5 Undeniable Signs of Great Achievers

What is it that sets men and women of great achievement apart from the rest of humanity?

What do Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein, John Quincy Adams, Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jordan, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham all have in common?

What empowers them to touch and affect so many people’s lives? What allows them to grasp success and reach levels of achievement that for most people are simply unfathomable?

Five tools. Five undeniable signs of a person of high achievement.

1. PASSION

They are passionate about what they do.

Men and women of great achievement know what they want, and they care deeply about it. They do not simply float from idea to idea, project to project, with every passing fad or whim.

Stay focused, be gracious and appreciative, think happy thoughts, and carry on.

They are driven by a nearly uncontrollable desire. They can’t not pursue their passion. They have to do it.

If you need help discovering what you are passionate about, try doing one (or all) of these things:

  • Think about a time in your life when you felt happiest. Explore that memory to identify why you were happy at that time.
  • Consider activities you love doing. Why do you enjoy them?
  • Look at your bank account and your schedule. Where do you spend most of your time and money?
  • Write down your values, or the things you really care about.

You shouldn’t have to convince yourself that something is your passion. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll know it. Finding your passion and working toward it is the first sign of a person who will achieve something great.

2. BELIEF

Great achievers believe in what they do.

Belief is a powerful thing. Discovering what you are passionate about is important, but belief is a game-changer.

Belief will give you strength when the road becomes difficult.

To hold on to something. To put it close to your heart. To let it guide you and sustain you.

When you believe in something, it gives you an eternal wellspring of hope to face any challenges and difficulties. It will give you strength when the road becomes difficult. It will call you forward when you feel like giving up.

If you want to achieve great things, make sure it’s something you truly believe in. No one else can decide what you will believe in. No one else can make you believe something. It has to come from you.

3. COMMITMENT

Great achievers are committed to what they do.

Achieving something great doesn’t happen overnight. Even what looks like an overnight success never is.

Find someone who achieved greatness, and you will find someone who put in countless hours and years of sacrifice, working beyond the point no one else would. They planned, they prepared, they worked at it. They they did all of that again and again and again.

If you want to achieve something great be ready to:

  • show up early and stay late
  • work hours when no one else is working
  • learn with humility
  • try, fail, and try again
  • do something every day to work towards your goal
  • stay at it when everyone else quits
  • give everything you can

That’s commitment. Look at any name in the list at the beginning of this article, and you’ll see that every single one of them was committed for years before anyone ever noticed.

4. COURAGE

In the face of situations where other people would lose heart, they take heart.

No one wants to be a coward. But not everyone feels that they have courage.

Courage isn’t like some Hollywood movie. It’s not about being strong or powerful. It’s not about being brash or brazen.

It doesn’t take courage to succeed. It takes courage to keep going after you fail.

True courage is not about never getting hit. True courage is about being able to take a hit and then get back up.

Everyone takes hits in life. You’re going to have times when people reject you. You will face times when people tell you no. You’ll have missed opportunities. You will fail. It’s not a matter of if those things will happen. It’s a matter of how you respond to them when they happen.

It doesn’t take courage to succeed. It takes courage to keep going after you fail.

So get up. Put one foot in front of the other. Press on.

5. PERSEVERANCE

Through the discouragement of failure, rejection, and criticism, they persevere and keep at it, always staying focused on their goal and dream.

When is the last time you really had to persevere? If I’m honest, I haven’t had to endure much in my life. Any discomfort or discouragement usually had a path around it. I could always find an easy way out.

But I know that achieving greatness takes perseverance.

Can you persevere when things are hard? Can you persevere when it gets uncomfortable and difficult? Can you persevere in those moments when it’s not fun or easy? Can you persevere when your focus dwindles?

Which will get you farther? Moving one foot in twelve different directions, or moving twelve feet in one direction? That’s the difference between someone who can persevere and someone who can’t.


Passion, belief, commitment, courage, and perseverance.

There will be tough times—there are for everyone. There will be times of fear and trembling. There will be times of discouragement and disillusionment.

Have courage, smile, keep your chin up, laugh often, be kind to yourself, stay focused, be gracious and appreciative, think happy thoughts, and carry on—regardless.

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