A Publication of WTVP

Common Traits Among Highly Successful People

by Dee Brown |
Close-up of a lions face
Why is the lion the king of the jungle?

Highly successful people learn that success is a mindset. The person who thinks they can and the one who thinks they can’t are usually both right. Success begins with the mentality that you can and will win. Whatever obstacles are in your way, you must be utterly convinced you will conquer them.

I grew up in a rural Mississippi Delta community. If you looked around the impoverished community I came from, it is easy to develop a mindset that you can’t succeed at the highest level. When it came to succeeding at a high level in entrepreneurship there weren’t many examples for me to follow, but I knew if I worked hard, used my ingenuity, and took advantage of every opportunity I could be whatever I wanted to be. 

Cultivating a Mindset for Success 

I owe my success to continuous learning, discipline, resilience, and my mindset. I often tell the following story to illustrate how important mindset is: Why is the lion the king of the jungle? He isn’t the fastest; the fastest animal is the cheetah. He isn’t the smartest; the smartest animal is the orangutan. He isn’t the largest; the largest animal is the elephant. It is the lion’s mindset that makes him the king of the jungle. All the lion thinks about is being king. When the other animals see the lion, they think about running; and when the lion sees other animals he thinks about dinner. 

To be highly successful you must learn to have the mindset of a lion. I tell people all the time you can be faster, smarter, or stronger than I am, but I will always find a way to win. That is why I never stop learning, never allow myself lapses in discipline, and never allow failure to define me. 

Highly Successful People are Lifelong Learners 

Every industry is constantly evolving. To remain at the top, you must consistently look for ways to improve your skills. Continuing to educate yourself is critical to your success. Most people will not achieve success because they do not — or will not — read. People ask me questions without even taking time to look for the answers themselves. They come to me with their smart phone in their hands and ask questions, but they have not bothered to look for information. If you are not willing to dig for solutions, you will never be successful. 

Successful People are Highly Disciplined 

So many distractions cause us to veer off course. Discipline is the only thing that allows us to block out background noise and maintain focus. Most people do not have the discipline it takes to be successful. Developing good habits and executing them time and time again gives you a competitive advantage. When everyone else goes to the party, highly successful people go to bed, because they know that the early bird catches the worm. 

People start the pursuit of their dreams all the time, but very few have the discipline and consistency to see their dreams through to fruition. Whatever reason they give for quitting, their failure boils down to the lack of sticktoitiveness; and lack of consistency. Executing small daily actions consistently is critical to achieving success. I always tell my staff if you fail to do the small things you will not be able to succeed at doing big the things.   

Highly Successful People Can Overcome Failures 

Failure is going to happen. No one wins every time. If you plan to be successful, you must accept this fact and develop a mindset that allows you to bounce back. Successful people ultimately view their failures as a necessary ingredient in their successes. Through failure, you learn the meaning of resilience. 

Many people think success means you win all the time, but success is actually the process of overcoming a series of failures. People always want a shortcut. They want the secret to get rich quick. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to success. 

People who are highly successful give 150%. When it comes to achieving success, giving 100% makes you average. Everyone who is truly trying to achieve their goal is going to give 100%. Your competitive advantage comes through your willingness to give that extra 50%. 

Follow your dreams and find something that inspires you. Many people start a business to make money, but they do not enjoy what they do. I work every day because I love what I do. I love the challenges I face, and I love overcoming the obstacles I face. I am passionate about the impact my business has on the communities I serve, and that is a great motivator for me. Find something you are passionate about and never give up on your dreams.

Dee Brown

Dee Brown

is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, philanthropist and host of the WTVP program Self-Made with Dee Brown CEO. He is president and CEO of The P3 Group Inc. in Memphis, the nation’s largest minority-owned development and construction firm.
A member of the Forbes Business Council