9 Traits That Will Lead You to Success

Spending a summer observing a well-liked and 'lucky' businessman illuminates qualities we all can strive for.

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By Stephen Key

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every budding entrepreneur wants to know: Do I have what it takes to make it? Is success a matter of being in the right place at the right time? How big of a role does luck really play? What about connections? Do I need an Ivy League education to get my foot in the door?

I'm here to set the record straight. You don't need any of these things.

My friend Brian Riddle has really brought this truth home for me. He is wildly successful as a businessman and in his personal life. Time after time, I've thought to myself, "This guy is the luckiest person I know!" It seems like everywhere he goes, great things happen.

Related: 25 Traits Thriving Entrepreneurs Share

Don't get me wrong -- Brian has setbacks, like everyone else. But they never seem to hold him back. I've been wondering what his secret sauce is for years now. What is it that he does differently than most people? This summer, I've had the opportunity to observe him very closely -- and this is what I've learned.

1. He loves people. Brian treats everyone he meets with respect, regardless of his or her financial situation. He refrains from passing judgment. And as a result, he seems to make new friends with a snap of his fingers.

2. He's inclusive. Everyone's invited -- all the time. Brian's attitude is: There's always room for more. He tries to include as many people as he can in his businesses and when he's having fun. How can you not love a guy who extends his hand to you?

3. He is a willing and patient teacher. Despite being a busy man with a lot on his plate, I've seen Brian take the time to share his knowledge and expertise with others again and again.

4. He's open-minded. Brian doesn't act like a know-it-all. I've seen him make decisions that stun other people, because he's independent-minded. He gathers as much information as he can and then finds a way to live with the decisions he makes. In that way, he's a student of the world as much as a businessman.

Related: The 3 Qualities of Likable People

5. He doesn't expect anything in return.

6. His family means everything to him. It's his greatest source of strength.

7. No job is too big or too small for him. I've heard Brian say that he would never ask anyone to do a job that he had never personally done himself. Those are words to live by. He's an excellent boss, because he believes there's honor in labor.

8. His thirst for life is unparalleled. Brian is extremely adventurous. And he helps others who are not as adventurous feel at ease, so they are able to open up and experience new things as well. He laughs loudly, eats well and surrounds himself with people.

9. He doesn't believe he's owed anything. This is a man who never attended college. Brian believes in hard work and persistence. I've never heard him complain or make excuses for himself, even when he's been wronged.

All of these traits are yours for the taking. What Brian has taught me, and continues to teach me every day, is that people who are successful invest in others. They care. They put out positive energy. No one can resist a person like that.

If you do half as much as he does to cultivate loyalty and gratitude, you too will achieve success.

Related: What Makes Great Entrepreneurs Tick

Stephen Key

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Co-Founder of inventRight; Author of One Simple Idea Series

Stephen Key is an inventor, IP strategist, author, speaker and co-founder of inventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nevada-based company that helps inventors design, patent and license their ideas for new products.

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