In this video, the TED speaker Richard St. John shares his personal story about what triggered him to conduct the biggest research of his career. The marketing guru and success expert goes into detail and, in the end, points out his essential findings.

It all began more than 10 years ago, when Richard was travelling in a plane to a TED conference in California. A curious, young girl was sitting next to him. She asked him if he was successful and at first he was negative, but then he decided to tell her about some of the things he has done, like winning marketing awards, climbing some of the highest peaks around the world, and running over 50 marathons across all 7 continents. When the girl asked him if he’s a millionaire he answered positively, but he pointed out that this isn’t important for him. The girl then said it is, however, important for her, because she wants to get somewhere in life, but she doesn’t believe in her abilities. Richard then encouraged her that there was also nothing special about him to make him succeed, but in the end he did okay. If he can do it, then she can do it too. And that is when the girl asked the most important question: “What really leads to success?”. This question left him speechless.

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When he arrived at the conference, surrounded by extraordinarily successful people, he decided that he really wanted to know what exactly helped them succeed. And that’s when his research project began. Now, over 10 years later and around 500 face-to-face interviews conducted, he has collected thousands of success stories from great people in careers, ranging from A to Z. After so many years of sorting and analysing words, he can now finally answer the girl’s question. He discovered the 8 traits successful people have in common – The 8 to Be Great:

  1. Love what you do
  2. Work really hard
  3. Focus on one thing
  4. Keep pushing yourself
  5. Come up with good ideas
  6. Keep improving yourself in what you do
  7. Serve others something of value
  8. Persist, because there is no overnight success.

When he added up all the comments from his interviews, he discovered that they are the heart and foundation of success.

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