The Top 10 Traits of Highly Successful Athletes


ave you come across many people who are successful one day, then never to hear of them after that? Obviously, what’s important isn’t so much about their success, but ultimately, the contribution they make in this world. Some of them win a few Olympic gold medals, make a fortune or win an Oscar Academy Award for starring in one great movie, then that’s it, they disappear forever. Or you may come across those like Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes who achieve extraordinary success, at the cost of their own lives. Today, you suddenly see Donald Trump stepping out of his real estate realm to the political stage. These examples do not inspire me!

My focus and fascination is with athletes who seem to do well in many areas of their sport, and do it over and over through a lifetime. They continuously inspire people, never fail to entertain us with their never say die attitude, grit and flair. In tennis, Novak Djokovic managed to climb out of his darkest days and now he’s unstoppable. We never forget Michael Jordan, the only man who can fly without wings. And Pele never failed to wow us until today with his physical prowess, left us wondering how he dribbled the ball past so many defenders to score a goal. Also, LeBron James is constantly on fire, I wonder if he’s human.

Yes, they’ve succeeded one way or another, not just in their career, but also their contribution to the world to get up and follow their lead, be it competing in any sport, getting up for a run, we are motivated by them to take up physical challenges that keep us healthy and improve our lives.

Not sure about you, but when I was young, their successes inspired me to be like them someday and represent my country.

So what exactly are the top 10 traits of highly successful athletes?

We all know examples of people who go from one success to another. These are the people who inspire me! I’ve studied them, and I’ve noticed they have the following traits in common:

1. Early Riser

They work extremely hard! Yes, they play hard, too, literally! They get up early, they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Repeated, high-level success starts with a recognition that hard work pays off.

2. Ask

They are incredibly curious and eager to learn. They study their own and others mistakes and ask questions regularly! It’s not so much about having an institutional education, but more about their inquisitive mind, much like a child. Repeated success is not about memorizing facts, it’s about being able to observe oneself and others, take that information and create, or apply it in new and important situations. Successful people want to learn everything about everything!

3. Teamwork

They don’t have to be “the life of the party”, in fact many are quiet, even shy, but they value their teammates and coaches and they value relationships with people around them. Successful athletes always figure out a way to bring the best of the team by leveraging the strengths of every team player. By doing so, it eliminates or hides their weakness from opponent’s view.

4. Grit

They work on themselves and never quit! While the “over-night wonders” become arrogant and quickly disappear, really successful athletes work on their personality, their leadership skills, fitness, techniques, and every other detail of what they can do better in the sport. When they do not perform up to their expectation at any point in time (like all humans do), they assume they can learn from it and they expect to do better next time. Successful athletes are not perfect but they don’t rest on their laurels or tolerate flaws; they fix them!

5. Limitless

They are extraordinarily creative. They go around asking, “Why not?” rather than “Why is it happening?”. They see new combinations, new possibilities, new opportunities and challenges where others see problems or limitations. They wake up in the middle of the night yelling, “I’ve got it!” They ask for advice, try things out, consult, coaches, experts and amateurs, always looking for a better solution to win their opponents. Successful athletes create strategies, tactics and solutions!

6. Accountability

They are self-reliant and take responsibility. Incredibly successful athletes don’t worry about blame, and they don’t waste time complaining. They make decisions and move on. Sometimes they are criticized for taking this to extremes – Michael Jordan says “the game is my wife”. Extremely successful athletes take the initiative and accept the responsibilities of success and failure.

7. Self-Control

They are usually relaxed and stay in control of their perspective. Even in times of stress or turmoil, highly successful athletes keep their balance, the know the value of timing, humor, and patience. They rarely panic or make decisions on impulse. Unusually successful athletes breath easily, ask the right questions at the right time and make sound decisions to act, even in a crisis.

8. Now

Extremely successful athletes live in the present moment. They know that “Now” is the only time they can control. They have a “gift” for knowing when to slow down or move quickly.  They never seem rushed, and they perform really well! Rather than to sit and wait, they take full advantage of each moment to seek for opportunity and strike while the iron’s hot. Successful athletes don’t waste time, they use it!

9. Vision

They anticipate the next move and the move after even when it hasn’t happened. They understand an action of one opponent leads to an opportunity for them. They craft such visuals in their minds, and when the time comes, the familiarity leads their bodies to go on autopilot to perform with ease.  Extremely athletes live in the present, with one eye on the future!

10. Opportunity

Repeatedly successful athletes respond instantly! When a strategy isn’t working out, they try the next one. When they see an opportunity, they make a move. If the game momentum is slowing down, they take time to revive it. When the scores or results are not in their favor, they are the first and quickest to respond before the time runs out.

These traits work together in combination, giving repeatedly successful people a huge advantage. Because they are insatiable learners, they can respond wisely to change. Because their interpersonal skills are strong, they have good coaches, and a reserve of willpower when things go bad. Although the above mentioned athletes look like they have some form of super power, good news is none of these traits are genetic. They are skills that can be learned! Totally free to use. Start learning them now!

Your Turn

What do you think are the traits of highly successful athletes? Have you figured a way to rise up to the challenge and conquer your games again and again? Share with us below:

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