5 signs a man is more successful than he looks, according to psychology

We often mistake “success” for the shiny objects we’re told to chase – the sleek car, the designer suit, and that big corner office. But guess what? 

Real success is not about the external bling. 

In fact, research seems to suggest that truly financially successful people simply don’t feel the need to show off their wealth. One study by Experian Automotive revealed that of households with more than $250,000, the majority choose to drive modest cars like Toyotas, Fords, and Hondas. 

And, of course, success is not just about financial success. True success encompasses personal fulfillment, meaningful relationships, and overall well-being.

With this in mind, we dive into five signs that a man is more successful than he might initially seem. 

1) He is emotionally intelligent

Have you ever met a man who remains calm in tense situations, understands his feelings and those of others, and handles interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically? 

This is emotional intelligence in action, a trait often found in successful people.

It’s not as flashy as a new sports car nor as visible as a luxury watch, but it’s far more valuable. It’s the ability to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace, to understand and communicate effectively with others, and to manage our emotions in a healthy way.

As an added bonus, research has shown that people with a high EQ make an average of $29,000 per year more than those with a low EQ. And no, this wasn’t some survey with 100 participants; the study involved over 40,000 people. 

2) He seems intrinsically motivated to work 

Picture this: a man wakes up early every morning, not because he has to, but because he wants to. He’s excited about his day, not because of an external reward waiting for him, but because of the joy he finds work itself.

This is a man who is intrinsically motivated. He doesn’t need the promise of a hefty paycheck or public recognition to fuel his drive. Instead, his motivation comes from within.

He pursues his passions and goals for their own sake, and this sense of purpose propels him forward, even when the going gets tough.

As acknowledged by psychologist Jordan Peterson, this is typical of successful men. He jokingly commented that if you were to put them in a forest, they would run around cutting down trees! 

Other research seems to support this. As noted by Princeton University, government statistics suggest that men making more than $100,000 a year spend just shy of 20% of their time on passive leisure, whereas for men making less than $20,000, the figure is almost 35%. 

Such men might not always make the headlines or flaunt their achievements on social media. But their passion, persistence, and inner drive make them more successful than they appear. 

3) He’s always learning 

This one should come as no surprise. 

Successful individuals are perpetual students of life. They possess an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an unwavering commitment to personal growth.

They understand that learning is not confined to the classroom or formal education but permeates every aspect of existence.

They eagerly devour books, attend workshops, engage in meaningful conversations, and embrace new experiences with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and a titan of industry, exemplifies this. Gates, renowned for his voracious reading habits, consumes an impressive 50 books a year; yep, that’s one a week.

His commitment to continuous education underscores the belief that learning from the experiences and insights of others is pivotal to personal development and success.

Next time you see someone engrossed in a book or enthusiastically discussing a recent seminar they attended, don’t dismiss them as nerdy or boring. They may just be one of the quietly successful ones among us.

4) He gets up early

It’s not just an adage; “the early bird catches the worm” is a principle that many successful men live by.

This practice gives them a head start on the day, providing quiet hours to focus on important tasks without the distractions that come later.

As noted by the Independent, high-profile leaders like Apple CEO Tim Cook, who starts his day at 3:45 a.m., and Disney CEO Bob Iger, who wakes at 4:30 a.m., exemplify this habit. 

Moreover, research supports the benefits of this habit. A survey involving over 1,000 Americans indicated that early risers generally report higher satisfaction and earn better salaries. 

Clearly, waking up early is not just about catching the sunrise; it’s about seizing opportunities to maximize productivity and enhance personal well-being.

5) He values his time

So I know I said successful men work hard, but they also understand that while money is necessary, it isn’t the ultimate measure of success. 

I once had a mentor who epitomized this art of valuing time. He always seemed to have time for everything that truly mattered. 

He was super successful, yet you would rarely find him in unnecessary meetings or engaging in time-wasting activities.

Instead, he structured his days meticulously, focusing on tasks that were aligned with his personal and professional goals. He often said, “Time is the one resource we can’t get more of, so we must use it wisely.” 

This approach is typical of truly successful individuals. They recognize the finite nature of time and prioritize their activities to maximize productivity and personal fulfillment. They are unafraid to say no to commitments that do not align with their values or contribute to their goals. 

They understand that every yes to something less important is a no to something crucial.

Moreover, like my mentor, successful people know that “buying time” can increase happiness.

Examples might include:

  • Using meal delivery services to save time on grocery shopping and cooking
  • Hiring cleaners to maintain their homes
  • Subscribing to business news summaries to stay informed without spending hours reading
  • Using apps that streamline task management and scheduling 

This strategic approach to time management often goes unnoticed but is a clear indicator of a man who is more successful than he appears. 

The bottom line

That’s about it from me today, folks. 

If there’s one takeaway from today, it’s that success isn’t always found in the flashiest car or a prestigious title. It’s often hidden beneath layers of habits. 

If you notice the above signs in a man you know, he might just be more successful than he initially seems. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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