Power Players

Mark Cuban says successful people share 1 trait 'most people' don't have: It's 'the one thing in life you can control'

Mark Cuban appearing on Season 13 of ABC's "Shark Tank."
Christopher Willard | Getty

Between his own business success and his investments in hundreds of startups, Mark Cuban knows what it takes to be highly successful.

There's one trait you should cultivate above all others if you want to be successful too, he says.

"The one thing in life you can control is your effort," Cuban, 64, recently said in a LinkedIn video post published by entrepreneur and VC investor Randall Kaplan. "And being willing to do so is a huge competitive advantage, because most people don't."

Putting in effort means going beyond what's required to solve problems, even when you aren't asked to — on top of your job's normal responsibilities, Cuban said. You take the initiative, and exhaust every possible option to find answers.

This quality is somewhat rare, he added.

"There's some people, or employees, that if you tell them to do A, B, and C, they'll do A, B, and C and not know that D, E, and F exists," Cuban said. "There [are] others who aren't very good at details: If you tell them to do A, B, and C, all they want to do is talk about D, E and F."

His advice for anyone who doesn't go the extra mile: "Don't apply for a job with me."

Cuban's comments come amid an ongoing "quiet quitting" movement, as employees across the U.S. push back against being overworked, underpaid and given limited advancement opportunities. The phrase refers to the idea that people should do the work they get paid to do — and nothing more.

"It ultimately is an engagement issue, as we think about what employees are really looking for and setting boundaries for themselves," Lexi Clarke, vice president of people at employee compensation company Payscale, told reporters earlier this year. "It's not going anywhere."

Still, Cuban isn't the only boss who highly values effort and problem-solving skills in the workplace.

Last year, 2.7 million job postings on ZipRecruiter listed "analytical thinking" as a required soft skill. And 29% of company executives worldwide think employees who don't go the extra mile won't be successful and risk being fired, Payscale's 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report found.

For Cuban, it's seemingly personal: He built his career by analyzing where he'd get the most reward for his effort, instead of following his passions and seeing where they led him.

"The things I ended up being really good at were the things I found myself putting effort into," Cuban said in a 2018 Amazon Insights for Entrepreneurs video. "A lot of people talk about passion, but that's really not what you need to focus on. You really need to evaluate and say, 'OK, where am I putting in my time?'"

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank," which features Mark Cuban as a panelist.

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Bringing in $1.3 million a year as a dog grooming artist
Bringing in $1.3 million a year as a dog grooming artist