12 Universal Traits of World-Class Winners Anyone Can Instantly Use to Dominate Their Field

They don’t compete with anyone.

World-class winners do things 99% of the world won’t do.

These 12 specific, unique traits are always found in the top performers of any field — art, sales, sports, writing, business, bodybuilding, entrepreneurship, whatever. In every category, winners act like winners.

What 99% of people don’t realize is that anyone can cultivate these 12 traits, starting right now.

You don’t need any special genes or distinct physical advantages to enter into the top-tier of your field. All you need is the mindset of a winner and the desire to succeed.

If you consistently apply these traits to your life, you will absolutely become more elite than 99% of other people.

Here are the 12 traits of world-class winners you can instantly adapt to your life.

1. They Don’t Compete With Anyone; Everyone Competes With Them.

“The time you spent being jealous of other’s success is time they spent working. Guess which one is more valuable.” -Jon Westenberg

Competitors watch the winners. But winners just look forward.

World-class winners know that every second they spend watching their competition is a second wasted. The top 1% of performers spend all their energy on the only factor that matters — improving their own performance.

One of my mentors gave me a piece of advice that I’ll remember my whole life:

“Stay in your lane.”

The more you look at how much faster others are (or how much faster you are than others), the more likely you are to crash.

It’s no use sighing in dismay or resentment as others race by. If you want to reach incredible speeds, you need to focus entirely on staying in your own lane.

Soon, you’ll look up one day and marvel at how fast you’re going.

World-class winners are always focused entirely on their own development. They don’t compare themselves to how others are doing.

This is not to be confused with studying your competition, by the way. World-class winners are extremely disciplined students of their field, and are always learning from those around them.

But there is a difference between studying and coveting.

If you never become a disciplined student first, you’ll never win the game. In the immortal words of the legendary Chinese General Sun Tzu:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Study the game and its players all you can, but never compare yourself to them.

Every second you spend wanting what they have is a second wasted.

2. They Will Do Whatever It Takes To Become the Best In Their Field.

Being willing to do “whatever it takes” is extremely rare today.

Most people are willing to go only as far as their comfort allows. Once things get complicated and difficult, they give up and go home. They see problems as an obstacle that prevents them from progress.

But world-class winners are always willing to do whatever it takes.

Don’t be confused — I don’t mean they are willing to sacrifice everything and anyone they love to win. Priorities like family and God always come first.

What I mean is, these individuals are willing to go to any length to succeed — to learn, to improve, to seek out weakness, to become a better version of themselves.

I particularly noticed this among many of the men and women I’ve met over the years who are in 12-step addiction programs. These individuals were always willing to do whatever they needed to do to stay sober — go to 90 meetings in 90 days, set strict boundaries, become brutally honest with a sponsor, etc.

The ones who could never stay sober were the ones unwilling to do whatever it took. Sadly, many of these individuals went back to their old self-destructive ways.

Your level of success is determined by your level of investment.

If you are not seeing the results you want, it’s likely you’re still not willing to do whatever it takes yet.

3. They Never Stop Improving.

“How much you improve is up to you.” -Anders Ericcson

Research has shown as many as 50% of people haven’t read more than a handful of books after college. Less than half of people with gym memberships never go consistently!

These and many other telling studies point to a simple fact:

Most people stop improving.

But world-class winners never stop.

When it comes to improving, world-class winners are fanatical about always getting better. They understand their ability to grow and evolve directly determines their ability to operate at peak levels.

In the words of Anders Ericcson in his book, Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise:

“There is no point at which performance maxes out and additional practice does not lead to further improvement.”

World-class winners know they are never “done.” You never “arrive” at a new behavior; you simply become better and better.

The more you improve, the more opportunities will become available. As one of the best golfers in history Arnold Palmer once said: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Improvement always creates new opportunities.

4. They’re Always the Hungriest Person In the Room.

In the words of prolific actor Will Smith:

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”

There will always be people with better genetics, more money, more powerful connections, a nicer car, better looks, more talent, and more luck.

But there is one thing you can always be the best at:

How hungry you are.

Many world-class winners were not expected to win. That’s why so many of them play with a chip on their shoulder — they were told their whole lives they were too short, not strong enough, or that they just “didn’t have what it took.”

World-class winners use this feedback as the most powerful fuel in the world — others’ doubt of your success.

They’re always the hungriest person in the room, which is why they always succeed.

5. They Design Their Diet, Body, and Sleep Cycle to Produce Greatness.

“Your body is a business you have to take care of, or the business goes away.” -Tim Grover, personal trainer of Michael Jordan

If you want to produce world-class performance, you need to operate with a world-class engine.

Most people don’t take their health, diet, or sleep very seriously. They consume excessive caffeine for energy and excessive alcohol for relaxation. Most people don’t eat or sleep well; research has shown as many as 70 million Americans have sleep problems like insomnia.

World-class winners understand everything is connected. One area of your live affects every other area.

The way the masses operate is backwards and counter-intuitive. They work excessively for long, unfocused periods of time, never getting better-than-average results. Their rest is sporadic and low-quality. They do this every day, for years.

World-class winners do not operate like the masses. Their lifestyle looks foreign and confusing to the average person. It is characterized by good health in every area.

These top-performers know their level of rest and positive health is the engine that makes top-tier performance possible. Everything rides on their ability to function at a high level.

“100% when you’re working, 100% when you’re not.” -Anders Ericcson
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

6. They Don’t Tolerate Mediocrity.

“Remember: we all get what we tolerate. So stop tolerating excuses within yourself, limiting beliefs of the past, or half-assed or fearful states.” -Tony Robbins

Most people constantly make mediocre decisions.

The average person practices dozens of negative behaviors and choices, every day. They may claim to want success, but they always seem to have an endless supply of tolerance for less-than-desirable circumstances.

World-class winners have no tolerance for anything below world-class. Their choices, actions, diet, relationships, and how they spend their time align with how a world-class performer operates.

“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.”
-Darren Hardy

The higher your tolerance for mediocrity, the more off-track your life will become.

What you tolerate is what you get. Choose to accept nothing than the best option available.

7. They Never Make Excuses and Take Full Responsibility for Everything.

“The more successful the individual, the less inclined she is to make excuses.” -David Schwartz

Most people who have never accomplished much in their lives are full of excuses and reasons why.

World-class winners take full responsibility for everything in their life. If they came up short, it was their fault. If they didn’t succeed, there was no one to blame but themselves.

Most people think this type of mindset is limiting, but it’s actually the most freeing action you can take.

“The moment you accept total responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the day you claim the power to change ANYTHING in your life.” -Hal Elrod

Once you begin to see your life as exactly what you make it, you can design whatever life you want. You take back all the power from everything you’ve ever blamed — your boss, the economy, God, Trump, your upbringing, your bad luck — and you gain the ability to do anything.

World-class winners never complain. They never make excuses or blame anything but themselves for the result.

This is exactly what sets them free and allows them to create whatever life they want.

8. They Prize Mental Resilience More Than Anything.

In the words of world-champion chess player Josh Waitzkin:

“Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously. If left to my own devices, I am always looking for more ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable. When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid confrontations but to become at peace with it. My instinct is to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.”

The higher you ascend, the more obstacles will try to pull you back down.

As David Schwartz once said, “All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class street.” If you let it, you’ll always stay at ground-level.

Mental resilience is what keeps you going in the face of more and more obstacles. There’s an old Haitian proverb that goes, “Behind mountains are more mountains.” Difficulties will never stop.

But you can cultivate the mental resilience to progress despite any adversity.

World-class winners cultivate this trait constantly and diligently.

“For all the time we spend working on our careers and talents — going to school, building a business, making money, training the body — it’s ultimately your mental focus and concentration, your ability to control your environment and the heartbeats of others, that determine whether you succeed or fail.” -Tim Grover
Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

9. They Are Extremely Focused On Only the Most Important Priorities.

“If success is a main concern for you, then spend most of your time doing things that will create success.” -Grant Cardone

Most people are preoccupied all the time.

Tim Ferriss once wrote that most people have an endless stream of worries that “bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.”

World-class winners are extremely focused on only that which is most important. They do not allow email, social media, the news, or a trending new app to make them lose focus.

The most successful people in the world have laser-focused long-term goals. Every action they do on a daily basis is designed to move them once step closer to achieving those goals.

Most people are like a wide-lens flashlight; they cover a lot of ground, but their focus is weak and dim in every category. They still believe “multitasking” is possible and have no boundaries for whatever notification instructs them to do.

World-class winners don’t tolerate this frantic busyness and low-frequency focus. They are unapologetically, implacably focused on whatever the most important task is, and they give 100% of their energy to it.

Then, they move on and repeat.

“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality.” -Steven Pressfield

10. They Constantly Operate in Peak Flow States.

“Flow is the optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Most people never operate at their best levels. They have forgotten what it feels like to be so involved in a task, time seems to stand still as you move at the speed of light.

World-class winners constantly operate in flow states. They have set up routines and schedules so they enter flow states daily, and protect these periods of time viciously.

It takes discipline and skill to begin entering flow states consistently. Many things pull at you every day, trying to distract you.

Consistently following routines creates physiological energy spikes.

If you make time for flow states, you’ll start entering them more and more and it becomes routine.

This is how you can begin to produce 10x more quantity and 100x better quality in the same few hours as someone else dealing with distractions.

11. They Turn Every Obstacle Into an Advantage.

“Of all the virtues we can learn no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.” -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

World-class winners understand obstacles and problems are advantages. The larger the task, the bigger the victory. The more difficult the problem, the more opportunity to learn and grow.

Most people don’t recognize adversity this way. They see obstacles as frustrating, unfortunate blocks that prevent them from moving forward. Many people see this roadblock and just give up and go home.

The world’s most successful people deal with incredibly difficult, trying, and complicated problems, every day. With more wealth and opportunity comes more responsibility. If you’re not equipped to handle the pressure, you’ll surely break.

Obstacles are not problems — they are opportunities to grow and learn. The bigger the obstacle, the more potential growth.

“Bad things are fuel. And you don’t just want fuel — you need it.” -Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way

12. They Surround Themselves With People Who Hold Extremely High Standards.

“All of us, more than we realize, are products of the thinking around us. And much of this thinking is small.” -David Schwartz

The people around you have huge influences on your life.

Most people don’t have very high standards for themselves. “Good” is usually good-enough.

Negative thinking is heavily influenced by the people around you. As Darren Hardy once wrote, “You can’t hang out with negative people and expect to have a positive life.”

World-class winners are extremely attuned to the attitudes of others around them. They know winners become better by hanging out with other winners — and become worse when constantly pulled down by those with low standards.

World-class winners are always upgrading their personal standards, and they know the best way to do this is to hang around people with higher standards than their own.

In Conclusion

Here’s one of the greatest truths I’ve learned in the past 5 years:

Anyone can achieve greatness.

Anders Ericsson once wrote, “How much you improve is up to you.” Becoming a world-class winner is not easy. Most people won’t ever do what it takes to get there.

But they could.

So can you. Successful entrepreneur Darren Hardy once said, “The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.” Don’t know where to start? Pick any one of these 12 traits, and work from there.

You might not be living a world-class life now.

Most people won’t ever get there.

Be someone who chooses to start, today.

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