What do top CEOs credit their success to? An excellent education, that inspiring mentor, maybe the years of hard work? All those things are important, but no – turns out that they’re especially grateful for their upbringing.

In a recent BBC article, Katie Hope looks at how some of the world’s leading CEOs feel that a lot of their success started at how they were brought up. After all, that’s where you learn the qualities that set you apart – the kinds of values that aren’t usually taught in educational institutions. 

Joe Plumeri, Former CEO of the Willis Group, says that his father taught him to change his attitude and look for the best in each situation. John Donahoe of eBay says that he didn’t know his dad to have the word “I” in his vocabulary, and that he always put an emphasis on staying true to who you are. And Guo Guangchang, Chairman of the Fosun Group, remembers his hard-working parents’ emphasis on treating employees well and working to better society as a whole. 

I’ll always remember, when I was in primary school, an instance where I was grumpy at a family function because I had a headache – and mum teaching me that I should think of the others and be cheerful. And only recently my aunt mentioned that when we were young and interrupted adult conversations, my dad would always pause and take us seriously instead if shooing us away – which is possibly why we get along so well with him now. These kinds of lessons, that have to do with dealing with people, must be what really count!

All of this is not to say that every CEO has amazing parents, that all great parents will end up with CEOs for children, or that having CEO on your job title is a measure of success. Not at all –  rather, it shows that a solid upbringing is a key factor in setting you up to achieve your goals in life, whether it be to teach at the local school, run a business or become the prime minister.

Think about it – what long-lasting lessons were you taught from your parents?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.