How to Succeed in Life

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Students will develop an understanding of six success traits and apply them to their own lives by completing the handouts.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
·        Identify the six success traits and explain how others have exhibited these traits.
·        Offer opinions and define six traits of success and their importance orally in quads and classroom discussion.

Language Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
·        Verbally communicate their understanding of character traits precisely to others.
·        Use clear definitions in discussion with others and in their own reasoning.

Standards Alignment

·        California Common Core State Standards: College & Career Readiness
Anchor Standards:
o       RI. 7, 10; W. 4, 6, 10; SL. 1, 3, 4, 6; L. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
·        California Career Technical Education Anchor Standards:
o       2, 7, 9
·        California Standards for Career Ready Practice:
o       1, 2, 5, 9, 10
·        National Career Development Guidelines:
o       PS1, PS2, PS3, ED1, ED2, CM1, CM2   
·        International Society for Technology in Education Standards:
o       1, 2, 3, 4, 5
·        English Language Development Standards:
o       Part I: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 

o       Part II: 1, 2, 3-5, 6-7


1.      Handouts
·        Six Steps to Success (p. 4)
·        Success Traits Writing Exercise (p. 5)

Academic Vocabulary

·        Commitment: is a pledge or promise; an obligation.

·        Confidence: is belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.

·        Courage: is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

·        Creativity: is the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

·        Determination: is a fixed purpose or intention.

·        Integrity: is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

·        Success traits: are distinguishing characteristics or qualities that foster the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals.


Students will discuss success traits and historical figures who are examples of these traits, then complete a “Six Steps to Success” handout and the “Success Traits Writing Exercise” handout.

Lesson Procedures

1.      Introduce the six success traits. Write these words on the board: Commitment, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, Determination, and Integrity. Discuss with students what they mean and why they are important.

2.      Then provide examples of a historical figure that has demonstrated one of the six traits. For example, Rosa Parks demonstrated courage when she refused to give up a bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. Ask students to brainstorm some historical figures to illustrate each trait.

3.      Distribute the “Six Steps to Success” handout and ask students to work in small groups to complete it as a review. Assign each group a trait so they can answer the final two questions on the handout. Let them discuss their answers in their small groups, then bring the discussion back to the whole class.

4.      Distribute “The Success Traits Writing Exercise” handout and assign the writing exercise or partner with a Language Arts teacher to extend this lesson in a Language Arts class. It may help students if you complete the exercise and share it with the class as a modeling activity. Have students complete the worksheet in class or as a take-home activity.

Estimated Time

One or two class sessions


·        Do this lesson in reverse by having students identify traits that can block their success.

·        Select groups of historical figures (artists, politicians, scientists, etc.) and have students identify three or four traits of each group. Then have students compare their group's traits with other group's traits and see how those traits are similar or different. The idea is to get students to see that success traits may vary from one occupation to another.


·        Each student will complete and submit for review the “Six Steps to Success” handout and the “Success Traits Writing Exercise” handout.


Adapted from Knowing Yourself: Six Steps to Success [PDF], Sparking the Future Curriculum: Lesson Plans for Grades 7–12. The Web address is

Six Steps to Success

What Are The Six Success Traits?

Name _____________________________      

Following your group discussion, write a definition for each of the six success traits.  







Circle the trait above that was assigned to your group to report on. Answer the following questions based on this character trait.  

Explain why this trait is important to have as a student. How does it help you at school? How would it help you at work?

How would you demonstrate this trait? Describe one example.

Success Traits Writing Exercise

Describe Your Path to Success

Name _____________________________

Use the space provided below to write down your thoughts on ONE of the following writing prompts. Use the back of this sheet or a computer to write your final response.

Write four words that describe something good about you. Explain how one of those words relates to the six success traits and how that trait applies to you. Describe how you have exhibited this trait.

Do you have a hero? Who is that person and what success traits make you look up to him or her? Describe how this person has modeled at least one of the six success traits discussed during this lesson.

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