All of us want to be successful; none of us wants to fail. The question is, “what are the common attributes that successful people exhibit?” It is intentional that I have titled this post “Success Attributes” as opposed to “Leadership Attributes”. This writing is not for a limited audience of those that want to be CEO or Sr. Manager of any particular organization; it is for all of us that want to navigate life as healthy individuals physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually (PIES).
Through my life experience & study, I have selected 10 attributes that I believe are key for living successfully. I am not defining success for you, other than to indicate it involves being healthy in all the PIES ways. Your goals, dreams and every day rhythms are yours, and increasingly exhibiting these 10 attributes will ensure you successfully live them.
There is nothing earth-shattering about the first attribute in this series: Knowledge. I hope, however, that in the remainder of this post you will gain some insight into ways to obtain it and you are left desiring to re-energize your quest for it.
The Miriam-Webster online dictionary lists the following definitions of knowledge, among others:
The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience. Acquaintance with or understanding. The circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning.
Three types of knowledge are worthy of our consideration: broad, deep, and personal knowledge. Broad knowledge is obtained by taking an interest in many topics, extensive reading of various sources and engaging in open-minded discussions with people from all walks of life. For example, one of my bucket list items is to read (or re-read) every book in our home library. A collection of fiction, non-fiction, classics, and easy reads, from this library I obtain diverse viewpoints, a knowledge of and perspective on history, and an increased vocabulary – just to mention a few benefits.
Deep knowledge is usually a requirement related to what we do vocationally or to successfully handle a specific responsibility like parenting or to master a hobby. This kind of knowledge can be obtained through formal education, gained experience, conversations with others on the same path, and research & study. Successful people consider themselves to be life-long learners. Going deeper in understanding areas of personal interest that have nothing to do with vocation is not a waste of time.
Personal knowledge is critical to success. Knowing yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, your worth and vulnerabilities – is obviously required to succeed at anything. I submit, though, that personal knowledge of others is just as necessary. As you invest the time to get beyond surface level “knowing” someone, you will discover how you can better relate to them and leverage that understanding to help them succeed in their own goals, dreams, and rhythms. This will ultimately lead to you being more successful in your own pursuits.
As I reflect on the definition above, words like experience, understanding, apprehending truth and reasoning stand out. Knowledge is the foundation of obtaining wisdom. Wisdom leads to success. Knowledge, therefore, is the foundation of successful living.
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