The 5 personality traits that will set you up for success in life

We’d all like to find success in life.

It can look different for different people: creating your own business, starting a family, moving abroad, or having a positive impact on the world.

But no matter what your vision of success is, the same 5 traits can help you get there. 

I’ve read a lot of books and heard a lot of interviews with successful people, and am lucky to know many successful individuals personally too. And I noticed they all share these things in common.

Here are the 5 personality traits that will set you up for success in life. 

1) Authenticity

As mentioned above, success can look very different for various people. One person might be focused on their career, another on relationships. Someone on stability, and another on freedom.

What’s most important in order to find success in life is to be authentic.

You cannot be truly successful if you’re trying to live out someone else’s dream or do what you think everything else considers as success.

The Internet is full of people who are trying to look like they’re having the best life on social media. 

But if social media stopped existing tomorrow, many of them would not want to keep on living the life they so proudly put on display. 

Being authentic means being honest, both to yourself and others, about what success truly means to you — and living by that. 

It takes courage and inner work, but it’s the only path worth following. 

2) Self-reflection

Another personality trait that will set you up for success is self-reflection.

You probably know a couple of real-life examples of why this is important. Perhaps you have a boss who thinks he’s super likable but doesn’t notice that everyone tenses up as soon as he walks in.

Or maybe it’s a friend who thinks they have great integrity but aren’t honest with you. 

Needless to say, these people will come up against some pretty big challenges because of their blind spots. 

We all have weaknesses and flaws, but we can only overcome them if we realize them. Otherwise, we may take on responsibilities we don’t have the skills to fulfill — and worse, we won’t understand why we failed.

To self-reflect, you need an open mind, and the humility to admit to your mistakes and shortcomings.

If you get to “know thyself” as the wise Socrates once said, you’ll be in a much better place to make good decisions about your future. 

3) Perseverance

personality traits that will set you up for success in life 1 The 5 personality traits that will set you up for success in life

Do you ever feel like successful people are extremely lucky because things just work out for them?

Well, if you dig deeper into their story, you’ll find out this really isn’t true.

Take Chris Voss, for example. He became a top FBI hostage negotiator, successful business owner, and best-selling author of the book Never Split the Difference. 

But when he started out, his supervisors completely tore apart his performance

What would you do in his shoes — if you’ve just found out something you were confident in and proud of actually sucks?

If you’re perseverant, you’ll feel disappointed and hurt — but then you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue.

This is what helps you get immense growth out of setbacks like these, and break through the tough moments to success.

Chris Voss is an example of every single successful person out there. You often only hear about their successes, but beneath each one are half a dozen failures they had to push through.

4) Adaptability

With perseverance which we talked about above, you have a key personality trait that will set you up for success in life.

But we must mention its cousin, adaptability. Like ying and yang, these two qualities must balance each other in order to find real success.

Why? Imagine that it’s a few years ago, and you want to open a new restaurant. You get everything set up, and then the lockdowns start. The streets become a ghost town and restaurants sit empty.

Perseverance may help you push through this great hardship — but you need adaptability in order to shift your game plan.

Maybe you’ll start catering to the busy work-from-home professional who can no longer eat at the cafeteria but doesn’t have time to cook. 

Or maybe you’ll find a new purpose and create a sponsored program that feeds those who have lost their jobs to the pandemic. 

Of course, it’s important to not give up when it comes to your dreams. But that doesn’t mean never making adjustments. 

You need the presence of mind to recognize a dead end when you’re walking down one and find another route. 

5) Optimism

How many miserable and negative successful people do you know?

Honestly, even if they have financial freedom or have reached accomplishments you’d consider as successes, they probably wouldn’t feel very successful themselves.

Happiness is such an integral part of success, that I don’t think success can exist without it.

That brings us to the last personality trait that will set you up for success in life: optimism.

This is your ability to look for the positive in each and every day. You believe in yourself and in your power to achieve what you want, and this fuels you with the motivation you need to keep going.

It also helps you stay grateful for what you already have, bringing more joy into your everyday life. 

Notice though, that optimism doesn’t mean irresponsibility. You still remain alert to potential problems, and proactive in solving them. You recognize when something isn’t working, and say “no” when it’s helpful.

But the mindset with which you do it makes all the difference to building a happy and successful life. 

Final thoughts

Are you ready to set yourself up for success in life?

Cultivate these 5 personality traits we’ve explored above, and you’ll be well on the right path. 

With what you know now, there’s nothing that can possibly hold you back, so go on and get started on building your dream life. 


Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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