There are plenty of quiet achievers among us—people who go above and beyond to get things done without drawing attention to themselves.
They’re often taken for granted because, well… they don’t really want to get noticed.
If you want to know if you or someone you know is a quiet achiever, check out if they exhibit these traits.
1) They shut down FOMO
People like to jump on the latest hustle or trend and take opportunities because of a fear of missing out.
So even if they actually don’t have the skills for coding but if they think IT is a trendy degree, they’d go for it without thinking if it’s really what they truly want.
One of the reasons why quiet achievers are, well, achievers is because they can resist this fear and instead try to think a bit more critically before they commit to something.
They ask themselves:
- Is this really good for me?
- Can I really excel at this?
- Will I be able to make a good contribution?
If the answers are a clear NO, then the achiever will close that door and find something else.
Because of this, they can avoid putting their time and energy into things that may look appealing on the surface, but are actually either massive wastes of time or scams.
Even if they do end up missing out on a few genuine opportunities along the way, this mindset means they will end up making better, more sensible decisions in the long run.
2) They don’t enjoy “company culture”
While not always the case, quiet achievers are more often than not introverts, and being forced to socialize will exhaust and distract them from what they think is what’s important—which is, well…work.
Make no mistake—they can work just fine as part of a group and are happy to collaborate and delegate. They will, however, not appreciate forced “company culture” meetings and would rather sit alone in a corner.
They only have so much energy to spare, and they’d rather spend it getting things done instead of wasting it trying to “get along” with their coworkers.
Unfortunately, this also means that they’re often misunderstood and will get called things like “unfriendly.”
3) They doubt their own capabilities
“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
It’s a matter of fact that the people who are least capable are way too confident of themselves, while those who actually know what they’re doing doubt themselves the most.
And that applies to quiet achievers too.
You won’t ever hear them say that they’ll never mess up—because they know they can! Instead they’ll just muse about whether they can do anything at all and do their best to psych themselves up and keep their spirits high.
Sure, it’s not like they’re completely insecure about their own abilities. But the fact simply is that by being that good at what they do, they’re also aware that there’s a lot they don’t know.
4) They have a good work ethic
Quiet achievers are proud of their work even if they don’t exactly let the world know about it.
They don’t skimp on their work.
They don’t try to take shortcuts or make compromises that they know will likely hurt the quality of their work.
Instead, they take great pains to make sure everything they do is done properly and will even check again and again what they have already finished just to make sure they haven’t missed anything.
This can lead to them being a bit slower than their peers. But hey, quality trumps quantity as far as they’re concerned. As long as they’re not causing trouble by working slow, they won’t rush things just to clock out fast.
And look, as mentioned earlier, they already doubt their own capabilities enough. The last thing they want is to be sloppy with their work and have other people affirm their own self-doubts.
5) They’re willing to admit they’re wrong
Again, quiet achievers know that they can and will mess up. They understand that they’re just human, and to be human means to err… A LOT!
But this doesn’t mean they’ll accept that they’re always wrong either. That’s why when they get called out for making an error, they will take that as an opportunity to step back and reassess the situation.
If they realize that, no, they’re actually right, they’ll stand their ground.
But if they could see that they were actually wrong, they’ll be more than happy to apologize and correct themselves. They’ll even thank the other person for letting them know of their mistakes.
6) They celebrate quietly
Just because they are quiet about their achievements doesn’t mean that they don’t celebrate their small victories at all. Quiet achievers are humans, too!
But what sets them apart is that they celebrate their victories quietly and privately.
They might perhaps treat themselves to an ice cream after a job well done, or binge on Netflix after having tackled a big challenge of some kind.
We all need a little something to raise our spirits, after all.
The only thing is that they don’t throw big parties or boast about their achievements on social media. They would rather not put themselves on the spotlight, and instead prefer to celebrate away from the public eye.
7) They see themselves as beginners
Quiet achievers understand that learning is a life-long journey and just because they’ve been doing the same thing for 10 years or have hit the ripe age of 40 that they have known it all.
They don’t let any sort of ego get in the way of their learning. They’re more than happy to learn from even those younger or less experienced than they are.
This is quite apparent if you ever find yourself working in a group together with them.
Despite whatever seniority they might have, they’ll be more than happy to ask their colleagues for their input and acknowledge their insights.
As I mentioned earlier, quiet achievers are well aware that they don’t know everything. If anything, they might even be especially aware of the possibility that what they know might be outdated and wrong.
8) They aren’t starving for praise
To be perfectly fair, almost all of us need some kind of acknowledgement to remain motivated. It’s why knowing how to maintain workplace morale can make or break a company.
But the thing with quiet achievers is that they don’t actively seek out praise.
They don’t try to do their job especially well because they know it will earn them some award or recognition, and neither will they stop being so meticulous if they don’t get the praise they feel they are owed.
Don’t take this to mean that they’re confident or self-assured, however.
As I previously noted, they’re often full of self-doubt and will still appreciate having their achievements acknowledged (light praise is often quite welcome, too.)
They simply take what praise they might get and not ask for any more.
As far as they’re concerned, if they do things expecting to get praise, then they’re setting themselves up for disappointment… and praise really isn’t worth much at all if you think about it.
9) They don’t like attention
Part of the reason why quiet achievers don’t actively seek out praise is because they simply don’t like getting attention.
This might seem like it would hinder them, especially if they’re working as a freelance artist or if they want to aim for a promotion… and unfortunately, it usually does.
Thankfully it’s not that big of a problem—observant bosses will notice their work ethic and word will spread anyways if they really are that good at what they do.
And to their credit, it’s not like they’ll wither at the smallest bit of attention. They might feel a bit uneasy, but they can just shrug it off unless people are being especially loud with their praises.
10) They try to find balance in life
It can be very tempting to just become a bum—to take every opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy life…perhaps be a bit hedonistic and just focus mainly on life’s pleasures.
At the same time, it can be rewarding to hustle hard and pour all our time into work—forgetting how to enjoy life, and end up burning out.
Quiet achievers do neither of those two, and instead try to strike a balance.
They would take the time to relax and have it easy, but they make sure they limit their time relaxing so that they don’t get lost in the easy street.
They dream big, but also keep tabs on their work so that they don’t burn themselves out trying too hard to have it all.
It’s no coincidence that quiet achievers, more often than not, are people who are smart, talented, and introspective by nature.
They also want to avoid drawing attention to themselves, which is why they’re quiet.
They’d rather focus on their work because to them, it’s all that matters.
So if you ever find yourself in the company of a quiet achiever, do appreciate them and their work—but don’t overwhelm them with praise.
Because if you really think about it, what quiet achievers really want is to get things done.