6 Habits of Successful People Worth Adopting

November 5, 2015

A recent Inc. article reveals 17 things successful people never stop doing.  Every single action featured in the article echoed one of Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principles.  Here are six actions to take immediately to grow your level of success.


Listening is necessary to learn, yet many people struggle to master active listening.  The ability to listen to understand rather than to respond is a trait of all successful people.  Dale Carnegie’s 7th Human Relations principle is to, ‘Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.’  Successful people are confident enough to realize that they are better off listening to what people have to say instead of telling them what they assume they want to hear.

Asking is something many people are too timid or lackadaisical to do.  Unsuccessful people are often passive.  Combining the actions of listening and learning, which is ‘active listening,’ enables successful people to pose clarification questions and demonstrate that they are paying attention.  Asking questions shows that a person is interested, which is the 8th Human Relations principle, ‘Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.’

Empathizing is critical to a person’s success.  A manager cannot inspire a team; a sales representative cannot sell to a customer and a speaker cannot compel an audience to take action, “without being able to put himself or herself into others’ shoes to see the world as they see it,” as the article states.  Dale Carnegie’s principle, ‘Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view,’ underscores the importance of the ability to empathize.  If we cannot picture the world as the audience does—whether one on one or in a large group, winning them to our way of thinking will be impossible.

Questioning reveals a person’s curiosity and desire to understand—and to be understood.  Dale Carnegie’s 25th principle is to ‘Ask questions instead of giving orders.’  While many leaders bark orders, successful leaders ask questions to ensure that employees understand what is expected of them.  They ask questions to uncover and eliminate assumptions, even if the question is, “Why not?” when pushing the envelope.

Thanking is something successful people do constantly because they know that gratitude garners affection, demonstrates humility and increases the likelihood of future success.  Successful people give gratitude to everyone—from the parking attendant to the senior member of the executive board.  ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ is the second Human Relations principle simply because two small words, ‘THANK YOU,’ pay huge dividends. 

Failing is something most people are afraid of doing, yet successful people understand that failure is inevitable.  There is no reward without taking risks.  Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”  Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before finally achieving success—thank goodness he understood that failure is paramount to success.  Hopefully now you do too.

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