Hard work, money and a good family: they’re all things people tie to success.
But according to entrepreneur and author of The Unlikely Entrepreneur Alan Manly, there’s more to it than that.
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According to his observations of successful leaders in business, there are five traits successful people have in common.
“Most successful people are curious. And when you think about it, if they weren't curious, they wouldn't be doing something new,” Manly told Yahoo Finance.
He said successful people want to know why things are done in one way, and then begin questioning if they could be done in a better, or more efficient way.
Manly referenced Disney founder Walt Disney, who also said those who work there “don’t look backwards for very long”.
“We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Prince Charming won Cinderella’s heart for a reason: he was an excellent communicator, who also made her feel like she was being heard.
According to Manly, charm is a key factor in success.
“Charm usually is the ability to engage others,” Manly said.
“And charming people can... actually strike up a conversation. And quite often, while at first when you meet a person like that, they sound very chatty, their real trick is that they're actually listening to you.
“And when someone comes away from a charming person, they feel that they were very nice, and they learn a lot about the other person.”
But the trick is that a charming person will give away just enough personal information to intrigue the person they’re talking to, but leave them wanting to know more.
Manly referenced Oscar Wilde’s quote: “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”
This is especially true at major industry events and conferences: some people you meet you will remember, and others you will definitely forget.
“Everyone's a little bit optimistic, or else we wouldn't be here,” Manly said.
But, successful people and optimists don’t waste their time with ‘glass half full or glass half empty’ approaches to life.
“Optimists don't suffer that, not at all. They know the glass is going to be full; it's only a timing issue, is all.”
He referenced Bill Gates’ belief that impatience also needs to go with optimism.
“When I’m impatient, I am very optimistic about the things that I see ahead,” Gates said.
Then there are the “hard-edged bits”, as Manly said.
“I've never suffered from a lack of commitment. I would go so far as, I think work is life and life is work,” he said.
“If you're going to work and going to be successful, you'll have to be committed.”
He said success may come at a cost to your immediate lifestyle, but successful people will understand that the costs are important.
However, it’s also critical that entrepreneurs manage the costs.
“If some of those costs are less than managed, it can be very painful. A lot of entrepreneurs are divorced, I noticed just by casual observation. They're on second and third marriages.”
And successful people are dreamers.
Manly said some entrepreneurs like to believe that they’re pragmatic and solutions-focused, but the reality is that successful people have to have a dream.
And they need to believe their dream. After all, the first person an entrepreneur needs to sell their great idea to is themselves.
“They fall in love with an idea… and then they add all their skills, all their imagination.”
But just dreaming of being rich isn’t enough either - there needs to be an idea attached to it.
“Usually, there must be some good [coming out of the idea]. I know it sounds really twee, but selling a product that doesn't give someone some benefit - it probably is doomed, it's just a matter of timing.”
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