The 5 Traits That Guarantee Success

When I first started my web design agency decade(s) ago, I didn’t expect to learn one of the coolest magic tricks of my career: How to predict who will succeed and who wouldn’t. I mean EVERYONE I met wanted to succeed. Everyone had a plan or an idea. Everyone was motivated and everyone believed they would make it without a shadow of a doubt. But within an hour, I always knew who would fail or succeed.

Every little bit helps along the path of building a business: if you have an investor or cash, it helps. If you have a higher education, it helps; if you have a partner, it helps if you have a business plan, it helps. But none of these are necessary to succeed. You and your business can succeed despite not having any of the above.

But, in my experience, after having met 100s of start ups and business owners who have both reached their achievements and failed, there are 5 traits that you need in order to succeed and simply cannot do without.

Self Discipline

I have attended many growth conferences and listened to gurus like Tony Robbins, Like Dan Lok and Grant Cardone and after less than an hour of absorbing their speech, I convince myself  I can conquer the world. I feel like I can basically do anything. Gurus are great at motivating anyone filled with doubt and excuses to get off their ass and accomplish just about anything. It’s a great reminder that we have the drive within us to get going and to do anything in the first place. 

But the hype is short lived. The motivation wanes and we fall back into our regular routine of Netflix marathons. But people who are destined to succeed don’t rely on motivation to catapult to higher peaks.

For those destined to succeed, when the motivation wears off, self discipline kicks in.

Self discipline is going to the gym even when you have a bag full of excuses to skip the workout.

Self discipline is skipping the dessert even if “one more dessert won’t kill me”

Self discipline is to continue even when you feel like stopping.

Self discipline is finding it within you to motivate yourself and not waiting on some Instagram quote of the day or someone else to say the right words.

You will not succeed without self discipline.

Willingness to Learn

If you have no intention to ever learn again, then you already know everything you will know in life. If you insist on not reading a single how-to book, or investing in an online class, or taking advise from a mentor, then this is it, my friend. You have reached the summit of everything you will ever know.

Closely related to the willingness to learn is the ability to be taught. If you are not open to learning a different way and you’re stubbornly insisting on your failing ways; if you reject the sound advice of mentors, if you arrogantly dismiss true experts with an alternative method, then you cannot be taught.

The most successful people I know rely on experts for their advise and are always open to suggestions and alternative ways to achieve their goals . I know (or at least I automatically assume) I’m in the presence of people who will achieve greater things when I realize they’ve been listening more than they’ve been talking. They contribute very little and make mental room to absorb a lot of information.

But learning from books and from mentors is only 2 of the three learning methods. The most powerful learning method is learning through mistakes. Nothing causes a more lasting effect than experience. Failure is very common when you try new things. However. learning from those failures is more uncommon and a sign of insight, growth and potential.

You will not succeed without a willingness to learn.


Focus means staying on task in the face of distractions. Common distractions are human relationship that tend to get in the way of our goals and deflect us from our path. A bad relationship, a break up, family drama… these things make up our social life and will always be present. Staying focused on our goals amid personal issues is reserved for those destined for success. It’s not easy for anyone. But successful people tend to isolate these issues rather than be overtaken by them. They tend to view distractions as things happening on the sideline along the path that will lead them to success rather than view them as a roadblock that stifles and stops their journey.

But human relationships and social events are not the only type of distractions. A powerful distractions to which even the almighty can fall prey , are the distractions of good ideas. Entrepreneurs are very fallible to this type of distraction because by instinct, they tend to be full of good ideas and see opportunity where others don’t, tempting their focus away from their course.

I often meet inexperienced entrepreneurs working on several businesses simultaneously. Rather than working on one, achieving success and then moving to another venture, they tend to juggle more than one not wanting to pass up a great opportunity.

You will not succeed without Focus.


Courage is not the absence of fear, it is characterized by action despite the presence of fear. Fear of failure or fear of success, fear can drive us and stall us. When you fail once, it takes all the courage you have inside you to get up and try again. When you fail a second time, it takes double that amount of courage to try again. The more you fail, the more courage you need to get back up and get back in.

You can teach yourself to be disciplined and train yourself to learn and focus. But you cannot be taught courage without facing your fears. And the more often you face your fears, the more chances you won’t stay down.

Being an entrepreneur takes courage. You will fail. You will stumble. You will make mistakes. Each time, it will take courage for you to get back up and face your fear again.

Every step down the path of entrepreneurship will try to break you.

You will not succeed without courage.


We are all selling something and the best sales people I know are all under 7 years old.

“Give me”
“Give me”
“Why not”
“Because what”
“Because I said”
“Because you said what”
“Just take it.”

Adults need psychological training to counter the selling skills of a child.

We all have to sell. Whether we do it for a living or not. If you cannot sell yourself, you cannot get a job. You cannot get a raise, you cannot find a spouse, you cannot publish that book, you cannot get anything you want if you cannot sell.

All successful business owners are salespeople first. They’ve had to sell their ideas or an opportunity. They’ve had to sell their companies to potential investors, employees, clients. They’ve had to sell themselves to lenders, to service providers, to you and most of all to themselves.

You cannot succeed if you cannot sell.

What more do you think it takes to guarantee success?

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Hi, I'm Tanya Ganian. I'm the founder of PoolsideBoss.com. I teach entrepreneurs how to build a brand and launch a business that generates leads and sales.