The DNA of success - nine traits of champions

| 25 Jul 2017

Listening to those who have made it in life, it seems that everyone has a different take and variable advice on how to be successful, notes Mr Christian Chua, a motivational speaker and body language expert. Over the years, however, he has distilled all their wisdom into what he sees are nine traits. At the International Training Summit for Life Agents and Financial Advisers, he shared with participants nine qualities which make up what he calls the DNA of success, which, when applied to agents and advisers, can help them become the ultimate sales champion.

1.Obsessively competitive

First and foremost, successful people have an obsessive, compulsive behavior to be no. 1. They want more than the average person. This doesn’t necessarily mean being driven by money, but they could be driven by other factors, such as competition and pushing themselves to see how far they can go.

Mr Chua says that this is really what a an insurance recruiter looks to hear from a candidate: not a realistic salary, but an unrealistic one. When asked for a forecast of performance, some come up with a figure that is realistic and achievable based on one’s “current mindset”. But visionaries like Elon Musk dreamed, and dream of things that do not exist yet, which were thought impossible, but have been realised or on the way to reality.

“To break through that barrier of being realistic and hopeful to unrealistic, you need to set ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ and grow into the person who can get you there,” advised Mr Chua.  “As managers and agents, unless you say 'I want to go for the High Net Worth people' or 'I want to close bigger deals', your feelers will not be waiting to spot those things.”

However, he reminds us that "mindset cannot grow alone without skillsets" – so don’t just think, but also act on your beliefs.

2.Compulsive conscientiousness

Great achievers have an acute awareness and heightened knowledge of what’s happening around them and make good decisions based on their observations, said Mr Chua.  They do not waste time on things that don’t matter and do what is right, whether in the mood or not.

This conscientiousness is reflected in an ability to plan, understand one’s actions and consequences, including the rewards they bring. Often, this trait in a child—who works to avoid failiure or not meeting datelines—can be an early indication that he is likely to do well.

3.Remarkably Resourceful

When others say it can’t be done, the successful guys say “let me find out how it can be done”. And they do it.

4.Unbelievable Resilience

This can be seen in the classic examples of businessmen who once lost almost everything they had and were millions in debt, but rose back up to become billionaires. Current US President Donald Trump is an example of someone who doesn’t let failure get him down.


Sales requires people traits, as it’s a people business. The greater your charisma is, the more you can pull in the opportunities.

“Charisma is much more than rapport building, attractiveness and charm. It’s about the draw factor. When you walk into a room you know that people want to talk to you,” said Mr Chua. “You have the star appeal that lets you talk to people anyone, anywhere, anytime.

6.Outstanding creativity/innovative

This trait can be seen in inventors and pioneers like Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs.

7.Amazing Productivity

Ever wonder how entrepreneurs can achieve so much in a short period of time? They work much faster than the average person.

8.Extreme Guts (Risk taking)

These people are adventurous and get a kick out of what would scare of a lot of other people. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson is one example of someone who appreciates a wide range of sports including hot-air ballooning—he even crashed in the Canadian arctic once and walked away unharmed.

Danger doesn’t daunt people with Extreme Guts, and this quality could lend them an edge in their work as well.

9.Superior Intelligence

There are people with multiple traits among these nine, and who see things beyond what the ordinary person sees.

What next?

“The successful people will fall into at least one of these categories. For those traits which you are weak in, try to push them up,” said Mr Chua.

He is also of the view that "you attract your own kind--to level up, one should stick around with people one aspires to be. One can often see people who do well, and those who do not, hang around their similar groups respectively.

Self-promotion is not a bad thing too—and is necessary especially if you’re your own boss. Promote yourself on social media.

And lastly, Mr Chua points out that diamonds aren’t found on the ground. “Big Audacious Goals can be achieved if you start digging further, so don't just let your time pass you by.”