How Successful People Act Differently While Traveling – 10 Tips

Ann Marie Sabath
Ann Marie Sabath

By Ann Marie Sabath

Do you remember the last time you were waiting to board a plane, train, commuter rail, or other public transportation vehicle? You may have taken a break from being glued to your smart phone and looked at those around you.

Perhaps you zoomed in on what other passengers were wearing, their voice level, what they were carrying and how they were interacting with individuals around them. Whether or not you realized it, your observations told you a lot about these individuals’ success quotient.

The next time you are traveling, take a second look at those around you and see which individuals possess the following ten characteristics of successful people:

1 – They Are Time-Masters

Successful individuals live by the mantra, “when you are five minutes early, you are ten minutes late.” This describes your fellow passengers who are waiting to board rather than the ones who are running to the gate five minutes before their flight is scheduled to take off.

2 – They Make More Eye Contact with People than Smart Phones 

Notice which individuals scope out their surroundings and initiate conversations with those within an arms-length of them. It won’t take long to find them since they will be the exception rather than the rule.

3 – They Take Care of Themselves Physically 

While successful people may not look like body builders, most do nurture their bodies. They are mindful of what they eat and drink. They certainly are not the individuals who order a Bloody Mary on a 6:00 am flight or three vodka and tonics on the evening flight.

4 – They Respect Others’ Space

Successful people are sensitive to the spatial needs of individuals within an arms-length of them. They are acutely aware of others’ needs rather than merely focusing on their own wants.

For instance, after reclining their seat, they ask the person behind them if they have ample space. When they are sitting in an aisle seat, they stand to let out their seat mate rather than expecting the person to clumsily climb over them. They also recognize that their elbows do not own the joint armrest.

5 – They Clean up around Themselves

Successful people declutter their environment rather than leaving their trash in the seat pocket only to be found by the next person occupying the seat. They treat their paid space on public transportation the same way they respect their home environment—free of trash to include the empty cup or water bottle, the food wrapper, and the like.

6 – They Treat Gate Agents and Flight Attendants with Respect

Rather than acting as though they are the center of the universe by making requests in a demanding tone, successful people employ the platinum rule. When asking a gate agent, flight attendant, or porter for assistance, they acknowledge the individual with a greeting followed by, “When you have a minute . . . ,” or “Is this a good time to ask . . . ?”

7 – They Are Good Stewards of Their Money

Successful people are typically not the ones in line buying a Starbucks cup of coffee. These individuals have a vested interest in the company by owning the stock rather than getting their caffeine fix by piddling away five dollars for that skinny cinnamon latte. They let you do that.

8 – They Live below Their Means

These individuals blend in a crowd rather than jumping out based on their designer luggage.

They have already created their own success, therefore do not have that “look at me” need by flaunting that thousand-dollar carry-on.

9 – They Take Control of Their Destiny

When a flight has been delayed or canceled, these are the first individuals you will see taking control of the unexpected in a calm, collective, and proactive manner. Rather than shouting at the gate agent because the flight has been canceled, successful people call that special airline number to which they have access due to their loyalty status.  They embrace change rather than expending their energy with that “I hate that airline” attitude.

10 – They Listen Up

If you happen to be in a conversation with a “successful” person who is seated next to you, you will know it within a few minutes. The person will listen more than sharing information about himself/herself. The reason: Successful people make a point of learning something new every day and you just might be the one sharing that new tidbit of knowledge for this curious person.

The next time you take public transportation, be acutely aware of the individuals in your midst.  You may find that you will be doing more than merely getting to your destination. You may learn several of the secrets for creating your own success by observing those around you.

Ann Marie Sabath is the founder of At Ease Inc., the 31-year-old New York City-based business consulting firm. Her ninth book, What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t: 52 Secrets for Creating Your Own Success, was just published by Career Press. For more information, visit www.annmariesabath.com.