How to be Successful - Follow the Clues

By Patrick Martin

There’s a saying that says “success leaves clues” which is especially true in the world of business. There are so many business success stories to learn from as well as many more failures.

Of course all businesses are different, but many business owners that have succeeded have often shared similar characteristics. Knowing about these characteristics can only help you if you are starting a business, growing a business or just looking to be successful in whatever you do.

Let’s explore what these characteristics are:

Embrace Failure

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

Very successful people don’t believe in failure. They think of failure as the “seed of success”. Thomas Edison the American Inventor is well known for his lack of belief in failure. His ground breaking inventions were the result of first finding the wrong way to do something until he eventually found the right way to make it work.

His “failed” inventions were merely attempts he could discount, learn from, and then move forward to eventually design something that worked. Many people would have given up after just one attempt or perhaps not even started because of a fear of failure. This is an important point that shouldn’t be forgotten when you are starting any new venture.

Here’s a quote from Michael Jordan, the most successful Basketball player in the history of the sport explaining that failure is something he has experienced a lot:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” -Michael Jordan

If you are continuously afraid you are going to fail you will never start anything and never be successful at anything because you didn’t even try to see if you could be successful.

“The greatest mistake in life is to be continually afraid you will make one.” - Elbert Hubbard

Most successful business people acknowledge that they have failed many more times than they have succeeded. They learn from their mistakes and make changes to overcome these mistakes to reach their goals. As Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” - Napoleon Hill

A burning desire to achieve a goal could above all else be the most important ingredient to achieving business success.

Desire drives you, but to achieve something that is seemingly difficult you will need to have a strong desire. Someone with a strong desire keeps a fixed focus on their goal and because of this tackles obstacles in the way of their goal with ease.

“If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.” - William James

Desire also turns into persistence, the kind of persistence that leads you to never give up on what you want to achieve until you reach your desired outcome.


“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” - John Wesley

Without passion for your business you will find it far more difficult than if you are doing something you love. If you love what you do, being good at it becomes a by-product and you will naturally excel.

Imagine waking up in the morning and wanting to start work because you love doing it. It goes without saying that you will be more productive, happy and successful if you do something you are passionate about.

High Expectations

“If you’re going to be thinking anything you might as well think big” - Donald Trump

People who are successful in business generally have high expectations of themselves and their businesses.

Set goals which are ambitious, the best way to then deal with these goals is to break them down into chunks that are easy to accomplish one step at a time. By doing this you will not get disillusioned by feeling that you aren’t achieving anything.

“If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, either way you are right.” - Henry Ford

By believing you can do something you are focusing your brain on your goal and all obstacles will be easier to overcome than if you didn’t think that you could achieve it.


“I’m a great believer in saying ‘yes’ to everything rather than ‘no’ to everything.” - Richard Branson

People who have made successes of themselves and their businesses don’t waste their energy on negative thoughts about themselves or their business failing. These people generally have unwavering belief that their business will be a success.

If you are constantly thinking about failure or the next obstacle that is in your path you will never reach your intended destination. Have a clear goal of where you want your business to be and go for that goal with the belief that you will succeed.

“Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present” - Rudolph Giuliani

A lot of success whether it is in business or in anything else is in the mind. By setting goals, having strong desire to achieve your goals, believing you can succeed and working at something you love you will find yourself succeeding at whatever you do.

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