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Only 3 Keys Define You

Only 3 Keys Define You

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about, reading about, and listening to people’s ideas about what makes someone successful or how they can become more successful. No matter how many different ways an author or a speaker may touch on it or tip-toe around it or try to over complicate it or jam it down your throat, the basic principle that dictates a persons success comes down to just 3 key traits; Are they nice? Are they smart? Do they work hard?

You can be a real slow learner but find success by outworking those around you and always being the nicest one in the room. You can be the one that no one really likes because you’re always a jerk but still find success because you work hard and you’re one of the smartest around. You can find success if you’re on the lazy side, if you are sharp as a tack and everyone likes being around you. Think about that for just a moment…can you think of a co-worker, friend, or family member who’s successful who doesn’t have at least two of those traits dialed in? Yes, there are outliers and I’ll come back to them. Most of the ultra successful excel in all three categories. Have you ever heard anyone say ‘Gee, that Warren Buffett guy is really brilliant and works harder at retirement age than most in their prime, but he’s a real jerk.” NO, you’ve never heard anyone say that because he is brilliant, he is an incredibly hard worker, and he IS the nicest guy in the room.

Each trait is a sliding skill if you will. There’s smart, and then there’s really smart and then off the charts genius smart. Same for a work ethic and same for a ‘nice’ scale. The average person who is relatively successful always has at least two of the traits dialed up above the average Joe. I’ve known plenty of people who were successful but not all that smart. They were able to compensate for it by working harder than those around them and always being the nice one in the morning meeting. Increasing your level of success is simply accomplished by increasing these 3 key traits.

I mentioned outliers above because there are few and far between examples of the ultra successful who don’t have all three traits. Steve Jobs is one example. Sure some will argue with me on it but let’s face it, most people hold a view of Steve Jobs that he was kind of a jerk. He was well known for his temper tantrums and mental beat downs of co-workers. He was able to find the ultra level of success though, because he over compensated for it with his genius and work ethic. Then there are the outliers on the other end of the spectrum who are dumb as rocks and lazy as all hell. Maybe they’re really nice or maybe they’re dumb, but still lazy and a jerk. Show me someone who has a reputation as a jerk and is the laziest one in the office and I guarantee daddy’s name is on the door.

You can read all the Tony Robbins you want, you can listen to every TGIM Dr. Eric Thomas puts out, and you can watch other people enjoying the success they have all you want. The motivational gurus are all correct in saying your success is all about you and you can increase it. Don’t let them over complicate it for you and increase your success incrementally by being a little nicer, getting a little smarter, and working a little harder.

Michael Moran

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