17 Skills for Success: How Many Do You Have?

skills for success

Success is a very broad term. It could be overwhelming, but don’t be deceived by what you see around you especially with the successful and established people. They most probably started from scratch. They started small. But you don’t have to worry about all that, because in any case, they simply started.

We can agree that if you want to achieve success at something, you will be needing skills. You may also start from basically nothing, but skills for success may just be all you need. You have to be careful though. There are a lot of them—you don’t need them all.

These skills for success can be learned and it’s never too late. You have the opportunity. You can start right now.

1. Relaxation

Yes, it’s first on the list. I can never emphasize this more.

Take a break. Studies show that working for long, straight hours can actually interfere with your ability to retain important information. After all, you don’t really achieve success if you don’t enjoy the fruits of your hard work. So if you don’t take short breaks, there’s nothing really left but doom.

Get enough sleep. Along with water and air, sleep is a basic human necessity. Not having enough sleep decreases your alertness, productivity and concentration. You also make yourself prone to high levels of stress and fussiness, and to certain forms of illnesses such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Your stress levels are very important—watch out for them. When you feel you’re a bit lost in your current activity, slow down and take a deep breath—an “emergency break” could be the answer.

Do you want to keep your sanity every day? You may have all the other skills for success, but if you can’t face the most urgent situations with conditioned brainpower, consider stopping for a moment to relax.

2. Unafraidness to Fail

Who ever wants failure? Not you, right? But who wants to learn from failure? What is there to lose if you’d gain way more than that anyway?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a greater teacher than education. It lets you handle situations firsthand; it’s absolutely different from being taught in a class or seminar. You get into the details of your field, your expertise, and more importantly, you learn more about yourself—none of these you fully realize if you simply don’t fail.

There’s a catch, though. It’s alright to fail as long as you fail quickly. Aside from learning a great deal, time is one sure thing you can never take back. You may write bank checks for unforeseen damages, but time lost is time lost forever.

Learn from your failures and make sure not to be hasty in the future and apply what you have learned from them.

3. Motivation and Positivity

Reading this post alone is a proof that you have the ability to motivate yourself. You need this. Motivation could be the thin line between moving on and stopping. Not getting motivated can stop you from accomplishing all the great works you can actually fulfill. Being able to do them and deciding to actually do them are two entirely different things. Learn different ways to motivate yourself. The important thing is you keep going.

Now, motivation is not possible if you don’t have a positive mind. A study shows that although there are plenty of feelings that we have, these feelings are in reality the product of our actions. Taking action actually enhances our positive outlook in life!

Being positive changes the way you see adversities, troubles or problems; you’ll instead see opportunities and blessings, which you’ll always be thankful for. Being positive also makes you look for solutions right off the bat, rather than focus your energy and complain on the hardships themselves.

And the best part of developing this pair of skills for success? You can motivate others, too.

4. Decluttering

Organizing or putting your space in order—in all aspects of your life—is among the skills for success that will help you stay on focus and save time.

From keeping keys and papers to organizing contacts and email addresses on the phone or computer, successful people create a system in such a way that they can retrieve anything they want at the snap of a finger.

Take this for example. While doing what’s really pressing for the day, you suddenly stop to look for a missing tool, and it takes you 10 minutes to find it. Getting back to work, you now don’t remember where you just left off. Your focus is gone. If you have a bunch of 10-minute distractions, then you have some serious time easily wasted for that day alone.

Declutter and you definitely become faster achieving your success.

5. Communication

You can have the greatest idea in the world—to change lives, to better the future, to help stop unpleasant events—but no one will understand them if you can’t communicate them. Which is precisely why communication is one of the most important skills for success anyone could ever have.

Effective communication is the key. Always be clear in any mode of communication—small talks, emails, meetings. Don’t try to read other people’s minds; in the same way, don’t assume they can read yours. Remember that problems in any relationships can start merely with bad communication.

Speak what your heart genuinely wants to say. If you have to speak in public, prepare for and practice it. Whether you speak in front of only one or a thousand people, always keep in mind to speak clearly, persuasively and straight to the point. Speaking persuasively allows you to influence others who also have influence among their own circles. Be aware of their reactions and overall demeanor when you speak. Master good speech and surely, better opportunities will open—career advancement, business growth, even stronger love affair.

Active listening is also crucial to effective communication. Would you want to just do all the talking without having to hear feedbacks and reactions? Do not interrupt someone when they’re speaking especially at inappropriate times. Ask questions, and when they answer, listen carefully. A good practice is to see anyone simply as a person—even if they’re your boss, client or business partner. Manifest compassion and empathy whether they speak or listen to you. This increases your sense of inclusiveness in their company. If they know that you indeed listen to them, you encourage them to demonstrate cooperation, openness and honesty. Show them that their words matter.

The written word is not an exception when it comes to communication. Believe it or not, writing is part of all walks of life. Learn to organize your ideas and write them down such that everything becomes clear to a specific audience you would like to target. This is much more powerful than simply learning spelling, grammar or sentence structures. Know this: A master of the written word can open doors in almost any field—yes, including a subject they have absolutely no idea about.

Observe the people you admire when it comes to great communication. Interact with them. Don’t avoid difficult conversations—they’re a good venue for learning.

6. Networking, Service Orientation, and Keeping an Open Mind

You have to go out there and let people know what you’re doing. Build relationships; take care of them. By networking, you or your organization will tend to attract the right people, thus discover better direction, and share greater new ideas.

Service orientation, on the other hand, should always follow networking. Are you inspired by somebody in your industry? Instead of looking for all possible ideas you can gain from them, why not help them? Yes, see if they need anything in which you could be of help—and this doesn’t include only them—aim to help everyone you can. Make your ideas alive. Always actively look for ways to help people.

Now, you may think you won’t get much value from being service-minded, but have this mental attitude: you help yourself when you help others. It may sound selfish, but I find this to be true. Keep an open mind—even if you don’t get valuable connections, experience or pay, you can have the opportunity to become a thought leader, or present yourself to new audiences.

This set of skills for success is sometimes underrated, but could actually take you a long way.

7. Critical Thinking

After considering what your gut tells you, it’s time for this type of thinking. This allows you to dig deeper into an issue you’re working on. It lets you see the strengths and weaknesses on the different angles of possible solutions to a problem. Logic and reasoning are major principles of critical thinking. They help you sort information according to importance and how you can use them with information that belong to other categories.

Notice how you cure only the symptoms of a possible big underlying problem. Stop doing that and look for the underlying problem itself. Forget about the side effects you’re trying to get rid of. They’ll only keep on returning. Find the very heart of it, face it, and deal with it once and for all.

Also, when you have this skill, you’re already different from the great majority, and I mean different in an actually good way.

8. Active Learning

Learning never stops. Did you know that some employers hire someone who simply “can learn” or who’s “willing to learn”? Don’t take that for granted. It only means one thing—a person who never stops learning can be trusted with bigger tasks. They don’t have to know everything at the moment, but if the employers are indeed right, this skill would be an asset.

Stand by your commitment to learn every day. Never settle with what you discover. Try to forecast future problems and consequences based on the decisions you make. Find out methods and procedures you can use for a given topic—not all can be approached in the same way.

9. Decision-making

This could be a trap. Decision-making is what’s in between a not-being-critical analyzing and overthinking.

Plan—your data-gathering, analysis, and the decision itself. Use all resources that are available to you during the process. Don’t make it any longer than you should; don’t wait for more information to come. What you find, what you have—use them and make a decision according to plan.

You can also make a decision as fast as you can. Making a decision quickly and efficiently is what can separate you from the rest. As General George S. Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now will be better than a perfect plan next week.” Yes, time plays a major role here.

10. Time Management

“No.”

That’s the secret to proper time management. The ability to schedule tasks to a later deadline or even turn them down. Saying “yes” to almost every commitment will only result to mediocre output. And you’ll feel tired, not totally understanding where all your energy would be used up.

Be very alert. Make a priority list. Finish the most difficult and important tasks. Delaying difficult tasks doesn’t make them disappear. Embrace them with a bold heart.

Find the right time for each task. You’re the only one who knows this well. Accomplish a project on a schedule that best fits your overall mental state and productivity. Say, you can work on the hardest tasks before 11 AM, then the easier ones after that. Whatever timetable you can be most productive and flexible, find it and stick to it.

Similar to critical thinking, time management is about prioritizing all your activities, focusing your attention where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

Learning to allocate your time in productive blocks takes practice. You may find yourself taking two-hour extensions, but when you finally meet your small deadlines, every day becomes more productive than the last.

If you work in a group, expect to be thanked. Properly managing your own time also means properly managing others’.

11. Self-discipline

The idea is simple. But this becomes one of the skills for success because being consistent at it is quite hard; it’s a trait that’s just very easy to give up.

Self-discipline is denying yourself to always do what you feel you want to do at the moment; it is acting according to what you think, according to your plan.

Without this, you may feel you’re not being at peace with yourself, leading you to getting lost, which would attract further distractions. Giving up on self-discipline allows the start of another journey—procrastination.

Be strong.

12. Research and Innovation

Quickly and effortlessly knowing what you need to know is very crucial to stay in the game. It means being able to use any methods and means to do so—the internet, the library, interviews, or leveraging your network of contacts. Be flexible. Research is a very dynamic skill. A subject matter may need a unique method, or a combination.

Push the limits of your mind—be innovative. Watch out for advancements in your particular discipline—products, services or ideas. Always seek possibilities and opportunities. Don’t trash what seems to be a bad idea at first. Good ones come from them. Who knows, it could be the next greatest and most helpful idea.

13. Adaptability

The ability to change.

This may sound contradictory with time management—it’s not. They’re partners.

Adaptability kicks in when you are in a pressurized situation that you have to change your priorities, putting long-term milestones above short-term relief. Not only that, adaptability is also about embracing change—with a light heart: accepting feedback, spreading positivity, and showing concern to others.

14. Leadership and Teamwork

Strive to be a leader. But don’t forget to encourage others to become a leader too. Leadership may not be always about you. It’s everywhere; you just have to acknowledge the leadership of others especially when it’s needed—allow them to lead. You may lead a group, but recognize other leaders for their special strengths and contributions.

Teamwork is difficult to achieve in any organization, but never impossible. In any situation, show respect, compassion and empathy. Promote an environment that advocates trust. Admit mistakes, sincerely apologize. Cooperate.

Above all, keep a positive attitude. If everyone agrees with you, keep a positive attitude. If they all disagree, what is really there to lose?

15. Delegation

You can’t do everything, unless you have forever. You only have a few hours a day.

Get your to-do list and look for these two: the tasks at the bottom, and the tasks you’re least good at. Look for the persons in your team who do those tasks best. Or you can outsource. There are a lot of channels where you can find the best people to outsource for a specific work.

Give your directions clearly and completely. Provide all the resources they’d need; provide training if needed.

After you find the right person, get out of their way. And do what you do best.

16. Monitoring and Driving for Results

These are all about overall improvement of and taking corrective action resulting from your performance or other individuals’ or parties’ execution.

Clearly define the results you want to achieve and make necessary adjustments based on external factors and your (or others’) capabilities.

Note-taking becomes powerful along with these skills for success. Results can provide you with so many insights they can only sweep you over, and you’d tend to forget them. What you perceive to be significant—write them down. And allow yourself to grow.

17. Math

Hate numbers?

You don’t have to become a human calculator. You simply need to be able to make rough but reasonably accurate estimates.

How would you monitor your cash flow? How would you connect with people when they suddenly start talking figures? How would you close a deal if the only factor that’s left is money?

You have to be defensive. You have to know the math.

Think About It

The road to success sure may not be easy—especially if you have no idea what it truly takes. But not taking action is worse even if you already have just a bit of that idea. Understand yourself, observe your surroundings, set your mind to only moving forward. What do you see? Where can you start? Why do you even need to start? Remember these 17 skills for success. If you find them difficult to develop, think that it’s but relative. All successful people must have gone through a difficult and challenging time throughout their life. You just may not be an exception.

Speak Your Mind

What skills for success are hard to develop? Are there other skills that should be on the list? Tell us what you think by posting your comments below!

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