On Success: The Ten Traits of Unsuccessful People



In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

~ Bill Cosby

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

~ David Brinkley

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

~ Bruce Lee

I recently came across a blog post written by Bob Wagner in 2007 regarding the Ten Traits of Unsuccessful People.  I thought Mr. Wagner had some great insight.  Here are his ten traits:

1. Unsuccessful people say things like; “I am only going to do what I get paid to do” or “I am only going to put in the hours I get paid for.”  You will never get paid more if you do not do more. That is a basic principle of sowing and reaping. A man who sows little will reap little. This type of person thinks they are being fair and keeping the company from ripping them off when in reality they are hurting themselves. It is those who go above and beyond the call of duty who get the promotions.

2. Unsuccessful people are takers not givers. They have not learned that the entire world operates on the art of giving. The authors of the popular series “Chicken Soup for the Soul” made a goal to earn one billion dollars from the sale of their books and give 500 Million Dollars away to charity. They made this goal BEFORE they sold their first book and they are well on their way! If you do not give, you are selfish and selfish people have to work hard for their money. Giving people get many opportunities for success because they have been found faithful in the past with what God gave them.

3. Unsuccessful people put the blame for their failures on others while successful people use failures as tools to grow and succeed. Successful people understand that you cannot find out what works without sometimes experiencing what doesn’t. Focus on what works and learn from what doesn’t.

4. Unsuccessful people look for a hundred reasons to justify their unsuccessful life. You often hear phrases like “You didn’t have my parents” or “You didn’t grow up poor like me” or “You just don’t understand what I went through in life.” Successful people do not allow the past to dictate their future. You can learn from the past but you cannot live in the past. Successful people have learned to get over their hurts and pains and move on. You can allow the past to make you bitter or better, choose better.

5. Unsuccessful people look at all the things they cannot do while successful people look at all the things they can do.

6. Unsuccessful people are always waiting for someone else to help them out while Successful people understand that they are in control of their lives and the direction it goes. The welfare mentality thinks “Someone owes me”. The government should take care of me, feed me, and house me. The Successful minds says; “I owe it to myself, my family and God to become the best that I can.

7. Unsuccessful people “Flock together” while Successful people “Flock together”. The phrase “If you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop hanging out with the turkeys” is true. We learn from those we associate with. If you want to learn more, associate with people that know more then you.

8. Unsuccessful people wait for someone to tell them what to do, while successful people look for things to do.  Successful people are constantly trying to improve themselves through education, reading, and listening to [books]. They do not wait for their boss to tell them they are required to take a Continuing Education course, they are excited and probably looking for courses before they become mandatory.

9. Unsuccessful people waste a lot of time doing things that do not matter. They read all 100 jokes in their email box everyday, they take long breaks and talk about everyone else’s job.  A successful person goes to work to work. They have a job and an agenda to fulfill and they intend on doing so.

10. Unsuccessful people just drift through life while successful people have clear and defined plans and goals. They know where they are headed and what it will take to get there.

As I read these traits, I couldn’t help but evaluate whether I possessed some of them.  I decided I would make some changes as a result.  It was a great reminder or the axiom that success is really a choice.  Click here if you want to see Mr. Wagner’s original blog post.

Every day you choose what actions you will take toward fulfilling your dreams.  I encourage you to evaluate whether you possess the traits of an unsuccessful person or demonstrating those of a successful one.

Choose success.  Choose greatness.


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