The Three Traits of the Ultra Successful

Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.

 – Michelle Obama

Ultra Successful people share three common traits:

  1. High self-confidence
  2. Low self-regard
  3. Impulse control

In their 2014 book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, attempted to explain why some groups do better than others in terms of wealth, position and other conventional measures of success.

High Self-Confidence

Successful people believe they can achieve anything.

They often believe this, because they have achieved great things.

These achievements tie to Building Your Get Sh!t Done Muscle. You start small and succeed. You take on more challenging tasks and you continue this until you move from the basics to the bold.

You need to believe:

  1. You can achieve anything
  2. You’re as capable as anybody
  3. You will succeed if you do the work

If you don’t have that self-confidence today, then you need to build it one step at a time. Often, it can start with the simplest activities and you’ll often find fitness related activities are a good testing ground. When you’ve trained two years to complete an Ironman, as an example, you realize the formula for success and self-confidence:

  1. Know what you want
  2. Understand what it takes
  3. Do the work. Day in. Day out

Increase your self-confidence

To increase your self-confidence, here are some areas to focus on:

Thought Auditing

Cognitive behavioral therapy will change your life.

An exercise that will help you is Thought Auditing and here’s how it works:

  • When you have a negative thought, write it down
  • Write down four to five alternative logical responses
  • Leave the list for 15 minutes and examine the six alternatives

More often than not, what you’re going to realize is the logical responses are accurate which means your brain is playing games with you. If you don’t control your thoughts, you’ll consistently deal with continuous negative loops.

When you control your thoughts, you control your confidence and your future.

Get Sh!t Done

Nothing increases your self confidence like Getting Sh!t Done.

The harder the Sh!t you do, the more likely you’ll build your self-confidence.

Start as small as you need to and build up over time with bigger and bigger challenges.

When you’re capable of it, set audacious goals for yourself and then increase your confidence as you achieve them over and over.

Focus on Your Strengths

People tell you to focus on your weaknesses.

They’re wrong.

Successful people focus on their weaknesses until they’re no longer limiters. Then, they focus on their strengths to achieve levels of performance few people are able to achieve.

Learn New Things

The more you know, the farther you’ll go.

When you learn new things, you’re growing. That growth sends a message that you’re getting better. That you can learn and become more than you are today.

This creates confidence.

Low Self-Regard

This one is hard.

It isn’t something I’d encourage you to try to create in yourself. It’s something that comes from a lack in us:

  • Grew up poor
  • Lost your parents
  • Parents were divorced
  • Faced physical challenges
  • Dealt with mental challenges
  • Experienced trauma in your childhood

Whatever the reason is, you never feel good enough. You don’t feel as if anything you’ve achieved is a measure of success. No matter what you’ve done, you’re always pushing yourself to Do More.

The upsides are clear – you’ll continuously achieve greater and greater things.

The downsides, though are numerous:

  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Depression

For most of us, the reason we have low self-regard stems from our childhood, which is why Carl Jung said:

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it Fate.

I do believe my low self-regard has caused me to push myself to achieve. But, it’s never something I would wish on another person. I’d prefer you realize you’re perfect like you are and you can be better.

Instead of being driven by low self-regard and a feeling of lack, choose to be driven consciously and you’ll be much healthier.

Impulse Control

Delayed gratification is one of the keys to your success.

Last week, we talked about embracing the suck. It requires delayed gratification to be able to focus on the process long enough to go from Suck to Good to Great without worrying about the results or lack thereof.

Impulse control is something we can develop:


When you meditate, you increase self-awareness.

You also learn to be in the moment, separate the stimulus from your response and to take a pause before you act.

These will all help you increase your impulse control.


When you sleep well, you make better decisions.

When you don’t sleep well consistently, it can be the equivalent of being drunk and we all know that’s when we make bad decisions, whether it’s:

  • Diet
  • Impulse buys
  • Missed workouts
  • Sexual encounters

When you exercise, you decrease stress and anxiety.

You also decrease your desire to eat unhealthy foods and make bad choices.

The endorphins that you release can promote positive emotions and improve your self-control.


When you journal, you can reflect on your behavior.

When you regularly reflect on your behavior and actions, it increases your self-awareness and can help you identify behavior patterns. The next steps are to develop strategies to increase your self-control and to stop the impulsive behaviors.

Reduce Intoxicants

Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, they’ll impact your ability to control your impulses.

It doesn’t mean that you have to completely abstain, it simply means you need to be intentional about the choices you’re making and aware of the impacts that could fall out.

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