Skill development, career, focus, traits, habits, success, Prosky, leadership
CAREER / 14 December 2016
4 Traits Every Young Professional Should Have
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Aiming Li
Branding Intern

"Your traits are not good or bad. What you do or don’t do with them is what determines the result. Give your traits a useful role. Recognize and utilize all parts that make up you." - Akiroq Brost

Success is something that all of us want to achieve. Each person’s path to success may be unique, but the world’s most successful people share many commonalities. There is a certain set of characteristics that almost all successful people possess. Those of which have helped shape them to become who they are today. This article will take a closer look at four common traits of extremely successful individuals and how you can begin embracing them into your life.

1. Laser Focus

Tech billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk gave a keynote talk at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he unveiled his ambitious plan to colonize Mars with a million people in an effort to protect humanity from certain doom. “We’re figuring out how to take you to Mars and build a self-sustaining city -- to become a truly multi-planetary species.” Musk told the crowd. How did he become the extremely successful entrepreneur he is today? Ashlee Vance, an American business columnist who wrote Elon Musk’s biography, revealed Musk’s ‘super laser focus’ that turned all of his crazy ideas into reality. Here are three tips we can learn from this.

Focus on the things you’re passionate about.
Very often, people put too much focus on monetary success, short-term gains, and other's expectations. However, you will not be able to maintain that focus for long if you're not doing things you're passionate about. This is something we can learn from Musk. He is able to continue to focus on his many ventures and ideas because they’re all things he’s extremely passionate about. Whether it’s colonizing Mars or providing transportation that uses clean energy to the world, immerse yourself in your passion and reduce your scope of focus to those particular things because they will keep you excited and motivated.

Elon Musk takes his time very seriously - something we should all learn from. We only have 24 hours each day. If you do not know what is most important, you would not know where to start in order to efficiently utilize each and every minute. Highly successful people like Musk himself never finish everything in a day, but he always finishes the most important things that needed to be done each day. Take a few minutes out of every day to figure out which goals are the most important. Then focus on solving those problems first before trying to tackle the ones that aren't. Once you're able to determine what tasks are the most important, you'll be able to complete everything and reach your goals much more quickly and efficiently.

Always treat time as an extremely valuable resource.
So, now we all know that Musk believes time is an extremely valuable resource. Beyond believe that his own time is valuable, he made sure everyone at Tesla understood theirs was as well. For example, at Tesla, if you’re sitting in a meeting and find that it’s of no use to you, you’re free to just get up and leave. That is the kind of culture Musk had cultivated at Tesla, anything that distracts you from reaching goals or you find irrelevant should be left alone.

These three tips above are a really good way to start developing your strong focus and become more efficient as a result.

2. Leadership

Naturally, there are a lot of qualities that make someone a good leader and thousands of books have been written about this. At its core, good leadership is about two things: communication and decision-making. Here are two tips that can help you further develop your leadership skill and engage your team in producing better results.

Ask for feedback!
Ken Blanchard says, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” According to Forbes, top-ranked leaders in the corporate world are also at the top in asking for feedback. When you ask others for feedback, a significant change occurs in your attitude and how others perceive you. Instead of becoming defensive when receiving unsolicited feedback, the very act of asking others for feedback puts you in a better position to listen carefully to what people have to say, ask for clarifications and then accept the remarks.

Remain calm
If you are always in a panic when a crisis happens, your leadership role will not only make your team feel uneasy, but it will also impair your ability to make the correct decisions. Remember, your team is always watching your actions, behavior, and overall demeanor. Therefore, do not allow your emotions get in the way or take things personally. Remain fearless during even the most difficult times. Act like you have been there before and your team will be able to critically evaluate the situation and deal with the problems head-on. 

3. New Ideas

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things." - Steve Jobs

Creativity, in essence is the process of solving problems in ways that are unique and useful. It is believed that there are a few people among us who were born with the gift of creativity, those who do change the world for the better are somehow fundamentally different from ‘us’, and ‘we’ can never be ‘them’. It is simply not true. The biggest difference between you and Picasso, or Einstein, or whoever your heroes are is that they outwork you. They spend more time in front of a canvas, or guitar, or computer, working away at applying their minds and souls to specific things. We are all creative, or as Picasso better put it: “All children are born artists. The problem is to remain one.” Watch this speech from Sir Ken Robinson, who offers an interesting definition of creativity: “an idea that has value.” So you want to be more creative and innovative? Here are a few things you can do.

See new possibilities and opportunities where others see problems. A new product is often the result from a person who sees an opportunity to turn an existing concept to a totally new context.

Read Read Read (I cannot emphasize this enough). Acquiring knowledge through study and experience, use the knowledge as the solid foundation of idea generation. A rich vocabulary also forces your brain to exploit it better.

Be acutely observant of your environment, by using all your sense. Carry a notebook and take notes constantly, write down your ideas wherever you are, whenever they pop into your head. This will help you to become more observant and reflective. 

4. Persistent through failure.

Henry Ford explained that failure was linked to the important development of character: “Life is a series of experience, each of which makes us stronger even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.

If you want to accomplish great things, you need to have a relatively high failure rate. Having about a 50% rate of failure is likely good. That means 50% of the things you try end up not being successful, which also means you ARE successful at the other half. If you expect to fail regularly, it is much easier to deal with failure. If you rarely fail, you are certainly not going after big goals. When I took an Entrepreneurial class at the Smeal College of Business, my professor Peter Whalen said to the class, “If you are not making mistakes, it means you are not moving fast enough.” For dedicated and persistent entrepreneurs, business failure teaches invaluable lessons -- lessons that can be applied in the next venture.

Great leaders are survivors. They will never give up.

I hope you have either reconfirmed many of your own qualities or have set goals to develop the good traits you are lacking. Bookmark and review this article often to measure yourself against it. Once your beliefs and actions are aligned with those of a great person and manifest these qualities in your work, you will be amazed by how successful you become. If you want to learn more about Jobs, Skills, and Workplace Success, check out the rest of ProSky's Blog where we post articles regularly on similar topics. Enjoy!