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By Michael Yardney

18 Habits of Exceptionally Successful People

Success means different things to different people, but there are timeless truths about what it takes to get to the top.

And I’m not just talking about property today but about all elements of your life.


One of the most successful books of all time about success is "Think and Grow Rich" which was written nearly 80 years ago by Napoleon Hill.

Hill explored the traits that lead to exceptional success in this book and other texts and lecture series.

Here are 18 of them…

1. Successful people have purpose

According to Hill, we can all become very successful if we would just make up our minds about how much success we wanted, how we define it and on what terms we wanted to evaluate success.

He explains that all successful people started with a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, planning, and desiring before they became rich.

They imagined riches before they saw them in their bank accounts, Hill explains:

“Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognise failure, will bring riches.”

2. They have faith.

Growing rich and successful starts with your mindset — with belief and faith that you can accumulate wealth according to Hill who says that “if you can imagine it, you can create it.”

3. They are decision-makers

A key trait in all the successful people Hill studied was decisiveness.

They don’t procrastinate, since they recognise making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all.

Business Decisions

4. They gain specialised knowledge 
Successful people focus their attention and energy and become experts in one field rather than diversifying.

They tend to be voracious readers and never stop learning but recognise that education and knowledge are only potential power.

The real power comes from taking action and implementing that knowledge.

5. They’re not the smartest person in their team

There are often big egos at the top of the tree, but the ultra-successful seek out other smart people whose capabilities and talents complement their own.

They then form Mastermind groups with people who share their vision, recognising that a group of creative minds are exponentially more powerful than one,

6. They exhibit self-control

Exceptionally successful people know how to control their emotions, not letting disappointments crush their spirits or achievements lead to cockiness.

They understand that self-control is a muscle, which when exercised gets stronger.

They know that pursuing a dream and the goals around this dream increases self-control.


7. They don't give up

Hill says it’s not only necessary to withstand difficulty but to use your setbacks as motivation to try even harder.

8. They find productive uses for their creativity

Successful people make an impact on the world by finding ways to direct their imagination to “definite and constructive ends”.

Thinking isn’t really enough – you can’t just “Think and Grow Rich.”

You need to use your specialised knowledge in a productive way.

9. They are open

According to Hill, to be a great thinker, you need to have an open mind on all subjects and all people.

That’s why successful people are not quick to judge others.

Instead, they independently gather all of the information they need about a person or a topic before forming an opinion.

10. They are active listeners

The most successful people don’t use conversations to fuel their own self-worth, but rather as a way of learning from another person.

11. They learn from their mistakes

A key difference between those who achieve their purpose and those who fall short is the perception of mistakes as worthwhile educational experiences rather than humiliating failures.


12. They are not afraid of criticism

Hill says if you aspire to do something noteworthy in your field, you will draw criticism regardless of who you are or how well you do your job.

Exceptionally successful people aren’t overly concerned with critical remarks, but they do pay attention to ones that have merit and learn lessons from them.

13. They practice loyalty

When it comes to loyalty, successful people understand who has a right to theirs.

This may be someone who helped them climb the ladder or who acted as a mentor to them, but no matter how successful they become they remember and respect that person and remain loyal to them.

14. Charisma goes a long way

Believe it or not…charismatic people aren't born that way.

Instead, they adopt the practices of listening closely to whoever is speaking as well as being sympathetic to their perspectives.

15. Details matter

As well as having a big picture focus, successful people also pay attention to the details “Continually observing all that is happening around him, the good things and the bad things, the positives and the negatives,” Hill says.

16. They accept responsibility 

They don’t blame others or act “the victim” – instead, they accept the blame if it’s due.

According to Hill, success requires no explanations; failure permits no alibis.

Take Responsibility For Their Mistakes

17. They're not jealous

Exceptionally successful people are comfortable with themselves and don't seek praise from others or become jealous of their peer's success.

In fact, they admire other successful people.

18. Self-reliance

The upper echelon of successful people has a degree of self-reliance that allows them to pursue their definite purpose regardless of any circumstances or naysayers.

They trust their “sixth sense” as Hill calls it.

There you have it….18 traits of successful people.

And the good news is that Hill believed that people were born with these traits but could learn them.

So now it’s up to you…

One of the traits of successful people is they surround themselves with exceptional people and form Mastermind Groups.

That’s because alone you are vulnerable; connected we are strong.

That’s because it’s really easy it is to fall back into old habits and let negative outside influences dramatically impact our mindset and financial results when we are on our own.

Unfortunately, many investors think they have to do it all themselves or learn it all themselves.

Partly because they think they know better than others or maybe it’s because they are not hanging around the right people – supportive, encouraging people.

And these get harder to find, the more successful you are.

But we cannot be our best selves in isolation from the world.

We need other people.

The key is making sure we're spending time with people who inspire, empower, and encourage us.

That’s why I suggest you join me at Wealth Retreat 2023 on the Gold Coast from 29th April to 3rd May when you’ll spend 5 days with the best faculty I’ve put together plus a small group of like-minded people – a room of movers and shakers

If you are already a property investor, a business person or an entrepreneur please Wealth Retreat to find out about Wealth Retreat 2023 and register your interest online join us at Australia’s ultimate learning and networking event for investors and entrepreneurs.

Or ring my assistant Jo Fitt on 03 9591 8888 or email her [email protected] to register your interest and find out more.

About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.

I’m reading this one now! I’m loving every book recommended so far. You’re the first person in my world that has ever told me to dream big and go for it! Then dream bigger again and achieve the impossible! I’d like to to take up wealth retreat. W ...Read full version

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I quite like your articles, but without fail every article I read has a typo and I find that lack of attention to detail annoying.

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Your thoughts are reflecting success in your own self. Your ideas are motivating and encouraging. Nice listening to your 7 minutes YouTube video. Looking forward to subscribing your channel and get inspired. Thanks

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