Being a successful young person is an uphill battle.
For every person that gives you a shot, there are ten that don't believe you have what it takes yet. They would prefer it if you just stayed the course like everyone else. They want your success to take as long as theirs did.
But part of being "successful" is knowing your own potential, and being able to trust yourself enough to take risks--even when everyone around you insists that you would be wrong for doing so.
If you look closely, successful Millennials share a handful of things in common. Some of those traits are inherent in this specific generation. Others are learned behaviors, and the result of many years spent going against the grain. Success, in itself, is not something you're "born" with--even if you're born into wealth. Success is a mindset, and the result of daily habits that sculpt you into the person you want to become.
So, if you are a Millennial and you want to become successful, then these are the 7 personality traits you should work to acquire for yourself:
1. Confident yet humble.
In order to be successful, at anything, you have to be confident. However, there is a difference between "confidence" and "arrogance"--and that difference comes down to humility.
Without humility, and one eye constantly reflecting on yourself and your actions, you will be nothing more than another arrogant Millennial (the kind Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers can't stand).
Go after your goals with plenty of passion. Just remember to be humble about your pursuits. When you're young, people have every reason to hate on you. Humility will help you even the playing field.
2. Thick-skinned without a chip on your shoulder.
Having think skin is going to be necessary for you to endure the amount of times you're going to hear the word "No."
However, having thick skin and having a chip on your shoulder are two different things. Millennials that operate from that "I've got something to prove" attitude tend to repel more people than they do attract comrades and willing mentors. A chip on your shoulder does nothing but make your own journey more difficult.
Thick skin, on the other hand, is having the maturity to hear feedback in a way that doesn't react out of insecurity. You can hear the other person, consider their thoughts and perspectives, and apply them to your life as you see fit.
3. Driven while preserving your relationships.
No one succeeds alone.
In order to make your dreams come true, you're going to have to be so driven that no one can get in your way. But if you lose all your friends in the process, nothing you achieve is going to feel the same. Being driven is great--to a point.
Part of being truly successful is being able to balance the things that make life worth living (friends, family, etc.) with your own personal goals. Don't forget: those people you call your friends were the first to support you.
4. Compassionate, without seeing it as a weakness.
It's unfortunate how many people (and not just Millennials, but every generation) sees compassion as a weakness--as if looking at the situation through someone else's eyes is a bad thing.
But compassion is one of the most powerful traits of a leader, especially a young one. Compassion is what helps others around you feel heard, and more willing to help you. Compassion is what resolves conflicts the fastest. Compassion is a sign of maturity and growth, and to think that you can succeed by just plowing forward is a short-sighted tactic.
5. Highly tactical and mindfully strategic.
Being tactical is understanding what you need to do today, in order to get to where you want to be tomorrow.
Being strategic is understanding where you want to be a year, three years, five years from now, and being able to reverse engineer how to get there.
Anyone successful looks at every endeavor through both lenses. They play the long game and the short game, and understand when they're making decisions for the moment versus decisions that aim toward a much larger goal.
6. Business-minded and creatively expressive.
They don't teach you the business side of things in art school (I would know--my major was creative writing).
They also don't teach you how to be creative in business school.
Thinking that you can succeed with one and not the other is an old way of thinking. Part of "winning" in today's business world is being creative, and part of "winning" as a creative thinker in today's world requires being educated on the business end.
Successful Millennials prioritize learning (and maintaining) both. In fact, they seek out opportunities that teach them what they still don't know, so that they can be more educated and self-sufficient.
7. Technologically fluent, but not addicted.
And finally, successful Millennials know the digital realm inside and out--but they don't spend all day glued to their social media feeds.
Because their time is valuable, and they want to invest it in what matters.
Being a consumer is not the same as being intentional with your consumption. Consumers just scroll and scroll and scroll. You can be more intentional with your consumption, engaging enough to stay aware of what's happening in the digital world without being consumed by it.
Successful Millennials know this balance well, and train themselves not to fall victim to technology. Instead, they master habits that ensure their fluency remains, while still getting done what they need to get done.