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What skills do you need for success?

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What is the most important skill you need to have to be successful?

I have researched this topic for a long time: I have read many international bestseller books on personal development, followed various influential people on social media and talked to some of them to determine what the top skill they need to master.

Some say it’s a continuous adaptation, others say it’s discipline, self-control, perseverance, the way you communicate with people, leadership, and so on.

From my point of view, to be successful you need to master all the skills mentioned above as well as many others because each contributes to a greater or lesser extent to our success.

But let’s take them one at a time:



It all starts with a strong and burning desire to do something. That something can be a material thing as well as achieving a victory or reaching a certain level or status in society.

Without having a desire or without wanting or wishing for something, it is impossible to think further and dream with our eyes open.

Desire comes from within. It can also have external influences, but if you want to do something, it must come from you.

There are many people who want to see their friends in a better condition…they want to help them by giving them advice or a nudge from behind.

Likewise, parents want the best for their children.

Unfortunately, we want something for someone else in vain. In vain we want to help a person who does not want to be helped. I have come to the conclusion that it is a waste of time and energy to convince someone of a certain thing or to try to bring them “on the right path”.

If you really want to get a person to act or do something, you will have to make that person want it through influence, not control.

Let’s take tobacco as an example: a smoker is aware that smoking is harmful to his body and is also expensive. In vain you tell him that it is unhealthy, in vain you show him what can happen and in vain you forbid him to do it again because he will find a way to smoke.

What can you do instead? You could try to “plant a seed” in his thoughts and influence him to want something different: maybe better physical condition, maybe victory in a marathon, or who knows. That desire must be stronger than the desire to smoke and slowly you may be able to convince him to stop smoking.

Of course, desire is not a skill, but it is necessary to initiate the whole process that will follow.



1. Adaptability

For more than 300,000 years since the discovery of “homo sapiens”, humans have adapted to all possible conditions depending on: weather, natural resources, viruses, calamities, wars, and more.

We are the result of thousands of years of evolution and have extraordinary capabilities to do great things. Adaptability is the skill needed at all times, regardless of peace, war, prosperity, economic crisis, etc.

The faster you adapt to all the big changes that are happening, the better you will manage and progress.

To be successful in the long term you have to determine what are the things that will work in the next 30-50 years from now because what you do now, what you learn now, depends a lot on the trends and predictions about the future.

We see how technology evolves faster and faster. 20 years ago it seemed “sci-fi” to have Bluetooth headphones, tablets, touchscreen phones, autonomous electric cars, and more. Artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, simplify work, and automate tasks, and at the same time industries are changing and human labor will no longer be needed in many fields.


2. Ability to solve problems

People have always faced problems. As long as you know how to solve people’s problems, you will have (that word) a living to put on the table. And now you know very well that in fact your job or the work you do for your boss, your client, or for a specific person is nothing more than an exchange of resources: you use your skills and knowledge, time and energy to solve a problem, and in exchange for them you are remunerated.

If you want to be really successful, you have to find a way to solve the problem you know very well, to be able to solve it as often as possible, to help as many people as possible, using as little of your limited resources as possible. That means creating systems to help you get your tasks done. And those systems don’t boil down to anything other than starting your own business.

Of course, here a lot also depends on the field you choose and the market. Make sure there is demand for the problems you want to solve. Make sure you can meet the demand and that it is a continuous long-term one. Make sure you have a competitive edge to be able to stand in the market and make sure you solve those problems by providing satisfaction and pleasing your customers, partners, and managers.


3. Discipline

To be successful you have to make compromises. You have to reshape yourself and rebuild your lifestyle. You need discipline, and discipline is nothing but a combination of self-control, perseverance, and determination.

That is, you have to do what you know needs to be done no matter how you feel, no matter if you don’t feel like it or if you feel tired. You have to be there, present, day in and day out, doing those things that inevitably become monotonous. Although monotony and boredom are part of the game of success, people are used to seeing only the end results: moments of appreciation, ecstasy, joy… vacations, etc.

Unfortunately, those are mostly brief and fleeting moments obtained after a long process requiring sweat, effort, action, energy consumed, etc.

To learn to be disciplined, the easiest possible way I recommend is this: learn to control your hunger and gradually get used to doing hard things.


  • 1 day of the week do not eat anything; all you can consume is plain water (let 24 hours pass since the last meal; including sleep during the night)
  • refrain from feeding your mind and feed your body: when we feed the mind, we eat things we crave; when we nourish the body, we eat things we need (vegetables, fruits, organic and unprocessed food)

There would be other examples to improve your discipline through different routine activities: going to the gym 3-5 times a week, without exception; making your bed in the morning right after you wake up; waking up at the same time in the morning and going to bed at the same time;



4. Communication skills

Effective communication involves active listening (i.e. being silent and actually listening to what the other person has to say before you respond), understanding and openness (i.e. being understanding and seeing things from the other person’s point of view, not just from your own perspective), conveying ideas clearly (ie speaking in the language of your interlocutor so that he/she understands what you have to say and be very clear, leave no room for interpretation and understand that it is possible that he/she does not know what you know, so be explicit).

Communication plays a very important role in our daily lives. Although we have been communicating since we were little, there are still people of different ages who are not able to communicate properly.

Communication does not only mean taking over and transmitting raw information but also involves how the information is transmitted or received:

  • body language
  • tone of voice
  • facial expressions
  • figures of speech and expressions used
  • the chosen words
  • accentuation
  • rhythm and fluency

It may seem like a no-brainer in theory. Sometimes we watch successful people give speeches in front of huge audiences and it seems easy, but it’s not like that at all. Depending on the context of the communication, the message you want to convey, and the objective you want to achieve from the communication, things can become very complex and the pressure is on.

When you are stared at by thousands of eyes and you know that whatever you say or do can have an effect on yourself, you start to have problems: you tremble, your pulse rises, your vision blurs, and you lose control… To communicate effectively you need exercise and practice. You need to get out of your comfort zone and prepare for your peak moments when you communicate in front of a large audience. With practice, things become much easier.



5. Interpersonal skills

Here I mean communication and teamwork skills, including leadership. To be successful you need to master these skills:

  • to learn to let go and not be self-centered
  • learn to give feedback without inciting hatred or unbalancing the team
  • to listen to those around you and express your point of view
  • reach a common denominator to achieve the team’s common goal

Of course, the other skills that are complementary also come into play here: communication, adaptability, problem-solving, time management, creativity, etc.


time management

6. Time and energy management

Time and energy are the only limited resources that we must manage properly to be successful. It is very important to know what exactly you use your energy for and for how long. The choices you make and the decisions you make about your time are directly proportional to the success you have.

Knowing how to properly manage your time and energy includes (and is not limited to) the following:

  • learn to say “No” to invitations/proposals or offers that do not relate
  • to what you need or your personal goals and objectives
  • remember to set aside time for breaks and rest (sleep those 8 hours at night)
  • plan your day and organize your daily tasks



7. Creativity

Man in himself has a creative role. Even if we live in a world of consumerism, creativity is colossal to be successful. When I talk about creativity I mean everything that it provides.

Successful people are creative people. They are people who use what they have learned to take action and create useful things for other people. Only through creativity can the products we buy, the tools we use, the movies and series we watch, the books we read…

Learn to create. From the simple notes, you jot down in your notebook or on your phone, start with them, and create things that help other people.

You can contribute to this ecosystem by providing information, and inspiring or provoking emotions in people. At the end of the day, you earn a lot more if you create and if you do it every day.




Mindset / Mentality

I end this article by reminding you once again how important is the mindset that we form and improve every day. A healthy and successful mindset brings with it the mastery of all the skills mentioned above (and more).

It provides an openness and an overview of the things that surround us.

It means fighting fears and overcoming self-induced or time-formed personal limits.

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