Extraordinary people have realistic optimism. Realistic because they take action and optimistic because no matter what the result may be, they believe their success is inevitable. They believe that like a child learning to walk, they need to take action first and then modify the action according to the feedback that they get. This positive attitude allows them to persevere and be resilient when things don’t go their way.

5. Flexible – One misconception that ordinary people have about persevering is staying the course no matter what. This is true only if the reason for pursuing your goal is still valid. Most successful people became successful doing something different from what they initially intended to do (i.e. Steve Jobs started with computers, went into the animation and really made his comeback with the iPod). This is normal because the world is always changing and they know a lot more now than when they started. Successful people know that if their reasons for doing what they are doing changes, there is no point to continue.

 

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