The DNA of Wildly Successful People

What’s your definition of a successful person? Is it Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey – maybe even your boss or favorite college professor? Everyone has a different view of success, from money and stardom to contentment. Yet, despite these differences, successful people are easy to spot. Many believe it’s because they share common traits that catapult them to the top – and it’s more than natural talent or intelligence.

We uncovered six traits that successful people seem to have in common.


There’s no place for Eeyore personalities in the storybook for success. Instead, successful people can easily identify what’s good in the world. It’s not all rose-colored glasses either. They recognize obstacles, but believe in their ability to help make the world an even better place.


The stories of many famously successful people begin with humble backgrounds. What sets them apart from other folks? More often than not it’s an unwavering drive to succeed that outpaces the rest of us. Hard work and determination became the hallmarks of their success, and they constantly strive to do more. Simply put, they want to be among the best.


Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson worked at NASA during a time when career opportunities were limited for them, but thanks to their tenacity and persistence, they overcame discrimination and racial segregation to help America win the space race. Imagine if they had chosen to stop believing in themselves. Instead, they persisted, and their rocket trajectory calculations changed the world.


There will always be times when things don’t go quite like you planned. The difference is, successful people take responsibility for their failures, and then look for ways to change course. In good times and bad, these individuals are accountable for their actions, and they are committed to finding solutions as a result.


Successful people are courageous and calculated risk-takers at heart. Oprah Winfrey, who hosted a morning talk show in Chicago, was willing to take a chance when she signed a syndication deal with King World, a move that propelled her to stardom and displaced “Donahue” as the No. 1 daytime talk show in America. Thinking of taking a calculated risk of your own? Start by consulting with your family, your mentors and your financial advisor.


People who approach life with a sense of gratitude tend to be more aware of what’s good and important in their world. When things go well, they are immediately thankful for the results, which is an attitude that naturally breeds more success. Even when these folks face the inevitable failures in life, they bounce back faster than the rest of us.

Next steps towards success:

  • Define your goals for success
  • Cultivate an optimistic attitude
  • Work hard and make sacrifices when necessary
  • Be willing to persist despite your failures
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Talk with your financial adviser about planning for financial success




This article was written by Chris Mills, a knowledgeable financial adviser who specializes in working with BC business owners, helping them invest successfully and tax efficiently. 

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