Tony Robbins on the 7 Traits of Success



“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

If you want to succeed in a sustainable way, you have to develop a set of success traits that will support you for life.

Rather than fleeting success or lucking into success, you can develop the traits for success that will serve you time and again, when you need them most.

They’ll help you get back up when you get knocked down.  They’ll help you change your approach when it’s not working.

They’ll help you focus on what’s important.

They’ll help you get clear on what you really want and keep taking action towards your goals.

In the book, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins shares the 7 success traits that people who succeed have cultivated in themselves to give them the fire to do whatever it takes to succeed, time and time again.

The 7 traits of successful people are:

1. Passion!

There is no greatness without a passion to be great.

Robbins writes:

“All of these people have discovered a reason, a consuming, energizing, almost obsessive purpose that drives them to do, to grow, and to be more!

It gives them the fuel that powers their success train and causes them to tap their true potential. … There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessman.”

2. Belief.

Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  What we believe to be true, becomes true.

Robbins writes:

“Every religious book on the planet talks about the power and effect of faith and belief on mankind.  People who succeed on a major scale differ greatly in their beliefs from those who fail. 

Our beliefs about what we are and what we can be precisely determine what we will be. 

If we believe in magic, we’ll live a magical life.  If we believe our life is defined by narrow limits, we’ve suddenly made those limits real. 

What we believe to be true, what we believe is possible, becomes what’s true, becomes what’s possible.”

3.  Strategy

You need the right recipe for the results you want.

Robbins writes:

“A strategy is  a way of organizing resources.  When Steven Spielberg decided to become a film-maker, he mapped out a course that would lead to the world he wanted to conquer. 

He figured out what he wanted to learn, whom he needed to know, and what he needed to do. 

He had passion, and he had belief, but he also had the strategy that made those things work to their greatest potential. 

… Every great entertainer, politician, parent, or employer knows it’s not enough to have the resources to succeed. 

One must use those resources in the most effective way.  A strategy is a recognition that the best talents and ambitions also need to find the right avenue. 

You can open a door by breaking it down, or you can find the key that opens it intact.”

4. Clarity of Values

The great successes are clear on what really matters.  And they make decisions and choose paths based on their values.

Robbins writes:

“Values are specific belief systems we have about what is right and wrong for our lives.  They’re the judgments we make about what makes life worth living.  Many people do not have a clear idea of what is important to them. 

Often individuals do things that afterwards they are unhappy with themselves about simply because they are not clear about what they unconsciously believe is right for them and others. 

When we look at great successes, they are almost always people with a clear fundamental sense about what really matters.

… They all have had different visions, but what they have in common is a fundamental moral grounding, a sense of who they are and why they do what they do. 

An understanding of values is one of the most rewarding and challenging keys to achieving excellence.”

5. Energy.

The great successes have great energy.

Robbins writes:

“People of excellence take opportunities and shape them.  They live as if obsessed with the wondrous opportunities each day and the recognition that the one thing no one has enough of is time.  

There are many people who have a passion they believe in. 

They know the strategy that would ensure it, and their values are aligned, but they just don’t have the physical vitality to take action on what they know.  

Great success is inseparable from the physical, intellectual, and spiritual energy that allows us to make the most of what we have.”

6.  Bonding Power.

The great successes connect with others.

Robbins writes:

“Nearly all successful people have in common an extraordinary ability to bond with others, the ability to connect with and develop rapport with people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. 

Sure, there’s the occasional mad genius who invents something that changes the world. 

But if the genius spends all his time in a lonely warren, he will succeed on one level but fail on many others. 

The great successes – the Kennedys, the Kings, the Reagans, the Gandhis – all have the ability to form bonds that untie them to millions of others. 

The greatest success is not on the stage of the world.  It is in the deepest recesses of your own heart. 

Deep down, everyone needs to form lasting, living bonds with others. 

Without that any success, any excellence is hollow indeed.”

7.  Mastery of Communication

The quality of our communication determines the quality of our lives.

Robbins writes:

“The way we communicate with others and the way we communicate with ourselves ultimately determine the quality of our lives. 

People who succeed in life are those who have learned how to take any challenge that life gives them and communicate that experience to themselves in a way that causes them to successfully change things. 

People who fail take the adversities of life and accept them as limitations.  The people who shape our lives and our cultures are also masters of communication to others. 

What they have in common is an ability to communicate a vision or a quest or a joy or a mission. 

Mastery of communication is what makes a great parent or a great artist or a great politician or a great teacher.”

Success or Failure is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

One thing to keep in mind is that momentum is often a key to success.

According to Tony Robbins:

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed.

Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

If you want big success, start small, and build momentum.

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  1. There are famous exceptions to all of these traits.

    Newton worked alone as did Einstein (not absolutely of course).

    Darwin was pretty rotten at communicating.

    Some successes are flukes (unwise to rely on but true).

    Often the passion is for the area of interest not a desire to be great. Many who made great breakthroughs had not the slightest interest in a public profile.

    These kinds of portraits of extraverted, marketing oriented successes (people like Tony) can be quite discouraging to people who don’t fit the profile.

    A good antidote is Success Built to Last by Porras and others. Poorly written but with good stories and information

    • Thank you, Evan.

      Good distinctions.

      Exceptions are the nature of the beast:
      * We can find patterns when we look for what’s in common
      * We can find exceptions when we look for what’s different

      They’re both useful.

      Actually, you can use the same traits, whether you focus on internal or external. It depends on your lens/filter.

      The passion is growth and greatness in the area of interest, not public profile, the mastery of communication is first and foremost with yourself (in fact, in the book he uses examples of famous people that destroyed themselves to show how important internal communication is), etc.

      It’s easy to filter and interpret Tony as focused on external, but that’s actually not the case. He’s an inside-out-kind of guy — that’s why he does a lot of inner-engineering (focus on personal values, beliefs, etc.) Once you know that, you pick up on all of his examples of unsung heroes, great parents, great friends, mastering internal communication, etc.

      Success Built to Last, looks like a good read. Got it.

      Related, Tactics: The Art and Science of Success, by Edward de Bono, is phenomenal at painting a wide-spectrum of the keys to success, with interesting patterns and anti-patterns.

  2. Superb summary. These magical seven are each-&-every one impactful, & the one that resonates most with me is #7. Mastery of Communication. This has been true since first hearing these words almost 20 years ago, “The quality of our communication determines the quality of our lives”. I think of it often during my interactions. Thanks for sharing, J.D.

    • I think I often underestimate the power of energy and momentum.

      Yet, time and again, it’s momentum that snowballs a little series of successes, into big successes, as well as a lot more serendipitous opportunities that I never saw coming.

      But if there’s no fire power, game over.

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