There are a million things that contribute to your success: your attitude, your people skills, and your ability to lead, listen, and take responsibility, to name a few.
But an important one many don't know about is the ability to manage emotions and remain calm under pressure, says Travis Bradberry, president at TalentSmart and coauthor of "Emotional Intelligence 2.0," in a LinkedIn post.
In a more recent follow-up post, Bradberry says that managing your emotions is as much about what you don't do as it is about what you do.
He sifted through data from his company, TalentSmart — which tested more than a million people and found that the "upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence" — to uncover the kinds of things that successful do and don't do to keep themselves calm, content, and in control.
He found nine behaviors they consciously avoid. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. They don't live in the past.
"Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can't do this when they're living in the past," he says. "Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can't allow [past failures] to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed."
When you live in the past, that is what happens — and it's nearly impossible to move forward.
2. They don't dwell on problems or hold grudges.
Bradberry says your emotional state is determined by where you focus your attention. "When you fixate on the problems that you're facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance."
People with high emotional intelligence focus on solutions, he says. And they rarely hold a grudge.
When you relive an event or conversation that angered you, "you [send] your body into fight-or-flight mode," Bradberry says. "When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time."
Emotionally intelligent people know that stress and negativity are detrimental to their success — so they avoid holding grudges at all costs, he says.
Business picture of the day
Business picture of the day
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Hundreds of steelworkers from across the UK marched through Westminster to keep up pressure for government help for their industry
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
2/31 Google Paris headquarters raided as part of tax payment probe - Tuesday May 24
The message 'I'm feeling lucky' is seen on the facade of the entrance of Google's Paris headquarters on May 24, 2016 in Paris, France. Google's headquarters in Paris were raided by French investigators on Tuesday morning as part of an investigation over alleged tax fraud. Ministry of Finance is seeking €1.6 billion ($1.79 billion) in back taxes from the US Internet giant Google.
3/31 Bayer offers to buy Monsanto for $62 billion cash - Monday May 23
Monsanto DeKalb brand hybrid corn sits in the hopper of a Case IH planter in a field in Princeton, Illinois, US. Bayer, on Monday, made an unsolicited $62 billion all-cash offer to acquire Monsanto to create the world’s biggest supplier of farm chemicals and genetically modified seeds, a proposed acquisition that would be the biggest corporate deal by a German company.
4/31 Fracking approval under consideration - Friday May 20
Councillors in North Yorkshire on Friday considered whether to approve fracking in England for the first time since a ban on the technique was lifted in 2012. Campaigners say approval would set a "dangerous precedent".
5/31 'Oppenheimer Blue' diamond sells for £40m, setting new record - Thursday May 19
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6/31 Mitsubishi Motors president to resign over fuel scandal - Wednesday May 19
Mitsubishi Motors President Tetsuro Aikawa will step down as the Japanese automaker looks to regroup from its widening fuel economy testing scandal with the backing of Nissan Motor. Aikawa, 62, and Executive Vice President Ryugo Nakao will leave their positions effective June 24, according to a statement Wednesday.Prior to the scandal, Mitsubishi was the sixth biggest carmaker in Japan and ranked 16 worldwide.
7/31 Harmony of the Seas: Biggest cruise ship in the world docks in Southampton - Tuesday May 17
The worlds largest cruise ship, the 361 metres long, Harmony of the Seas, arrives in port for her mayden voyage, in Southampton, Britain May 17, 2016. The 362-metre-long Harmony of the Seas cost $1 billion (£700 million) and is larger than the Eiffel Tower.
8/31 Barclays to sell secret London gold vault - Monday May 16
Barclays has sold its metals business, including a secret gold bullion vault in London which can hold up to 2,000 tonnes of gold. ICBC Standard, China’s biggest bank, expects the purchase to be completed in July. Barclays decision to exit the business comes as US and EU regulators investigate whether 10 banks, including Deutsche Bank and Barclays manipulated prices of precious metals such as silver and gold.
9/31 Bank of England warns EU referendum vote could damage UK economic growth - Thursday May 12
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned today that a majority vote to "leave" in next month's European Union referendum carried the risk of a "technical recession" for the UK. His words came as the Bank slashed its growth forecasts citing uncertainty created by next month's Brexit referendum - and warned, in addition, that a vote to leave could push up unemployment, send the pound plummeting and result in a spike in inflation.
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11/31 Budweiser just renamed its beer to "America" - Tuesday May 10
The beer, formerly known as Budweiser, is going for what it calls "patriotic packaging" this summer. The brand name on most cans and bottles will read "America", and will include phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance and lyrics from The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. “We thought nothing was more iconic than Budweiser and nothing was more iconic than America," Tosh Hall, creative director at JRK, told Fast Co Design.Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Belgian-Brazilian brewing giant, filed the America label for approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and has received the go ahead for use on 12-ounce cans and bottles.
12/31 Canadian wildfires push up oil - Monday May 9
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13/31 Hotel Chocolat founders make £20m each from stock market debut - Thursday May 5
Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris share £43.5m of £55.5m raised through flotation of luxury chocolate company
14/31 BHP Billiton faces £30bn compensation claim over Brazil dam disaster - Wednesday May 4
BHP Billiton and its partner Vale are facing a 155bn real (£30bn) claim from Brazilian prosecutors over a dam collapse last year at one of their iron ore mines, which killed 19 and left 700 homeless. Shares in the London-listed BHP plunged almost 10% after the charges were revealed into what is being called Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.
Getty Images/ Douglas Magno
15/31 Australian Craig Wright claims he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto - Tuesday May 3
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Protesters carrying umbrellas take part in a flashmob performance, protesting against British Petroleum's (BP's) sponsorship of the British Museum in central London on September 13, 201
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
17/31 Volkswagen bosses to be paid £49m despite record losses after emissions scandal - Thursday April
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18/31 Comcast ‘in talks to buy DreamWorks for $3bn’ - Wednesday April 27
Comcast, the parent of Universal Pictures, is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation for more than $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions. Buying the maker of the "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" movies would bolster Comcast's collection of animated films as the largest US cable provider searches for ways to grow amid a trend of cord-cutters dropping TV for online video services like Netflix.
19/31 Scottish Power fined £18m for poor customer service - Tuesday April 26
Scottish Power has agreed to pay £18 million for failing to treat its customers fairly. The fine – of which up to £15 million will be paid to vulnerable Scottish Power customers and £3 million to charity - is the third biggest penalty given to one of the major six energy providers. It follows an investigation by the industry regulator Ofgem into the firm’s customer service.
20/31 BHS goes into administration with 11,000 jobs under threat - Monday April 25
BHS has filed for administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk. Administrators Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles of Duff & Phelps said BHS had “no alternative but to put the group into administration to protect it for all creditors”. The group will continue to trade as normal while administrators look for someone to buy the chain. READ MORE BHS on the brink of collapse: everything you need to know The high street store has been unable to find £60 million in emergency funding needed to pay wages and rent and stop it going under.
21/31 New £20 note design and personality unveiled by Bank of England - Friday April 22
Artist JMW Turner and his painting The Fighting Temeraire will feature on the new design of the Bank of England's £20 note to enter circulation in 2020. The English Romantic artist was chosen from a list of public nominations - the first time the Bank has asked who should appear on a specific banknote. The note, to be made of polymer, will eventually replace the current £20 note featuring the economist Adam Smith.
The Governor and The Company of The Bank of England
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The offices of Mitsubishi have been raided in Japan after the company admitted to falsifying fuel economy data, sending shares plummeting 35 per cent in two days. Investors watched in horror as the stock price fell a further 20 per cent on Thursday to trade around 583 yen following a raid on the Mitsubishi plant in the central Japanese city of Okazaki. Trading was halted due to the surfeit of investors trying to sell stock. More than third of the company's value evaporated in the sell-off.
23/31 Oil tumbles as Kuwait strike ends - Wednesday April 20
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24/31 Netflix shares nose-dive on growth and pricing fears - Tuesday April 19
Netflix shares plunged nearly 11 per cent in after-hours trading on Wall Street over fears the video streaming company’s growth is stalling as it faces an attack on its market share from Amazon. Numbers were lower than analysts, who had anticipated 580,000 in the US and 3.5 million globally, were looking for. It has 81.5 million users worldwide.The video streaming group, home to House of Cards and Marco Polo, posted a first-quarter profit of $28 million (£19.6 million), up $4 million on last year.One reasons for the slowing growth is that the company has been pushing up its charges. It is also facing tough competition from Hulu and Amazon, which unveiled a new monthly subscription pricing model yesterday.
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26/31 Chinese growth slides - Friday April 15
China’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 2009 in the first three months of the year, although there were signs that the world’s second-largest economy was stabilising. The so-called Dragon economy grew 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, official figures showed. That was down slightly on the previous quarter’s 6.8 per cent but in line with Beijing’s forecasts. Chinese banks issued nearly double the amount of new loans in March than in February while retail sales growth accelerated from 10.2 per cent to 10.5 per cent and industrial output advanced from 5.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent, well ahead of expectations.
Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Denis Kartavenko (c)
28/31 Activists seek transparency in Panama Papers aftermath in Berlin - Wednesday April 13
Activists wearing suits throw fake money into the air while demanding greater transparency in new legislation following the ongoing Panama Papers affair on April 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany
by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
29/31 IMF warns Brexit will create 'severe global damage' - Tuesday April 12
The IMF has slashed the UK’s growth forecasts for this year, saying uncertainty created by the Brexit referendum in June is already hurting the domestic economy. It is a major intervention from the IMF into the referendum debate. The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde has previously spoken about the negative economic impact of Brexit. But this is the first major warning from the Fund itself. The IMF cut its 2016 GDP growth forecast for Britain to 1.9 per cent, down from the 2.2 per cent it projected in January. After Japan, it was the joint second largest downgrade handed out to any country in the G7.
Getty Images / John Lamparski
30/31 Tata sells Scunthorpe steel plant to investment firm Greybull Capital - Monday April 11
Tata Steel has sold its Long Products Europe business, including its Scunthorpe plant, to investment firm Greybull Capital . The move will safeguard 4,400 UK jobs, but workers are being asked to accept a pay cut and less generous pension arrangements.
31/31 Brighton Pier sold for £18m to former Pizza Express boss - Friday April 8
Brighton Pier, one of UK’s most iconic structures, is set to be sold in an £18 million deal to Eclectic Bar Group, chaired by former Pizza Express entrepreneur Luke Johnson. The Grade II listed landmark in East Sussex was placed on the market for the first time in more than 25 years back in 2011, before being withdrawn the following year. The group said the purchase of the “iconic British asset” will boost its earnings. READ MORE Popular music college set to close and be demolished Case against homeless man arrested after begging for 10 pence quashed Brighton College praised by parents for pioneering transgender uniform “Brighton is one of the UK's most popular visitor destinations with over 10 million visitors per year, making it the most visited place in the South East. The pier itself is Britain's most popular attraction outside London,” Luke Johnson said.
3. They don't prioritize perfection.
Successful people don't aim for perfection because they know it doesn’t exist. "Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible," Bradberry says. "When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve."
4. They don't surround themselves with negative people.
Negative people — or those who complain all the time — are toxic.
"They wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions," he says. "They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves."
It's human nature to feel obligated to listen to complainers because we don't want to be seen as insensitive or impolite, Bradberry says. "But there's a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral."
He says you can avoid getting drawn in by setting limits and distancing yourself from those people. "Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the secondhand smoke? You'd distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers."
5. They don't say "yes" to everyone, all the time.
Research has found that the more difficulty you have saying "no," the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and depression, he says. "Saying no is indeed a major challenge for most people. [It] is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield."
When it's necessary to say "no" to a request, successful people don't beat around the bush. They are typically direct and avoid phrases like, "I don't think I can," Bradberry says.
"Saying 'no' to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them."