12 Reasons Why Some People Almost Always are Successful

Like everyone else I’ve spent some time thinking about why some people are so successful in life. And what factors in success that are under more personal control than others.

Successful people might be intelligent. Or have had a socially well connected upbringings. Or be naturally energetic and open and positive.

But a lot of the factors that make some people more successful at almost anything in life are very much under their control. And much can be improved in anyone’s life by learning from the people that have gone before us.

Here are some of the thoughts on success that I’ve come up with from reading/watching documentaries throughout the years about people such as Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt and Henry Ford. The following factors of success are just a few and I’m quite sure there are a lot more.

1. They make decisions and take action.

Right or wrong action, they take it. Either way it’s always better than making no decisions and taking no action at all. As Franklin Roosevelt said:

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

2. They do things even when they don’t feel like it.

I think this is a pretty huge factor. A lot of us back down when we don’t want to do something, even though it may eventually bring us to a wonderful experience or goal. Successful people may not always like doing some of the things they have to do. But they do them anyway. And in the longer run that makes all the difference.

3. They do the most productive thing right now.

Instead of trapping themselves in doing productive but not so important tasks or projects they realize what’s most important and do that. And after they’re done with that they do what’s most important again. Instead of just doing a lot of things, they think and plan before they act and try to focus as much as possible of their thoughts and actions on those few very important things.

4. They do one thing at a time.

Many of them don’t seem to multi-task. Some reasons for avoiding that may be that it creates internal confusion, wastes time and spreads the multi-tasker too thinly. Instead, they do one thing and focus on that until it is done. Then they do the next thing until it is done. Focusing 100% on one task at a time will get it done quicker and better.

5. They have a positive attitude.

A negative attitude can be very damaging and limiting to one’s life. A positive one can open new doors every day. It can open your mind to new ideas and input and create or sustain great relationships. It helps you through the hard times as a successful person often sees an opportunity within what others would merely see as a problem.

6. They have redefined failure.

While a lot of people see failure as a way to rationalizing the feeling of wanting to giving up or as a sign that it’s actually time to do something else successful people tend to see it more as useful feedback. They may not like to fail, but they don’t fear it – or at least they have little fear of it – and they know that if they fail they’ve been there before and they can start over again and succeed. This is of course a very useful belief and keeps successful people going while the rest have already given up.

7. They don’t let fear hold them back.

They overcome fear and slay that dragon whenever they face it. Or they may have defined or redefined reality so that fear is substantially decreased or even gone in some areas of their life.

Doing this enables you to take action on your thoughts. This pulls down the barriers in the mind and create new roads and opens up to whole new possibilities.

8. They have found a purpose in life

They are internally driven rather than externally driven. They do what they have a burning desire to do rather than conforming to what others think they should do. Even if what the others think may be positive and successful stuff.

The Michael Jordans, the Edisons and the Stephen Kings have figured out what they want to do in life and are doing it (or did it).

The purpose, I think, is largely why they can keep on going and be motivated while others may tire or just go and do something else that they find more purposeful. The successes love their purpose and when they aligned with it then it seems to push them forward with enthusiasm and energy through life.

9. They don’t get distracted.

When others get too caught up in everyday life to do what they really want to do the successes don’t. They can really focus on actually doing what’s important and what needs to be done. Again, this seems to go back to having a purpose and more clear sense of direction in life.

10. They value their time highly and plan it out well.

A lot of people don’t value their time that much. Successful people have a purpose in life and therefore they do. They have so much they want and an inner urge to do it and therefore need to plan well to use their days effectively.

11. They’ve got awesome communication-skills.

So very much of what we do in life has to do with other people. So it seems quite obvious that to be successful you’ll probably have to have good or great communication-skills (or hire someone that has such skills).

People skills is fortunately something anyone can improve and develop. Have a look at Do You Do these 10 Mistakes in a Conversation.

12, They have an open mind and are willing to learn.

Successful people take the time to study and learn – and often seem to really like doing it – what is necessary to improve their skills. They are open to thoughts, suggestions, solutions, new information and change rather than thinking they already know everything, that there is not much more to learn and that everything should be as it has always been.

What to focus on?

Now, what factors are the most important ones, where should one focus the energy? I am currently focusing on improving my ability to take action, doing what I may not feel like doing and doing the most productive thing right now. To me it seems like these three factors are very important and since they are pretty interconnected they are easy to combine.

I think what you should focus on varies a lot. And it’s up to everyone to figure that out for themselves. But if you’re anything like me you probably already know what areas you need to work on.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • This is an interesting topic. May I also take the liberty to recommend a new e-book, title: Why some people almost always win? here? You can get it at http://www.mba-connection.com

    May we all have a successful journey!

  • Steve Crosbie

    Hello Henrik. Your article has generated varied feedback since you published it more than a year ago.

    In principle the success factors in your article are correct, but the factors are limited to “some” people as you allude to in your title. Most of your respondents have though considered the factors from the perspective of how can “anybody” be successful.

    An important point to consider is, “what is success?” Well success is enormously varied. Some people want to achieve wealth, some fame, and some just want to be happy. When we refer to success we have to consider that success looks different to different people.

    Then we have to consider how people achieve success. Is there a uniform method, or as suggested by some of your respondents, are there different methods for different people. In my opinion the factors detailed in your article are certainly common to many successful people, but many of them are symptoms rather than causes. If you want to provide a generic formula for success then you have to identify the fundamental methodology that can be understood and accepted by all people in maximising their life potential.

    At the root of all achievement and success is Expectation. We get in life what we Expect. We set our expectations based upon the programming that we receive as we grow up and mature. As we grow up we are told that we can do this and we can not do that, we receive input from parents, teachers, friends, relatives and everything and everyone else in the world around us. The programming that we receive resides in our subconscious and consists of everything that we believe about ourselves and the world around us. This then becomes the rule book for how we live our lives and what we achieve in life.

    From that point on if you want to change what you are getting in life then you need to change what you expect for yourself, you need to change your beliefs about your capabilities and restrictions. You need to change your subconscious programming. You can change your programming, beliefs, and expectations by focussing upon the things that you want to achieve, the conditions that you want to bring into your life.

    Once you accept the desired state or achievement as being possible for you then the reprogramming has been accepted by the subconscious, and your belief and expectation has been established. From this point you may start displaying some of the factors listed in Henrik’s article.


    In life you get exactly what you expect. If you don’t like what you are getting then you need to change your expectations. You are exactly where you expected to be.

    However, do not confuse desire with expectation. Desire is a “want”, but expectation is “belief”.

  • The epitomes of successful people in this world aren’t a lot, but one of the most successful people i have ever met, is the charming Moroccan journalist kawtar krifi, she is very successful and she has a very special personnality , maybe she is one of the most powerful young journalists in the Arab world.

  • Just found you blog.
    I really enjoying reading it.
    Just read “Why some people almost always are successful”.
    I agree 100%.
    I am looking forward to reading more.

    Great job.

  • Sonia

    wooooow this article is amazing. I am a forth year engineering student,I was bored of working on my project.I just typed Success in the google and came up with your article!:)
    every word you’ve used makes complete sense!

    Good job and keep it up!

  • I would add: They have goals.

    You have purpose and Decision/Action in the list, but goals are a very important driving force to success.

  • This is a great post. Thanks. It was a good reminder to focus on doing only one thing at a time for me. :)

  • Sam

    Inspiring, insightful article. I like that you pointed out that successful people do the most productive things first. This is something I need to work on myself.

  • francis

    Hi Henrik, the top of this article is cut off for my by the google ads.

  • francis

    You have a lot of great stuff on here. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Good article indeed. I notice that successful people take risks more than others. You have to go out on a limb sometimes to get to the fruit.

  • Rasty

    The question is good, some of the answers are wrong. Plus some of the comments are completely off base. Success is a matter of 1 (yes one) basic element. Ruducing the risk of making a bad decision. That is it.