11 Key Traits for Success | The Unknown

Success is something we all should strive for, but what are the key traits we need to be successful? In this blog post post The Unknown investigate which 11 key traits are the most important and supplement with 116 short, inspirational quotes broken down by each trait.

Defining a list of key traits and characteristics for success is not a simple task. If you ask 10 people their opinion, you are likely to get 10 different answers and orders of prioritization. We are all individuals after all, with our own unique set of values, preferences and visions of what success means.

For the purpose of this post we will use The Unknown’s definition of success, namely that success is ‘the fulfillment of one’s genuine aspirations, achieved in a way that aligns with our internal values and beliefs’. For more of an insight into how and why this definition is used, take a look at our original post - what is success according to you?

In order to get a reasonable and reliable understanding of what traits are the most important, we took a three-pronged approach:

  1. We surveyed a substantial and diverse group of individuals and analyzed the data
  2. We scoured the web and other educational resources to look for valuable data, both factual and anecdotal
  3. We studied the key traits of successful people and the opinions of what successful people believe to be crucial for success. We took a broad-minded view on what field these people were successful in - the categories include business, sport, the arts, education, literature and politics


What Are the Qualities Needed for Success in Life?

81 short inspirational quotes for success, qualities needed for success in life, the unknown

Following thorough research and countless (but highly enjoyable) hours of reading and immersing ourselves into this particular topic of success, we finally cam up with a list of 11 essential skills for life, skills that can significantly increase your chances of success (we initially wanted to have a top 10 but we could agree on which trait from the top 11 to lose so we kept them all in). These 11 traits are (in no particular order):

  1. Strength

  2. Courage

  3. Perseverance

  4. Resilience

  5. Optimism

  6. Patience

  7. Integrity

  8. Humility

  9. Compassion

  10. Intuition

  11. Respect

This is a powerful list of traits, particularly when they are combined together. In fact, our research suggests that it’s the right combinations of these traits that work together to create synergy and potentially extraordinary results. Think of someone in your life who you can genuinely say is courageous, resilient and optimistic and but also patient, humble, compassionate and respectful. If you can think of anyone this describes then the chances are they are doing pretty well in life. Think of highly successful people and consider which combinations of these 11 traits they possess – again chances are that the person you are thinking of displays a number of these qualities.

You should also consider that the impact of any of these traits can be significantly diluted in isolation of others. For example, being optimistic without any of the other traits is unlikely to yield exceptional results, perseverance is often much more difficult without resilience, and someone who is strong and courageous with no patience, integrity, humility or compassion might have as much potential for destruction as they would a positive influence on the world.

Finally, you should cross reference these traits against your own natural qualities. Be honest with yourself. Which of these traits come natural to you? What have you had to work hard on, and which traits are you missing? What potential benefits could you reap if you were able to master more of these traits?


116 Short, Inspirational Quotes for Success

81 inspirational quotes for success, the unknown

Now that you are familiarized with our list of 11 traits, in order to provide you with a motivational boost we have put together 116 short, inspirational quotes for success, broken down into each of the 11 traits.


Inspirational Quotes About Strength

“The strong man is strongest when alone” – Friedrich Schiller

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" - Christopher Reeve

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice” – Bob Marley

"Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient" - Steve Maraboli

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will" - Mahatma Gandhi

“A strong man doesn’t have to be dominant toward a woman. He doesn’t match his strength against a woman weak with love for him. He matches it against the world.” – Marilyn Monroe

“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep” - Vernon Howard

“The difference between a strong man and a weak one is that the former does not give up after a defeat” – Woodrow Wilson

“Strong men, men who are truly role models, don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful” – Michelle Obama

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities, seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them” – Orison Swett Marden

“It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” - Arnold Schwarzenegger


Inspirational Quotes About Courage

“He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights the enemy” - Socrates

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” – Nancy D. Solomon

“Courage is grace under pressure” – Ernest Hemmingway

“Be the kind of person who dares to face life’s challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them” – Roy T Bennett

“A courageous man prefers death to the surrender of self-respect” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” – Muhammad Ali

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have the strength” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather judgement that something else is more important than fear” – Ambrose Redmoon

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently" - Maya Angelou

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney 


Inspirational Quotes About Perseverance

“We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough” – Helen Keller

“There is no armor like perseverance” – Sogyal Rinpoche

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not an adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this” – Ryan Holiday

“There is no failure except in no longer trying” – Elbert Hubbard

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time” – Thomas Edison

“The people who stick with things for years and never stop almost always win the race” – James Clear

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Edison

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did" - Newt Gingrich

"It always seems impossible until it's done" - Nelson Mandela

 Quotes About Perseverance and Resilience

Inspirational Quotes About Resilience

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“To fight for change tomorrow we need to build resilience today” – Sheryl Sandberg

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars” – Kahili Gibran

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success” – Dale Carnegie

“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill

“I never lose. I either win or learn” – Nelson Mandela

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it” – Maya Angelou

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you … never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn"- Harriett Beecher Stowe

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run" - Babe Ruth


Inspirational Quotes About Optimism

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” – Winston Churchill

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials” – Chinese Proverb

“Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking” - Rick Steves

“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else” – Winston Churchill

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise” – Victor Hugo

“Optimism is a faith that leads to success” – Bruce Lee

“Believe you can and you’re half way there” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress” - Nicholas M. Butler

“Self-belief, optimism, and hard work, these things don’t guarantee to get any of us to the top, but they at least give us a fighting chance” - Jason Ayres

“True hopefulness and optimism is what leads one to dare. It is also what lifts one back up to dare again after a failed attempt” - Bibi Bourelly


Inspirational Quotes About Patience

“To lose patience is to lose the battle” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson” – Elon Musk

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

“Genius is eternal patience” – Michelangelo

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing’. It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” – Fulton J. Sheen

“Have patience, all things are difficult before they become easy” – Saadi

“Patience is not passive. On the contrary, it is concentrated strength” – Bruce Lee

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” - Aristotle

“Our patience will achieve more than our force” - Edmund Burke

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” - Leo Tolstoy

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die. Than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience” - Julius Caesar


Inspirational Quotes About Integrity

Inspirational Quotes About Integrity

“When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity – regardless of what others may do – you are destined for greatness” – Napoleon Hill

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you” – Warren Buffett

“Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. Always keep your word” – Brian Tracy

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” – Albert Einstein

“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“It is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have had them and not deserve it” – Mark Twain

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” – C. S. Lewis

"Power really is a test of character. In the hands of a person of integrity, it is of tremendous benefit; in the hands of a tyrant, it causes terrible destruction" - John Maxwell

"Honor your commitments with integrity" - Les Brown

"Integrity is the ingredient that will enable you to forge rapidly ahead on the highway that leads to success. It advertises you as being an individual who will always come through. Whatever you say you will do, do it even if you have to move heaven and earth" - Mary Kay Ash

"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity" - Donald A. Adams


Inspirational Quotes About Humility

“True knowledge exists in knowing you know nothing”- Socrates

“Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection if I am already good enough?” Leo Tolstoy

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less” – Rick Warren

“Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will” – Zig Ziglar

“Humility is the first step towards learning. You can’t learn until you are humble enough to realize there is something to learn” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right” – Erza Taft Benson

"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real" - Thomas Merton

"Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought" - Simone Weil

"Selflessness is humility....humility and freedom go hand in hand. Only a humble person can be free" - Jeff Wilson

"Only humility knows how to appreciate and admire the good qualities of others” - Sri Chinmoy

“Never be proud but show humility towards others, true wisdom lies in being humble” - Shri Radhe Maa


Inspirational Quotes About Compassion

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” – Dalai Lama

“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch” – Judy Blume

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries” – Prince

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete” – Buddha

“Compassionate people are geniuses in the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security and joy of humanity that the discoverers of knowledge” – Albert Einstein

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato

“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves” – Mason Cooley

“Until you have real compassion, you can not recognize love” - Robert Thurman

“Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer” - Rachel Scott

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty” - Albert Einstein


Inspirational Quotes About Intuition

Quotes About Intuition

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am” – Albert Einstein

“Intuition is for thinking what observation is for perception. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge” – Rudolf Steiner

“When something feels off, it is” – Esther Hicks

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself” – Oprah Winfrey

“Intuition is seeing with the soul” – Dean Koontz

“Faith is a passionate intuition” – William Wordsworth

“Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect” – Steve Jobs

“Don’t let the noise of others drown out your inner voice” – Steve Jobs

“Intuition is the discriminate faculty that enables you to decide which of two lines of reasoning is right. Perfect intuition makes you master of all” - Paramahansa Yogananda

“If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All great men are gifted with intuition. They know without reasoning or analysis, what they need to know" - Alexis Carrel


Inspirational Quotes About Respect

“Respect yourself and others will respect you” – Confucious

“Be respectful. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Respect the lowest rank and the highest rank and you’ll never get in trouble” – Alex Rodrguez

“Little people are indifferent. Superior people are caring” – Maxime Lagacé

“Respect is on of the greatest expressions of love” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

“Respect is how to treat everyone” – Richard Branson

“I speak to everyone the same way, whether he is the garbage man or president of the university” – Albert Einstein

“Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it” – Bill Bradley

"When we respect someone, we are acknowledging and appreciating their role in society or in our life" - Jennifer Freed Ph. D.

“He who loves others is constantly loved by them. He who respects others is constantly respected by them” - Mencius

“Men are respectable only as they respect” - Ralph Waldo Emerson



We hope you enjoyed this article and it proves beneficial towards your journey to success. We would love to hear your opinions on the quotes, our list of 11 traits, and also learn what qualities and characteristics you feel are important for a successful future. Share your opinions and feedback in our comments section below.

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