Top 10 Traits of High Achievers
Whether you are focused on achievement in the working world or for yourself, certain personal characteristics can help you achieve faster. These traits can be acquired, if they are not inherent, so it is good to know what they are. These are the top ten traits of high achievers found in those robustly successful people who always seem to accomplish what they set out to do.
High achievers tend to have the following traits:
- Focus on outcomes: Sometimes called pragmatism, this trait suggests that practical considerations outweigh ideology. People who are successful focus on outcomes, rather than process, to shape their choices. An article in Forbes adds some good shading to this however, and rightfully points out that the highest achievers don’t value outcomes over the well-being of other people.
- Display tenacity: Since true success rarely unfolds in a steady progression, the highest achievers are those who tenaciously stick to their goal(s) and don’t get discouraged by inevitable obstacles.
- See opportunities instead of threats: Psychology Today notes that high-achieving individuals view demanding tasks as a challenge and/or an opportunity, whereas people with track records of low achievement view such tasks as threatening.
- Enjoy striving: Successful individuals didn’t attain their success by forcing themselves through years of work they did not enjoy. Even though everyone has occasional tough days, psychologists find that high achievers overall enjoy the effort of striving for success.
- Use emotional intelligence: Most great achievements are not reached in isolation. Instead, teamwork is almost always crucial to success. Writing for the Huffington Post, Lou Adler suggests that people with the ability to empathize and communicate with others are usually the ones who bring the project effectively over the finish line.
- Think of the big picture: Many projects include a thicket of details, and high achievers have to get their heads up above the tree line to be able to view the entire terrain. In the article mentioned in the above point about Emotional Intelligence, Adler notes that people who see the pig picture are better equipped to see all the “strategic, tactical and technical issues involved” in achieving a particular goal.
- Believe their skills can be improved: While pride is a natural accompaniment to success, overestimating your abilities can interfere with achieving a goal. Psychology Today advises that success requires you to believe in training and show a dedication to learning new things. Lower achievers feel that success hinges on inborn talent, and thus they don’t feel it is within their grasp.
- Flexible and open to feedback: High achievers generally limit their bravado. High achievers are open to hearing how a problematic situation can be handled better, and they are eager to put improvements into place even if it means pivoting from their own ideas. Avoiding blame and bruised ego are generally not a concern for them.
- Remember the answers: The Monroe Public School system, in Washington, published a white paper comparing high achievers with gifted and creative learners. One standout quality of successful people they identify is “remembering the answers.” In a general context, this includes things like always taking notes, keeping good files, and generally being mindful and present when you are meetings or engaged in a task.
- Enjoy the present without regrets: Harvard Business School researchers studied successful people and found that a common trait in their subjects was the tendency to focus on pleasures of the moment. A related skill includes the ability to sidestep regrets about past decisions, even decisions that would typical haunt the normal person.
Foster these ten traits and it will help pave the path to high achievement. With sufficient clarity and determination, all ten traits can be learned; none of them are strictly innate. If you feel we have left any important traits off this list please leave them in the comments section below.