Consistency – Consistency is both the fuel and the measuring stick that determines the feats of success that are remembered throughout history. Completing hard goals once creates a great list of accomplishments. Completing hard goals consistently creates great people.
Listening vs Talking Ratio – Without exception, the smartest people that I know are the ones who listen the most and talk the least. They may only make one comment during a group discussion but more often than not, it the most important and insightful comment this is contributed. When I have challenged myself to listen more (a skill I still need to improve), I have noticed that much of what is said as a statement, is, in fact, a question. Stating a question as a statement is a common way for people to test the validity of their thoughts. This mismatch of connotation is an extremely potent and contagious way for people to spread mediocre ideas to a large multitude of people.
Credit Received vs Credit Given Ratio – The most important trait of many great leaders is that they take credit when it is truly earned but are quick to give credit to others when they are wrongly credited. In a world where it is simply easier to treat figureheads as pop culture pseudo-Gods (Musk, Trudeau, Merkel, Ma), it is far more important to give credit to the team members who boost their leaders on their shoulders. Every person has an upper limit of what they can accomplish alone, great leaders must not forget this and should honor the work of the team that is enabling them to reach the higher levels of earned celebrity.
Humbleness – Throughout history, a countless number of men and women have accomplished great things. Accomplishing something great is no longer novel. It is a rare breed of people who can accomplish something great, distribute the credit truthfully and then take the entire experience in the context of crowded human history and then get on with their day.
Actions vs Words Ratio – While actions do indeed speak louder than words, that doesn’t stop people from making up for the difference by just speaking more words and making more empty promises. In the same way that an insult usually hurts more than a compliment feels good, a broken promise usually hurts more than a promise that is kept.
Completion Rate – Anyone can talk about doing something, a lot of people can work on something but it is a rare group of people who can consistently finish something. Founding something is great and often celebrated in pop culture but I think the far more successful people are those that finish what they start.
Treatment of the Less Fortunate – Just because you have climbed your way up the ladder of humanity doesn’t mean you are better than all of those who are on a lower rung than you. Chance, circumstance, and enablement by others are just as important to climbing the ladder of success as grit or intelligence are to reaching traditionally defined success. Those who don’t acknowledge this and feel superior to those who are less fortunate than them completely miss the point of humanity.
Hope – The greatest measurement of success is one’s propensity to be hopeful. This is the only root trait that makes a difference in driving humanity forward.