What contributes to one’s success is a complex matter. Skill level, attitude, social deftness, one’s ability to listen and to take initiative represent just a few of the innumerable qualities that can contribute to favorable outcomes in one’s career.

But according to Travis Bradberry, the president at TalentSmart and the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, an important attribute in the quest for achieving success is the ability to manage emotions and remain calm especially while under pressure. TalentSmart studied over a million subjects and found that the “upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence.” Indeed, the company’s research found that a whopping 90 percent of top performers demonstrate high emotional intelligence. So, here are a few of the behavioral patterns observed–specifically, things that highly successful people deliberately avoid in order to remain calm and controlled in all circumstances.

Avoid living in the past

Sometimes it’s quite a challenge to overcome the perceived failures of the past. People often prefer to stick with what’s safe and comfortable. But according to Bradberry, “Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past.” He continues, “Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow [past disappointments] to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.”

Don’t dwell on problems or holding grudges

What you choose to focus your attention on directly affects you emotional state. Therefore, Bradberry says, “When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance.” In other words, simply taking steps to seek solutions can make a big difference in both how you feel and in what you accomplish.

Similarly, those who tend to be successful avoid holding grudges. He explains that when you repeatedly relive a negative conversation or experience, you trigger a fight-or-flight physical response. “When a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time,” he states.

Don’t say “yes” too often

Studies have shown that people who overextend themselves increase their chances of feeling stressed out and depressed. Although it can be surprisingly hard for people to say “no” to others in various circumstances, Bradberry insists it’s a “powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield.” Successful people don’t soften their “no” responses with explanations like, “I’m sorry but I don’t think I can….” Rather, they are direct and stand firm knowing they are prioritizing the fulfillment of their current responsibilities and commitments.

Don’t get stuck on the idea of perfection

It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect–nor is anyone’s work without its flaws. Bradberry’s wisdom imparted to perfectionists might help them to see the bigger picture, and better appreciate their efforts. He says, “Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.”

Avoid negative people

As you’ve surely noticed, people who tend to complain as a matter of habit can really bring you down. “They wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves, “ Bradberry says. If you find yourself feeling obliged to listen to persistent complaints out of a desire to be polite, kind, and sensitive, he reminds us, “There’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.” He recommends people keep a distance from chronic complainers much the same way one might purposefully keep away from a chainsmoker.

In the spirit of avoiding negative people, here is a video clip created by entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David that addresses “eight personality traits that repel good people out of your life.”

 

Comments

comments