We know there are certain habits that the most successful people tend to share. But if you're looking to emulate those habits, you've probably run up against an obstacle: they often seem to contradict each other. To achieve your own wild success, you need to understand how they all fit together.
Here are the eight most common sets of conflicting habits shared by successful people:
1. They're mellow but they know how to be blunt. They understand that you can be mellow and speak plainly. You don't always have to be loud to make your point; you can spend most of your time in quiet agreement, then speak your mind straight out when it's important. If you're always dialed up to the highest volume people will stop listening to you, but if you know when to say what, and how, people will listen.
2. They're passionate but they know how to be objective. Many people believe that passionate people are by nature emotional, high-energy, frenzied people with one thing on their mind. That stereotype may be true in some cases, but successful people balance their passion with objectivity. They know how to be unbiased and pragmatic when they need to be. Even if their passion is second to none, they can detach if it will help bring their goals within reach.
3. They're rational thinkers but rely on their intuitive mind. Most successful people are gifted rational thinkers. They are reasonable about what they want to accomplish, practical and process oriented. But they seem to consider their sixth sense a secret weapon--this instinct, this gut feelings that overrides any rational thought and once in a while holds the solution they need. Successful people make use of both sides of their thinking.
4. They have high energy but a calm demeanor. Show me a successful person and I'll show you someone with vitality and vivacity, backed up with a calm drive and gentle ardor. It's the combination that makes the successful truly successful. They have exuberance and strength, enthusiasm and pragmatism. Their energy is intense but always controlled and focused, never scattershot or frazzled.
5. They work hard and play hard. Unless you're tremendously lucky, success requires hard work and long hours over many years of dedication and determination. You might think that wouldn't leave time for anything else, but successful people know how to take breaks and regroup to keep their drive up. You won't see them looking at their phone checking email when they're on vacation or out with friends or spending time with their families. They let go so they can come back fresh and energized.
6. They're introverts who come across as extroverts. How many times have you heard a truly successful person--one who's constantly in the spotlight, who speaks in front of large crowds and leads thousands of people--say "Oh, I'm really an introvert"? Most successful people are introverts by nature who have taught themselves to act like extroverts when they need to. It makes sense; you need to be available and accessible, but you also need time to reflect and be mindful. Successful people seek the balance between the two extremes.
7. They may not speak much but they have a lot to say. If you observe people in groups, you've probably noticed that the smartest and most successful person in the room is often doing more listening than talking. It's not they don't have anything to say, but that they know they can learn more by listening. Most successful people have acquired a lot of wisdom on their journey and many of them are happy to share it. But they know that if they want to keep learning, they need to listen more than they speak.
8. They're modest but proud. Taking pride in your work is important for success and achieving goals; it's what drives people to do better and be more. But a proud person can also be humble. It takes a well-grounded person to strike the right balance. One thing to watch for is that successful people know that what they accomplished took a team. They don't try to pretend they got where they are on their own, and this truth keeps them humble.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." As you work to develop your own style of leadership and success, learn to embrace your own contradictions and let them add depth and texture to everything you do.