Recently I started watching a show online called QB1: Beyond the Lights.
The show features 3 different high school star quarterbacks in their senior year. One player is Tate Martell, a powerhouse of a QB that played for Bishop Gorman High School. To say he’s good is an understatement, but he also comes off as a first-class D-bag.
Why? He possessed a complete lack of humility.
Now he plays for Ohio State. Will he do well? Probably. And he might eventually play for the pros and make a gazillion dollars. Will he be a successful person? I guess it’s how you define success. Is President Trump successful? hmmm
Thinking about the traits you don’t personally like in other humans is one piece of the puzzle in figuring out what kind of human you want to be, but I think it focuses and awful lot on the negative, and I think it’s always better to move towards something than away from it.
Here is a list of traits I love and admire in other people.
People Who Find a Way to Endure
We can’t help where we were born, who are parents are, or the color of our skin. You may not be able to help certain circumstances, like traumatic events (a serious illness, injury, or assault of some kind). You may not be a genius, or possess a lot of physical strength.
Whatever your circumstances or things that happened to you, you have the ability to choose your response. The people I admire rise up and find a way to live a good life, despite hardships or setbacks. They somehow know they are more than “their story.” Not only do they find a way to endure, but they often achieve levels of success because of the hardships they went through.
People Who Follow Their North Star, No Matter How Weird or Different It Is
I admire people who no matter how unusual their passion may be, decide to pursue it with gusto. It’s in our nature as human beings to try to fit in. This goes back to our caveman days, when people who were kicked out of the tribe, stood no chance of survival.
Now, of course, that kind of threat for most of us is gone, but it’s still difficult to be labeled as strange or different. To take the road less traveled, not knowing if success, happiness, or money are waiting for you at the end.
And this can range anywhere from a kid choosing not to go to college, despite living in a family of doctors and lawyers, to Rosa Park’s decision not to give up her seat on the bus.
People Who Let Their Guard Down
I think there is this notion that someone who has “made it” has somehow formulated the secret sauce to money and happiness. If that was the case, would someone as successful as Robin Williams taken his own life? Of course, this is an extreme case, but I personally don’t see vulnerability as a weakness, especially in leadership, and many would agree.
If there is one trait I possess, it’s the ability to read people, and I tend to see right through disingenuous behavior or false bravado. On the other hand, I connect really well with people who say, “man I’m trying, but right now I don’t have all the answers.” Suddenly my connection to them is not a 500-foot wall I need to scale to get to know the real them, but a pathway through that wall to meet them on the other side.
People Who Are Grateful & Humble
True gratefulness is the antidote to arrogance because arrogance implies any gifts received are more or less deserved. As much as I love Denzel Washington as an actor, I was really disappointed at his reaction to not winning an Oscar for best actor for the movie Fences. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it or that Casey Affleck was the right choice, but would winning or not winning change our perception of Denzel’s talents? Hell no! He’s a great actor. But what did change was my thoughts about his character, and appearing angry at someone else’s success. Granted, there may be more to the story than that, but at least that is the impression that I got. Gratitude is losing but still being able to appreciate what you do have. And being happy for other people’s triumphs.
People Who Are (Ultra) Disciplined
Another trait I admire in people is being ultra disciplined. Having the focus, drive, and unwavering ability to do something difficult day after day after day. Most people just want the results that motivation brings. We want the wealth, the happiness, the six-pack abs, but very few are willing to “embrace the suck” it takes to achieve those results.
We often see the finish line of someone’s achievement, but do not see the 5 am workouts, the coming home from the day job to work on the side business until 2 in the morning, the loneliness that comes with saying “no” to friends because you want to save money or pay off debt, the rejection one gets time after time for their book proposal. Nope, all we see is the trophy.
People Who Aren’t Just Nice, But Kind
Being nice is holding the door open for someone, or giving up your seat on the subway for an elderly woman. Of course, that’s awesome, but kindness runs deeper. It’s having compassion when you really have no reason for being compassionate. Nelson Mandela is one example.
“I believe that in the end, it is kindness and generous accommodation that are the catalysts for real change” – Nelson Mandela at the launch of The Elders on July 18, 2007.
Of all the people in the world, he had a good reason to be pissed, but emerged as one of the great leaders of the world, and will leave a positive legacy that will live on.
And just as important as outward kindness is inner kindness towards oneself. Something that is possibly even more difficult to achieve, but I think it’s hard to be outwardly kind without being able to practice self-compassion. You can’t be kind to others if you are miserable.
Which traits resonates with you the most? What qualities do you admire in people?