The 7 Traits of Successful People

by | May 27, 2020


My youngest daughter graduated from high school (Whitfield School) last evening. It’s been tough for the class of 2020 as the usual rituals and milestones surrounding graduating have been upset by the pandemic. None of us expected that we’d be watching a virtual graduation on a tv screen when 2020 began. Hopefully, colleges can open safely in the fall.

The commencement speaker at last night’s graduation was Nancy Friedman, who runs a customer service consulting firm, is a regular keynote speaker, and is grandmother to one of the graduates. I love a good commencement speech (here’s a prior IFOD about great commencement speeches) and Nancy delivered a very good one. Her presentation was about the seven traits successful people have in common. Here they are:

1. Demonstrate Energy, Humor and Enthusiasm. These are three things that most successful people have. We are drawn to people who embody these three things.

2. Be A Double Checker. Don’t believe everything you hear. Double check statements and assertions to make sure they are true.

3. Choose Your Attitude in Advance. And make it a good one — it is critical to have a good attitude. Attitude is the only thing in this world that you alone can decide on. You have total power over your attitude. Attitude is not the same as a mood: attitudes are permanent and moods are temporary.

4. Visualize Success. Think about the success you want to have and then commit yourself to working hard. Success takes hard work.

5. Embrace Change. Expect for change to happen. Accept that life is about change. Change will be with you for your entire life.

6. Resist Negative Tendencies. Avoid emotional leakage, which is getting mad a person A and then taking it out on person B.

7. Be Grateful For What You Have. Successful people have no room for jealousy.

Three Main Principles to Live By

In addition to the message conveyed by Nancy, I also really appreciated the message by one of my daughter’s favorite teachers, Dr. Michal Kwiecien. Dr. K shared three main principles by which to live:

One: To be kind is always right and to hate is wrong

Two: Justice can only obtained by learning about people who may be different from us

Three: We should always confirm by our actions what we proclaim in words


  1. I love this. #6 reminds me of a rule I try to live by that helps keep me from taking out my frustration on an innocent bystander and that is speaking directly to the person I have an issue with as soon as possible. I explain what I saw or experienced and how I felt and then give them an opportunity to respond. It keeps me from making up stories (usually negative) about the other person’s motives and triangulating by complaining to other people about them rather than going to the source to clear the air. It’s not easy and yet I find it a very efficient way to live.

    Congratulations to your daughter!

  2. An excellent blog post! Spot on advice! And, sorely needed for our youth today!

  3. Congratulations on your daughters graduation! May she thrive and get to attend college in person in the fall!

  4. I hope your daughter had a great experience at Whitfield. It was/is a special place to me. Nancy’s grandkids were students at Whitfield when I was there – super family.


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