5 personality traits of highly motivated people (that propel them towards success)

We all want to be successful. And it’s clear that some people are better predisposed to it than others.

These are highly motivated people.

You might already feel you are one, or you might like to become one (welcome to the club!).

The good news is, the personality traits that make highly motivated people definitely can be developed. 

Cultivate the qualities below, and you’ll help propel yourself towards success.

1) Optimistic 

As a highly motivated person, one thing others keep pointing out to me is how optimistic I am — sometimes annoyingly so.

I always focus on the best possible outcomes, and try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt even when the situation looks bad.

These two traits — optimism and being highly motivated — are closely linked. 

People who are optimistic tend to believe that things will work out for them, so they go for their goals rather than being held back out of fear of failure. We believe in ourselves and our abilities, and we trust that the universe is on our side. 

They have a sense of hope and possibility, even in the face of challenges, so they push through when things get rough. 

Here’s how you can cultivate optimism to become a highly motivated and successful person:

  • Focus on gratitude: Take time each day to reflect on the things in your life that you’re grateful for. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you can shift your mindset to look for the good.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: When you catch yourself thinking negatively, try to challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself if there’s another, more positive way to interpret the situation. Practice reframing negative thoughts into more positive ones.
  • Connect with positive people: It’s hard to become more optimistic if you’re only surrounded by Debbie Downers. Spend time with people who are optimistic and positive. Their energy and attitude can be infectious, and it can help you to adopt a more optimistic mindset.

2) Passionate 

Motivation goes hand in hand with passion. Imagine being highly motivated about something that you hate doing — it just doesn’t compute, right?

I could never be highly motivated about become a world-class rower, because I feel absolutely no passion for the sport. 

But on the other hand, I do feel highly motivated to become a better writer, to read more, and to learn how to dance, because these are things I feel passion for. 

Passion doesn’t make obstacles go away, but it makes them seem more manageable. Your love for what you want to do is stronger than any problem that may come up, so you accept it as part of the journey. 

This type of passion can be incredibly motivating because it gives us a sense of purpose and direction in our lives. 

To cultivate your sense of passion for greater success, follow these practices:

  • Explore your interests: Be curious! Take time to explore different hobbies and interests to discover what you’re truly passionate about. When you feel a spark, pursue it to see where it leads. 
  • Surround yourself with inspiration: Surround yourself with reminders and people who are passionate and motivated about their own pursuits. This can help you to tap into their energy and enthusiasm, and can inspire you to pursue your own passions too.
  • Embrace failure: Remember that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes as you pursue your passions. Instead, think of these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow.

3) Self-disciplined 

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Self-discipline is another personality trait of a highly motivated person.

What is self-discipline?

It’s closely related to perseverance. It’s the ability to keep yourself on track, even when you’re tempted to veer off course or when things get uncomfortable.

As a child, I played the piano, and practicing for my certificates definitely required a lot of self-discipline. I had to play scales and chord progressions over and over again, very precisely, to develop finger dexterity, muscle memory, and speed. 

Do you think there were times when I would have rather plopped down on the couch to take a nap or watch a movie instead? Definitely!

But that would not have gotten me my piano certificate. Self-discipline is what gave me the willpower and self-control to push more pleasurable activities back till later. 

This quality helps us resist distractions or procrastination and take consistent action towards our goals. 

Some people are naturally more self-disciplined, but you can also cultivate this trait using the tips below:

  • Develop habits and routines: Establish habits and routines that support your goals. For example, if you want to exercise more regularly, decide what time of day you will do your workout, and have your gym bag ready in advance. 
  • Eliminate distractions: Minimize distractions that could interfere with your focus and productivity. This could involve turning off your phone or email notifications while working on a project, or setting boundaries with friends and family members who might interrupt you.
  • Stay accountable: Find ways to hold yourself accountable for your actions and progress towards your goals. This could mean tracking your progress, sharing your goals with others, or working with a coach or mentor.

4) Confident

This one is tricky. I’ll admit I’m not always the most confident person — and in fact, confidence here doesn’t have to mean confidence in everything. 

To be highly motivated, you just have to be confident in what you want to achieve, and in your ability to go after and achieve it. 

Coming back to the example of me studying for piano certifications, I wasn’t always confident on stage. In fact, when I had to perform in front of a judge or a room full of guests, I would feel so nervous that my hands would shake, making it incredibly hard to play well.

But I was still highly motivated — because I was confident that through diligent practice, I could reach a state where I was no longer so nervous.

Here’s how you can build confidence in your abilities:

  • Identify your strengths: Self-reflection is necessary to real, true confidence. Make a list of your strengths and accomplishments, and also your weaknesses. This will help you understand what you’re already good at, and also what you must work on. 
  • Look for objective indicators: Sometimes confidence is unrelated to reality. We all know someone who’s frankly not very good at something, but has the confidence of a world champion, right? The opposite can also be true. Look for objective measures of your skill rather than just relying on feelings, which can be very inaccurate. 
  • Have a growth mindset: If you haven’t read Mindset by Carol Dweck, now is a great time to read it. This book explains that our abilities and skills are not fixed, and everything can be improved with time. Knowing this gives you confidence to keep working on something, as you believe it’s possible to achieve what you want. 

5) Goal-oriented

highly intelligent people maximize potential 5 personality traits of highly motivated people (that propel them towards success)

Of course, we’ve all heard “it’s about the journey, not the destination.”  But it’s important to notice that motivation always looks towards the future. I am highly motivated because there is something I want to achieve — and I keep moving towards that vision. 

Certainly, you should be enjoying the journey, and living in the present rather than constantly thinking about what’s yet to come.

But you should also know where you’re trying to go, so that you can move forwards with purpose and consciousness. 

With piano, I always had in mind the smoothness and speed with which I wanted to be able to play my pieces — and that guided what kind of practices I would do. 

With German, I know I want to be fluent in conversation. That’s why I chose lessons focused on conversation, and listen to podcasts in my free time to help support that. 

Here are a few simple ways you can learn to be more goal-oriented:

  • Visualize success: Like a cat looking in the mirror and seeing a lion, I’m always visualizing what I want to achieve while I work on it. This infuses the work with a positive feeling that keeps me going. Creating a vision board can really help with this too.
  • Celebrate your achievements: You’re focused on your goal, but don’t forget about all the milestones along the way. Every step closer to your goal brings it more within reach — and should be celebrated as such! 
  • Review and adjust your goals: Regularly review your goals and adjust them as needed. As you progress towards your objectives, your priorities and circumstances may change, and it’s important to adjust your goals accordingly.

Final thoughts

Now you know 5 personality traits of highly motivated people to support you on your path to success

Remember, cultivating the traits of a highly motivated person is a gradual process, so be patient with yourself and stick to the tips above. The rewards are definitely worth it!


Picture of Silvia Adamyova

Silvia Adamyova

Born in Slovakia, raised in Canada, with a translation degree from University of Ottawa and an editing certificate from Simon Fraser University. Now based back in Slovakia (if you’re wondering why - have you seen Canadian winters?). Full-time freelance English teacher, translator, editor, and copywriter. Part-time avid reader, self-development junkie, and cake addict. I hope my writing inspires you in some way — if it does, find me on LinkedIn or Instagram and let me know!

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