There has been lots of research on the characteristics of successful people. Most studies focus on personal characteristics such as bravery, hard work, flexibility, passion, and motivation, which are all indicators of happy and confident people, but there is more to success than personal characteristics.
What transforms an ordinary person into a successful one? There are three painful life circumstances that are predictors of success.
You have crazy stories to share:
Our strengths, weaknesses, goals, and motivations flow from our life experiences. People who expose themselves to novelty, who take seemingly random risks, who do out-of-the-norm things, and who in general refuse to repeat life as day-in and day-out routines often have crazy stories to share.
Such people don’t just expose themselves to unusual circumstances; they are excited about the exposure and enjoy sharing their stories with their friends and families. This one isn’t necessarily painful, though increasing the odds of a good-crazy story increases the chances of a bad one. Either way, if you are one of those people with crazy stories to share, you are more likely to have what it takes to be successful in life.
There was or is a toxic person in your life:
This is one of the life’s most painful and challenging situations. In an adult relationship, you might find yourself mistreated, neglected or heart-broken. Your partner might be abusive. These things can be terribly damaging and leave scars that last a lifetime.
But they can also push you in the direction of success. The power it takes to identify toxic people and the courage it takes to stay away from them and contain their negativity are fundamental characteristics of successful people.
Toxic people can fill us with anger, and sometimes that anger impels us to want to prove them wrong: We are not who they think we are and we will not empower them by letting them take us down. Once you have decided to prove them wrong, you are ready to take charge of your life. You are willing to “be somebody nobody thought you could be.”
Anger is perceived as a negative emotion, but it serves a purpose. Anger can be one of the most energizing and powerful emotions. Anger amplifies our power to do harm and do good. If instead of expressing anger by lashing out you use it to pursue a goal in life, you will win.
Many women go back to school or work hard towards other targets after a breakup or divorce. Some of the most successful people in caring professions like counseling and social work are people who were hurt and then decided to get back on their feet and help others.
If there is a toxic person in your life who hurts or angers you, don’t let them stop you from becoming who you want to be. Use the anger and the energy to move forward.
Every great story has a villain. Turn the toxic people in your life into devices to move your plot along.
You have suffered in your life:
And that’s okay. There is a greater chance that you will be successful in life if you have suffered.
Successful people have often experienced poverty, interpersonal problems, a difficult upbringing, illness, oppression and more. In many cases, that makes it easier to have empathy for the people around them. They can make better connections, and better connections are keys to more success.
Finally, let’s face it, only those who have suffered and overcome get the full pleasure of success.
Keep in mind and tell yourself, I am stronger because I had to be, I am smarter because of my mistakes, happier because I have known sadness, and wiser for all my lessons.