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Home » Richard St. John: 8 Traits of Successful People (Full Transcript)

Richard St. John: 8 Traits of Successful People (Full Transcript)

Watch, listen and read the full transcript of Richard St. John’s presentation: 8 Traits of Successful People at TED Talk Conference.

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Richard St. John – Success expert

Now, my subject is success, so people sometimes call me a ‘motivational speaker’. But I want you to know right upfront I’m not a motivational speaker. I couldn’t pass the height requirement.

And I couldn’t motivate anybody. My employees actually call me a de-motivational speaker. What I try to be is an informational speaker. I went out and found out some information about success, and I’m just here to pass it on.

And my story started over 10 years ago on a plane. I was on my way to the TED conference in California, and in the seat next to me was a teenage girl, and she came from a really poor family, but she wanted to get somewhere in life. And as I tapped away on my computer, she kept asking me questions, and then out of the blue, she asked, ‘Are you successful?’

I said, ‘No, I’m not successful.’

Terry Fox, my hero, now there’s a big success. He lost a leg to cancer, then ran thousands of miles and raised millions for cancer research. Or Bill Gates, a guy who owns his own plane and doesn’t have to sit next to some kid asking him questions.

But then I told her about some of the stuff I’d done. I love communications, and I’ve won lots of awards in marketing. I love running, and I still sometimes win my age group, old farts over 60. My fastest marathon is two hours and 43 minutes to run the 26 miles, or 42 kilometers. I’ve run over 50 marathons, in all 7 continents. This was a run my wife and I did up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.

And to qualify for the 7 continents, we had to run a marathon in Antarctica. But when we got there, it didn’t look nice and calm like this, it looked like this. The waves were so high, we couldn’t get to shore. So we sailed 200 miles further south to where the seas were calm and ran the entire 26-mile marathon on the boat. 422 laps around the deck of that little boat.

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