How To Supercharge The 5 Traits You Need To Succeed
26 November 2015

How To Supercharge The 5 Traits You Need To Succeed


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development Performance


There are certain qualities that many successful people possess. Whether your goal is working your way up to the top position in your company or achieving a good balance between your work and personal life, there’s certain qualities that will get you there.

Here’s how to nurture and supercharge the traits you need to succeed.

1. Happiness

You need to be happy in whatever you do to give 100%. If you’re not happy, then how can you expect to be successful in what you do?

Those who truly succeed have a passion for their chosen path show it to everyone they interact with. From attracting investors to speaking with customers, a happy and pleasant personality is a much more favorable prospect to work with.

To help increase your happiness, include the following in your daily life:

  • Get outside, even for a short period – 20 minutes is usually enough in good weather
  • Exercise – healthy people are 20% happier on average
  • Sleep well – a lack of sleep inhibits our ability to remember positive ideas
  • Work whenever you work best – if you’re not a morning person then work later, and vice versa
  • Stay in contact with family and friends – it’s always good to talk to loved ones
  • Smile – you’ll actually live longer
  • Encourage happiness and be positive when interacting with others

“We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.”

Happiness is contagious. Being happy in yourself will encourage those around you to be happier, encouraging a happy culture at work, making business interactions more pleasant and personal life fulfilling and joyful.

Harvard researchers followed 4,739 people for 20 years, measuring how social networks, siblings, friends and neighbours are affected by the happiness of others.

Researchers found that close physical proximity is essential for happiness to spread. A happy friend who lives within half a mile makes you 42% more likely to be happy yourself. If that same friend lives two miles away, the impact drops to 22%.
Happy siblings make you 14% more likely to be happy, but only if they live within a mile. Happy spouses provide an 8% boost, if they live under the same roof. – From

In a 2010 Wayne State University research project that examined the baseball card photos of Major League players in 1952, it was found that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life!
Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of only 72.9 years, while players with beaming smiles lived an average of 79.9 years. – From Forbes

Research has shown that people who are happy have healthier hearts, lower levels of stress hormones and live longer.

Don’t fake it though. A real smile shows in both your mouth and your eyes. A fake smiler’s eyes don’t reflect true happiness.

2. Confidence

There are many situations where confidence is a key factor in the outcome. Presenting, public speaking or even accepting a challenge all require varying levels of confidence.

Belief in your own abilities is the first step to becoming confident. Many professionals still feel as though they’re frauds, even though they clearly aren’t and are in powerful and trusted positions, this is known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

There’s a great article on the subject here.

Impostor syndrome (also spelled imposter syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in the 1970s by psychologists and researchers to informally describe people who are unable to internalise their accomplishments. – From Wikipedia

There are a number of ways to increase your confidence and counter the feeling of being an imposter:

  • Plan properly – don’t leave preparation until the last minute
  • Practice/Experience – no quick win here, the more you do something the more confident you’ll become. Get stuck in!
  • Exploit your strengths – do what you’re good at
  • Accept critique – embracing constructive criticism will help you optimise your abilities and increase your knowledge
  • Know that you do deserve the success you’ve already had – give yourself a some credit
  • Let people praise you – it’s good for your morale and it advertises your strengths to others

People admire and look up to those with confidence and will naturally follow them.
One trait of great leaders is that their decisions and guidance are trusted, if you’re not confident in what you say or do then those around you will sense it.


One mind trick to increase confidence in your decisions or a particular task you have to perform is the 10-10-10 question:

Ask yourself the following question:

“How much will this matter in 10 minutes, 10 days and 10 years from now?”

The answer is pretty much always “It won’t” in ten years and “not much” in just ten days.

Things seem extremely important in the here and now, but in reality we often assign way too much importance to everyday chores and challenges because we’re nervous about them prior to the event.

The things that worry or scare us are hardly ever as bad as we think.

3. Focus

We all need to focus in order to achieve goals and conquer challenges, the trick is knowing how to focus properly. There are so many distractions in modern life that it’s becoming harder to concentrate for any length of time.

attention span

“In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds, but this has now fallen to just 8. The goldfish is believed to be able to maintain a solid nine.”
The Independent

In the age of the ‘internet of things’, we’re never really disconnected from the distractions of our lives unless we make a concerted effort to be so.

Mobile apps alert us to some irrelevant update every 5 minutes, friends text us photos that have no bearing on anything and various brands constantly harass us with email offers.

I’ve previously written a focus-based article dedicated to focus, which goes into detail about how to truly concentrate and get things done in our ever-increasingly hectic lives.

If you can learn to focus in what you do, whether it’s your job, your hobby or simply a one-off task you have to complete, then you’ll be a sought after commodity. There are very few people who are impervious to distraction.

4. Motivation

If you can motivate yourself and others, then you’ll not only be productive and feel a sense of purpose, but you’ll also be able to lead others and achieve great things.

Researchers found that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction towards work. It accounts for about 75 percent of personal motivation toward accomplishment. – Dickinson 1999

Motivation requires purpose. You, and those you’re motivating, need to believe in what they’re doing. If you can evoke feelings in those around you, then you can motivate them.

Illustrating and emphasising that progress is being made is a great motivator. The knowledge that you’re getting somewhere and your efforts are achieving results is a great reason to continue. Conversely, setbacks can be demotivational, which makes preparation and care in what you’re doing all the more important.

Below, Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

5. Passion

Passion can’t be faked. Passion is contagious and is often the trait that’s the difference between success and failure. You need the above traits to succeed, but without a passion for what you do it’s impossible to truly feel motivated, really focus, have the confidence to push forward or really be happy with your accomplishments.

Being passionate isn’t always easy, but it will rub off on those around you. Cultivating an environment full of people with a real belief in what they’re doing, and a desire to strive for greater things, is the key to success.

“When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals.”

– Richard Branson

If you possess the above traits then you’ll naturally succeed in your challenges, enjoy doing it and inspire others along the way.