What's the difference between those people who build successful lives and those who often fail? What do those Rags-to-Riches people have in common? Is it luck? Or is it something else? I've always had a passion for studying the traits of my own role-models and trying to connect the common thread that runs through each of them.

Being a food-lover and amateur chef, I've had the experience of going to a barbeque cook-off contest while visiting Texas not so long ago. The rules were simple: ribs + heat + seasoning. Over 150 contestants spent countless hours over the grill to produce that winning flavor, but only one was selected as the grand champion. Where am I going with this? Well, in terms of success, the raw ingredients don't change much. It's the unique blend of those ingredients and the correct application of heat that produces a tasty delight. Successful people are able to take those raw ingredients of life that are readily available to any of us and through their own creativity, transform their dreams into something tangible and real. Just as the rib cook-off has certain elements that don't change, such as ribs, heat, and seasoning; so does the recipe for successful living have similar constants. I'll share with you those constants that all successful people have in common and it's up to you to tweak that recipe to create your own winning recipe.


A good friend of mine, John, one of the most intelligent people I know, graduated from medical school at the top of his class and became a prominent cardiologist. Successful right? Well, he didn't think so. He hated being stressed out at work, the long hours, and as it turned out, his profession was never his dream at all, rather it was the pressure and expectation of his family to become a physician. One particularly emotional talk we had, John nearly broke down in tears at how unhappy his professional life was. I asked him where his true passion lay and I stressed to him what my own father had taught me that success is not found in a title, but rather in reaching self-fulfillment. A month later, John quit his career as a cardiologist and pursued his love of sport fishing by moving to the countryside and opening up his own sport fishing company and has never been happier or more successful in his entire life. John's story outlines one of the most important ingredients that all successful people have in common a passion for life and a passion to pursue their interests. Their passion becomes their motivating force that makes that success happen. A successful entrepreneur once told me, If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen. Passion is the magic that makes you IGNORE all the odds of your dream not coming true and spurs the creative juices in your mind to examine the ways that CAN make it come true.

No Give Up

This was actually a motto of a Japanese martial arts Sensei of mine, pertaining to surviving a violent encounter with an opponent against all odds. Every successful person has dealt with their share of setbacks, obstacles, barriers, and burn-outs no different than anyone else. It's these challenges that prevent the majority of people from achieving their dreams in life. Think of it as a marathon. Some people start off fast and after the first mile or two, run out of steam. Some trip and fall and become too devastated to pick themselves up and finish the race. Others simply give up because its too far. The ones who finish the race, pace themselves and concentrate on only one thing making it to the finish line. When you commit yourself to a goal, also commit yourself to sticking with that goal through thick or thin, no matter what happens. That's the difference between the average and the above-average the ability not to lose sight of their goal when those inevitable challenges arise.

The Thirst for More Knowledge

Having a thirst for knowledge does not mean that all successful people have a lot, or any, formal education or long strings of letters behind their name. It means that all successful people have the thirst to know more about their passion by educating themselves about it, whether it be in the university lecture hall, through books, or out on the streets interacting with people. Successful people have minds like sponges they keep absorbing more and more knowledge about their passions. They never assume that they know everything and they keep on learning. It's interesting to know that many of these successful people are lovers of books and have a great collection of books that could pass for a small library. You don't need to have a degree, or to even graduate from high school to be successful. What you need is the thirst to learn and to keep on learning.

Being Flexible

I don't mean that all successful people practice yoga. What is meant here is that life is dynamic meaning that it always changes and it is unpredictable. Successful people realize that even the best plans can fall through due to unexpectancies that might occur. Successful people have the ability to be flexible with their plans and constantly change them so that they conform to their changing environment. A good fighter might use one type of strategy to overcome his opponent, but that strategy might not always work. A skilled fighter knows how to immediately switch to a different tactic to gain control. That's the power of being flexible. Don't lock yourself or your plans in stone instead make them flexible to meet the dynamically changing world.

Not Being Afraid to Take Risks

The last common thread of highly successful people is that they are not afraid to take calculated risks. This does not mean that successful people are reckless with their futures, but simply that when the possibility comes around for them to take one step towards their dream; they are not afraid to take that step. We are all faced with similar opportunities on a regular basis. It's our fear of change our fear of the unexpected, that prevents us from taking those steps towards our dreams. When the possibility for a better future comes along, don't be afraid to take on the burden of uncertainty, for life itself is an uncertain thing. It's only our minds that seek solidarity and consistency. Break this mold and you will be one step closer to personal success. Don't be afraid to take risks in life.

Author's Bio: 

Tristan Loo is the founder & CEO of the Synergy Institute, LLC, a Personal Development Firm based out of San Diego County, Calfornia. Tristan is a former police officer, author, professional mediator, and conflict negotiator. He is the author of Street Negotiation--How to Resolve Any Conflict Anytime. Please visit our website at http://www.synergyinstituteonline.com or email us directly at info@acrsonline.com