What Makes a Successful Person?

Although definitions of success differ according to the individual, there are some common traits in successful people, such as interest in continued self-improvement; awareness of and confidence in their strengths; and determination to accomplish their goals. Whether success is viewed in terms of financial status, emotional stability or contribution to the field or the world, the keys to success start with the individual.

Forbes published a study in December of 2013 that lists the 14 traits that "every successful person has in common." While it is true that sources like Forbes regard success through a business or entrepreneurial lens, the characteristics they highlight do lead to success, and none of them are career-specific.

Having an underlying talent or insight in a particular field is often necessary to succeed in that field. For example, a person would not have much of a chance at becoming a star NBA player if he lacks hand-eye coordination. Professional athletes, actors or singers, however, do need to train and hone their talents and seek their own opportunities. The Forbes article mentions that successful people actively pursue their own success and do not expect it to be handed to them. Some of the other traits on the list include setting reasonable goals, knowing how to communicate and maintaining a willingness to "go above and beyond."