The other day my eldest son asked me what three traits I wish I had. I couldn’t answer right at that moment. I had to let the question percolate until I hit on what I deem to be the three most important characteristics, for a successful person.

(Notice, I am not saying successful businessperson – I mean successful in business and in life, for true success spans both realms.) 

  1. PatientEverything good and worth having takes time. Marathon, not a race. 
  2. OptimisticBelieving good will come in the end. Always. 
  3. StrongPhysically, mentally, emotionally. Being able to do-it-yourself, whatever IT is. And then I got on a roll. Ambitious. Generous. Compassionate. And really, you have to have a bit of an edge. 

This was my children’s first Halloween as trick-or-treaters. In the cold gray evening, little cheeks rounding into red, they ran from house to house, eager smiles in their voices as they chorused out: “Trick or treat!” Plop, plunk, click.

Candy, potato chips, even a package of two giant chocolate cupcakes, dropped into each of their bright orange jack-o-lantern pouches and they sing-songed thank you before catapulting to the next house. After, my little one already asleep on the way home, the elder two kids and I sat at the kitchen table. I ate dinner.

My daughter downed as much candy as she could ingest. My eldest son had a reasonable amount of chicken soup before delving into his stash.  And he read as he ate.

“Mommy, what superhero quality would you want?” he asked. “ONE,” he reminded me, as my daughter sang out two that she would choose: strength and flying. 

Again, I drew a blank. Superhero quality? All that came to mind, guiltily, was wealth. I tried to spin it positively. “Well, if I had all the money in the world, I could give it to all the people who needed it,” I said. Lame.  

“Mommy,” my daughter implored. “That’s not a superhero quality. Things like strength, flying, speed, fire, water and jumping really high. Stretch – a long stretch.” Her arm extended, fist folded, above her head.

“Did we say strength? I think that’s pretty much all. Wait, no, fighting.” She nodded her head. “Fighting bad criminals.” 

She listened to her lovely little voice and then said, “I think I’d take all of them.” 

“Then you’d be the most powerful person in the world,” I said. 

And I realized the best quality anyone could hope for was imagination. Believing in the impossible. That’s the true key to success. My kid has it at 6.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

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