Highly practical people tend to be quite well-liked.
They make good leaders and partners, and they’re usually the people we go to when we need guidance.
But what is it that makes them the way they are?
In this article, we will explore 12 traits that highly practical people have in common.
1) They plan their goals and do them
Practical people understand just how important time is.
Because of that, they don’t waste it by dawdling around in indecision or by choosing a goal without first thinking hard about it.
Instead, they take their time figuring out what they want in life, and what they’re capable of doing with what they have.
And, once they’ve found themselves a realistic goal, they put their energies into turning it a reality.
If it works out, they will expand their goals. And if it doesn’t, they’ll try to understand why they failed and just use the lessons they’ve learned from the experience.
2) They’re grounded
A lot of people like to think of practical people as being restrained, even uncreative.
But that’s far from the case—they are as ambitious and creative as everyone else. What sets them apart is that they’re grounded.
Idealists would just leap off cliffs, thinking that they can fly. Practical folk know they can fly, but only if they put on a parachute before jumping.
They dream big and reach for the skies, but are well aware of their limitations and know better than to pretend they won’t face any challenges as they move forward in life.
So they dream big, yes, but they also try to see the pros and cons instead of just dismissing the cons completely. That way, they’ll know what to prepare before they commit to anything.
3) They’re able to see things from different angles
Practical people know better than to think that their way is the only way.
In fact, they wouldn’t be practical if they are so trapped in their own heads that they fail to consider the possibility that other people might have better ideas.
So they train themselves to try to see things from other angles—to understand things from another person’s point of view.
And if they don’t understand something, they’ll ask others to explain it and then do their best to listen.
Because of this, their decisions they make aren’t blinded by sentiment or narrowness of perspective.
4) They always try to know the “why”
Practical people don’t just do things without understanding why they ought to do those things.
If their friends try asking them to join them in a project or venture, they’ll try to ask why. They’ll let their friends explain it, and then try to see if there are any other motives behind the invitation.
Were their friends sucked into a shady side hustle? Will the venture support causes they disagree with? Will they be compensated or credited for their part in the project?
They ask themselves “why should I do this?”
And if the “why” of something is against their principles or doesn’t match their life goals, they’ll turn things down without an ounce of guilt.
5) They know how to handle their emotions
We can all agree that we need to control our emotions. But that doesn’t mean we all actually know how to handle them correctly all the time.
Some people are satisfied with simply learning to ignore their emotions and think that’s good enough.
But practical people know that this approach can easily be as bad as simply not regulating their emotions at all, so they acknowledge and embrace their emotions.
But at the same time, they know there’s a time and place for emotion, and how to set their feelings aside when they need a clear mind, like when they have to work with colleagues they don’t particularly like to beat a deadline.
6) They know their priorities
Practical people know how to budget their time and manage their priorities. But sometimes, even the most meticulous planning can go haywire.
An emergency might cause a deadline to get pushed a few days earlier, for example, and force them to choose between a dinner date with their partner and finishing an important work project in time.
And in times like these, they choose what needs to be done and set aside their own pleasure for another day.
Of course, they try their best for this not to happen again and again because contrary to popular belief, practical people value their relationships.
7) They’re direct and decisive
There’s nothing more wasteful than spending time, money, and brainpower on something that’s clearly not going to amount to anything.
So if it’s already clear to a practical person that something clearly isn’t working out, then they’ll put the brakes on.
They’ll stop on their second or third try, rather than wait until they’ve wasted energy on 20 tries.
For a practical person, it’s better to cut their losses sooner than to keep losing more.
8) They decide with their head
Let’s say they’re out shopping and they find a pair of shoes that can make their heart skip…but those shoes are mighty expensive, and they still have debts to pay.
Will a practical person buy it? Of course not.
They won’t buy it even if they truly love it, or even if they feel like they deserve it, because well…it’s not the wisest thing to do. They’ll buy a nice pair of shoes when they can truly afford one.
Or perhaps they’d find themselves head over heels in love with someone. But at the same time, that person is setting off red flags left and right.
What does a practical person do? They set aside their feelings and stay away. They prioritize what’s truly good for them.
Time and time again they choose to set aside their feelings to think rationally, and that is how they manage to be so practical.
9) They’re not afraid to change directions
If their current approach to fixing a problem isn’t working, they have no issues with stopping to choose plan B or try coming up with a new way to get things done.
It doesn’t matter even if they’ve already invested a lot in something, if it’s not working anymore or it’s starting to harm them, then they’ll change directions.
Practical people are aware of the dangers of getting trapped by the sunk cost fallacy, and will try to break free from it the moment they suspect being trapped by it.
They would try to see if things can still be salvageable and to change their approach if needed, but accept their losses if not.
10) They’re comfortable asking for help
Being practical means knowing to set aside personal convenience or comfort for the sake of making the best choice for the situation.
And that means setting aside their pride and ego to ask for help when it’s clear that they need it rather than insisting on forging ahead all on their own.
They KNOW they can’t know everything and do everything alone, so they’d reach out to the ones who can help, even to the people they find intimidating.
11) They stay away from drama
Drama is petty, exhausting, and it can easily keep us from keeping a clear head when we need it the most.
Practical people know better than to lose themselves in drama, so they don’t look for it on social media or tolerate hanging around people who are clearly manipulative and toxic.
And if they really have no choice but to interact with such people, they’ll at least try to limit these interactions.
Practical people take care of their vibe and their mental health. They know quite well that if they’re not okay, it will affect their performance and choices.
12) They think long-term
The thing with practical people is that they don’t just think about what’s good for them in the moment or in the next few months. They think of what will be good for them five to ten years ahead.
Instead of dating someone just because they make them feel good, for example, they’ll date someone who has relationship skills.
And instead of settling for a job that pays well but won’t give them any kind of advancement, they’d choose the lower-paying one that has potential for growth.
Being a practical person is, at its core, about knowing how to set aside one’s feelings, comfort, and even personal investment to do what needs to be done.
It seems easy enough in principle, and yet way too many of us are shackled by sentiment and end up wasting our energies on things that don’t deserve them.
If you want to become a practical person yourself, you could start with these 12 things I’ve described.
They’re not as easy as they seem, especially if you’re always guided by your heart, but it can make your life so much better.