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John C. Maxwell!15 Golden Rules of Personal Development

Chapter 1 Purposeful Principle

Unnatural development takes place

Life is going on.

Do you immerse yourself in it?

Do you have a plan to develop yourself?” Curt Kampmeier, the questioner, patiently waited for my answer. That was the question that changed my life.

I was very confused. I list my accomplishments from three years ago. I talked about how hard I worked. I outline future goals. I explain what I’m doing to reach more people. All of my answers are based on activities, not improvements. In the end, I had to admit. I have no plans to become a better person.

It was something I had never thought of before, and it exposed a major weakness in my approach to work and success. When I started my career, I worked hard, achieved my goals and succeeded.

I have a strategy: Work hard. I hope that helps me get where I want to go.

But working hard is no guarantee of success. And hope is not a strategy.

How do you do what you’re doing better? How do you improve relationships? How do you gain greater depth and wisdom? How do you overcome the obstacles? By working harder? Working for longer hours? Or wait for things to get better?

That conversation took place over lunch at a Holiday Inn in 1972. At that time, I had just had the opportunity to advance in my career. I was assigned to manage the best church in the diocese. Think about being assigned the top leadership position in your company. That’s what it was for me then. The problem is that I’m only 24 years old, I have so many flaws, and I know that if I don’t take advantage of this opportunity, I will fail miserably.

Curt is a salesperson who specializes in providing a personal development kit, a long-term plan with materials designed to help a person grow. He pushed the brochure across the table to me. It cost $799, almost a month’s salary at the time.

I was lost in thought as I drove home. I used to believe that success will come to anyone who dedicates themselves wholeheartedly to their career. Curt helped me realize that the key lies in personal growth. And I think if you focus on goals, you can achieve them, but that’s no guarantee of growth. If you focus on growth, you will grow and always achieve your goals.

While I was driving, a quote from the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen popped into my mind. I first read that book in seventh grade and then read it over and over again a dozen times. Allen wrote: “People are often eager to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; so they’re still hanging around.” I don’t have enough money to buy Curt’s kit.

However, in my heart I knew he had found the key to my ability to face my next leadership challenge and rise to the next level in my career. I can see the gap between where I’ve been and where I want to be, where I need to be! It’s a development gap, and I need to find a way to bridge it.



If you have dreams, goals or aspirations, you need to develop to achieve them. But if you’re like me and most others, you probably have one or more false beliefs that create a gap that prevents you from growing and achieving your potential. Take a look at the following eight growth misconceptions that may be holding you back from living the purposeful life you need to be.

1. Hypothesis Gap – “I think I will naturally grow.”

When we are young, our bodies develop naturally. With each passing year, we grow taller, stronger, able to do new things and face new challenges. I think many people grow up with a belief that mental, physiological, and emotional development follows a pattern.

Time passes, and we just keep getting better. We’re like Charlie Brown in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic, who once said, “I think I’ve discovered the secret of life, you hang around until you get used to it. that.” The problem is that we don’t progress just by living like that. We must live with purpose.

Musician Bruce Springsteen said, “There comes a time when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to be and start being the man you want to be.” No one is naturally progressive. Personal growth doesn’t just happen. And once you complete your formal education, you have full ownership of your personal development, because no one else will do it for you. As Michel de Montaigne put it: “No wind will follow you if you yourself do not know where to sail.” If you want your life to change, you have to change yourself. You have to make it a tangible goal.

“There comes a time when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to be and start being the man you want to be.”– Bruce Springsteen

2. Knowledge Gap – “I don’t know how to develop myself.”

After meeting with Curt Kampmeier, I talked to people I knew and asked them the same question Curt asked me: “Do you have a personal growth plan?” I hope that someone will have the answer and I just need to learn from them. No one said they had a plan. No one in my world plans to grow and improve themselves. I don’t know how to grow, and neither do they.

If you know what you want, the world responds with clarity,” says designer, artist and consultant Loretta Staples. I already know what I want. I want to take up the new job position. I want to be someone who is capable of accomplishing the great goals that I have set for myself. I just need to know how to do it.

Many people only learn from harsh environments. Difficult experiences teach them “bitter” lessons and they change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. These lessons are random and difficult. It is better to plan your growth. You determine where you need or want to grow, what you choose to learn, and execute them on your own set of principles and pace.

After meeting Curt and realizing I didn’t know anyone who could help, my wife Margaret and I discussed how to save $799. (You need to remember that was before credit cards were invented!) I skipped lunch. We canceled the planned vacation. We did everything ourselves. It took us six months, but we made it in the end.

You can’t imagine how excited I was when I opened the personal development kit and started flipping through the five aspects it deals with: attitude, goals, discipline, measurement, and consistency. Beyond my faith, the decision to grow has impacted my life more than anything else.

Looking back now, I can see how basic the knowledge in that kit was. But that’s what I needed back then. Those lessons opened the door to personal growth in front of me. And through that gap I began to see growth opportunities everywhere.

My world began to manifest. I got more done, I have learned more things. I was able to guide and help others more. Other opportunities began to emerge. My world is wide open. Beyond my faith, the decision to grow has impacted my life more than anything else.

3. Time Gap – “This is not the time to start.”

When I was a kid, one of my favorite puzzles my dad used to give us was: There are five frogs sitting on a log. The four decided to jump down. How many children are left?

The first time my father asked me, I answered, “There is one.”

“No,” replied his father. “Five children. Why? Because there is a problem between decision and implementation!”

That’s what my father used to teach us. American politician Frank Clark once said, “The achievements we could have in this world would have been enormous if everyone had done what they were meant to do.” Most people don’t act as quickly as they should. They allow themselves to follow the Principle of Giving Up Intentions: “The more you procrastinate doing something you should, the more likely it is that you will never do it.

The Principle of Giving Up Intentions says, “The longer you procrastinate doing something you should, the more likely it is that you will never do it.

Back when I was considering whether to try to buy a personal development kit or not, I was lucky in part because I knew I was given a job that took a lot of effort. It will be the most challenging job up to that point. So many eyes on, great expectations (some expect me to succeed, some expect me to fail). And I knew that if I couldn’t be a better leader, I would fail. That reminds me to act as quickly as possible.

You may be experiencing similar life or work pressures right now. If so, chances are you’ll want to start developing yourself. But what if not? Whether you feel the urge or not, now is the time to start growing.

Author, Professor Leo Buscaglia asserted: “Life for tomorrow can only be achieved by tomorrow.” The reality is that you’ll never get much done unless you’re determined and do it before you’re ready. If you’ve never wanted to develop yourself, you need to start today. Otherwise, you might get some gains, but eventually you’ll end up at a certain threshold forever. As you begin to intentionally develop yourself, you can continue to grow and keep asking the question: “What happens next?”

4. Mistake Distance – “I’m afraid of making mistakes.”

Growth can mean mess. It means admitting you don’t have an answer. It requires mistakes. It can make you look silly. Most people don’t like that. But that’s the price to pay if you want to improve yourself.

Years ago, I read a quote from Robert H. Schuller: “What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fail?That quote encourages me to try things that I think are beyond my ability. They also inspired me to write the book Failing Forward. When I received the book from the publisher, I immediately thanked, signed and dedicated it to Dr. Schuller. And I went directly to Garden Grove to give it to him and thank him for being such a positive influence in my life. A photo of us that day still sits on my desk as a reminder of his “investment” in me.

If you want to grow, you need to overcome your fear of making mistakes. As author and Professor Warren Bennis puts it, “A mistake is simply a different way of doing things.” To be intentional about growth, make mistakes every day and welcome them as a sign that you’re on the right track.

“A mistake is simply a different way of doing things.”- Warren Bennis

5. Perfect Distance – “I had to figure out the best way before I started.

Similar to the Mistake Gap is the Perfect Gap, the desire to find the “best” way to start a growth plan. When Curt introduced me to the idea of ​​a personal development plan, I set out to find the best way. But I found out that I did the reverse of the process. I have to start if I want to find the best way. Similar to driving on an unfamiliar road at night. Ideally, you want to see the entire route before you start. But you will see it gradually appear. As you move forward, the path will unfold little by little. If you want to see more, you need to move.

6. Inspiration Gap – “I don’t want to do that.”

Years ago, I was stuck in a doctor’s waiting room for so long, that I had done all the carrying around when I had to wait and was looking to see if there was anything else to do. I was flipping through a medical journal and saw the following passage, which has since become one of my favorite examples of momentum inertia (and by the way, this was before Nike coined the catchphrase). their brand):

Just do it!

We hear sighs almost every day; sigh, sigh, sigh.

I just can’t get motivated to… (lose weight, check blood sugar, etc.). And we hear similar sighs from diabetes health professionals who can’t get their patients to follow the right guidelines for people with diabetes and their health.

We want to tell you that momentum won’t come on suddenly. Motivation is not something that someone – nurses, doctors, family members, can give or impose on you. The whole idea of ​​motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just keep doing it.

Get some exercise, lose weight, check your blood sugar, or whatever. Do those things without motivation and then guess what. After you start doing those things, motivation will arise and make it easy to keep doing it.

Motivation is like love and happiness. It is a by-product. When you are actively involved in something, it appears and affects you when you least expect it.

As Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner puts it, “There’s a good chance you’ll often end up trying to do something rather than actually doing it.” So take action! Whatever you know you should do, do it.

When Curt advised me to be intentional about my personal growth, I had a thousand reasons not to do it. I don’t have the time, money, experience, etc. I only have one reason to do it. I believe I should do it because I hope it makes a difference. That’s certainly not exciting. But I have started.

To my surprise, after a year of purposeful self-development, I began to surpass some of my own heroes. My reason for doing it varies from starting to sticking with it, because it has really made a difference. Then I didn’t want to miss a day at all!

You may not feel excited to pursue a growth plan if you haven’t started yet. If so, please believe me when I say that the reasons to keep growing are far more valuable than the reasons to start. And you can only discover a reason to keep growing when you stick with it long enough to start reaping success.

Therefore, commit yourself to getting started and stick with it for at least 12 months. If you do, you’ll love the process, and at the end of the year looking back, you’ll know how far you’ve come.

7. Comparative Gap – “Others do better than me.”

Early in my career, I attended an idea exchange with three other leaders in Orlando, Florida. I attended because at that point I realized I needed to be exposed to bigger and better leaders outside of my team. When I came here, at first I felt very nervous. As we talked and shared ideas, I quickly realized that I was not on the same level as them. Their organizations are six times bigger than mine, and they have many better ideas than mine. I felt small, sunken and trying to come up. Even so, I was encouraged. Why so? Because I discovered that these wonderful individuals are willing to share their ideas. And I learned a lot. You can only learn if others are better than you.

During the first 10 years of my career, when I purposefully pursued personal growth, I was always behind and trying to keep up with everyone. I had to overcome the gap in comparison. I had to learn how to be comfortable getting out of my comfort zone. It was a difficult transition, but well worth it.

8. Expectation Gap – “I think it will be easier.”

I don’t know any successful people who think they can develop themselves quickly and get to the top easily. It keeps happening. Everyone creates their own luck. How? Here is the formula:

Preparation (development) + Attitude + Opportunity + Action (doing something) = Luck

“You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change direction overnight.” Jim Rohn

It all starts with preparation. Unfortunately, that takes time. But here’s the best news.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.

If you want to achieve your goals and reach your potential, make personal growth your goal. It will change your life.



The sooner you switch to intentional self-development, the better for you, because self-development is cumulative and increased further if you remain intentional about it. Here are the ways to change:

1. Ask the big question now

The first year I embarked on purposeful self-development, I discovered that it was a lifelong journey. During that year, the question in my mind changed from “How long will it take?” to “How far can I go?” That’s the question you should be asking yourself right now, not because you can answer it. I started this development journey 40 years ago, and I still can’t answer that question. But it will help you map the direction, not the distance.

Where do you want to go in this life?

Which direction do you want to go?

What’s the furthest place you can imagine you could go?

Answering these questions will help you begin your personal growth journey. The best you can hope to do in this life is to make the most of your abilities. You do that by investing in yourself, perfecting yourself as much as you can.

The more you have to work, the greater your potential, and the further you go.

As my father used to tell me many times when I was a child, “With people with many talents, the bigger the demand.” Try your best to develop yourself, the results you will receive will be immeasurable.

2. Do it now!

In 1974 I attended a conference at the University of Dayton where W. Clement Stone presented the topic of perception of urgency. Stone is a successful business magnate in the insurance industry. His talk was titled “Do it now!” and one of the things he told us was: “Before you get out of bed every morning, say ‘do it now’ 50 times. . At the end of the day before bed, the last thing you should do is say ‘do it now’ 50 times.”

There were about 8,000 people in the auditorium that day, but I felt he was speaking to me personally. I went home, and for the next six months I actually followed his advice. The first thing every morning and the last thing every day before going to bed, is to repeat the phrase “do it now!”. It made me acutely aware of the urgency.

The biggest risk you face in this moment is, thinking that self-development becomes a priority later. Don’t fall into that trap! Recently, I read an article by Jennifer Reed in success. She wrote that:

Is there a more cunning word? Later, as in “I’ll do that later” or “Later, I’ll have time to write the book I’ve been cherishing for the past five years.” or “I know I need to clear up my finances…but I’ll do that later.”

“Later” is one of those dream-killers, one of the myriad obstacles we create that can ruin our own chances of success. The diet starts “tomorrow”, the job search “finally” takes place, the pursuit of a life’s dream begins “someday” combined with obstacles self-created other locking us in delay

Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why don’t we act now? Let’s face it: Familiarity is easy; Unexplored roads are full of uncertainty.1

By reading this book, you have already begun the transition. Don’t stop there! Let’s continue to step forward. Choose a resource that will help you grow and start learning from it today.

3. Face the fear factor

Recently, I read an article about the fears that keep people from succeeding. The following five factors were introduced:

Fear of failure

Fear of trading security for the unknown

Fear of financial stress

Fear of what others say or think

Fear of success will alienate friends

Which of the above fears affects you the most? For me, that’s the last thing: shunned friends. By nature, I am someone who wants to please others, and I want to be liked by everyone. But really, it doesn’t matter which fear affects you the most. We all have our own fears. But this is good news. We all have faith. You should ask yourself, “What emotions will make me stronger?” Your answer is important, because stronger emotions will prevail. I want to encourage you to nourish your faith and starve your fears.

4. Change from natural development to intentional development

In life, people tend to go downhill. They also get into trouble easily, and don’t try to get out even if it leads them in the wrong direction. After a while, they just managed to get through the day. If they learn something, it’s by random luck. Don’t let that happen to you! If that’s your attitude, then you need to clearly remember that the only difference between a path and a grave is length!

How do you know you’ve slipped into a rut? Let’s see the difference between random development and intentional development:


Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “A man’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; It is expressed through the choices the person makes. In the long run, we are the ones who shape ourselves and our lives. The process never ends until we close our eyes. After all, we always have to bear all the responsibility for our own choices.”

If you want to reach your potential and become your ideal type, you have to do more than just experience life and hope to learn what you need along the way. You must go beyond a rut to seize growth opportunities as if your future depended on it. Why? Because that’s the truth. Development doesn’t happen by accident – to me, to you, or to anyone. You have to look for it!

“One’s life philosophy is not best expressed in words; It is expressed through the choices the person makes. In the long run, we are the ones who shape ourselves and our lives.”– Eleanor Roosevelt



1. What gap has been discussed in this chapter that has kept you from growing in the way that you could?

� Hypothetical Gap – I think development will happen naturally.

� Knowledge gap – I don’t know how to develop myself.

Time Gap – This is not the right time to start.

Mistake Distance – I am afraid of making mistakes.

� Perfect distance – I have to find the best way before I start.

Inspiration Gap – I don’t want to do that.

� Comparative Gap – Others do better than me.

� Expectation Gap – I think that would be easier.

Now that you have insight into the gaps, what strategies can you create and implement to help close them?

Write a concrete plan for each gap you encounter and take the first step of that plan today.

2. Most people appreciate the importance of nearly everything in their lives. So they get distracted. As a result, they delay development, and if it does, it happens accidentally instead of on purpose.

Take a look at your schedule for the next 12 months.

How much time have you spent on personal development? If you’re like most people, your answer would be no. Or you may be planning to attend an event next year. That is not enough.

Rearrange your work schedule to make time for personal development every day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year.

You might be thinking, What? I don’t have time to do that! That could be the truth. You just keep doing it. If you want to be successful, you need to do whatever it takes.

Wake up an hour earlier. Stay up for more than an hour. Cut your lunch break by an hour. Spend more Spend more time on the weekend. Otherwise, you will have to give up your dreams and any hope of achieving your own potential. Let’s get started now.

No matter what time of day you’re reading these lines, commit to starting growing today. Take that first hour before you go to bed tonight to reflect on it.

Take time today and for the next five days. You probably won’t feel like doing it. Just keep doing it.


Chapter 2 Cognitive principles

You have to understand yourself to develop yourself

“No one can create great things without truly understanding himself.”— James Russell Lowell

In 2004, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore co-starred in the comedy 50 First Dates. It’s the story of a man who falls in love with a young girl, only to find out that she can’t remember who he is the next day.

In fact, that girl couldn’t remember anything that had happened to her since she was in a car accident a year earlier. For her, time seemed to stop at the moment one day before the accident. It’s an interesting movie, even if its title seems a bit silly. But what if something like that happened and it really happened?


A similar case of neuropathy was recorded in 1957 and studied by thousands of doctors and scientists. That patient was Henry M. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1926, he suffered from severe epilepsy and was so debilitating that he could not function properly. At the age of 27, he underwent an experimental surgery in which part of his brain was removed in an attempt to treat epilepsy.

The good news is that after the surgery, Henry no longer suffers from the debilitating epilepsy. In addition, he did not suffer any negative effects on his intelligence, personality or ability to interact with people in society. However, there was a terrible side effect. He seems to have a short-term memory.

Henry M. can’t remember anything that happened after the surgery. He did not recognize his doctor. He couldn’t find the way to the bathroom. When he returned home, he solved jigsaw puzzles every day and read the same magazine without any memory of ever doing so.

When the family moved to a new house, Henry did not remember them moving, nor could he find his way back to the new home, although he still remembered the way home. When interviewed about 30 minutes after lunch, he could not remember what he had eaten. In fact, he couldn’t remember having had lunch.1 He was stuck in time, incapable of learning, growing and changing. It’s a ton of tragedy.



Anyone who wants to grow but doesn’t know himself is like Henry M.. To grow, you must know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and opportunities. You must be able to judge not only where you have been, but also where you are standing.

Otherwise, you will not be able to determine the direction to where you want to go. And of course, every time you want to learn something, you have to be able to take the new things you learned today and build on what you learned yesterday in order to continue to grow. That’s the only way to stay motivated and keep improving

To reach your potential, you must know where you want to go and where you stand. Otherwise, you will most likely get lost. Knowing yourself is like reading the point “You are here!” on the map when you want to find your way to your destination.

I have observed that there are really only three types of people when it comes to direction in life:

1. People who don’t know what they want to do.

These people are often confused. They lack a strong sense of purpose. They don’t know the direction of their lives. If it’s developing, they don’t focus on it. They groped. They are confused. They can’t reach their potential because they don’t know where to go.

2. People who know what they want to do but don’t do it.

These people are often discouraged. Every day, they experience the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Sometimes they don’t do what they want because they worry that it will cause them to neglect other responsibilities, such as taking care of their family. Sometimes they are not willing to pay the price to learn, grow and get close to where they want to go. Sometimes fear prevents them from changing direction to follow their passion. Whatever the reason, they miss their potential.

3. People who know what they want to do and do it.

The third type of person is self-aware, has strong passions, is goal-focused, develops areas that bring them closer to their goals, and executes what they intend to do. The word that best describes this type of person is integrity.

There are very few cases of tragedy like Henry M., but most people seem to belong to the former. They don’t know what they want to do. In my opinion, the main reason is that they don’t know themselves as well as they should, so they don’t really focus on self-development.

Knowing yourself is not easy for everyone. In a speech at Princeton University, US Presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson once stated:

We live in a time of confusion, confusion, bewilderment, fear of our own resources; They not only need to find the way, but also to find the direction of it. There’s a lot of advice, but too little of a visionary suggestion; So much excitement and excitement, but so little deep purpose. We wallow in our uncontrolled and directionless energy and do many things, but nothing lasts long enough. Our mission is to find ourselves.

Wilson made that claim in 1907! Imagine what he would have said if he were still alive today.

You must know who you are in order to grow to reach your potential. But you have to grow to know who you are

What makes finding yourself and developing yourself to your fullest potential so difficult for some people, is that it’s a bit of a paradox. You must know who you are in order to grow to reach your potential. But you have to grow to know who you are. So what’s the solution? Self-discovery and growth at the same time.

First, pay attention to your passion. For me, it started when I focused on growing in areas that I knew would help me become a pastor, my passion.

The four areas with the initials make up the word REAL: Relationships, Equipping, Attitude, and Leadership.

Passion leads me to growth. But then growth led me to my passion, when I discovered my love and ability for leadership. That has continued to be a major focus of my personal development for nearly 40 years. Other areas where passion and purpose manifest include faith, family, communication, and creativity. All of these continue to be important parts of my life where I have always been passionate about learning and growing.


“The first step towards change is awareness,” says neurotherapist Nathaniel Branden. The second step is acceptance.” If you want to change and grow, you must understand yourself and accept who you are before you can begin. Here are 10 questions to get you started on this process.

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”- Nathaniel Branden

1. Do you like what you are doing?

I am amazed at the number of people who do not like what they are doing for a living that I meet every day. Why do they do it? I understand they need to make a living. We did all the things we didn’t like. I used to work in a meat packing factory when I was in college. I don’t like that job. But I didn’t stick with it all my life, something for which I had no passion at all. If I like the job and it aligns with my passions and goals, I’ll stay and try to build a career. But that’s not what I want to do.

Philosopher Abraham Kaplan wrote: “As Socrates said, if the life of ignorance is not worth living, then one should consider the life not worth living.” If you don’t like what you do for a living, you need to take the time to find out why.

Does changing from what you are doing to what you want to do come with risks?

Of course. You may fail. You may find that you don’t enjoy it as much as you expected.

You may not make much money. But isn’t it also risky to stay where you are standing?

You may fail. You may be fired.

You may get a pay cut. Or worst, maybe at the end of your life you will regret never reaching your potential or do what you love. What kind of risk do you want to live with?

2. What do you want to do?

There is certainly a connection between finding your passion and achieving your potential. TV editor Maria Bartiromo says, “Every successful person I’ve met has a strong sense of their unique abilities and aspirations. They are leaders in their own lives, they dare to follow their dreams in their own way.”

Have you found and harnessed your passion? Do you know what you want to do? In doing so, the difference will appear. Why? When you tap into your passion, it gives you the E&E: Energy and Excellence.

There is certainly a connection between finding your passion and achieving your potential.

• You will never reach your destination if you do things you despise.

• Passion gives you an edge over others, because a person with passion becomes a greater person than 99 people with only hobbies!

• Passion gives you energy.

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was have fun. I don’t like working. But I learned the power of tapping into my passion when I went to college. In high school, I simply finished studying. But when I went to college, I worked in areas that connected with my purpose. I followed my passion. That got me excited!

I’m still excited about what I do. Now, when I’m over 60, people often ask when I’m going to retire. To be honest, that was not my intention. Why would anyone want to give up a job they love? Nothing will happen, unless you want to do something else. Do you want to know when I will retire? That’s when I left! That’s when I’ll stop talking and stop writing books.

How do you know what you want to do? How do you tap into your passion? Listen to your heart. Pay attention to what you love. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas L. Friedman advises:

Whatever you plan to do, travel anywhere next year, go to college, enter the workforce, or spend your free time contemplating, don’t just listen to reason.

Listen to your heart. It’s the best career mentor. Do what you really love to do and if you don’t know what it is, keep looking, because if you find it, you will bring something to your work, helping to ensure that your work will not may be replaced by automated or outsourced machinery. That will make you a unique radiographer, a unique engineer or a great teacher.

If you never find what you want to do, your whole life will be boring. Author Stephen Covey puts it this way: “Our lives will be different when we really know what’s so important to us, and stick to it, work hard every day. to live and know what is most important.” Knowing yourself and what you want to do is one of the most important things in your life.

3. Are you capable of doing what you want to do?

When I was a pastor, I used to hire a young man named Bobby as a servant. He is the organizer of the worship services. If you don’t know that job, let me explain further: It is the person who prepares the music for the Sunday service, directs the singers, musicians and the whole congregation to sing in the church.

I felt Bobby wasn’t very happy, and I assumed he wanted to do something else. So one day, I sat down and had a friendly talk with him. He confessed that he was really not interested in this job. I asked, “Bobby, what do you want to do?”

He hesitated for a moment and then shrugged: “I really want to be a cheerleader for the Chicago Cubs baseball team.”

All I can think is You won’t be happy for a long time. Bobby didn’t have the skills to do that. Even if there is work, there is no such work! I told Bobby that he needed to find something more realistic and suited to his opportunities and abilities.

There is a huge difference between having a dream that drives you to achieve and coming up with a fanciful idea that has nothing to do with who you are or what you can do. I felt the need to help people with that problem that I wrote a book called Put Your Dream to the Test. You must have some criteria in order to know if your desires are in line with your available capabilities.

You must have some criteria in order to know if your desires are in line with your available capabilities.

Warren Bennis has also developed something that can help people with similar problems. He offers three questions for you to ask yourself to determine if what you want to do is possible.

Ask yourself:

• Do you know the difference between what you want and what you do well?

These two things are not always compatible. I believe that was the case with Bobby. What he wants and what he can do are two completely different things. To be successful, you need to do what you do best.

• Do you know what motivates you and what gives you satisfaction?

Sometimes people have the wrong perception of doing something. Perhaps, the job they want to do does not seem difficult, but in fact it is the opposite. Or they want the rewards that come with the job not the job itself. When what motivates you is matched by what satisfies you, it is an extremely powerful combination.

• Do you know your priorities and values ​​as well as the priorities and values ​​of your organization?

The more likely you are to succeed, the more the two factors above match. If you and your company have different values ​​and priorities, success will be difficult to achieve.

Calculate the difference between what you want and what you can do, what motivates you and what satisfies you, and your and your organization’s values ​​show many obstacles between you and what you want to do.

At that point, the question you need to ask yourself is whether you can overcome those differences.

One of the key keys to success and fulfillment of your goals is to understand your unique talents and put them to good use. Some people have an innate ability to know who they are or who they are not. Others have to work hard to figure it out. The poet and critic Samuel Johnson observed, “Most people waste a portion of their lives trying to manifest qualities they don’t have.” Your goal is to make the best of life possible. As former MLB catcher Jim Sundberg says: “Find your uniqueness; then put yourself in the framework to develop it.

“Most people waste part of their lives trying to show qualities they don’t have.”– Samuel Johnson

4. Do you know why you want to do what you love?

I believe it’s important not only what you want to do, but also why you want to do it. I say that because motivation is very important. When you do things for a good cause, it gives you motivation if things go awry.

The right motives help you build positive relationships because they prevent hidden agendas and make you prioritize people over your own. Working for the right reasons also makes your life less chaotic and your path clearer.

Not only will your vision be clearer, but you’ll also sleep better each night knowing you’re on the right track.

What I do is follow the call of life. When I lead or communicate, I think, I was born to do it. It depends on my strength. It gives me energy. It makes a difference in the lives of others. It perfects me and helps me touch eternity.

I believe you can have a similar sense of satisfaction and success if you do things that are “born to do” and do them for the right reasons. Take time to reflect. Explore your intentions and attitudes. As psychologist Carl Jung puts it, “Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your heart. Those who look outside, are only dreaming. Those who look inside, will awaken.”

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Those who look outside, are only dreaming. Those who look inside will awaken.”– Carl Jung

The first question you should ask yourself concerns what you want to do. As I said at the beginning of the chapter, you have to know yourself in order to develop yourself. That is the Principle of Perception.

But I want to help you do more than know what you need to do. I want you to know how to start moving in that direction. It will help you to target and ultimately refine your development. With that in mind, the remaining questions will help you create a plan.

5. Do you know what to do to be able to do what you want?

Moving from what you are doing now to what you want to do is a process. Do you know what that entails? I believe it starts with…

1. Awareness

Imagine where you stand in [any] field, right now,” says Darren Hardy, Editor-in-Chief of success. Next visualize where you want to be: richer, slimmer, happier, and so on.

The first step towards change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by recognizing the choices that pull you away from where you want to be.

Be aware of every choice you make today so you can start making smarter choices that move you forward.”

You can’t change direction if you don’t know you’re heading to the wrong place. That seems obvious. But do you take the time to consider where your current choices and actions are taking you? Take time to reflect on where you’re headed. If that’s not where you want to go, then write down the steps you need to take to get where you want to go, to do what you want to do. Make them as tangible as possible.

Are they definitely the right steps? Maybe yes, maybe not. You won’t know for sure until you start moving forward. And that brings us to the next stage:

2. Act

You can’t win without starting! The world’s leaders are those who look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they create them. That means they are proactive. It means doing something specific every day that will bring you one step closer to your goal. It means keep doing it every day. Every success is the fruit of initiative.

You can’t win without starting! The world’s leaders are those who look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they create them.

3. Accountability

There are very few things a person must follow like accountability. One of the ways you can do that is by announcing your goals. When you tell others about what you intend to do, it puts pressure on you to keep doing it. You can ask specific individuals to ask you about progress. It’s like setting deadlines to keep you going.

You can even write everything down as an accountability template. That’s Darren Hardy’s suggestion. He says you should track every action related to an area you want to improve, whether it’s related to finances, health, career or relationships. “Just bring a small notebook, which you can put in your pocket or purse at all times, and a pen,” says Hardy. “You will write it all down.

Everyday. Non-stop. No excuses, no exceptions.

It’s as if Big Brother is watching you. I know it’s not funny, write everything down on a small piece of paper, but tracking my progress and mistakes is one of the reasons I have the success I want. This process forces you to be sober about your decision.”

4. Attraction

If you are aware of the steps you have to go through to be able to do what you want to do, take action and responsibly track progress, you will begin to create the behavior you desire and will begin to move forward. closer to doing what you want to do.

And that will bring positive results: You begin to attract like-minded people. The Law of Attraction in the book 21 Golden Rules of Leadership** says, “You attract people like you.” That’s true in leadership, but it’s also true in every other area of ​​life. As my mother used to say: “Oxen oxen, oxen.”

If you want to surround yourself with growing people, become a growing person. If you persist, you will attract other persistent people. If you grow, you attract other developers. This helps you start building a community of like-minded people who can help each other succeed.

6. Do you know people who can do what you want to do?

My greatest growth has always been the result of finding my predecessors who can show me the way forward. Some people helped me directly, but most helped me through the books they wrote. When there was a question, I found the answer thanks to their wisdom. When I wanted to learn how to lead better, I watched Melvin Maxwell, Bill Hybels, John Wooden, Oswald Sanders, Jesus Christ and hundreds of others.

If I know how to communicate more effectively, it’s because I’ve learned from Andy Stanley, Johnny Carson, Howard Hendricks, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and hundreds of others.

If I can think of and write in a way that encourages people, it’s thanks to Les Stobbe, Max Lucado, Charlie Wetzel, Les Parrott, Bob Buford and others who have spent their time with me.

If you have discovered what you want to do, start looking for people who have already done what you want to do. Then do what you learn from them.

Commit. Pay for their time if needed.

Consistency. Meet someone who can teach you every month

Creation. Start with their books if you can’t meet them in person.

Have purpose. Take two hours to prepare for each hour of interaction.

Think. Spend two hours thinking about each hour of interaction.

Grateful. They are gifts for your personal growth; Let them know it.

Always remember that you cannot get where you want to be on your own. You’ll need the help of others so they can guide you along the way.

7. Should you do what you want to do with them?

If you are a person committed to personal growth, you will always learn from many people in many places. Sometimes you will have the opportunity to get basic personal advice.

There is great value in being mentored by someone who is successful in your field of interest, and I discuss it further in the chapter Principles of Modeling.

However, now let me give you some advice when you need to approach a counselor. If you find a potential mentor, know that the following are your responsibilities:

• With the spirit of learning

• Always be prepared for mentoring time

• Plan meetings by asking big questions

• Prove what you’ve learned from mentoring

• Take responsibility for what you have learned

With my mentoring experience, I can tell you what the responsibilities of an advisor are. My responsibility to the person I mentor is to add value.

My goal is to help them become a better person, not try to make them into someone else. Here are the areas I focus on:


• Temperament

• Achievements

• Passion

• Option

• Advice

• Support, Resources/Human Resources

• Tactic

• Feedback

• Motivation

For each of these areas, think of specific contributions you could make to the person you’re mentoring.

One of my favorite investors is Courtney McBath of Norfolk, Virginia. The second time we met, he told me this:

“This is what I asked for.

Here’s what he shared.

Here is what I did.

Can I ask more questions now?”

With someone like that, my answer is always: Yes!

The people who can help you are not necessarily the right people to help you. You must choose. And so are they. Your goal should be to find the right person that benefits both the mentee and the mentee.

8. Will you pay the price to do what you want to do?

Author and educator James Thom has said: “Possibly the most honest self-advocacy ever was the one who said, ‘I got to the top the hard way, battling laziness and ignoring the top. every step of the way.” Is that correct? When it comes to barriers to success, we are our own worst enemies.

A few years ago, I read a book called Dream big. Those are encouraging words but also contain what you need to make your dreams come true. The poem is roughly translated as follows:

If you ever dare,

Do something different,

Do something worth doing,

It is now!

Not for any great reason

But because something urges in my heart,

As aspiration,

Is a dream,

It’s what you dream about to make the day more meaningful.

Be enjoy.

Let’s dig even deeper.

Stretch yourself out.

Dream big.

However, know that the things that are worth doing are rarely easy.

There will be beautiful days

And there’s no shortage of bad days.

There will be times when you want to look away,

Wrap it up, and call it renunciation.

Then let you know that I’m trying,

That you are not afraid to learn by trial and error.2

Taking the necessary steps to live your dreams and do what you want will take a lot of your resources. You will have to work hard. You will have to make sacrifices.

You will have to continue to learn, grow and change. Are you willing to pay that price? I hope yes. But know this: Most people are not willing to pay the price.

9. When can you start doing the things you want?

Ask people when they will do what they want to do, and most will answer that they hope to do it “someday”. Why not now? Because you’re not ready? Maybe you’re not ready. But if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll probably never make it.

Most of the achievements I have achieved in my life have been started by me before I was really ready. When I preached to pastors on leadership in 1984 and they asked me to continue, I wasn’t ready to do so. But during a conference with 34 people in Jackson, Mississippi, I decided to pick up a notebook and write down the contact information of anyone who wanted to receive a monthly leadership tape.

All 34 people signed up. Am I ready to start my monthly leadership lecture series? Have never been. Have I started yet? Yes. When I need to raise money to relocate my church, do I know how I can do it? No. Should I start doing that? Yes. When I founded EQUIP to teach leadership to people in countries around the world, did I have a proven strategy for doing so? No problem. Shall we start? Yes. No one is ever ready to just wait. You are only ready by getting started.

Most of the achievements I have achieved in life have been started by me before I was really ready.

10. What happens when you do what you want?

Because I have the privilege of doing what I want, I want to help you foresee the results. First, it will be very different from what you imagine. I never thought I could influence so many people. I never knew that life would be so beautiful. I never thought that sometimes I want to get away from people to think and write. But I also never anticipate the expectations others place on me.

When you do what you want, it will be much more difficult than you imagine. I don’t know how long it will take to see the effect. I never thought there were so many expectations for my life or continue to pay the price to succeed. I also never thought my energy would drop so much in recent years.

Finally, let me tell you this. When you do what you’ve always wanted to do, it’s better than you imagined. When I first started investing in personal development, I didn’t anticipate the double payoff, for me personally, for the individuals I’ve mentored, and for my team. And I didn’t think it would be so fun! Nothing compares to getting to do what you were born to do.

A few years ago at Exchange, during a leadership event that I host for executives each year, we had the privilege of inviting Coretta Scott King and Bernice King as two of the speakers. We all sat in the Sanctuary at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and listened to their stories.

What Exchange attendees most wanted to know about Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Bernice told us that many speakers were scheduled to speak to the crowd that day on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Many of them marveled at the best positions in the speech order, hoping to be televised. Bernice’s father gave up his time. He doesn’t care about his place on the books. All he cared about was communicating with people. And when he did, it made history. Why? Because he was doing what he had to do. The following year, the Human Rights Act was passed in Washington, D.C. King followed his passion, found his purpose, and as a result made an impact on the world.

People say that there are two great days in a person’s life: The day you were born and the day you discovered why you were born. I want to encourage you to find your mission. Then pursue it with all your might.

There are two great days in a person’s life: The day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.



The questions in this chapter are designed to prompt you to learn about yourself and start doing what you were born to do in life. Here is a sequenced version of the questions. Take the time to answer them and come up with a plan of action.

1. What do you want to do?

2. What talents, skills and opportunities do you possess that support your desire to do so?

3. What motivates you to want to do it?

4. What are the steps you must follow (from today) to start doing what you want to do?

� Awereness

� Activities

� Accountability

5. Who can you get advice from along the way?

6. What price are you willing to pay? What time, resources and sacrifices will you have to make?

7. Where do you need to grow the most? (You must focus on your strengths and work on any weaknesses that keep you from reaching your goals.)


Chapter 3 Mirror Principle

You must see the value in yourself and add value to yourself

“Personal development is believing that the effort, time, and energy you put in is worth it.”— Denis Waitley

I often ask myself what is stopping people from being successful. Everyone has within them the seeds of success. All they need to do is plant those seeds, water them, and then they will grow up. That’s why I’ve spent my life trying to bring value to people. I love seeing people “bloom”!

So why are so many people not growing and reaching their potential? I think one of the main reasons is low self-esteem. Many people do not believe in themselves. They do not see the possibilities God has given them. They possess many abilities, but never cultivate them because they think they cannot learn and grow into great people.


Such was the case with Johnnetta McSwain, with a story I recently heard. For more than 30 years, she saw little value or potential in herself. But honestly, there are a lot of good reasons for her low self-perception.

Her mother is a single mother, she did not want to give birth to her and told her so. She and her sister, Sonya, who is five years her senior, along with a cousin, were raised by their grandmother for the first five to six years of their lives in Birmingham, Alabama. But they also had to live with three other uncles, who abused all three children psychologically, physically and sexually. Johnnetta suffered both physical and mental injuries.

“When I was five years old,” Johnnetta said, “I began to believe that I was not only inferior, but a child abandoned by my own mother. As a child, I had nowhere to go, to say nothing and nothing!”1When Johnnetta and Sonya’s mother learned of their abuse, she moved the three girls to a new home. But the abuse continued, this time from the men her mother led home.

In the end, Sonya responded by living on the street and becoming an addict. Johnnetta is not addicted to drugs, but she spends most of her time wandering the streets and dropped out of school in 11th grade. She became pregnant unexpectedly and had her first child at 19, the second was born when she was just over 20 age. She mainly lives on social housing, government subsidies and extras from her partners. To get designer clothes to wear, she steals.

Sonya’s view is a bittersweet synthesis of the situation they’re going through: “Everyone in my family has been in prison, addicted to drugs and not well-educated, so I have to live for what?

What should I strive for? Nothing! What do I have to accomplish? It’s nothing!”2


Johnnetta’s 30th birthday made her look in the mirror. She doesn’t like her appearance. She wrote:

That day, I woke up to realize that I had absolutely nothing to celebrate – no money, no full-time job, no home, no husband, no basis, not even the will to do better. … Finally, I know it’s time for a change.3

She is unhappy with her life, and she realizes that if she continues in the direction she is going, her two sons will also get into trouble. As far as she knew, none of her male family members had ever attended high school. Many died young or went to prison. She didn’t want that to happen to her children.

For Johnnetta, the process begins with working toward a GED. She took a 12-week course to prepare for and then take the exam. You need 45 points to pass. She got 44.5 points. But she was determined to do something on her own, so she planned to retake the exam as soon as she could. When she passed the exam, she was very happy when she was chosen to share at the graduation ceremony. None of her relatives attended.

Johnnetta knew that if she wanted change, she needed to leave Birmingham and make a fresh start. And she wanted to do something no one in her family had ever done, go to college. She decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia, and was motivated by a profound thought: “I have a chance to be whoever I want to be.”4

“I have the opportunity to be whoever I want to be.”– Johnnetta McSwain

It took a three-year delay, but she finally managed to move. Soon after, she enrolled at Kenenaw State University, deciding to go overboard each semester. At this time, she was 33 years old. She is very quick-witted, but doesn’t study very well at least in the beginning. At first, that scared her quite a bit. But for the first time in her life, she was determined to be a better person. And soon she realized that she could do it.

“I realized that I don’t have to be smart,” explains Johnnetta. “I just need determination, motivation and focus. This requires me to change my mind. I had to think like a smart person.” Not only was she hard-working and focused, but she also went to the brightest person in each class and offered to study with them.

She soon learns and thinks like the best students in the school. She also maintains her vision of the future. At the beginning of each term, she goes to the campus bookstore, tries on hats and gowns, looks at herself in the mirror, and imagines her graduation day.

One day, when a classmate was talking to her, she realized something. Her classmates said: “I hate myself. I am not nothing!

Johnnetta replied, “I still love myself, let alone you.” And that’s when she realized, “I love myself,” even for the first time. She has changed. She became the person she wanted to be, the person she was born to be.

Johnnetta completed her bachelor’s degree in three years. She then graduated and obtained a master’s degree in social work. Currently, she is working hard to complete her PhD program.

“I look for something that society tells me, ‘You can’t do it,’” Johnnetta says. “Oh, I can!”6


Johnnetta’s story is a great example of what can happen in one’s life, if that person realizes their worth and starts adding value to themselves.

In Johnnetta’s case, she was motivated by her desire to help her children, and she began adding value to herself first, and then seeing value in herself. It doesn’t matter what happens first. This compensates for the other. It is important that the value cycle is started!

Without realizing that you are truly valuable and that you are worth the investment, you will never spend the time and effort needed to grow to your potential. If you’re not sure if you agree with that, consider the following.


I often hear my friend Zig Ziglar say, “Don’t act out of alignment with how we see ourselves. We can do very little positive if we feel self-deprecating.”

Zig has shared with people for many years his practical knowledge. Many experts in the field agree with his assessment. Nathaniel Branden, a psychologist and self-confidence expert, says: “In people’s psychological and motivational development, nothing is more important than the value judgments they make about themselves. Every aspect of their lives is influenced by how they see themselves.” If you believe you’re worth it, you’re not adding value to yourself.

“In people’s psychological and motivational development, nothing is more important than the value judgments they make about themselves. Every aspect of their lives is influenced by how they see themselves.”- Nathaniel Branden



I became famous for teaching the Limitation Principle from the book 21 Golden Rules of Leadership. Imagine that you want to do something amazing in your life that affects so many people.

Perhaps you want to build a large organization. That desire, no matter how great, will be limited by your leadership ability. It’s a limit to your potential. Self-esteem has a similar effect. If your desire is 10 but your confidence is 5, you will never be effective at 10. You will be at 5 or below.

Man can never achieve results beyond self-perception. As Nathaniel Branden says: “If you feel unworthy of challenges, unworthy of love or respect, not entitled to happiness, and afraid of assertive thoughts, desires, and needs, if you lack self-confidence, low self-esteem will limit you, even if you have other valuable assets.”

Man can never achieve results beyond self-perception.

The value we put on ourselves is usually the value others put in us

A man went to see a fortune teller to hear what she had to say about his future. She looked at a crystal ball and said, “You will be poor and unhappy until you are 40.”

“What then?” the man asked hopefully.

“Then you’ll get used to it.”

I’m sorry to say, that’s the way most people live – according to what other people believe about them. If the important people in their lives want them to go nowhere, that’s what they expect for themselves. It’s okay if you surround yourself with people who trust you. But what if not?

You should not care too much about what other people think about you. You should be more concerned with what you think of yourself. That’s what Johnnetta McSwain did. As she prepared to move to Atlanta, her friends and family all told her there was no way that was going to happen.

When she moved out, they told her she would fail and return to Birmingham. No one really trusted her. She doesn’t care. She had her own solution. She said, “You don’t have to accept what people say about you.” Isn’t that great?

If you impose a very small value on yourself, then rest assured that the world does too. If you want to be the person you have the potential to be, you have to believe that you can!



I have to admit that self-awareness has never been an issue for me. I grew up in a very positive environment, and I always believed that I could succeed. But I’ve worked with a lot of people who aren’t like me. I have helped some people change and believe in themselves as I believe in themselves.

And I hope to help you too, if you find yourself in that situation. To get you started, keep these 10 tips in mind.

If you impose a very small value on yourself, then rest assured that the world does too.

1. Protect the words you tell yourself

Whether you know it or not, you’re talking to yourself all the time. What is your nature? Do you encourage yourself? Or do you criticize yourself? If you’re a positive person, you’ve helped create a positive self-image. If you’re a negative person, you’re undermining your self-worth.

Where do important, negative monologues come from? Usually from our upbringing. In their book The Answer, entrepreneurial authors John Assaraf and Murray Smith talk about the negative messages children receive as they grow up. They wrote:

By age 17, you’ve heard, “No, I can’t,” an average of 150,000 times. You’ve heard the phrase, “Yes, I can,” about 5,000 times. The No: Yes ratio is 30:1. That creates a strong belief about “I can’t”.

It’s a fence too big to get through. That’s one of the reasons 30-year-old Johnnetta McSwain began to believe she could change. From an early age, people made her feel worthless.

If we want to change our lives, we must change the way we think about ourselves. If we want to change the way we think about ourselves, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves. And the older we get, the more responsible we become for what we think, say, and believe. Haven’t you had enough problems in your life already? Why put extra pressure on yourself by depressing yourself every day with negative monologues?

When I was little, my favorite story was The Little Engine could. Why? Because I find it an encouraging story! I used to read it time and time again, and used to think, That’s me! I think I can do it too!

You need to learn how to be your own cheerleader, your own cheerleader. Every time you do a good deed, don’t just let it go; Give yourself a compliment.

Every time you choose discipline over passion, don’t tell yourself you should; Realize how much you are helping yourself.

Every time you make a mistake, don’t bring up all your mistakes; Tell yourself that you are paying the price for growth and that you will learn to do better next time. Every positive thing you can say to yourself will work.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

At the beginning of my career, I expected the annual report from the organization to show statistics about each leader. As soon as I received it by e-mail, I found my position and compared to all the other leaders. After about five years of doing that, I realized how harmful it was.

What happens when you compare yourself to others? Usually it’s one of two things: either you see other people getting ahead of you and you feel depressed, or you feel like you’re doing better than others, you are proud. Neither of those things are good for you, nor will they help you grow.

Comparing yourself to others is really just an unnecessary distraction. The only person you should compare is yourself. Your mission is to be a better person than you were yesterday.

You do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow. Do that enough, and if you look back to compare the you of weeks, months, or years ago with who you are today, you will be greatly encouraged by your progress.

3. Go beyond your limiting beliefs

I love Jeff MacNelly’s old comic book series Shoe. In one of my favorite stories, Shoe is pitching at a baseball game. During the time-out, his catcher said, “You have to believe in your dribbling.”

“He said it was easy,” Shoe grumbled. “When it comes to believing in myself, I’m an agnostic.”

Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of people think of themselves. They do not believe that they can achieve great things. But the biggest limitations people experience in life are often the ones they impose on themselves.

As industrialist Charles Schwab said, “When a man puts a limit on what he will do, he puts a limit on what he can do.” That’s true of Johnnetta McSwain. As soon as she changed her self-limiting mindset, she changed her life.

Author Jack Canfield offers a solution to self-limiting thinking. In his book The Success Principles, he offers four steps to turn limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs.

“When a man puts a limit on what he will do, he puts a limit on what he can do.”– Charles Schwab

Identify a limiting belief that you want to change.

Determine how that belief limits you.

Determine what kind of person you want to be, how you act or feel.

Create a change statement that confirms or allows you to be, act or feel this new way?

That is really great advice. Once you do that, repeat the change statement to yourself every day until you change your self-limiting mindset.

For example, you want to learn a foreign language to improve your career or further enjoy a vacation, but you don’t think you can. Once you’ve identified that belief, see if you don’t learn that language, how will you be limited. Then describe what it would be like when you learned that language.

How does that make you feel? What does that allow you to do?

What can it do for your career?

Then write down an empowering statement that confirms your ability to learn the language, outlines the actual processes you will use to learn it, and describes how you will be affected by it. this development. Remember, in the end, it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s the thought that you can’t.

4. Adding value to others

Because people with low self-esteem often see themselves as unworthy or feel like victims (often because they have been abused in the past), they focus too much on themselves. They may become selfish or reserved because they think they need to do it to survive.

If you are, you can combat these feelings by serving others and working to add value to them. Making a difference, no matter how small, in the lives of others boosts one’s confidence. It’s hard to feel bad about yourself if you’re doing something nice for someone else. Plus, giving value to others makes them appreciate you more. It creates a cycle of positive emotions from person to person.

It’s hard to feel bad about yourself if you’re doing something nice for someone else.

5. Do the right thing, even when it’s hard

One of the best ways to build confidence is to do what’s right. It gives a strong sense of satisfaction. And what happens whenever you don’t do the right thing?

Either you will feel guilty, making you feel bad about yourself, or you will deceive yourself to try to convince yourself that your actions are not wrong or unimportant. That harms yourself and your self-confidence.

Being true to yourself and your values ​​is a huge contributor to your self-esteem. Each time you choose an action that helps build your character, you become stronger, the harder the task, the greater the personality shaping agent. You can really feel positive about yourself, because a positive personality spreads to every area of ​​your life, bringing confidence and positive emotions about everything you do.

6. Practice a small discipline every day in a specific area of ​​your life

When I started my pastoral career, one of the things I did was put in a little effort each day in my Sunday sermon. While talking to friends, I discovered that this is not how most people in my position do things. Most of my colleagues start their preparations on Friday. I can’t understand why they do it that way. It was like facing a mountain, overwhelming.

However, I find that if I do a little bit each day, by Friday I’m confident I can get the job done. If there’s one area of ​​your life that seems overwhelming to you, health, work, family, and so on try to tackle it bit by bit each day instead of piling it up all at once.

Since your self-worth is based on the positive habits, actions, and decisions you practice every day, why not build confidence and solve your biggest problem at the same time? Don’t fret or worry about it; Please do something specific about it.

Discipline is a morale-building agent. Exercise your discipline by taking small steps that move you in a positive direction.

7. Celebrate small victories

This advice is a continuation of the previous advice. When you do the right thing or take a small step in the right direction, what is your emotional response? What do you say to yourself? Are your thoughts like this?

Yes, it is a matter of time.

I didn’t do as much as I should have.

That won’t make a difference.

It’s desperate – I will never succeed.

Or will they be like this?

It’s good that I can do that.

I did the right thing – commendable!

Little by little effective.

I am getting closer to success.

If your thinking is the same as the first, then you need to change your mind.

I have to admit, I have no trouble celebrating small victories. Then again, I had no trouble celebrating the big win either. I love to celebrate. You should too. Taking the time to celebrate is good for you. If nothing ever goes well enough, you may fall apart. Celebrating encourages you. It helps inspire you to keep going. Don’t underestimate its power.

8. Embrace a positive vision based on what you value in life

When Reese Witherspoon won an Academy Award in 2006 for Best Actress for her role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, she quoted June Carter Cash as saying: “People often ask June these days. how she is and she’ll say, ‘I’m just trying to be important.’ I know what she means.” We all want our lives to be important. It’s hard to do that when we don’t believe we’re important.

If you have a positive vision of your life and you take action to fulfill that vision, it will be easier for you to realize that your life has meaning. For example, Johnnetta McSwain loved and valued her children, and she had a good vision of them, there they become.


Chapter 4 Principles of contemplation

Learn to pause so growth can catch up with you

“Take effective action through quiet contemplation. From quiet contemplation comes even more effective action.”— Peter F. Drucker

There are many different ways of growing and there are countless lessons to be learned in life. But there are some types of growth that only come to us when we are ready to stop, pause, and allow the lesson to catch up with us. I experienced one of them in March 2011.



I took part in an extended speaking tour and landed in Kiev, Ukraine, one of the stops. While there, I plan to speak three times to a group of about 5,000 entrepreneurs. I’ve been to Kiev a few times and love both the place and the people here.

About an hour before the first event, I met my Ukrainian interpreter. We chatted for a while to get to know each other. When we talked for a few minutes, he said, “I have read some of your books. He said he wanted to add value to people, but it’s not easy to do that here. People don’t trust leaders. And with good reason: the leaders here don’t add value to the others.” He then added: “I very much hope that you can help them.”

His words left an impression on me. And what he said reminded me of a conversation with my close friend Jim Dornan, the leader of Network 21, the multi-country organization that was behind Iron Curtain****. Jim told me that in any country where the government is deceitful and the leadership is selfish and corrupt, the ability to sabotage the system of government and public administration has been seen as effective.

Because there was still some time before my speech, I went to the waiting room so I could pause and reflect on what I just learned. I was very emotional, and wanted to take the time to think about my feelings. So I started asking myself some questions:

How do I feel? The answer is sad. Living in a rut for decades has made people depressed and skeptical. It’s hard to make progress when you have no hope.

What can I do? I can show them my true heart. For some of these people, perhaps no leader has ever told them that he cares about them and wants them to succeed.

How can I do that? I can let them know that I understand their situation and empathize with them. I can tell them that I would be just like them if I grew up in that environment, and that there is a better path for a leader, one where they add value to others. I can help them understand that even if they have never

valued by their leaders, they can become leaders who add value to others. They can become agents of change for the future success of their country and themselves. I paused for a moment and prayed, asking God to help me convey that message clearly and completely.

I didn’t completely give up on what I was going to say that day, but I certainly changed the content to suit my audience. And one of the first things I said: which I repeated over and over again that day—was: “My name is John, and I am your friend.” I say very sincerely. And I also use that quote to soften the tense and difficult but funny truths I present.

At first they didn’t know how to react to that statement. It took a while for them to start entering. At the end of the day, when I repeat it, they know I’m joking and will laugh. And the next day when I walked in and was about to speak, my interpreter said that everyone had said this phrase among themselves. That’s when I realized they understood that I was cheering for them and really wanted to help.

When invited to an event, just showing up and giving a good speech was never enough for me. Every time I speak, I want to do two things: Add value to the people I speak to and exceed the expectations of the person who invited me. I could have failed “both fronts” on this trip if I hadn’t taken the time to pause, allow my translator’s honest insights to flourish, and change the agenda. to suit what my audience needs.



If you’re my age, you probably remember an old catchphrase once used by Coca-Cola. They call Coke “A break to relax!”. For those who want to grow, that is the definition of contemplation. Learn to pause and allow growth to catch up with you. That is the Principle of Reflection.

Here are my observations regarding how the power of pause and reflection can help you grow:

1. Reflection turns experience into understanding

For more than 2,000 years, it has been said that experience is the best teacher. According to one expert, the oldest record of this saying is from the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, who wrote: “Experience is the teacher of all things”, in De Bello Civili1. With all due respect, I must oppose that statement.

Experience is not the best teacher. It must be the experience that has been judged! The only reason Caesar was able to make such a statement is because he learned so much by reflecting on his life and writing about it.

There is an anecdote that experience is a harsh teacher because lessons are learned only after we have experienced it. That is true, but only if the person takes the time to reflect after the experience. Otherwise, you are tested first, but you will never learn the lesson.

People have countless experiences every day, and many people learn nothing from them because they never take the time to pause and reflect. That’s why we need to pause and let understanding catch up with us

I have heard that at the beginning of the twentieth century there was a whip factory that made great improvements in the production process. They have made whips of the best quality and continue to improve them. No other manufacturer in the industry can match.

There is only one problem. They were already producing whips at the time the automobile was born. And it wasn’t long before the entire United States switched to horse-drawn carriages.

That company soon went bankrupt. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the company’s leaders took the time to pause, learn from their own experiences, and make changes in the production process. .

2. Everyone needs a time and place to pause

I have yet to meet a person who has not benefited from pause and reflection. In fact, pausing to reflect is one of the most valuable actions anyone can take to grow. It gives them more value than encouragement or encouragement. Why? Because pausing allows them to make sure they’re on track. After all, if someone is going the wrong way, he doesn’t need motivation to speed up. He needs to stop, reflect, and change direction.

If someone is going the wrong way, he does not need motivation to accelerate. He needs to stop.

In my book Thinking for a Change, I recommend that people identify or create a place to think. I do it because magic happens when you have a place to pause and think? No, I did because if you’re having trouble creating a place to pause and think and schedule to get there, you’ll probably actually use it. And you will benefit from it.

Most people are very busy. There are a lot of demands on them, and they have to run around trying to get the job done. Meanwhile, they will have certain experiences that are considered life markers. They go to a place that either attends an event or meets someone that in some way left an imprint on their life because something important happened. Often, these imprints will mark the time of their transition, change, or transformation.

Without taking the time to pause and reflect, we may miss the importance of such events. Contemplation allows those experiences to move from life markers to life factors.

If we pause to allow growth to catch up with us, our lives will be better, because we not only better understand the importance of what we experience, but also can make changes and, as a result, align themselves in the right direction. We are also better equipped to pass on knowledge to others from the wisdom we have.

3. Intentional pause expands and strengthens thinking

Studying the lives of great people who have had a great influence on the world, you will understand that in most cases they have spent a considerable amount of time in contemplation. Every great religious leader in history has taken time to live alone. Every politician who has had a great influence on history has practiced the principle of “alone” to think, and plan. Great artists spend countless hours alone in their studio or with tools not just to work, but to explore their ideas and experiences. Most of the top universities devote time to their faculty members not only to teach, but also to think, research and write. Time alone allows people to organize their experiences, add perspectives, and plan for the future.

If you are a leader, your busyness can be 10 times that of the average person. Leaders are so action-oriented and have so many responsibilities that they often feel guilty about being on the go all day and can’t stop to take the time to think. However, this is one of the most important things leaders can do. One minute of thinking is much more valuable than an hour of talking.

“When you can create a quiet place amidst the chaos of actions and concerns, success and failure gradually lose some of their influence on you.”– Henri J. M. Nouwen

I recommend you find a place to think and train yourself to pause and use it, because it has the power to change your life. It can help you realize what really matters and what doesn’t. As writer and Bishop Henri J. M. Nouwen observes: “When you can create a quiet place amidst the chaos of actions and concerns, success and failure gradually lose some of their influence. to you.”

4. When taking time to pause, use your ego

When it comes to taking time to pause and reflect, there are really four basic directions your thoughts should follow:


There is an anecdote about two boys who were assigned the job of cleaning the stables. Horse manure was up to their ankles, and one said to the other, “There must be a horse somewhere.” In life, there are some things that are too obvious and do not need to be pondered to understand. But others force us to investigate and clarify.

The great scientist Galileo said: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The problem lies in discovering them. That process requires investigation.” Pausing does not mean slowing down to enjoy the scent of flowers along the way.

It means stopping and really learning about them. That often forces one to ask questions, which will be discussed in the next section of this chapter. It is important to remember that continuous growth from experiences occurs only when we understand and find the truths within them. It comes from investigation.


Incubation is bringing a life experience to mind for further brooding. It is very similar to meditation. It’s like “the other side of prayer, When I pray, I talk to God. When meditating, I listened to him. Incubation is listening and learning.

I constantly put quotes and ideas into mind to incubate them. Today, I do that by including them in the Notes app on my iPhone. I keep them there for days, weeks or months and revisit them often for reflection. Here are some quotes I’m contemplating:

“If it’s not on the table, you’re on the menu.”

“You do not wait or zone out of crisis. You’re going to blow yourself away.”

“The mark of an effective leader is to accept punishment without faltering.”

I pitch ideas for as long as they are needed until I discover the next “I” insight or experience, which is…


“At the end of each day, you should review your performance,” says Jim Rohn. The results should encourage or motivate you.” He is talking about enlightenment. These are the “aha” moments in your life, those moments when you suddenly realize or understand a problem. That’s when the light bulb comes on. Few things in life are more valuable than such moments.

“At the end of each day, you should review your performance. The results should encourage or motivate you.”– Jim Rohn

I find that I experience moments of enlightenment only after spending time investigating an idea and then incubating it for a period of time. Those moments are a reward for my time and effort in pausing and reflecting.


Most good ideas are like skeletons. It provides solid structure but needs the flesh to cover. They lack material, and until they have enough, they are just trash. What is a speech without interesting examples? Just a rough sketch. What would a book be without detailed ideas, good stories, and insightful quotes? Illustration is the process of giving content to ideas.

Author and firefighter Peter M. Leschak believes: “We are all viewers television, clock time, highway traffic but very few observers. People are just looking, not many people are seeing.” That is not true for those who want to find a place to reflect and who are intentional about pausing to allow learning to catch up with them.

Good questions are centers for meditation

Whenever I take time to pause and reflect, I start by asking myself a question. Whenever I reflect and feel like hitting a roadblock, I question myself. If I’m trying to learn something new or focus on an area where I can grow, I ask questions. I spend most of my life asking questions.

But that’s a good thing. As author and speaker Anthony Robbins says, “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”– Anthony Robbins

I cannot stress enough how important it is to ask good questions when it comes to personal growth. If your questions are focused, they stimulate creative thinking.

Why? Because there’s something about a well-chosen question that often gets to the root of the problem and generates new ideas and insights. If your questions are honest, they will lead to solid conclusions. If you ask quality questions, they will help you create a high-quality life.

Sir Francis Bacon – British philosopher, politician, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author, and pioneer of scientific methodology – asserted: “If one begins with certainties, he will end up in doubt; but if he begins with doubts, he will end with certainties.”


Personal confidence questions

Teaching others how to ask effective questions can be challenging because the questions they ask often have to be appropriate to the situation. Perhaps the best way to help you understand this is to share with you a series of questions I used and answered to develop my own personal awareness.

1. What is my greatest asset?

I believe my greatest asset has always been my attitude. I first learned the value of a positive attitude from my father, Melvin Maxwell, who overcame his natural pessimism by reading books by the likes of Norman Vincent Peale.

My wife, Margaret, also has a surprisingly positive attitude. As time goes on, we sometimes wonder why others seem to have more problems than we do. In the end, my wife and I came to the conclusion that we had no fewer problems than everyone else; We just don’t allow problems to knock us down or distract us from what we believe is important.

So what does answering this question mean for me? It not only encouraged me to continue cultivating a positive attitude, but also reminded me that one of the best things I can do for others is to bring positivity into their lives, letting them know. I believe in them and encourage them in their journey.

2. What is my greatest responsibility?

Without a doubt, having unrealistic expectations is a major shortcoming in my life. Because I am inherently an optimist, I underestimate the time, money, and effort it takes, and that can get me in trouble.

How has answering this question helped me develop? It lowers my expectations of others. Changing my expectations to be more realistic has helped me organize my team to succeed, instead of fail. And it has also helped me create more realistic goals for my team members and the organizations they serve.

3. What is the best thing about me?

Without a doubt, my family is the source of the best things in my life. Margaret is my best friend. I can’t imagine my life without her by my side. And we are enjoying the best time of our lives as grandparents.

4. What’s the worst for me?

Ironically, the worst thing for me also comes from family. Why? Because I love my family members so much, but I have to let them decide for themselves. That can be difficult for someone of my character. Years ago, when my kids were little, I talked to Ron Blue and Howie Hendricks, and I asked them, “When does parenthood end?” They told me it never ends. And they were right.

How has knowing that the best and worst things in my life are related to my family help me grow? It has helped me enjoy family time and not interfere with my children’s decisions, unless they ask me for advice.

5. What is my most valuable emotion?

I don’t think there is a more valuable emotion than love. We are happiest when we love what we do, love our friends and family, even our enemies. As a person of faith, I know this is the standard God has set for me. That is also the wish in my heart.

How does knowing this help me grow? Love is a choice, and it often requires effort. So in order to love others the way I want to, I have to be intentional about it and choose to love people every day.

6. What is my least valuable emotion?

The least appealing emotion not only to me, but to anyone, is self-pity. It is destructive. In the book Earth & Altar, Eugene H. Peterson states,

Mercy is one of the noblest human emotions; Self-pity is the most overlooked. Compassion is the ability to understand another’s pain and then seek to alleviate it; Self-pity is a helpless, spiritual disability that distorts our perception of reality.

Mercy helps to recognize need of others about love and healing, then speaking and acting that give strength; Self-pity reduces the universe to a personal wound that is presented as proof of importance. Pity is the stimulant for acts of compassion; Self-pity is a drug that renders the addict useless and helpless.

Knowing the negative effects of self-pity, I stayed away from it. It cannot help me and will always harm me.

7. What is my best habit?

H. P. Liddon, a missionary in charge of the education of St. Paul’s in London in the 1800s, made the observation that: “What we do on a great occasion will depend on our dignity; and that dignity is the result of years of self-discipline.” I believe that absolutely. That’s one of the reasons I strive to follow the rules every day. I believe that the secret of a man’s success is found in his daily routine.

“What we do on a great occasion will depend on our dignity; and that dignity is the result of years of self-discipline.”– H. P. Liddon

Perhaps the greatest value of me questioning myself in this area is that it shows my weakness in the discipline to stay healthy. Forming healthy eating habits is a lifelong endeavor. And I didn’t exercise regularly until I had a stroke. I continue to work hard to develop in this area.

8. What is my worst habit?

Without a doubt, my worst trait is impatience. It’s been part of my nature since I was a kid, and it’s ingrained in me like a habit. When I was a kid, we used to visit Grandpa Maxwell, and while we were there he would put my brother Larry and me down on two chairs and offer to pay us a penny if we sit in a chair for five minutes. Larry is always making money.

And I never not once! I have learned that, in life, sometimes you have to work hard to achieve and sometimes you have to wait. I’m still trying to develop myself in terms of the ability to wait. I suspect this will be a goal of mine until the day I die.

There are things in life that you have to work hard to achieve and there are things you have to wait for.

9. What satisfies me the most?

What I enjoy doing the most is communicating with other people. When I communicate, I know I’m in my advantage zone, I feel most fulfilled, and I make the biggest impact. Every time I do it, deep inside I feel like I was born to do this

Early in my career, knowing that communication completes me encouraged me to be a better speaker, because I wasn’t very good back then. For more than 10 years, this has been one of the top areas that I have been very focused on developing. I continue to strive to grow as a speaker, but the value I get from asking this question today is that it keeps me focused, so I’m doing the things that create the most value for people. other and for yourself.

10. What do I value most?

I don’t value anything more than my own faith. It helps shape my values. It guides my actions. That is the foundation for me to teach leadership. It is my resource and my safety. Mother Teresa said, “Faith blesses the believer.” I have found that to be absolutely correct. Having faith and knowing its value in life helps me to be cautious every day. I need this because I get easily distracted.

The 10 questions above are questions that I actually ask myself to prompt myself to reflect and grow in the area of ​​self-awareness. You can ask yourself questions about any area of ​​your life to help you pause, focus, and learn. For example, if you want to develop relationships, you can ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I value people?

2. Do people know that I value them?

3. How do I show it?

4. Am I a “plus” or a “minus” in my most important relationships?

5. What evidence do I have to support my opinion?

6. What is the love language of the people I love?

7. How can I serve them?

8. Do I need to forgive someone in my life?

9. Who in my life do I need to take time to thank?

10. Who should I get more time from in my life?

Or if you want to pause and think about where you stand in terms of personal development, you can ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I know and practice the 15 Principles of Personal Development?

2. Which three principles do I best practice?

3. Which of the three principles do I follow the weakest?

4. Am I growing every day?

5. What do I do every day to grow?

6. How am I growing?

7. Are there barriers that prevent me from growing?

8. What breakthroughs do I need to keep growing?

9. What learnable moments have I experienced today, and have I captured them?

10. Do I pass on what I have learned to others?

What you want to achieve in life and where you are on the journey will determine the areas you need to think about most at the moment, and tailor the questions to suit you. But the most important thing you have to do is write down the questions and answers.

Why? Because you will discover that what you think after you write down your answers will be very different from what you thought before you wrote them down. Writing helps you discover what you really know, think, and believe.

Worth the effort

All of this sounds confusing, many steps and a lot of trouble. You were right; that’s it. That’s why most people never do it. But it’s worth the effort you invest a little bit every day.

The further you go in life’s journey, the more important it is to take time to pause and think.

The older you get, the less time you have to pursue your goals and do what you should.

But here’s the good news: If you’ve persevered in your growth efforts, you’ll be better equipped to accomplish that goal, even if it forces you to make major changes or adjust your direction.

Years ago, my friend Bob Buford wrote a book called The Second Half. The book is very interesting. The entire book is a “pause so personal growth can catch up” experience. In it, he encourages readers who have achieved a success in the first half of life to pause and think about what they want to do in the second half of life. Here are some of his tips:

You won’t be able to go much further in the second half of your life without knowing your life purpose. Can your life purpose be summed up in a statement or two? A great way to start building purpose is to use some questions (and really sincere answers).

What is your passion?

What successes have you achieved?

What have you done so well?

How do you connect?

Where do you belong?

What “shoulds” pulled you along during the first half of your life?

These and other similar questions will guide you in becoming the person you want to be; They will help you discover the tasks you were born to do.

Never forget that your goal for personal development is to reach your fullest potential. To do that, you need to keep pausing, keep asking questions, and keep growing every day.


Application Of The Principle Of Conclusion To Life

1. Have you created a place where you can regularly stop and reflect effectively? If not, do it now. First, find the type of environment that’s right for you. Among the places, which I have chosen over the years is an outdoor rock, a small isolated room where no one can disturb me, and a special chair in my office. Find a place that works for you, and stick with it as long as it works.

2. Plan time to pause and reflect. Otherwise, your to-do list will be jumbled up. Ideally, you would take a short pause for reflection at the end of each day (10-30 minutes), a separate time each week (at least an hour), part of the day several times. year (at least half a day), and an annual period (at least a day and at most a week). Make a note of these pauses in your calendar and mark them as your most important appointments.

3. Cartoonist Henri Arnold said: “Wise people ask questions of themselves, fools ask others.” The meditation principle will bring little benefit unless you are mindful during your meditation time. You do that by asking yourself tough questions.

What area do you most need to develop right now? Can you arrange it yourself? Is there a problem you can’t handle? Are you going through a steady period in your career? Are you failing in the most important relationships of your life? Do you need to check or reconsider your purpose? Do you need to evaluate what to do in the second half of your life?

“A wise man asks questions of himself, a fool asks others.”– Henry Arnold

Whatever your problem is, think of questions around it and take the time to write down answers to them during your reflection time.


Chapter 5 The Principle of Consistency

Motivation keeps you going – discipline helps you to grow.

“The mark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.”— Jim Tressel

When I started my career as a speaker, I believed that motivating people was the key to their success. If I can motivate them in the right direction, I think, they will succeed.

I do my best to tell people why they should work hard. I try to make them laugh. I try to touch their feelings.

My goal is to inspire people so much that they’re ready to go to hell with a water cannon in hand. When I’m done with my mission, I leave thinking I’ve done a good job. But often whatever motivation people get doesn’t seem to last.

I am still a believer in motivation. Everyone wants to be encouraged. Everyone loves to be inspired. But when it comes to personal growth, the truth is: Motivation keeps you going, but discipline keeps you growing. That is the Principle of Consistency.

No matter how talented you are, it doesn’t matter how many opportunities you get. If you want to grow, consistency is key.



If you want to become more disciplined and consistent in your results, you need to be disciplined and consistent in your personal growth. How can you do that? By knowing what, how, why and when to improve yourself. Take a moment to consider the following four questions about development:

1. Do you know what you need to improve?

Journalist and author George Lorimer observes: “You will wake up each morning with determination if you go to bed each night satisfied.” That’s true, but it’s important to know where to direct that determination.

I’ve discussed this in detail, but I think it’s repetitive. You have to develop yourself to be successful. I always see people who are purposeful but inconsistent in their execution. They have the ambition to succeed and show a serious work attitude but they are not making progress.

Why? Because they think they can master their work and don’t need to be their own boss. That’s a mistake. Your future depends on personal growth. Improving yourself daily guarantees you a future full of possibilities. When you expand yourself, you expand your horizons, your choices, your opportunities, and your potential.

“You will wake up every morning with determination if you go to bed every night satisfied.”- George Lorimer

Since the beginning of my career in 1969, if I spent all my time perfecting my work, I would never grow. But by focusing on self-improvement, I’ve grown from taking care of people to leading them. I have moved from speaking to audiences to writing books. I expanded from affecting only small religious organizations to affecting many different types of organizations. I have improved my focus from organizations to businesses.

My influence has varied from local to national to international. I went from maintaining organizations to establishing and growing them.

Why is this happening to me? Because what I did was try to improve myself, not just my job or my position. That opens up my future. It has allowed me to achieve more than I ever thought I was capable of.

E. M. Gray once said, “Successful people have the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like to do those things either, but his dislike complements his power of purpose.” The more attuned you are to your purpose and the more time you spend developing it, the more likely you are to reach your potential, expand your possibilities, and do something meaningful.

2. Do you know how you need to improve?

The question of how to improve was one of the main reasons why I started working to transform myself from an inspirational speaker to an inspirational teacher. I don’t want people to leave one of my teaching sessions, inspired but not sure how to go about it. To thrive, most people need experience and guidance.

Do you know how to improve yourself? I have four simple suggestions that can help you get started:

Tailor your motivations to your personality

Not everyone is motivated in the same way or motivated by the same things. To give yourself the opportunity to be consistent about personal growth, start by pushing your personality forward. There are dozens of personality models and systems that people use. I like one of the styles based on the classic personality patterns taught by Florence Littauer.

The first type is the indifferent person. The strength of people with this personality is that they are easygoing and likable. Their weakness is stagnation. If you are apathetic, how can you encourage yourself? By finding value in what you need to do. When indifferent people find value in doing something, they can be among the most persistent (meaning stubborn) of all personality types.

On the opposite side of apathy on the personality spectrum are those who are short-tempered. The strength of people with this personality type is that they get involved easily and make quick decisions.

Their weakness is that if they are not assigned the “in charge” position, they will refuse to attend. If you are a hot-tempered person, how can you find your own motivation? By focusing on your choices. Everyone is responsible for their own development. Choose how to grow and stick with it.

The funniest of all personality types are optimists. They are often the focus of parties. Their weakness is often lack of concentration. If you are an optimist, how can you promote personal growth? By making a game out of it. If it’s not possible, reward yourself for the successes.

The last personality type is melancholy. These are perfectionists in life. Their strength is attention to details. But because they want to do everything perfectly, they are afraid of making mistakes.

If you are a melancholy person, how can you motivate yourself to overcome that fear? By focusing on the joy of learning the details and on the potential to develop a certain degree of mastery over your subject matter.

As you can see, each personality type has its own strengths. You just need to harness the strengths of your personality to create a position of success when it comes to motivation.

Start with the simple things

What is the #1 mistake of beginning gardeners? Like many first-time self-development people: It’s too much effort. What is the result? Frustration. When you try too hard and too soon, you will almost certainly be disappointed with the results. It’s a loss of motivation.

The secret to creating that momentum is to start small with simple things.

A humorous idea based on this thought was portrayed in the comic book series Peanuts by author Charles Schulz. After hitting the ball three times on the field – as usual – Charlie Brown returned to the tunnel and leaned back on the bench.

“Really boring!” he lamented. “I will never be able to compete in a major tournament. I don’t have that possibility! All my life I’ve dreamed of playing in the big leagues, but I know I’ll never make it.”

Lucy, always offering advice, replies: “Charlie Brown, you’re thinking too far. What you need to do is come up with closer goals for yourself.”

“Getting closer to the goals?” Charlie asked. Like many people, he never thought about it.

“Yes!” Lucy advised: “You should start with the next round. When you go out to serve, see if you can get off the mound without falling!”

Industrialist Ian MacGregor said: “I work on the same principles as horse trainers. You start with low, achievable hedges, and work your way up. In management, it is important to never ask people to achieve goals they cannot accept.”

If you want to gain momentum and improve your motivation, start by setting worthwhile but highly successful goals. Master the basics. Then practice them every day continuously.

Small principles repeated consistently every day help us to achieve big gains slowly over time.

This is a great idea to practice when reading a book. In fact, when I wrote 25 Ways to Win with People, I asked readers to practice one of the 25 ways to win hearts each week. It’s an easy way to make daily progress.

Small principles repeated consistently every day help us to achieve big gains slowly over time.

If you want to grow, don’t try to win big. Just try to win small victories. Andrew Wood asserts: “Many people make the mistake of trying to achieve their goals by constantly looking for big shots, direct hit shots, or magic answers. can suddenly make their dreams come true.

The problem is that the big shots can never be achieved without a lot of first hits. Success in most things does not come from a few giant blows of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.”

Please be patient

When giving advice to be patient, it is I who need the most patience. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, impatience is one of my biggest weaknesses. I think it’s because I have unrealistic expectations, for myself and others.

Everything I want to do takes longer than expected.

Every effort I make is more difficult than I thought before.

Every project I take on costs more than expected.

Every task I assign to someone else is more complicated than expected. There are days when I believe that patience is a miniature version of frustration disguised as a virtue.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. If you are an American, like me, you can agree that culturally, we all have problems with patience. We always want things to happen quickly. We live in a country with fast food restaurants and emergency clinics. It’s ironic.

The Persian poet Saadi pointed out: “Be patient. Everything that used to be easy is difficult.” That is wise advice. Most people never realize how close they are to achieving extraordinary things, because they give up too soon.

Everything worthwhile in life takes time and dedication. The people who grow and achieve the most are those who harness the power of patience and persistence.

“Please be patient.

Everything that used to be easy is difficult.”– Saadi

Appreciate the process

One of the best things you can do for yourself as a learner is to cultivate the ability to appreciate and enjoy the growth process. It will take a long time, so enjoy the journey.

Several years ago, I had dinner with Vern and Charlene Armitage, my friends. Charlene is a successful lifestyle coach for many clients. I asked her what she focused on in training. Her answer was to focus on the importance of the process that people must form in order to grow and change direction in their lives. “We achieve our life goals by setting yearly goals,” she says.

We achieve our annual goals by achieving our daily goals. We achieve our daily goals by doing things that may be uncomfortable in the beginning but eventually become habits.

Habits are incredibly powerful things. Habit turns action into attitude, and attitude into lifestyle.

You can envision your tomorrow using it as your driving force to grow, but if you want to really grow, you need to focus on today. If you value today and find ways to enjoy it, you will invest today. And the small steps you take today will become the bigger steps you take someday.

In their book Winning: The Answers, Jack and Suzy Welch assert: “Too many people believe that a huge, well-known success will solve the problem of money. their confidence forever. That only happens in the movies. In real life, it’s the opposite strategy that works. Call it the “small wins approach”.

They describe Jack’s first experience as a speaker. Despite preparing detailed notes and practicing many times, 15 minutes of effort was a disaster. So Jack set a goal of gradual improvement, which he achieved by taking the process seriously.

Instead of allowing fear or failure to dominate his mind, he stared at the failure in front of him, discovered what he had done wrong, set a new goal, and started over.

They explain: “Over time, you will discover that every failure has actually taught you what you need to know – so you can regroup and kick-start, with… more energy.” That strategy worked. “Now,” they wrote, “it is a pleasant experience to answer questions without taking notes in front of thousands of people; it’s fun.”1 That progress cannot happen if you don’t appreciate the process.

3. Do you know why you want to keep improving?

Knowing what needs improvement and how to improve it is crucial for consistency in personal development. Know why as well. How and what will only get you so far. Why create lasting motivation for you after energy and enthusiasm wane. It can help you keep walking when there’s not enough willpower left. Think of it as the power-of-the-why.

I love the story of the salesman looking out the restaurant window during a heavy snowstorm. He asked his waiter, “Do you think the roads will be cleared so we can move in the morning?”

The waiter replied, “It depends on whether you are living on salary or commission.”

There’s a reason why being strong will keep you going when academic discipline becomes difficult, discouraging, or dull. If your growth is aligned with your values, dreams, and goals, you’ll know why you’re doing it. And most likely you will continue. One of the ways to gauge whether you’ve found your own whys is to take the “Why Test” given by my friend, Mike Murdock. The answers to the following seven questions will tell you whether your why is solid enough for continued growth:

1. Do you constantly procrastinate on important tasks?

2. Do you need to be “coaxed” to do small things?

3. Do you do things just to get things done?

4. How often do you say negative things about your work?

5. Do your friends’ efforts, instead of encouraging you, upset you?

6. Do you start working on small projects and then leave them unfinished?

7. Do you shy away from self-improvement opportunities?

If you answered yes to most of the questions above, you haven’t found a strong enough or big enough reason to keep growing.

When I was a kid, my mom kept telling me the reasons why to stay motivated. She would say things like, “If you eat vegetables, you can have dessert.” She knew I needed to understand the benefits of eating vegetables when I didn’t want to.

That upbringing helped me succeed, because I began to learn about the relationship between motivation and discipline. If you think about it, you can see that discipline and motivation are two sides of the same coin. If you have the necessary motivation, discipline won’t be an issue. If you lack motivation, discipline is always a problem.

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”– Vince Lombardi

You have to give yourself more of a big why so that you can continue to strive for growth. In my book Put Your Dream to the Test, I share that the more realistic the reasons for your dreams, the higher your odds of success. The same principle holds true for development.

The more reasons to grow, the more likely you are to succeed.

Of course, in certain cases, just one reason why is really compelling is enough, as Kenyan world-class rider Bernard “Kip” Lagat showed when he was interviewed during the Olympics. in Sydney. He was asked how his country was able to produce so many excellent long-distance runners. His answer was: “It was thanks to the warning signs on the road: ‘Watch out for lions’.

Legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi said, “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” If giving up has become a habit for you, I think you should take the advice of my friend, Darren Hardy, who wrote a wonderful book called The Compound Effect. ). In it he wrote:

The compound effect is the principle of reaping big rewards from a series of small, smart choices. The most exciting thing about this process for me is that, although the results are huge, the steps to take, in each moment, don’t make you feel like it matters.

Whether you’re using this strategy to improve your health, relationships, finances, or anything else, the changes are subtle, almost hard to detect. Those small changes yield little or no immediate results, no big wins, no really obvious I-told-you-I-I-telling results. So why bother?

Most people are trapped by the simplicity of the Compound Effect. For example, they give up after the eighth day of jogging because they are still overweight. Or, they stop practicing the piano after six months because they haven’t mastered their fingers yet. Or, they stop contributing to their IRA (individual retirement account) after a few years because they can use the cash and it doesn’t matter anyway.

What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps taken consistently over time can make a huge difference.3

When you make the right choices, no matter how small, and do them consistently over time, it can make a huge difference in your life. If you remember why you made those choices, it becomes easier.

4. Do you know when you need to improve?

The last piece of the puzzle is the question of when. When do you need to improve? First, the obvious answer: Right now. Just today. So you need to start if you haven’t already. More importantly, you need to work hard today as well as every day after.

Your life will never change until you change something you do every day. That means forming positive habits. Discipline is the bridge between goals and achievements, and you need to cross that bridge every day. Over time, commuting across the bridge every day became a habit. And finally I want to say, people don’t decide their future; they decide their habits and habits determine their future.

As author and speaker Brian Tracy says: “From the moment you wake up each morning to the time you go to bed each night, your habits control much of the words you say, the things you do, and the way you react. and respond.”

Your life will never change until you change something you do every day.

What do you need to change on a daily basis? What to do? More importantly what not to do? Analyst Abigail Van Buren quipped: “A bad habit never goes away on its own. It’s always been a you-need-to-give up project.” What would you be willing to change today to change what you will do tomorrow?

In the end, it’s really hard work when the easy things you don’t do accumulate into one big chunk. Diet and exercise also. Everyone wants to be slim, but no one wants to make the right choices to get there. This will be difficult when you eat indiscriminately or do not exercise every day. However, if you make small choices every day, you will see results.


Consistency is not easy. Novelist Huxley Aldous asserts: “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only one who is absolutely consistent is the dead.” To be successful, though, we must learn to be consistent. You have to find a plan that works for you, but I’m willing to share what has worked for me. Instead of being goal conscious, I focus my consciousness on growth. Here is the difference:

I’m such a strong believer in people and human potential, not only in others but in myself, that I never want to put a limit on my potential by setting goals too high. I did that pretty early in my career, and I realized it would limit me. If you can believe in yourself and your potential, and then focus on growth instead of goals, you will never know how far you can grow. You just need to be consistent in the process while continuing to believe in yourself.


Author Ernest Newman notes: “The great composer does not work because he is inspired, but is inspired while he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart and Bach were all diligent every day at what they were doing. They wasted no time waiting for inspiration.” The same is true of one of today’s most famous and innovative composers: John Williams. Surely you know his works, even if you don’t know his name.

Remember the five notes that are the key to communication in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Or the ominous music that always accompanies the appearance of sharks in the movie Jaws? What about the soundtracks from the movies Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark or Harry Potter? All are compositions of John Williams.

“The great composer does not work because he is inspired, but is inspired while he is working.”– Ernest Newman

Williams, the son of a jazz musician, was born in Queens, New York and raised in Los Angeles. He soon showed his promising musical talent and studied with Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco. After a stint in the United States Air Force, he studied piano at Juilliard, then played music at clubs and studios in New York City. He entered the film industry by working for composers such as Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, Henry Mancini and Jerry Goldsmith.

That habit of success did not make Williams arrogant. “If music is widely known,” he says, “it shows the pervasive nature of movies in our society. Over time, I assume that all but the greatest works of art are erased from memory, but I feel fortunate and privileged that people react as expected. ”

I find the music and life of John Williams inspiring. I hope you see it too.

But never forget: Motivation drives you, but discipline keeps you going. That is the Principle of Consistency.



1. Align your motivational methods with your personality type. Use whatever personality traits you like to research your personality type. (If you haven’t used one, look for a personality test like the Myers-Briggs Classification Index, DiSC, and Personality Plus.) Once you have a solid understanding of your personality type, build a development system. Keep it simple every day and use your strengths.

2. If you don’t find a way to value and appreciate the process, it will be difficult to keep doing any activity. Make a list of everything you like about the personal development process. If your list is too short, put in extra effort. Anything you can find related to motivation will help you further strengthen your personal development habits.

3. The more reasons why you have for personal growth every day, the more likely you are to stick with it. Let’s start with these reasons why. Think about the short-term as well as the long-term benefits. Consider reasons related to purpose, vision, and dreams. Think about how it can help you with your career, direction, and spirituality. Any reason for personal growth is a good one, as long as it’s yours.


Chapter 6 Environmental Principles

Growth flourishes in favorable environments

“The first step to success is when you are not rejected by your environment.”— Mark Caine

I believe that at some point in everyone’s life, the need to change the environment in order to grow will arise. That seems obvious in the case of someone like Johnnetta McSwain, to whom I referred in the Mirror Principle chapter. She grew up in extreme circumstances and was horribly abused.

But I also believe the same is true for those who grew up in a positive, supportive environment. If we want to grow to reach our potential, we must be in the right environment. That often requires us to change our own lives.



I was raised in a wonderful family environment. My parents love me. My father was the one who led my family in a proactive direction, helping my three brothers find their purpose and develop their talents. Mom loves us unconditionally (and believe me, I am stubborn at times, because I don’t like rules and always push boundaries). I have many friends. I got a decent education.

I got to do the job I love after marrying the person I’ve loved since high school. What could be better than this?

But after working for nearly 10 years at that job, I realized that the environment was not favorable for me to reach my potential. Almost 30 years old, I was promoted to the position of top church leader in the diocese.

I wanted to learn more, and because they rated me for that position so early in my career, I felt like they were implying that I was “best in class.” What is the problem? If you’re always at the top of your class, you’re in the wrong class. The best place to learn is where others are always better than you.

If you’re always at the top of your class, you’re in the wrong class

So that you don’t think I’m bragging, I need to let you know that I’m just an “average fish in a very small pond”. I’m not as good as they believe I am. The people in my sect are good people.

I admire the character and integrity of their previous leaders. So that’s not the problem. I just know I need more space to grow. To do that, I will have to change the environment.

I went to my father, a pastor with a lifelong association with that organization, who was a college student body president and a member of the parish board, to talk to him about this issue. He agreed that I needed to “go to a bigger pond” so I could grow more easily.

It required understanding and encouragement from my father, because after I left, he remained with the organization, and my father would have to endure a lot of criticism from others because of my change.

But he did it with mercy, and always supported my decision. And I feel certain that if I stay where I am, I won’t be able to grow the way I did and I won’t get far.



You’ve probably seen the word develop change. It is possible to change without development, but not to grow without change. One of the keys to the right change that allows us to grow is knowing the difference between a problem or challenge, which I can change, and a fact of life, which I cannot change. change.

For example, one day as a teenager, I looked in the mirror and suddenly realized something. I’m not a handsome guy. It is a fact of life. I can’t change the face. What will I do? I have made a decision. I will change my attitude about that. I will smile. Will that change my face? No, really not. But it did make my face look better.

Like me, you have to deal with many realities of life. You cannot change where and when you were born. You cannot change your parents. You cannot change your height or personality. But you can change your attitude about everything. You have to do your best to live with them.

Every problem is different. The point is something you can change. It’s something you can develop. How? Ironically, it started with the same step: Change the attitude. When you change your attitude about an issue, you open up many opportunities for growth.

Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Nido Qubein asserts: “It has nothing to do with your circumstances whether you succeed or fail in life; which has more to do with your choices.” What choices do you need to make in order to be in a favorable environment where you will grow further? When it comes to environment, I believe we need to make the following six choices to put ourselves in a better development position:

“Whether you succeed or fail in life has nothing to do with your circumstances; which has more to do with your choices.”– Mido Qubein

1. Assess your current environment

Professor and evangelist Ernest Campbell tells the story of a lonely woman who bought a parrot from a pet store. Just a day after she got it, she returned to the store and told the owner how disappointed she was. “The parrot can’t say a word!” she lamented.

“Did you buy a mirror for her?” asked the shop owner. “The parrot likes to look in the mirror.” So the woman bought a mirror and returned home.

The next day she returned, informed that the bird still did not speak. “What about the ladder?” The shop owner asked. “The parrot likes to go up and down the ladder.” So she bought the parrot a ladder again and went home.

On the third day, she returned with the same complaint. “Does the parrot have a swing?” That’s the seller’s solution. “He likes to relax on a swing.” She bought the swing and went home. The next day, she returned to the store and announced that the bird was dead. The salesman said, “I’m sorry to hear that. What did the bird say before it died?”

“That’s right,” said the girl. “It said, ‘don’t they sell food there?'”

What lesson does this silly story teach us? Changing just because you want change will not help you. If you want to make changes, you have to make sure they are the right changes. How do you do that?

Start by assessing where you are and why you want to change.

When considering changing from one job to another, I took the time to examine why I wanted to change. For me, there are three main reasons to change:

• I moved to the top too quickly.

• I don’t feel challenged enough.

• There is no other place in the organization that I would like to go.

Those factors were enough to make me look at the inconvenient truth about the need to change where I am and what I’m doing.

One way to gauge whether you are growing and are in an environment conducive to development is to determine whether you are looking forward to what is working or looking back at what has been done. If the future seems bleak, cliché, or cramped, you may need to start looking for ways to change.

Like me, you can intuitively sense whether you’re in an environment that promotes self-growth. However, if you find it difficult to make judgments about your situation, you can approach it from a different direction. You can ask yourself questions to help you understand who and what nourishes you, and then analyze whether or not you get those things. Here is a list of questions to get you started:

Music – What songs help me relax?

Thoughts – What do ideas mean to me?

Experiences – What experiences make me feel young again?

Friends – What do people encourage me to do?

Recreation – What activities help me regain energy?

Mentality – What mental exercises make me stronger?

Hope – What dreams inspire me?

Family – Which family members take care of me

Gifts – What blessings affect me?

Memories – What memories make me smile?

Books – What books have I read that changed who I am?

You understand the problem. I’m sure you can add more ideas and questions to help you understand what motivates you to grow. The main idea is to get to know yourself and assess whether you are getting what you need in your current environment. If so, congratulations. If not, prepare yourself to make some tough choices.

2. Change yourself and your environment

If you need to make a major change to your environment, you need to keep this in mind: You also have to identify changing yourself at the same time. Here’s why: If you try…

Change yourself but not your environment – ​​the process of change will be slow and difficult;

Change your environment, not yourself – development will be slow and less complicated;

Change your environment and yourself – development will be faster and more successful.

By changing both at the same time, you will increase and accelerate your chances of success.

When I first realized I needed to grow after the encounter with Curt Kampmeier that I recounted in The Principles of Intentionality. I found it hard to actually do it. Few people share my enthusiasm for change. I have very few role models. Most of the people around in my little world are satisfied with working hard and making a living. I want more than that. I want influence.

During that time I remember sitting down and envisioning the ideal development environment. For weeks I have been writing about what I call “My Development Environment”. It’s been helping to navigate decision-making regarding personal growth since I wrote it in 1973. It states that, in a development environment…

Others are ahead of me

I am constantly challenged.

My focus is on moving forward.

The atmosphere is affirmative.

I often get out of my comfort zone.

I am excited to wake up every morning.

Failure is not my enemy.

Others are growing.

Everyone wants change.

Development is modeled and expected.

When I intuitively said that the current environment was not conducive to personal growth, I reviewed the list and found most of those statements did not match my current situation. So I resolved to change myself and my environment. If you read that list and feel most of those statements don’t apply to your life, then you need to change too.

I learned a lot about changing myself in 1975 while attending a seminar in Waterloo, Iowa. There I met the “great” Charles Jones for the first time. There, I also met the author of my favorite books: Elmer Tows.

I was surprised but delighted when he invited me to sit next to him on the flight to Chicago on the way home so we could talk. During our conversation, he taught me the Hot Sticks Principle. “Do you know how to heat a poker?” Elmer asked me. “By placing it next to the fire.” He went on to explain that we are like the metal in the poker.

If our environment is cold, we are cold. If it’s hot, we’re hot. “If you want to grow,” he said, “Spend time with great people; visit interesting places; attend major events; read good books, listen to useful tapes.” Those words led me on a quest to meet leaders across America who were more talented than I was. That changed my life as you plan to change yourself and your environment, think about the factors that the right development environment provides:

The right soil to grow: What nourishes me? Evolution.

The type of gas to breathe: What keeps me alive? Purpose.

The right kind of environment to live in: What helps me maintain? Everyone.

They say if you put a squash in a jar the size of a walnut, it will grow to the size and shape of the vase and never get bigger. That can happen with one’s mindset. Don’t let that happen to you.

3. Change who you spend time with

When I was young, I learned the importance of the right environment and the people I spent time with. My parents are very knowledgeable about this. Although my parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were growing up, they created a home environment where all our friends wanted to come and spend time there. My father built a basketball court by pouring a concrete base and erecting a basketball pole there.

Parents have turned the basement of the house into a children’s paradise, with a pool table, PingPong table and chemistry lab kits. We had no reason to go anywhere but at home, and our friends had every reason to stop by. And my mother was always around so she knew almost all of my friends. She influenced all of our friends as much as she could, and warned us about the behavior of those who could get us into trouble.

My parents understood that birds of the same flock fly together. And their efforts have paid off. Children flock to our house. Even today more than five decades later whenever I meet someone who grew up with me, they still talk about coming to my house as a kid and playing in the “basement cafeteria”. My home became a destination.

According to research by social psychologist David McClelland of Harvard University, people who are related to you in terms of their environment are often referred to as your “reference group”, and these people identify 95% of your success. your success or failure.

Many people recognize this fact. King Solomon of Israel wrote, “Go with the wise and become wise, for he who walks with fools will suffer.” The famous “great” Charles Jones

Because of the saying, “The friends you are today are the same as you five years from now except for two things: the people you hang out with and the books you read.” And Jim Rohn asserts that we become the average of the five people we meet most often. Rohn meant that we can judge the quality of our health, our attitudes, and our income by looking at the people around us. He believes that we begin to eat like them, talk like them, read what they read, think the way they do, watch what they watch and dress like them.

We become the average of the five people we meet most often.

I like the way Sue Enquist looks at the problem. Enquist is known as the John Wooden of women’s softball. She played for the UCLA team from 1975 to 1978, returned in 1980 as an assistant coach, and then served as the club’s head coach from 1989 to 2006. As a bridge player and coach, she helped win a total of 11 NCAA softball titles. She retired with a coach world record of 887-175-1, a win rate of .835 placing her among the five greatest NCAA coaches of all time.

Enquist implemented the 33% rule. You can categorize people at school, in groups, at work, or anywhere, she says, into three groups of bottom, middle, and top, and they always have the same characteristics: people in the bottom group attract give up your life because nothing is good enough for them.

They drain energy and motivation from the environment. People in the middle group are happy and positive when things are going well, but depressed during difficult times. The situation describes their attitude. The top team maintains a positive attitude even in difficult times. They are leaders, activists and game changers. Those are the people we should strive for and spend our time with.

While it’s not always comfortable, it’s always beneficial to associate with people who are better than you. As the Italian proverb says: “Associating with good people, you will help increase the number of such people.”

What kind of better people should we spend our time with? Righteous people. Positive people, those who are ahead of us in the profession. Those who lift us up instead of bringing us down. And above all, the growing people. They should be like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who will ask each other when they meet: “What have you learned since we last met?”

I recommend that you also find a responsible partner to accompany you on the path of growth. He or she will help you stick to the right decisions and keep you away from mistakes. A responsible companion should:

Love you unconditionally.

Wishing you success.


Ask yourself consistent questions.

Help you when needed.

You can’t be alone on the path of growth if you want to reach your potential.

The most remarkable element in any person’s environment is the person itself. If you focus on changing the human element in your life for the better, your chances of success will increase tenfold.

Therefore, think carefully and carefully about the people you are spending a lot of time with, wherever they are going, you will get there.

4. Challenge yourself in a new environment

I once heard a story about a Japanese artist painting on a large canvas. In a lower corner he drew a tree and on the branch there were some birds. The rest of the canvas is left blank. When asked what he would paint to complete the picture, he said: “Oh no, I have to make room for the birds to fly.”

One of the best things about being in a growth environment is that it gives you space to grow, but you have to purposefully seek out and create those growth opportunities. You must develop the habit and discipline of challenging yourself.

One of the first methods I used to challenge myself was to make my goals public. Nothing motivates a person more than deadlines and audiences. That doesn’t mean I always achieve my goals. But I found that if I told others about my intentions, I would work hard to not feel ashamed of my efforts even while everyone was watching.

Another way I’ve challenged myself both when I first started and to this day is to find a huge growth opportunity each week, try to do it, and learn from it. Whether it’s a get-together with friends, lunch with an advisor, a conference I’m attending or a speaking event where I can spend time sitting with leaders of great caliber, I always prepare in the same way, by asking five questions before that time of study. I ask:

• What are their strengths? This is what I will learn the most.

• What are they learning? This is how I was able to capture their passion.

• What do I need now? This helped me apply what I learned to my situation.

• Who did they meet, what did they read, or what did they do to help themselves? This helps me find additional growth opportunities.

• What did I forget to ask? This allows them to point out what changes I need to make from their point of view.

A good development environment won’t help you much if you don’t do everything in your power to make the most of it. Like an entrepreneur who is given money to seize new opportunities but never uses the money. You must seize the growth opportunities you have and make the most of them by challenging yourself.

5. Focus on the moment

The changes we want to make in our lives are only in the present. What we do now governs who we are and where we will be in the future. We live and work in the present. As Harvey Firestone Jr. “Today is when things really begin,” said. If you need to change yourself and your environment, don’t worry about your past”.

“Today is when things will really begin.”- Harvey Firestone Jr.

I read that former movie star and diplomat Shirley Temple Black learned the power of living in the present from her mother-in-law. When her husband, Charles, was a baby, he asked his mother, “What was the happiest moment of your life?”

“This moment, right now,” replied the mother.

“But what about the other happy moments in your life? What about when you’re married?” Charles asked.

She smiled and said, “My happiest moment was then. And my mother’s happiest moment right now is right now. You can only live in the present moment. For her it was always the happiest moment.”

Mother Teresa observed: “Yesterday is over. Tomorrow has not come yet. We only have today. Let’s get started.” If you need to change yourself and your environment, don’t shy away from the past. You cannot change it. Don’t worry about the future. You cannot control it. Focus on the present moment and what you can do right now.

6. Keep moving forward despite the criticism

In the classic book The Science of Getting Rich, author Wallace D. Wattles writes: “Don’t wait for environmental change before you act. Let’s change the environment with action. You can act on your current environment so you can move on to a better one.”

Growth always comes from action, and action always brings criticism. Still, you keep going. To reach your potential, you must not only do what others believe you cannot do, but also what you even believe you cannot do. Most people often underestimate themselves. They aim for what they know they can access.

However, they should instead reach for goals that are beyond their reach. If you don’t try to create the future you want, you will suffer the future you get. When you act to change yourself and your environment, you will almost always be criticized for it. Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson admitted: “Whenever you decide to do something, someone will always tell you that you are wrong.

There are always difficulties that arise to make you believe that your critics are right. To create a plan of action and follow it to the end requires courage like a soldier. Peace means victories, but to have those victories, brave people are needed.”

When I felt that I needed to change my career environment, the organization offered me the best position they had. It was a very generous thing they did for me, but I knew for sure that I had to change and go in a different direction, so I declined their offer.

Unfortunately, they feel left out. And they criticized my decision. No problem. As speaker Les Brown puts it: “Someone’s opinion about you doesn’t have to be your reality.” Their words may have hurt me, but they didn’t make me doubt my decision.

“Whenever you decide to do something, someone will always tell you that you are wrong.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Albert F. Geoffrey asserts: “When you take charge of your own life, you no longer need to ask permission from others or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone the power to veto your life.” Before making a big change, seek wise advice where possible, but make your own decisions. You are the person most responsible for the choices you make in your life.



As I progressed in my career and began leading larger organizations, the challenge of personal development began to change. My need to grow has always been there, and my need to find mentors has never changed.

However, as the leader of an organization, I have come to realize that creating a positive growth environment for others is my responsibility. I did it using the same list created in 1973 and applied it to help others. I try to create a place where…

Others are ahead of me.

I am constantly challenged.

My focus is on moving forward.

The atmosphere is always affirmative.

I often get out of my comfort zone.

I am excited to wake up every morning.

Failure is not my enemy.

Others are growing.

Everyone wants change.

Development is modeled and expected.

As a leader, it is my responsibility to proactively create such an environment. It’s hard work, but the effort is always worth it. Many have succeeded, grown, and become leaders.

When leaders assign people to different positions in the organization, it’s not enough to look at what they’ve done in the past. They also have to consider what people can do if the environment allows them to grow.

Similarly, helping people understand what they lose by leaving a development environment is a very interesting idea.

I always try to do that during severance interviews with people who are leaving any of my organizations. I would tell them: “You are leaving an environment where growth is a priority and everyone is encouraged and expected to grow. If you don’t go to a similar environment, don’t expect the same results. And you will have to work harder to keep growing.”

Some people understand that and face the challenges ahead of them. Others see only what they once hoped would be greener pastures and don’t understand the importance of a good environment until they hit walls they’ve never experienced before.

Never forget the Environmental Principle: Growth happens in favorable environments. If you’re in an active development environment, be grateful for it.

Thank the people who helped create it, and repay them by striving to reach your potential.

If not, do what needs to be done to change the environment and yourself. And if you are a leader, do everything in your power to develop yourself and create the right environment in which others can thrive. It will be the best investment you can make as a leader.



1. Evaluate your current development environment by answering true or false for the following 10:

1. Others are ahead of me.

2. I am constantly being challenged.

3. My focus is on moving forward.

4. The atmosphere is affirmative.

5. I often get out of my comfort zone.

6. I wake up excited every morning.

7. Failure is not my enemy.

8. Others are developing.

9. People want change.

10. Development is modeled and expected.

If you answer wrongly for more than five things, your current environment may hinder your growth. You will need to determine how you need to change or improve your environment to reach your potential.

2. Assess your personal development needs in the three main areas covered in this chapter:

The right soil to grow: what nourishes me? Evolution

Use this list or create your own to gauge what nourishes you:

Music – What songs help me relax?

Thoughts – What do ideas mean to me?

Experiences – What experiences make me feel young again?

Friends – What do people encourage me to do?

Recreation – What activities help me regain energy?

Mentality – What mental exercises make me stronger?

Hope – What dreams inspire me?

Family – Which family members take care of me?

Gifts – What blessings affect me?

Memories – What memories make me smile?

Books – What books have I read that changed me?

The kind of gas to breathe: what keeps me alive? Purpose.

Review your answers to the questions at the end of the Cognitive and Consistency Principles. Use them to develop a statement of your life purpose. Don’t expect it to be perfect or last forever. It will probably continue to grow and change as you do, but it will give you a stronger sense of direction in the present.

The right kind of environment to live in: what helps me maintain? Everyone.

Make a list of the people who are having the biggest influence on your life: friends, family, co-workers, business owners, mentors, etc. Be sure to include any people you spend on your list with. a considerable amount of time for them.

Then go through the list and determine who on the list is “mightier” than you are: more skilled or talented, better at career growth, more consistent in character, or superior at anything. another specific aspect. If most people can’t help you grow, you need to find more people who will help you change and grow.

3. Significant growth won’t happen in life if you don’t constantly challenge yourself in your environment. Set specific goals for yourself to exceed your current capacity. Also, review your work schedule for the next month. Look for the best potential growth opportunities each week and plan for them by asking yourself the questions in this chapter.


Chapter 7 Design principles

To maximize growth, come up with strategies

“If you don’t design your own life plan, you are more likely to fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they plan for you? Certainly not much.”— Jim Rohn

What is your favorite time of year? Is it Christmas? Or your birthday? Or when a hundred flowers bloom in spring? Or a busy summer vacation? When the kids go back to school? Or at the start of the football season? When the leaves change color? When is that? I can tell you my favorite times. It’s the week after Christmas.



On Christmas afternoon, after the grandkids had opened all their presents and when all the commotion had subsided, I couldn’t hold myself back anymore, because I knew it was time for me to do one of those things. I love the most every year. I thought silently while the other members were watching TV or taking a nap. On my desk is a calendar from the previous year and a yellow notebook.

Starting that afternoon and continuing through the following week until New Year’s Eve, I took time to review my schedule for the whole year. I review every appointment, meeting, commitment and activity hour by hour – from the previous 359 days. And I evaluate each one.

I go over my talks and evaluate what should be done more, what should be done less, and what I should completely eliminate. I look at the growth opportunities I’ve pursued and assess which ones are more profitable and which aren’t.

I review all the meetings and appointments I have and determine which appointments/meetings should be increased or eliminated.

I also see how much time I spend doing things that I should delegate to others. (I also reviewed my delegation and reconsidered whether to ask for assistance or delegate it to someone else.)

I also see if I’m spending enough time with my family. I also make a list of things Margaret and I did together that year, and I will take her out to dinner someday so we can reminisce and enjoy them again. It was a romantic evening and always ends great!

I try to take into account every hour used in the previous year. And what is the value of that? It helps me shape my strategies for the coming year. Because I do this every year (and for decades), I become more focused, strategic, and effective each year.

Even if I had a difficult or less productive year than I would have liked, it was never a loss, because I learned a lot from that year and tried to improve the situation in the future. next year. There is no substitute for strategy. To maximize growth, you must devise strategies. Those are Design Principles.



Most people let their lives go on. They drifted lazily. They wait. They reacted. And it is not until they have lived more than half of their lives that they realize they should be more proactive and strategic.

I hope you are not that person. And if so, I want to encourage you to develop a stronger sense of urgency and purpose.

As you plan and design strategies for your life and growth, I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned myself and that have helped me along the way. any.

1. Life is inherently very simple but to keep that simplicity is very difficult

No matter what other people say, I still believe that life is quite simple. It’s a matter of recognizing your values, making some important decisions based on those values, and then managing those decisions on a day-to-day basis. That is quite simple.

And at least in theory, the longer we live and learn, the more experience and knowledge we gain and thus the simpler our lives become. But life also becomes complicated in its own way, and only with great effort can we keep our life simple.

A few years ago I attended a conference on Global Strategy for Leaders. Once there, we were divided into groups to spend time thinking about strategy. I was lucky enough to be on the same team as Neil Cole. Although I didn’t know him before, I was impressed by Neil’s ability to design simple yet effective strategies during our discussion.

During a break, I asked Neil for advice on designing a strategy for developing global leaders. He replied, “The secret is found in simplicity.” He then shared with me three questions that he says are key to making a strategy work. They include:

• Can it be received by individuals? A profound meaning – it must be absorbed and change the mind of the leader.

• Can it be repeated easily? Simple – it has to be delivered after a brief encounter.

• Can it be communicated strategically? A universal way of communicating – it must be universally spread to all cultural contexts.

The meeting with Neil made a strong impression on me. I then used these questions at EQUIP as we developed our One Million Leaders Trust strategy to train one million leaders globally. After that conversation, I also resolved to design my life as simply as possible, by discovering and developing systems for my success.

These systems help me fight the complexity of everyday life. I believe they can help you too. When designing growth strategies, always remember to design them so that they are personally relevant, repeatable, and transferable. A great strategy won’t work if you can’t use it.

2. Life design is more important than career design

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon said: “Many people worry too much about managing their careers but rarely devote half of that energy to managing their lives. I want to create the best life possible, not just work. If you have a good life, you will have a good job.

I think Witherspoon’s advice is only partially correct: If you plan your life well, your career will adjust. The problem is that most people don’t spend a lot of time planning their careers. They spend a lot of time planning their Christmas or holiday.

Why so? Because people focus on what they think will bring them the best. If you don’t believe you can be successful in life in the long run, you’ll pay less attention to planning accordingly.

Planning your life is about finding your self, getting to know who you are, and then customizing the design for your growth. Once you draw a blueprint for your life, you can apply it to your career.

3. Life is not a costume rehearsal!

As you might have guessed by now, I’m a longtime reader of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts series. Schulz won the hearts of many when Charlie Brown told Linus: “Life is too hard for me. I was confused from the day I was born. I think the whole trouble is that we get thrown into the world too quickly. We are not prepared.”

Linus replied, “What do you want?… A chance to prepare?”

There is no preparation for life, no rehearsal, but that is the way many people think. Each of us stepped onto the cold, unprepared stage, and we had to walk and explore. That can be messy. We fail. We make mistakes. But we still need to do our best from the beginning.

Regret for not being proactive enough is a common problem that people face when looking back on their lives. In Aspire, Kevin Hall talks about a trip he took with a group of Boy Scouts and wants to inspire them to set bold goals for themselves. He did that by recounting a study of successful retired executives conducted by Gerald Bell, a prominent behavioral scientist. Hall wrote:

I told them the answers of 70-year-old executives, when Dr. Bell asked them what they would do differently if they could live once….

Their response, one that ranked higher than any other, was:

(1) I should take charge of my life and set goals sooner. Life is not a practice session, it is a reality…

I shared the remaining survey responses with the Scouts:

2) I would take better care of my health.

3) I will manage my money better.

4) I will spend more time with my family.

5) I will spend more time on personal development.

6) I will entertain more.

7) I will plan my career better.

8) I will give more.

“You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”– Fred Allen

We are not rehearsed for life. We have to do the best we can in the present. But we can learn from our predecessors, people like the executives studied by Dr. Bell. They can inspire us to plan the best we can and then give our best. Comedian Fred Allen once said, “You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

4. When planning your life, double everything

My outlook on life is very optimistic and as a result my expectations of myself and others are somewhat unrealistic. Over time, I have learned that the important things in life often take longer and cost more than expected. That’s especially true when it comes to personal development.

So what do I have to do to make up for it? I double everything. If I think something will take an hour to do, I plan to double the time to avoid trouble. If I think a project will take a week to complete, I give it two weeks. If I think a goal will cost $1,000, I expect $2,000. Two is not a magic number, but it worked for me. I have found that doubling everything makes my optimism somewhat more realistic.

I know I’m impatient, but I think everyone naturally wants things to happen to them quickly.

and ease, including personal development. The secret here is not to want more or want something to happen faster. It takes more time and attention to what you have and what you can do right now. Spend three times as much effort and energy on growth. And allow yourself to grow slowly and surely.

Remember that a zucchini or tomato plant grows in a few weeks, bears fruit in a few days or weeks, and dies when the first frost hits. For comparison, a tree grows slowly over years, decades, or even centuries; it bears fruit for decades; and if healthy, it can withstand frost, wind storms, and even drought.

When designing growth strategies, take the time and resources you need. As many as you like, as long as it makes sense to you, and double the amount of them. That will keep you from becoming discouraged and giving up too soon.



Most achievements in life are easier to achieve if you approach them strategically. Rarely does a random approach to anything lead to success. And even if a non-tactical approach is successful a few times, it is unlikely to be repeated. So how can you strategically achieve something on a regular basis? By creating and using systems. One of the biggest secrets of my personal growth and high productivity is using systems for everything.

I have a system for personal development and information gathering. I try to read four books a month. I picked two that I could skim through and two that I really wanted to dig into. I also listen to CDs in the car. When I was a weekly preacher, I listened to five CDs a week. I will listen to each CD for five minutes.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll stop. If it’s good, I’ll listen to the whole thing. If it’s great, I’ll stop listening to it after five minutes and put the CD aside and copy it to paper to read.

I have a system for storing interesting stories, quotes, and articles that I have read. If I find a favorite article, I cut it out of the newspaper or magazine, write the name of the archive on top of the cropped page, and let my assistant organize it into the volumes. When reading a book, when I find a favorite quote or story, I bookmark the page, write the title of the topic to categorize, and the number of pages where it can be found inside the front cover.

of the book. When I finished reading the book, I gave it to my assistant, who would photocopy the quotes or type them out, and place them in my citations.

This changed my life. Most of the people I know who take the time to grow personally don’t take the time to capture the best thoughts and ideas they come across. They spend hours or days looking for a story they’ve read or a quote they can’t remember. I seem to have read about this issue recently, right? they wonder.

Now in which book to find it? They can find it. Or maybe not. You know how much time I spend looking for something I’ve read and want to recall? Two minutes or less. Usually I can go to my desk and get that information within a minute. If I can’t recall the archive name and have to double-check two or three topics, it can take me up to five minutes.

I have a system for thinking. I keep about a dozen quotes or ideas in the Notes app on my phone, which I always carry with me. I quote them throughout the day so they are truly imprinted in my mind and heart. When I go swimming every day, I choose an idea or two (or sometimes a prayer) to think about while swimming. And I also have my meditation chair.

If I wake up in the middle of the night, which often happens, I’ll take my notebook and go down to the office to think and write.

I have a system for writing. Before embarking on a long trip, which can last two to three weeks, I spend a day or so preparing what needs to be written. If I’m writing a book, I create a notebook of documents. If the manuscript of a book has 15 chapters (like this one), I create an archive with 15 bookmarks.

If I have an idea for a particular chapter, I’ll punch a hole and put it in an entry. I also search the archive for my citations and articles and make photocopies of any material that I think I would like to use for that chapter. I punched these pages out and put them next to the item.

If I ever write a lesson on that topic, I make a copy, punch the hole, and put it in my archive. By the time I was done, I had an archive of hand-picked material for each chapter. With that, a notebook, tape and a pen, I’m ready to write whether on a plane, in a hotel room or at a loved one’s house.

I have a system for planning my daily work. I look at my schedule for the next six weeks, so I

know what’s coming and can plan the work. And every morning, I review my schedule for the day and ask myself: What’s the main event today? I know very well what is most important to get done that day, no matter what.

I even have systems for queuing and other routine operations. For example, if I am going to watch a football game with my friends and go to the food court, if there are three lines, I stand in one line and ask my friends to stand in the other two lines. When one of us gets to the first counter, we all go up to that person and order. That way we save quite a bit of time.

Strategies and systems are a way of life for me. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth , says: “Systems enable ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in predictable ways. before. However, without a system, even extraordinary people find it difficult to achieve even the most mundane results in a predictable way.” I completely agree with that.

What is a system? It is a process that enables an objective to be achieved based on specific, orderly, repeatable practical principles in a predictable manner. Systems that make the most of your time, money, and capabilities. They are great tools for personal development. The system is precise, purposeful and realistic. They really work – whatever your profession, qualifications, talents or experience. They improve your productivity. A life without any system is a life where one has to face every task and challenge with empty hands.

“Systems allow ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in predictable ways.”– Michael Gerber



If you want to get the most out of your personal growth by getting the most out of your efforts and doing so in the most effective way, you need to develop your own systems that work for you, the system is personal because it needs to be tailored to you. However, when trying to create them, follow these guidelines:

1. Effective systems that take the big picture into account

“We can be very busy, we can be very efficient, but we will only be really effective when we start with an outcome prediction in mind,” says Stephen Covey. When I started creating systems for personal growth, they had to be geared toward specific goals. I knew I would stick to speaking for the rest of my life. I know I will lead people and organizations. When I was almost 30 years old, I realized that I wanted to write a book. My efforts must support and enhance my abilities in those areas.

Outstanding people, whatever their careers, develop systems to help them achieve their greatest goals. A good example of that is Muhammad Ali’s preparation for the “Hero of the Jungle” match against George Foreman on October 30, 1974. The truth is Ali is a top athlete Personal best, according to him. But physically he couldn’t fight Foreman, a strong puncher. No one thought Ali had any chance.

Joe Frazier and Ken Norton had beaten Ali before, and George Foreman beat both of them in the second round. But Ali could see Foreman’s weakness,  his lack of endurance, and Ali found a system that would allow him to outmaneuver a stronger boxer than himself. Ali would lean against the ring belt, shielding him while Foreman unleashed powerful punches, trying to find a way to knock him out.

Over the course of seven rounds, Foreman unleashed hundreds of punches, and Ali managed to hold out. In the eighth round, Ali noticed that Foreman was exhausted. That’s when Ali hit Foreman with a barrage of punches and won the world championship.

Being busy is not enough. If you’re busy planning, reading, and attending conferences, but they don’t target the areas necessary for your success, you’re wasting your time. As the saying goes, unhappiness is not knowing what you want and trying to live and die to get it.

Unfortunate is not knowing what you want and trying to live and die to get it.

What is your big goal? In what areas must you develop to achieve your goals? Author, Professor C. S. Lewis once said, “Every person is made up of some theme.” What is your theme? And what systems can you put in place for self-development now and in the future? I had to stop reading entertainment books to read books that help me develop my strength. I also attend two speed reading training courses to help improve my reading. What do you have to do?

2. Effective systems use priorities

A system will be of limited help if it doesn’t take your priorities into account. Brian Tracy says, “Perhaps the best question you can memorize and repeat over and over again is, ‘What do I do most productively with my time right now?’” The answer The answer to that question will shape any system you create for yourself.

You should also ask yourself, “When is my most precious time?” because you will always want to make the most of that moment.

For me it’s morning. When I realized that, I didn’t schedule any meetings in the morning. That was 30 years ago. Imagine how much of my precious time would have been misused if I allowed myself to meet people, which I could do at any time during my most productive time.

“Everybody is made up of some theme.”– C. S. Lewis

I made that decision pretty easily. Others have more difficulty. I’m an opportunist, and I tend to want to do everything. One is good but four is even better. I like to say yes. I have a hard time saying no. As a result, I have to be involved in too many things.

To solve that, I had to develop a system. I am no longer allowed to respond to requests for my time. Instead, those requests are sent to a group, who will decide if I accept the speech or have another request. We fondly call them the Ax Committee.

Why? Because they “knock out” 90% of incoming requests. It’s the only system I can find that forces me to maintain my priorities when it comes to spending my time.

What systems do you need to help maintain your priorities? And who do you need to give responsibility and power to so they can help you?

3. Effective systems must use measurement

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, asserts: “The first strategy is to try to understand where you stand in today’s world. Not where you want to go or hope to go, but where you are. Then figure out where you want to be in five years.

Finally, evaluate the realistic opportunities for you to get from here to there.” What do all three of these actions,knowing where you are, where you want to go, and the opportunities to get there have in common? Measurement. Any progress requires measurement, and for that reason, your system must include a way to measure your results.

When I first moved to Atlanta from San Diego, I was amazed at the congested and difficult traffic situation in this area. Roads seem to be behind the population growth for decades. I couldn’t do anything to change the roads, but I was determined to improve my mobility.

What is my solution? For the first six months, I figured out other routes to my favorite places, then measured the length and time it took to travel each distance. I discovered five different routes to Atlanta airport, and I knew which one to take based on the time of day and different traffic conditions. Can I be a rental driver?

H. James Harrington, former engineer and CEO of IBM, a pioneer in efficiency improvement, says: “Measurement is the first step to control and ultimately to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

When people know their work is tracked, their productivity has increased.

Think about it: Where would entrepreneurs be if they didn’t know how to measure their profits? Where would salespeople and marketers be if they didn’t know how many leads turned into actual customers and how many engaged with the ad?

Where would the sports teams be if they didn’t know the score of the match? Measurement is the key to improvement. In fact, measurement can even create improvement. Researchers conducting productivity experiments at the Hawthorne factory in suburban Chicago in the 1930s discovered that, when people know their work is being tracked, their productivity increases has increased. Researchers call it the Hawthorne Effect.

Measurement makes the difference. It allows you to set goals, measure progress, evaluate results, and diagnose problems. If you want to stimulate your development and measure results, integrate measurement into your system.

4. Effective systems include application

Even if you have the world’s best blueprints for the most impressive residential building, what are they worth without a building plan to go with it? Not much value. That’s why William Danforth, founder of Nestlé Purina, said, “No plan works if you don’t do something.”

I have been a fan of the Ohio State University football team for decades, and for many years when Jim Tressel was the team’s head coach, I had the privilege of speaking with the team before their annual game. against Michigan and then watched the game. It was a wonderful experience. Once while I was there, I noticed a sign posted to players and coaches with a simple question: “What are you going to do now?

That is a great question that we can ask ourselves every time we step out into the “playing field of life”. What we will do? Planning alone is not enough, although planning is important. Plan and action must go hand in hand. The plan creates the path. Action creates motivation. So, whenever you have a goal but you think it won’t be achieved, don’t adjust the goal. Please adjust the action steps.

People who develop systems that include action steps are almost always more successful than those who don’t. Even people with less talent, with fewer resources, will achieve more if they form the habit of taking action. That’s one of the reasons I formed

Get in the habit of asking yourself three questions every time you learn something new:

• Where can I use it?

• When can I use it?

• Who needs to know about this?

This has become a principle in my life, so I am always inclined to take action when I learn something new.

5. Effective systems use organization

I once saw a sign in a small rural grocery store that said, “If you can’t find anything, ask us.” That sign doesn’t help much, does it? In the beginning of the chapter I said that I have a system for storing quotations. Why did I develop that system? Because for most people, the most time-consuming thing to do is to find lost things.

The number 1 waste of time for most people is finding something that’s lost.

My hot temper and the heavy workload in my career forced me to develop systems. At first it was just how I could make sure everything was going smoothly. And although as my career has grown I may hire an assistant and then add staff, I continue to use my systems to keep myself and my interactions with employees and organized colleagues. For example, I interact with my assistant, Linda Eggers, at least once a day, every day – 365 days a year. Whether I’m at home in Florida or in China.

I also have a way of organizing my schedule, or more accurately, asking Linda to organize it for me. Family activities are always a priority. Why? Because they are my top priority. Everything else must be aligned with them.

Time always knows how to get out of the hands of most people, but time makes life. Everything we do requires

time, but many people take it for granted. How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes are fixable. But once time passes, it’s gone forever.

Being organized in an organized manner will give you a sense of power. When you know your goals and priorities and organize your work daily, weekly or yearly according to them, your mind will clear, thereby further strengthening everything you do. You create efficiency, helping you to stick to everything you do. There are very few such things. Make sure your systems keep you organized as best as possible.

Being organized gives you a feeling of being full of power.

6. Effective systems promote consistency

The journalist Sydney J. Harris admitted: “An idealist believes that short-term results are not permanent. A skeptic believes that long-term results don’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or not done in the short term determines the long term results.” In other words, if you want to be successful in the long term, you must learn to act consistently day after day, week after week, year after year.

You will never change your life until you change something you do every day. The secret to your success is found in your daily habits. So any system you develop needs to promote consistency, and you must stick to it consistently.

The secret to your success is found in your daily habits.

What do you need to develop consistency? A system and discipline to follow. I overheard the story of an elderly gentleman at the funeral of NBA basketball coach Bill Musselman in 2000, who met Bill’s son, Eric, to tell him a story. The gentleman said that while he was driving on the two-lane road to Orville,

Ohio, he saw a boy about seven years old dribbling a basketball along the road with his hand. The man stopped and asked the boy: “Where are you going?”

“Orville,” he replied as he dribbled.

“You know Orville is ten miles from here?” he asked.


“What will you do when you get there?”

“Drag the ball home with your left hand.”

He looked at Eric and said, “That boy is your father.”

Now that’s what I call creating a system and taking the discipline to get it done!

Drama aside in the story of Musselman’s attempts to become a basketball player, most of the protracted endeavors aren’t enjoyable at all. Even now and in the future, I get requests from people who say they want to spend the day with me. I think they will be very disappointed to see how boring my normal day is. I get up early and spend hours at my desk. In the afternoon, I exercise and take on people-related responsibilities. And I usually go to bed at 10pm. It’s not exciting, but there’s continuity. And it’s a system that works for me.



I have enjoyed playing golf for over 40 years. A few years ago, I read Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime of Golf. The book features golf advice and anecdotes from an 80-year-old professional golfer and instructor.

The author is Harvey Penick, who has been in love with golf since he was a boy. He started serving golfers when he was eight years old, and until he took a job at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. When he was in his senior year of high school, a powerful member of the club suggested he go on an appointment with West Point . “No thanks, sir,” was Harvey’s reply.

The only thing in my life I want to do is become a professional golfer.” Harvey ran the club like a professional before he was 20 years old.

Harvey’s great love is teaching people how to play golf. He has taught thousands of golfers during his career at the club, which he oversaw as head of state for 50 years. He also coached the University of Texas golf team for more than 30 years. Among the professional golfers he has taught are Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls and Kathy Whitworth.

Harvey wants to be the best golf instructor he can be, and to do that he needs systems. He treats each student as an individual, whether it’s a first-time golfer, someone trying to improve their score, or a pro looking to perfect their game. He never allowed a practitioner to watch him teach others.

He worries that observers will try to apply lessons that are not meant for them and their own matches. And every time Harvey accepted a new player onto the University of Texas golf team, he would ask about the teaching they had received at the old club.

As a mentor, his strategy is constantly improving. Harvey’s son Tinsley, who became a professional golfer based on his own ability, said: “My father always said that the day he stopped studying, the day he stopped teaching. He must continue to study until the day he dies, because my father will never stop teaching.”

The strategy that has made Harvey Penick world-famous is the habit of recording observations and exercises in a small red notebook. He started doing it in the 1920s. He wanted to record what worked to teach his students. He has been doing that for over 60 years. Harvey puts the notebook in a locker, and the only person who can read it is Tinsley. Harvey’s intention is to pass on that Red Notebook to his son when he retires.

Instead, Harvey decided to share the knowledge he had accumulated throughout his life with others. He teamed up with Bud Shrake, a sports writer, to publish the book. It became an instant bestseller and has since become the best-selling sports book of all time. Harvey emphasized:

What makes my Little Red Notebook special is not that what is written in it has never been known. It’s time-tested… Whether it’s for beginners, intermediate players, experts, or kids, whatever I say in my book matters. tried and tested successfully.

When looking to develop strategies to maximize personal growth, you should also look for principles that have stood the test of time. And like Harvey, don’t just accept other people’s practices as your own. Customize them to suit you. Use them to build your strength and achieve goals. And remember, as Jim Rohn said, “If you work for your goal, it will pay off. If you work hard for your plan, it will pay off. Whatever good thing we build will eventually help make us.” That is the power of Design Principles.

“If you work for your goal, that goal will pay off for you. If you work hard for your plan, it will pay off. Whatever good thing we build will eventually help make us.”– Jim Rohn



1. Take the time to assess which areas of your life you spend most of your time strategically planning. Below is a list of suggested areas for you. Please add the fields that are relevant to you personally:







Personal development


Have you ever drawn up plans to design strategies and systems for your life? If not, why haven’t you done it yet? If so, where do you place the most emphasis? Does your past behavior align with your priorities? How do you want them?

2. Start developing (or tweaking) systems for yourself to maximize your time and increase your efficiency. Make a list of areas you want to improve, are having problems with, or feel there is an opportunity. Try to create a system to help you tackle each area. When designing them, make sure that each area takes into account the following:

Big picture – Will the system help you achieve your big goals?

Your priorities – Does the system align with your values ​​and commitments?

Measurement – ​​Does the system provide you with a tangible tool to gauge if you’ve been successful?

Applicability – Is the system action-oriented?

Organization – Is the system a better use of your time than what you are doing now?

Consistency – Will you and can you easily repeat the system on a regular basis?

Don’t hesitate to adjust as your system grows or even give up if they don’t work for you. However, you may want to try any system you develop for at least three weeks (the normal time it takes to start developing a positive habit) before assessing its effectiveness.

3. Many people try to come up with overly complicated personal growth and life strategies. Any system you come up with should be simple and easy to understand. To test what you develop, try this: Explain them to a friend to see if they can pass the two tests. Firstly can you explain it clearly. Otherwise, it’s too complicated. The second is to see if your friend knows of a better or simpler way to achieve the same goal.


Chapter 8 The principle of pain

Good management of bad experiences leads to extreme growth

“Every problem tells a man who he really is.”—John McDonnell

How do you usually react to bad experiences? Do you explode with anger? Do you withdraw into your emotional shell? Do you stay as far away from the experience as possible? Do you ignore it?

John McDonnell once said, “Every problem tells a man who he really is.” What an in-depth look! Each time we face a painful experience, we understand ourselves a little better. Pain can stop us on our way. Or it can make us make decisions we don’t want to, solve problems we’ve never faced, and make changes that make us feel uncomfortable. Pain forces us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience shapes us in the future.



Recently, I came to know the story of Cheryl McGuinness, who experienced the greatest pain of her life. One morning at the end of summer, her husband, Tom, left for work early in the morning, as usual, he kissed her before leaving. A few hours later, Cheryl got up, took her son and daughter to school, and went about her daily chores.

Then she got a phone call from a friend asking if Tom had come home. Then another call. She knew something had happened. When she pressed, the friend finally replied: “A plane was attacked by terrorists.”

It was the morning of September 11, 2001, and Cheryl’s husband, Tom, was an American Airlines pilot.

For hours, though the couple’s home was filled with friends, neighbors, other pilots and parishioners from her church, she could get no answers to her questions.

But when a van stopped in front of her house and the airline’s chief pilot showed up, Cheryl knew what had happened. Flight 11, of which Tom was the co-pilot, was the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center building. Tom and everyone else on the plane is gone forever.

Like most survivors of a terrible tragedy, Cheryl dealt with the situation as best she could. Some people manage very well with bad experiences, while others struggle very much. According to experts, after the World Trade Center attack, many people experience severe stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GaD) and substance abuse disorder.1

Despite enduring excruciating pain during the September 11 attacks, Cheryl did a great job in this situation. In Beauty Beyond the Ashes, a book she published three years after the event, she writes: “While it may seem unfair, unreasonable, and powerless, we We still have to live after tragedy happens. We still need to fulfill our roles. We still have responsibilities to our families and others. Many things can pause for a certain period of time, but it cannot stop forever. Fair or not, reality is reality.

Cheryl fulfilled her role with determination and resilience. She planned Tom’s funeral and even shared a few words, something that was beyond her comfort zone. She takes care of her children. She started to be the head of the family. And she quickly learned to deal with the difficulties of being alone. For example, on the first Mother’s Day after the tragedy, she brought her kind friends to an event they thought would make her feel better. That’s a mistake. On Father’s Day, she actively arranged that day to make herself and her children as comfortable as possible.

Every new experience becomes an opportunity for personal growth. Cheryl wrote: “I am learning more every day. The tragedy of September 11 forced me to look back at who I am, to face myself in ways I’ve never had to before, to ask ‘What does God want from me? What can I do, with the power of God within me?

How does He use me to reach others?’ I am learning more about myself and God. And I’m learning that on my own, not through Tom.” Cheryl says she didn’t realize how lazy she had become until Tom left. Before, her personal development depended on him. Now she has to take responsibility for it herself.

One of the areas where Cheryl developed the most was public speaking. “Before September 11, I had never spoken in front of a crowd. That thought scared me. When I shared a few words at Tom’s funeral, I let my fears go for that day, knowing I was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance… I never expected to speak in public again. more.4” But people kept asking her to speak, and step by step, she developed her ability to become a speaker. She is determined to let her loss benefit others.

Cheryl’s children are grown up now. She has remarried; Her husband is Doug Hutchins. And she is satisfied with her life. She was asked about the tragedy on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 events. “It was a terrible day that I think no one will ever forget,” she said, “in the ashes of the day.

That September 11th, I could stand up and say that I am stronger than I was 10 years ago.”5 That is what can happen when a person has good control over bad experiences. That shows the power of the Pain Principle.



What’s the difference between those who thrive and those who live for the day? In my opinion that’s how they handle problems. That’s why I wrote Failing Forward. I want to help people handle problems and mistakes in their favor instead of hurting them.

I want to teach people how to use bad experiences as stepping stones to success. I’ve never seen anyone say, “I like difficulties,” but I know many people who admit that they have achieved the most success while going through pain. Here’s what I know about the bad experience:

I’ve never seen anyone say: “I like difficulties,” but I know many people who admit that they achieve the most when they are going through pain.”

1. Everyone has problems

Life is full of ups and downs. The problem is that most of us want to be successful all the time. It’s impossible, no one can escape bad experiences. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why my talk titled “How to Do Good When Things Go Wrong” has become so popular. As the saying goes: “On the elephant, off the dog!”

We can do everything in our power to avoid negative experiences, but they always know how to find us. I like the saying: “Running in the sun can’t escape the sun.” No matter who you are, where you live, what you do, or what your background is, you will have to deal with negative experiences. As TV host and author Dennis Wholey puts it, “Wishing the world to treat you fairly just because you’re a good person is like wanting a cow not to accuse you of being a bad person vegetarian.” You must have realistic expectations when it comes to pain and hardship. You cannot avoid them.

“Wishing the world to treat you fairly just because you are a good person is like wanting a cow not to accuse you of being a vegetarian.” – Dennis Wholey

2. No one likes difficulties

Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman describes the problems he and some of his fellow actors faced during the difficult early days of their career as follows:

If someone told us we would be successful, we would laugh in their face. At this point, we can never be successful actors. I’m a waiter, Gene Hackman is a porter and Robert Duvall works at the post office. We do not dream of becoming rich and famous; We dream of finding work.

It was a time when we had terrible rejections, and we hated being rejected. So much so that we placed our 20x25cm photo frames at the doors of the casting agencies, knocked and ran away, just to not have to see the outright rejection again. So discouraged that I thought about giving up and becoming an acting teacher at a university.

No one enjoys having a bad experience. That usually brings only pain. But if they handle it well, they can happily recount their own experiences later. It will become a great story of overcoming adversity.

3. Very few people turn a negative experience into a positive one

Difficulties in life do not allow us to sit still. They push us. The question is, in which direction will we be pushed? Forward or backward? When faced with a negative experience, do we get better or worse? Will those experiences limit or lead us to grow? As Warren G. Lester observed: “Success in life does not come from holding a good hand, but from playing a bad hand well.

“Success in life does not come from holding a good hand, but from playing a bad hand.” – Warren G. Lester

When faced with difficult times, many people don’t know how to handle it. Some seem to act on the motto I’ve seen on a car fender sticker: “When the traffic is jammed, take a nap.” It’s a shame. Learning the Principle of Pain is essential for anyone who wants to grow.

Most successful people will regard the difficult times in their lives as key points in their growth journey. If you are determined to grow, you must commit to taking good control of your negative experiences.


Everyone has their own pain folder. You have your pain; I have my pain. I may not have experienced pain as tragic as Cheryl McGuinness’s, but I have also had many failures and negative experiences of my own. Here are a few pain points that are beneficial for long-term growth:

• The pain of inexperience – I expected instant success very early in my career

but I often stumble due to my immaturity. I had to learn to be patient and gain respect and influence from others.

• The Pain of Incompetence – I counseled a lot of people early in my career and did it badly. That forced me to re-evaluate my abilities. Only since I started helping people have I found my strength.

• The Pain of Disappointment – ​​Margaret and I were about to adopt but then “lost” the boy. We feel down. Six months later we adopted Joel, it was the great joy of our lives.

• The Pain of Conflict – A church I lead has experienced divisions among its parishioners, and some have left the church. It gave me a profound experience as a leader.

• The Pain of Change – I told you about how I changed organizations early in my career. That meant I had to start all over again. Although there were difficulties, it gave me a lot of opportunities.

• The pain of ill health – Having a stroke at age 51 woke me up. Immediately, I changed my daily eating and exercise habits.

• The pain of difficult decisions – Wanting people to be happy and making difficult decisions have nothing to do with each other. I know good leadership is about letting people down to an extent that they can tolerate.

• The pain of financial loss – A bad investment decision costs us a lot. Selling your property to cover that loss isn’t fun either. That has helped me to be more careful while investing in venture capital.

• The Pain of Losing Relationships – Struggling to reach my potential has pulled me away from friends with no desire to grow. As I form new friendships, I have learned to forge relationships with growing people who want to be with me on this journey.

The Pain of Not Being Number One – I once followed a great founding pastor who was loved as a leader. For some people, I never received the love and respect that he did. That taught me a lesson in humility.

• The pain of moving – My career forces me to be constantly on the road. It taught me to value my family and pushed me to make the most of my time with them.

• The Pain of Responsibility – Leading organizations and having so many dependents on me has required me to think about the well-being of others, constantly create new content, keep schedules tight, and Continually meet job deadlines. This is very tiring. But it also taught me a lot about priorities and self-discipline.

Wishing everyone happiness and making difficult decisions has nothing to do with each other.

I know good leadership is about letting people down to an extent that they can tolerate.

So what did all those painful experiences teach me? It is turning difficulties into catalysts for personal growth. Growth is the best possible outcome for any negative experience.



Frank Hughes once said, “Experience is not really the best teacher, but it is certainly the best reason not to do the same foolish things again.” If you want bad experiences to keep you from repeating silly things, I recommend these five actions:

“Experience isn’t really the best teacher, but it’s certainly the best reason not to do the same stupid things again.”
– Frank Hughes

1. Choose a positive outlook on life

View of life” is a term used to describe people’s common frame of reference, the set of attitudes, assumptions, and expectations that people hold about themselves, others, and the world at large.

It includes, for example, people’s attitudes toward money, assumptions about their health, and expectations about their children’s future.

The product of any person’s attitude to life is how they see things: whether they tend to be optimistic or pessimistic, happy or sad, trustworthy or suspicious, friendly or withdrawn, brave or timid, generous or stingy, devoted or selfish.

If you can maintain a positive attitude, it means that you are in the best position to manage negative experiences and turn them into positive growth.

Pioneering family systems therapy psychologist and author Virginia Satir observes: “Life doesn’t work according to common sense. That’s life. How you deal with life makes all the difference.” You cannot control what happens to you in life.

However, you can control your attitude. And you can choose to rise above your circumstances and not allow negativity to undermine who you are and your beliefs. And you can be determined to find something positive in the face of tragedy, as Cheryl McGuinness once did.

“Life does not work according to common sense. That’s life. How you deal with life makes all the difference.”– Virginia Satir

I adopted a positive attitude because I believe it gives me the best chance of success while putting myself in the best position to help others succeed. I developed this mindset by thinking in the following ways:

• Life has both good and bad things.

• Some good and bad things I can’t control – that’s life.

• Some good and some bad will come to me.

If I have a positive life attitude, good things and bad things will become better.

• If I have a negative attitude, good things and bad things will get worse.

• So I choose a positive attitude.

At some point in your life, you will get what you expect, not always, but most of the time. So why should I expect the worst? Instead, I try to follow the idea expressed by poet John Greenleaf Whittier when he wrote:

No longer forward nor behind

I look in hope or fear;

But, grateful, take the good I find,

The best of now and here.


I do not look to hope or fear;

In the future or in the distant past?

Instead, I hold on to great finds,

Preferably right here and now.

If you can do that, you not only make your life more worth living, you also make life’s lessons easier to understand.

2. Capture and develop your own creativity

There is a story about a chicken farmer whose land was often flooded every spring. He did not want to give up the farm and move elsewhere, but when the water overflowed and flooded the chicken coops, the farmer always had to work very hard to get his chickens to higher ground. There were years when he couldn’t keep up and hundreds of his chickens drowned.

After the worst spring the farmer had ever experienced and losing his entire flock of chickens, he came into the house and said to his wife, “I’ve had enough. I can’t buy another piece of land. I can’t sell this land either. I don’t know what to do.”

His wife replied, “Just buy ducks and raise them.”

The people who reap the most from negative experiences are those who find creative ways to deal with them, like the farmer’s wife in the story above. They see the possibilities from the difficult problems they face.

“Life begins where your comfort zone ends.”– Neale Donald Walsh

Author Neale Donald Walsh asserts, “Life begins where your comfort zone ends.” I believe that creativity begins where your comfort zone ends. When you feel pain from negative experiences, creativity gives you the opportunity to turn that pain into fruition. The secret to that is to use the energy from anger or anxiety to solve problems and learn lessons for yourself.

I experienced this many years ago when I was invited by Lloyd Ogilvie to contribute to The Communicator’s Commentary, a series of 21 commentaries on the Old Testament. Lloyd asked me to write a review for Deuteronomy, and I agreed.

But I quickly realized that I was too subjective. I am not an Old Testament scholar. Trying to write that book was a terrible experience. I went to Lloyd three times to ask to cancel the contract, and all three times he refused, encouraging me to continue working.

The bad news is that I failed at it and am very upset about it. The good news was that he refused to accept my refusal, so I had to get creative. I began interviewing biblical scholars to gather their views. And because my Hebrew wasn’t good enough, I hired Professor William Yarchin to teach me Hebrew.

With all that work, plus hard work, I was able to finish the book. And when all the volumes in the anthology were published, I asked 20 other authors to autograph the book. Today, that collection is placed in my book library as a valuable asset,

When you have a bad experience, instead of letting it discourage or make you angry, try to find a way to let it lead you to creativity.

3. Embrace the value of negative experiences

President John F. Kennedy was once asked how he became a war hero. With his usual intelligence, he replied: “That’s pretty easy. Someone has sunk my boat.” It’s always easier to see something positive in a negative experience long after it happened. It’s hard to be able to experience negative things in the moment with a positive mind. However, if you can do that, you can always learn something from it.

Inventor Charles F. Kettering, who directed research at General Motors, once said: “You will never stumble if you stand still. The faster you go, the more likely you are to trip, but you also have a better chance of getting somewhere.” In other words, without effort, there will never be progress. Facing difficulties is inevitable.

Whether or not a lesson can be learned from that depends entirely on the individual. Whether you learn something or not depends on your understanding that difficulties present an opportunity to learn and respond accordingly. Facing difficulties is inevitable.

Whether or not a lesson can be learned from that depends entirely on the individual.

4. Make positive changes after learning from negative experiences

Novelist James Baldwin commented: “Not everything we approach can be changed. But nothing can change until it is approached.” Often we need to go through a negative experience to deal with the changes we need to make in our lives. I know that’s true for me when it comes to the health aspect. As mentioned earlier, I had a stroke at the age of 51. Before that, I knew I wasn’t eating right or exercising enough. But I’ve never had any health problems, so I’m just as cool as usual. But on the night I had a stroke

I felt a terrible pain in my chest and thought I might never see my family again, which caught my attention. It made me face the reality that I needed to change my previous lifestyle. You might say, I finally got the point. And that’s the Pain Principle value. It gives us the opportunity to change our lives. A bend is never the end unless you don’t steer.

A bend is never the end unless you don’t steer.

Most people don’t think about positive change – they feel it on their own terms. In the book The Heart of Change, Harvard Business School professor John Anchter and Deloitte consultant Dan Cohen explain: “Behavior change is not about giving for people to analyze to influence their thinking but rather to help them see a truth to influence their perception. Both thinking and feeling are essential, and are found in successful organizations, but the driver of change is emotion.”

When negative experiences create strong emotions in us, we either face the emotions and try to change or try to run away. It’s an ancient, fight-or-flight instinct. We need to practice the ability to fight for positive change. How can we do that now? By remembering that our choices bring the pain of self-discipline or the pain of regret.

I would rather live with the pain of self-discipline and reap positive rewards than live with the pain of regret, which creates a deep and persistent pain within each of us.

Sportswoman and author Diana Nyad says: “I’m willing to put myself in any situation; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see the experience taking me to a new level.

I am interested in the unknown, and the only way to the unknown is through breaking down barriers, a process that is often painful.” That’s the process Nyad went through many times as she trained to break records as a long-distance swimmer. In 1979, she swam from Bimini in the Bahamas to Florida. She swam for two days. Her record has been held for over 30 years

Next time you’re in trouble, remind yourself that you have the opportunity to change and grow. What you do depends on how you react to your experience, and the changes you make are the result. Allow your emotions to be the catalyst for change, think of ways to change to make sure you’re making good choices, and then act.

5. Take charge of your life

I’ve said before that you need to recognize circumstances that don’t speak for you. They are external and do not necessarily negatively impact your values ​​and standards. At the same time, you have to take responsibility for your life and the choices you’ve made.

Psychologist Frederic Flach in his book Resilience, and psychologist Julius Segal in Winning Life’s Toughest Battles found that people who overcome negative experiences do not become “victims” and take responsibility for moving forward.

They don’t say, “I’ve been through the worst thing in the world, and I’ll never get out of it.” They said, “What happened to me was pretty bad, but others have been even worse, and I’m not going to give up.” They never lament their fate or whine, “Why me?” And that’s a good thing, because the word “Why me?” to “Woe to my body” is only a very short step.



It is nearly impossible to grow in any direction without taking responsibility for yourself and your life. I am reminded of an old song by humorous singer Anna Russell that represents the attitudes of many in our culture today:

I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed; To find out why I killed the cat and blackened my wife’s eyes.

He put me on a downy couch, To see what he could find. And this is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind.

When I was one, my mommy hid my dolly in the trunk. And so it follows naturally that I am always drunk.

when I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day. And that is why I suffer now – kleptomania.

When I was three, I suffered from ambivalence towards my brothers. So it follows natural, I poisoned all my lovers.

I’m so glad that I have learned the lesson it has taught: That everything I did that’s wrong is someone else’s fault.


I went to a psychiatrist for psychoanalysis; To find out

Why I killed the cat and bruised my wife’s eyes.

He let me sit on the couch, to see what disease I had. And this is what he found out from my subconscious.

When I was one year old, my mother hid my doll in a tree trunk. And naturally I’m always drunk.

When I was two years old, one day I saw my father kiss the maid. And that’s why I have a habit of stealing.

When I was 3 years old, I had to endure love and hate from my brothers. Therefore, naturally, I poison all those who love me.

I am glad to know that: All the wrong things I do are the fault of others.

In the last few years, I have done a lot of teaching and speaking sessions in China. On their most recent trip, conference participants were given an exercise in identifying their top values ​​using a pack of cards representing different values ​​such as integrity, independence, and integrity. It’s an exercise developed and used frequently by John Maxwell Company. Thousands of people have done this activity, they pick six values, then the top two, then the largest. What amazes me is the highest defined value in China: accountability. That said a lot about their culture. It is not surprising that China has been making strong progress in recent years.

No matter what you’ve been or are going through in your life, you have the opportunity to grow from those experiences. Sometimes it’s hard to see opportunity in negative experiences, but it’s still there. You have to willing to not only seek it, but pursue it. As you do, the words of William Penn, the English philosopher and founder of Pennsylvania, will encourage you: “There is no pain, no fruit; no thorns, no throne; no hardship, no glory; insurmountable, without a crown.”



1. Rate your attitude towards negative experiences in your life so far. Based on your personal history, which of the following best describes how you have approached the failures, tragedies, problems, and challenges that have caused you pain?

� I do whatever and everything I can to avoid pain at all costs.

� I know pain is inevitable, but I try to ignore it or prevent it.

� I know everyone goes through pain, so I just endure it when it happens.

� I don’t like pain, but I still try to stay positive.

� I process the emotions of negative experiences quickly and try to find a lesson in them.

� I deal with pain, learn lessons, and make changes proactively.

Your goal is to come from where you are now, wherever you are, to make positive changes after negative experiences.

2. Have you used negative experiences in the past as a springboard to leverage creativity? If not, use a current difficulty to figure out how to become more creative by doing the following:

Identify the problem.

Understand your own feelings.

Lesson presentation.

Identify a desired change.

find ways to do it.

Get more data.

Perform a series of actions.

Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you got. If you want to go to a new destination, you need to take a new route.

3. No vision, no matter how profound, is of any value to you, unless it involves changes you will make based on what you have learned. Personal development must always be linked to action!

Take some time to recall the five most recent negative experiences you’ve had in your life. Record each experience, along with anything you learned from it. Then, assess whether you’ve decided to change based on what you’ve learned, and evaluate how well you’ve done in making those changes in your life.

Once you’ve rated each negative experience, rate yourself on an A to F scale (A is best, F is lowest) on how you handled those experiences. If you don’t get an A or B, you need to use the steps listed above to get better at this process.


Chapter 9 Principle of the ladder

Personality development determines your level of personal development

“For most people, achievement is what you do…For the greater achiever, that’s who you are.”— Doug Firebauch

Soon after moving to Florida, I met Jerry Anderson. We quickly became good friends. Jerry is a wonderful person and a very successful businessman. But he didn’t start that way. His story is a testament to personality growth, a person determines his own personal growth and how personal growth leads to personal success.



Jerry grew up in Ohio and after graduating from high school, he began working in factories as a machinist and mold maker. Although he was very good at business, worked hard, and was successful, it was not enough for him. Jerry is very ambitious. He’d rather do more with his life than spend his entire career in a secure job. He wants to be successful in business. So he quit his job at the factory and started a business.

His first business involved selling precision instruments made in Japan. The product is very good, and Jerry understands the market but the business timing is not yet ripe. That was in the early 1970s. At that time, the “Made in Japan” label was not viewed positively.

Although Japanese manufacturing technology has come a long way since World War II when the country was still producing cheap goods, consumers in the United States have not yet recognized it, and they do not buy the product. As a result, Jerry’s first business failed.

Undeterred, Jerry wanted to try again. He changed his strategy. This time he joined a network marketing business. Hard-working and ambitious, he focused his efforts on new business, but this time everyone in the organization failed when the federal government launched an investigation and closed the business.

Even then, Jerry was determined not to give up. He was living in California at the time. Jerry founded a classified newspaper with a friend named Bernie Torrence. He was also interested in franchising in Ohio by publishing a weekly real estate magazine. For three years, he traded everything he had, but still failed.

Around that time, Jerry went to see John Schrock, a man with whom Bernie respected and cooperated in business. Jerry asked John how to be successful in business. John tells him privately that his business is based on values ​​and principles.

“What values ​​and principles?” Jerry asked.

“Here,” John said, taking a small homemade notebook from his coat pocket. It stores quotes from the book of Proverbs and is organized by subject. John always carries it with him. “Anytime I have a business problem or question, I seek answers from this notebook.”

John gave a small notebook to Jerry and encouraged him to use it.



Jerry felt that if he wanted to be a successful businessman, he needed to learn how to think like a successful businessman. With that in mind, he reached out to five or six other people, and they committed to meeting once a week for an hour to study the principles in the booklet John had given Jerry.

For the first time in his life, he became aware of his personal growth. Jerry’s life and business did not take long to change. His business, which was very difficult, turned a profit for the first time. He expanded throughout California and was so successful that the company was acquired.

Jerry has returned to Ohio to be near John. He worked as a consultant for a while, but it didn’t take long before he wanted to continue the business. Building on what he had learned, he started working with another real estate magazine.

At that time, he became the largest publisher of real estate publications in the United States, including real estate in other cities from Chicago to Miami and own thousands of employees. Finally, a company from New York bought his company.



In the 1980s, people who had heard of John Schrock traveled to Ohio to meet and learn from him. John even wrote down some of his ideas and principles to help people. In the late 1980s, Jerry decided to bring the principles John had shared with him to market, and John and Bernie agreed to try it with Jerry because they wanted to share what they had learned with others.

They went around the states in the United States, trying to attract business people. There are very few people interested. But then they met three people from Guatemala a dentist, a company director and a home goods store owner, who were in Virginia looking for business help. When they saw the material that Jerry and his team had developed, they rejoiced and invited Jerry’s organization, eventually named La Red, to come to Guatemala and help them.

Jerry’s organization visited Guatemala City, and they succeeded in launching roundtable groups very similar to the one Jerry started in California many years ago.

Teams are encouraged to set aside time to meet each other each week; discuss a principle, along with its characteristics and benefits; assess the position of the principle in their field; and commit to taking concrete action for change and improvement. In the following week, they will take responsibility for their commitments and then discuss the next principle. Over the course of a year, they will tackle the following topics:

Their success with businessmen was well known, and La Red was invited by the dean at a large university in Guatemala to teach values ​​to faculty members who were known for being bribery and score trading. The values ​​imparted have begun to change the culture of the university, so the school administration has required all new students to take a course on these values. Today, between 12,000-15,000 students take that course each year.

Not long after La Red was founded in Guatemala, Jerry and his team were invited to Bogota, Colombia, to teach values. They planned to debut at a place where only about 50 people were expected to show up. Instead hundreds of people were present and they had to move the meeting to a nearby city park.

As word spread from Colombia, representatives of national governments asked La Red to teach the same principles to 11,500 government employees. Jerry happily accepted. He later discovered that the staff were actually guards at the prisons.

That is very scary, Colombian prisons are notorious for violence and corruption. Incarcerated drug lords and rebel leaders have made their own suits in prison and have run the operation ever since. Murders happen every day. Wardens and guards at prisons are either corrupt or killed.

But the prisons were being overseen by a retired general. A man of integrity, General Cifuentes, wants to change the culture in prisons, and he is determined to fight corruption. That determination took his son’s life, because the assassin thought it was him. And while other assassination attempts continued, the general was safe. He is the driving force to bring Jerry to the prison.

La Red introduced character development and values ​​in 143 prisons with a total of 75,000 inmates, and the culture at the prisons began to change. A year and a half later, the murder rate has dropped dramatically. And there are reports that some inmates say they want to be like prison guards. Sure, prisons can’t be comfortable places, but they have changed. And that prompted the Colombian military to ask La Red to begin character development training for soldiers.

La Red continues to bring values ​​and personality disciplines to businesses, governments, educational institutions and churches around the globe. They are currently helping people in 44 countries.

They estimate that more than a million people have been trained with a foundation of value-based principles. And that’s very important, because personality development determines your level of personal development. And without personal growth, you can never reach your potential.



Professors James Kouzes and Barry Posner have spent more than 25 years surveying leaders in nearly every organization, asking the question: “What values, personal characteristics, or personality traits do you look for? seek and admire in a leader?” During those years, they took a survey questionnaire called “Personality of Admired Leaders” and sent it to more than 70,000 people on six continents: Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

“The results,” they report, “are striking by their regularity over the years, and they have not changed significantly due to demographic differences, organization or culture.” And what traits are most admired in leaders? The answer is honesty.

As Kouzes and Posner explain, honesty is at the core of a good personality, the quality that can enhance or damage an individual’s reputation the most. They wrote:

In most of the surveys that have been done, honesty is chosen more often than any other personality trait of the leader; Overall, it emerges as the most important element of the relationships that make up a leader. The percentages have changed, but the final ranking result remains the same. From the first time we did our research, honesty has been at the top of the list.2

Not surprisingly, people want to follow leaders with good character. No one likes to work with unreliable people. But before you or I work with anyone else or follow any other leader, who are we to count on every day? We are ourselves! That’s why personality is so important.

If you can’t trust yourself, you can never grow. A good character, with honesty and integrity at its core, is a fundamental factor for success in any area of ​​life. Without it, you’re just building things out of sand.

“In most of the surveys that have been done, honesty is chosen more often than any other trait of a leader.”– James Kouzes and Barry Posner

Bill Thrall asserts that people often focus on their professional abilities without developing their personality, and that in the end almost always costs them. They pay the price with their personal and often professional relationships. He compared it to climbing a long, unstable ladder. The higher a person climbs, the more wobbly and unstable the ladder becomes, eventually falling down.

Norman Schwarzkopf, a retired general, asserted: “99% of leadership failures are failures of character.” 99% of all other failures too. Most people focus too much on ability and too little on character.

How many times has a person missed a deadline because they didn’t persevere when it was necessary to do so?

How many times did people get lower scores on tests when they could have done better simply because they didn’t do as much research as was required?

How often do people fail to want to grow not because they don’t have time to read useful books but because they have chosen to spend their time and money on something less valuable?

All those shortcomings are the result of personality, not of ability. Personality development determines your level of personal development. That is the Ladder Principle.

“99% of leadership failures are character failures.”- Norman Schwarzkopf


Climbing the personality ladder is something I always do on purpose. It didn’t just happen to me. It may also not just happen to you. It took me a few decades to develop the right mindset and learn how to put the “ladders” in order that helped me improve my situation. These are the steps on the personality ladder that have empowered me to climb even higher. Perhaps they will also help you to rise.

1. I will focus on being a good person rather than a good person – Personality is important

I believe that it is a normal desire for people to care about their own appearance. There’s nothing wrong with that. What can get us into trouble is worrying about our appearance rather than who we really are. Our reputation comes from what others believe about our appearance. Representative personality the people inside us. And the good news is that if you focus on perfecting your personality rather than your looks, over time your appearance will also improve. Why do I say that?

The Mind of Life

More than 2,500 years ago, the aphorismatic author said, what we think in our hearts, we become.4 That ancient idea has been repeated by other wise writers and confirmed. determined by modern science. Coaches teach about the importance of visualizing victory. Psychologists point to the power of self-awareness on human behavior. Doctors note the impact of a positive attitude and hope on a cure.

What we believe in is really powerful. We reap what we sow. The things we do or don’t do in our daily lives shape who we are. If you don’t take care of your heart, mind and soul, it will change who you are on the outside as well as the inside.

Internal victories come before outer victories

If you do what needs to be done when it is needed most, one day you can do what you want when you want to. In other words, before you can do it, you have to think you can.

If you do what needs to be done when it is needed most, one day you can do what you want when you want to.

I often observe people who seem to be doing all the right things on the surface, yet they still can’t succeed. When that happens, I often conclude that something is wrong internally and needs to be changed. The right actions on the outside combined with the wrong motives inside will not bring lasting progress.

The right way of talking outside with the wrong thinking inside will not bring lasting success. Showing concern on the outside with a heart of hatred or contempt within will not bring lasting peace. Continuous growth and long-term success are the result of a balance between the internal and external factors of our lives. And must have right thinking first plus solid character traits, we have the foundation for growth.

Inner development is completely within our control

We often cannot decide what happens to us, but we can always decide what happens inside of us. Jim Rohn says:

Personality is a quality that manifests many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike fingerprints that are born at birth and cannot be changed, personality is something you create within yourself and are responsible for changing.

When we fail to make the right choices about our personalities, we deny ourselves ownership. We belong to others – whoever gains control over us. And that puts us in a bad position. How can you reach your potential and become the person of your dreams if others make these choices for you?

The “stairs” on my personality ladder are the result of difficult personal choices. They were not easy to implement and not easy to manage. Every day is an external battle for me, forcing me to compromise or surrender to them. Unfortunately, at one point I gave up. But whenever something happens, I work hard to get them back to their respectable orbit… inside of me.

Doug Firebaugh, author and multi-level marketing expert, says: “Winning in life isn’t just about money, it’s about winning on the inside, and knowing you’ve played the game of life with everything you’ve got. If you want to be successful, you must prioritize building your inner foundation before your outward appearance.

A few years ago, teen millionaire phenomenon Farrah Gray wrote a book called Reallionaire. He coined the term to describe “one who has discovered that there are things more valuable than the possession of money. One who understands that success is not just about ‘heavy wallet’; you must also be rich on the inside.” Still very young, but he realized that money without a solid personality foundation cannot lead to success but can lead to downfall.

If in doubt, look at the number of famous young actors, and young pop star has fallen or withered. Their stories are often sad because they have focused on the outer part of their lives instead of building the inner strength to build a solid foundation when fame and fortune come along. We need to work hard to avoid that kind of fate, by focusing on improving character more than looks.

2. I will follow the Golden Rule – Other people matter

A few years ago when I was asked to write a book on business ethics, the result was Ethics 101, based on the Golden Rule. If you could only choose one guide for your life, you couldn’t do better than this: “Here’s a simple, easy-to-use guide: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you. yourself, then take the idea and do it for them.”

“Here’s a simple, easy-to-use guide: Ask yourself what you would like people to do for you, then take the idea and do it for them.”– The message

Following the Golden Rule is a great character builder. It reminds you to focus on others. It makes you empathetic. It encourages you to take the better path. And if you do especially during difficult times you become the type of person that others want to be around. After all, in all of our relationships, we are either the minuses or the pluses in the lives of others. The Golden Rule helps us always a plus.

3. I will only teach what I believe in – Passion is important

Early in their careers, most speakers have been asked to speak on a variety of topics. Or they come from a particular organization where it is expected that they focus on certain topics from a certain perspective. For example, motivational speakers are often expected to declare, “If you believe, you can achieve.” When I first started my career, there were very few things I believed in absolutely. I’m not talking about things that are clearly right or wrong. I’m talking about subjective things, about opinion. But as soon as I talked about them, I regretted it.

You know what they call a speaker who shares what he or she doesn’t believe in? A hypocrite! So from the beginning of my career, I vowed to teach only what I believed. And that works in my favor, not just in terms of integrity but also in terms of passion. Borrowed faith has no passion, therefore no power.

Some of the things I was passionate about 30 years ago, such as the effects of real learning relationships, attitudes and leadership. I am still very passionate about today. And if there’s something I’m more passionate about than before, it’s the statement that “success and failure rest on the foundation of leadership.”

Borrowed faith has no passion, therefore no power.

Individuals who lack discipline and passion become dull people. I never wanted to be one of those people. I bet you are too.

4. I will value humility above all virtues – Vision is very important

Writer and author J. M. Barrie admits: “Every man’s life is a diary in which instead of writing one story he writes another; and the most humbling moments are when he compares the work as it is to what he hopes to write.” I think anyone who is honest with himself realizes where he can and should go in life.

Unlike what Tom Hanks said in his role as Forrest Gump, life is not a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapeño peppers. What we do today can burn us tomorrow!

“Every man’s life is a diary in which instead of writing one story he writes another; and his most humble moments are when he compares the work as it is to what he hopes to write.” – J. M. Barrie

We don’t mean to make mistakes and fail, but we are. We are all just one small step away from stupidity. My author, pastor, and friend Andy Stanley says, “I know that while no one intends to mess up their lives, the problem is that very few of us plan not to. That means we cannot put in place the necessary safeguards to ensure a happy ending.”

So how do we do that?

Remember the big picture

I think the first thing to do is remind yourself of the big picture. It is said that President John F. Kennedy kept a small card in the White House that read: “Oh my God, your sea is too big and my boat is too small.” If the man known as the leader of a free world knows his true place in the world, so should we.

Acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses

Rick Warren offers great advice on how to stay humble. He suggests acknowledging your own weaknesses, being patient with the weaknesses of others, and being willing to correct them.

Of those three, I have to admit that I only do one of them well. I don’t find it difficult to admit my weaknesses maybe because I have a lot of them. I had a hard time being patient with others.

I constantly have to remind myself to be more generous with others. And in order to be more open to correction, I never assumed that I wouldn’t make mistakes, I developed relationships with good people who would tell me the truth, and established a good network. accountability in your life.

Always begging

I love being around people who have a beginner’s mind. They think of themselves as apprentices instead of experts, and so on, always looking forward. They try to see things through other people’s tombs. They are open to new ideas. They crave knowledge. They ask questions and listen. And they gather as much information as they can before making a decision. I admire such people and try to learn from them.

Ready to serve others

There is not much that is more conducive to cultivating character and cultivating humility than serving others. Put others before your ego and personal opinion. (If you are a leader, you especially need to remember this because you may get used to being served by others and think you have that privilege.)

In the book Winning: The Answers, Jack and Suzy Welch describe people who are “conceited” because of their success and thus form the wrong attitude towards those who are not. other. They wrote:

The conceited person possesses all kinds of unattractive behavior. They are arrogant, especially towards colleagues and subordinates. They take credit for and despise the efforts of others, don’t share ideas except to brag, and don’t listen to, nearly everything.

Bosses can detect harmful behaviors to the team from afar, and so it’s no surprise that those with power and authority around you are constantly turning against you. You can be very smart and deliver excellent results at work, but your cocky personality sabotages work morale in any organization and can end up really ruining work results.

How does a person accustomed to victory remind himself that he is not the navel of the universe? By serving others. For me, serving begins with Margaret and my family. Also starting in 1997, each year I select a small number of individuals to serve without receiving anything in return. And I also look for ways to serve my team, as they work so hard to serve me and our vision every day.

Be grateful

I am very aware of the fact that I am a very fortunate person and do not deserve what I have received in life. I am indebted to God and others, and for that, I always try to maintain an attitude of gratitude. That is not always easy. Consultant Fred Smith, who has been my mentor for many years, helped me with this.

“We’re not grateful that it puts us in debt, and we don’t want to be in debt,” he said. The biblical phrase ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving’ was a puzzle to me until I realized gratitude is acknowledging the merits of someone doing something for me that I could not do on my own. Gratitude demonstrates our vulnerability, our dependence on others.”

There is a Chinese proverb that says “when you drink water, remember the source”. Everything we do, every achievement we achieve, every milestone we pass has a part in the efforts of others. No one can do everything on their own. If we can remember that, we can be grateful. And if we’re grateful, we’re more likely to develop our character when we’re not.

PROVERB: When you drink water, remember the source.

Confucius said, “Humility is the solid foundation of all good character.” In other words, it paves the way for personality development. And that helps us to grow personally. These are cleverly connected.

5. I will try to end well – Loyalty is also important

The final “stair” on my personality ladder is my determination to build my character and live up to the highest standards until the day I die. I’m trying to do that by doing the right thing and becoming a better person every day. To do it right, I don’t wait to feel like it. I realize that emotions follow actions. Do the right thing and you will feel right. Do the wrong thing, you will feel bad. If you control your behavior, your emotions will be in order.

If you control your behavior, your emotions will be in order.

Pastor and broadcaster Tony Evans said, “If you want a better world, including better countries, with better states, better provinces, better cities from better neighborhoods, illuminated by better churches, with better families, you’ll have to start by being a better person.” That is always the starting point with me, with you. If we focus on our own personality, we will create a better world. If we do that all our lives, we’ve done the best we can to improve our world.



Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in prison during the Soviet era for criticizing Joseph Stalin. He entered prison as an atheist and exited as a believer. The experience helped him to form his faith and strengthen his character.

Looking back, he said: “Thank you, prison, Thank you for being in my life, by lying on the prison straw, I have learned that the purpose of life is not prosperity as I believed growing up, but maturity of the soul.”

If we want to grow and reach our potential, we must pay more attention to our character than to our own success. We must realize that personal development means much more than opening our minds and learning more skills. That means increasing our capabilities as humans.

It means maintaining core integrity, even when vulnerable. It means becoming who we should be, not just getting where we want to be. It is meant to nourish our souls.

Doctor and researcher Orison Swett Marden once described a successful person as follows: “He was born in the mud and then lay down on the marble. This gives us an interesting metaphor for looking at different lives. Some people are born in mud, die in mud…

Sadly, some people are born in brocade but die in mud; some are born in the mud, dream of marble, but still bury their feet in the mud. But many people of noble character were born in the mud and lay down on the marble.” Isn’t that a great idea? I hope that when I lie down, I will be remembered too, and I hope you are too.



1. See where you are most focused so far in your life. Is it focused on internal or external improvement? Here are a few ways you can apply: Compare how much you’ve spent over the past 12 months on clothes, jewelry, accessories, and more versus how much you’ve spent on books, conferences, Compare the time you spent on personal and spiritual development in the past month versus your appearance-related activities.

If you exercise regularly, check out the benefits you’re striving for: Are they related to mental or physical health?

If your assessment shows that the focus is on the outside rather than on the inside, shift your focus by spending more time, money, and attention on things that will help you grow even if they are not. does not exist.

2. Plan to spend time in the coming months regularly serving others. Putting your schedule aside and putting others first will help you develop humility, character, and a mind of others.

Another idea is to dedicate at least an hour a week to volunteering. Make a plan, and then focus your whole mind during that time.

“Habit is the daily battleground of personality.”– Dan Coats

3. US Senator Dan Coats said: “Personality cannot be called out in a time of crisis if it is wasted by years of compromise and rationalization.

The only testing ground for the hero is the world.

The only preparation for a profound decision that can change a life, or even a country, is hundreds of decisions that are not sobering, and seemingly emotionally unclear. Habit is the daily battleground of personality.”

What are you doing every day to form the habit of personality development?

Do you pay attention to your soul?

Are you doing difficult or unpleasant tasks?

Do you practice the Golden Rule and motivate others?

Your personality is not fixed. You can improve it. It’s never too late. You can change who you are and your overall potential by becoming a better person…


Chapter 10 Rule of elastic band

Growth stops when you lose the sense of distance between where you are and where you might be

“Only a mediocre person is always at his best.” — W. Somerset Maugham

As a growing kid, I loved sports and was a pretty good athlete. I got to know basketball when I was in fourth grade, and it became my passion. I played basketball all through high school. Like most students in college, I was very active and of a rather slim build. And in my 20s, I continued to play basketball and golf with my friends. But as I progressed further in my career and entered my 30s and 40s, I stopped exercising and taking care of my health as much as I should. I paid the price for that when I had a stroke at the age of 51.

Since then, exercise has become part of my daily routine. For many years, I walked or ran on a treadmill. Sometimes jogging in part of the golf course while playing with friends. About five years ago, I switched to swimming, trying to exercise an hour a day in the pool. I recently started doing Pilates exercises with Margaret. The exercises focus mainly on training major muscles and flexibility. To achieve such flexibility, it is necessary to focus on stretching the muscles. We find that very rewarding and beneficial. I believe my body is at its best in 35 years.



As I prepared to write this chapter, I remembered all the times I’ve tried my best throughout my career. One of my favorite quotes, collected when I was a teenager: “God’s gift to us is potential. Our gift to God is to develop it.” How do we do that? By getting out of your comfort zone. By continuously doing your best not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Life begins where our comfort zone ends. We get there by doing our best

“God’s gift to us is potential. Our gift to God is to grow it.” – Anonymous

As I look back over the past 40 years, I can see much of my career advancement has come as a result of hard work experiences. Check out some of those experiences below.

Choose my first pastor

I went to a church where no one knew my father, a parish priest. My start will certainly be slower than when I get to a place where my father can help. Therefore, I have to work harder. And I needed to find myself and my abilities.

I believe this has helped shape my career. I was determined to work hard and be creative in finding ways to lead people and grow the church. I learned a lot of leadership lessons at that first church. And I learned to love people more.

Focus on teaching leadership skills

When I started talking about leadership in the mid-1970s, it was a topic other pastors didn’t talk about. There are those who criticize me for focusing on what they consider a “secular” message, although I must say that it is odd, because the greatest leaders of all time can found in the Bible: Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul, etc. Even 40 years later, some people continue to criticize me for it.

So why am I still teaching? Because pastors have to lead people, and in my day, they don’t have leadership training, even though they have to do it every day. From very early on, I worked hard as a leader. I know others do too. I want to help them. By giving my best in this experience, not only was I able to help many pastors, but I was also able to discover the message I believe I was born to teach others.

Learn how to communicate internationally

I still remember the first time I spoke through an interpreter. That happened in Japan. The experience was uncomfortable because I had to say a phrase or two, pause for translation, and then say
hey, pause, and so on. There are of course a lot of cultural differences that need to be bridged. I found it really difficult. After I finished talking, Margaret said that our daughter, Elizabeth, then eight years old, leaned on her and said, “Father doesn’t sound good, does he, Mom?” Even a child knew I didn’t connect well with my audience.

I love to communicate, and the easiest thing for me was to simply give up the idea of ​​talking to other people outside of the US. I have learned how to communicate effectively in English. However, I see this as an opportunity to push and grow, and maybe one day make a bigger impact. It took me almost a decade to learn how to connect with people in other cultures while working with a interpreter, but it’s totally worth it. That foundation helped me found EQUIP, which now trains leaders in 175 countries around the world.

Exposure to new audiences

After teaching leadership skills to pastors for about 10 years, I began to notice a trend. More and more entrepreneurs are attending my leadership seminars. I applaud this, because I have been teaching the skill to both teachers and staff in my church for many years. But that hasn’t changed what I’m doing. Then one day, when I was meeting with a publisher, I knew that my books were being bought more through secular retailers than religious ones. In fact, over time, the world has changed and two-thirds of sales come through conventional retail channels.

I see this as an incredible opportunity to reach more people. But there is also a challenge. Can I connect and communicate with business people? People expect one thing when they sit in church to hear a message from the pastor. They expect something completely different when paying to hear a speaker. I’m not sure if I can succeed. It’s an experience that takes a lot of effort.

Focus on building a legacy

When I turned 60, I was ready to slow down. I have moved to a sunny climate that I love. I am financially blessed. I have a grandchild, it’s the greatest gift a person can have in this life. I will continue to write and be a speaker, but not at the previous speed. It was a bountiful season after decades of work.

But then some opportunities presented themselves. My books are now partnered with a new publisher. I was asked to start a coaching company. And I have the opportunity to regain control of the training and development material I created over the last decade. What should I do?

It means trying my best again, but I’m ready to seize the opportunity and accept the challenge. And I’m so glad I did. I entered another planting season instead of just harvesting. I believe it will allow me to help more people than if I simply slowed down.

Benefits of stress

Years ago, during a lecture at a leadership conference, I placed a rubber band on the tables of the attendees. I then started the lecture by asking about all the uses people could think of. At the end of the session, I asked them if they could identify a common ground for all the uses they suggested. You’ve probably already guessed what that is. Rubber bands are only useful when they are stretched! So are we.

1. Very few people want to give their best

There’s a joke about a longtime errand boy named Sam, who was offered a full-time job by a factory owner, who was having problems with the rats at the factory dam. This boss asked Sam to eradicate the rat and even provided him with a rifle to carry out the task.

Sam was overjoyed because it was his first steady job with a steady paycheck that he got. After a few months, one day a friend came to visit Sam. He found Sam sitting on a lawn, gun resting on his knee.

“Hey, Sam. What are you doing?” You asked.

“Work, protect the dam.”

“From what?”

“The guinea pigs.

Sam’s friend looked over at the dam, and at that moment a guinea pig appeared.

“There’s a baby!” The friend exclaimed. “Shoot away!”

Sam didn’t budge. Meanwhile, the guinea pig escaped.

“Why don’t you shoot it?”

“Are you crazy?” Sam replied. “You think I want to lose my job?”

You may think the story is silly, but it is true. I say that because when I was in college, I worked at a local meatpacking factory. My job was to pull the meat racks to the chillers and take orders from customers, but I was curious about the whole operation and wanted to find out how it worked.

After spending a few weeks there, Pense, a longtime employee, pulled me aside and said, “You ask too many questions. The less you know, the less you have to do.” His job is to kill cows at the factory. And that’s all he wanted to do. He’s like the Wall Street Journal cartoon character I’ve seen who told his HR manager, “I know I’ve been overrated, but I promise I’ll only use one half of my abilities.”

Most people only use a fraction of their potential and rarely put in the extra effort to reach their full potential. Without the pressure to grow in their lives, there would be less desire to put in more effort. Sadly, a third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives, and 42% of college graduates never read a book after graduation. industry. Publisher David Godine claims that only 32% of the US population has ever been to a bookstore. I don’t know if people are aware of the distance between where they are and where they might be, but relatively few people seem to want to read books to try to bridge that gap.

42% of college graduates also never read a book after graduation.

Too many people are willing to be content with an average life. Is that bad? Read the following description written by Edmund Gaudet

then decide:

• “Average” is what unsuccessful people claim when family and friends ask them why they are not more successful.

• “Medium” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which category are you?

• “Average” means mediocre, unimportant, ordinary, unachievable, worthless.

• “Average” means the avoidance of the lazy; lack of courage to have a place in life; live by default.

• “Medium” means taking up space for no purpose; take the trip of a lifetime, without ever paying for a ticket; does not pay interest on God’s investment in you.

• “Average” means going through a person’s life by time, instead of going through one’s time by life; is to kill time, not use it to death.

• “Average” is to be forgotten once you disappear from this life. Successful people are remembered for their contributions; losers are remembered for their efforts; but the “average”, the silent crowd, is only forgotten.

• “Average” is committing the greatest crime against self, humanity and God. The saddest epitaph reads: “Mr./Mrs. Average rests here – here is all that remains, except for their belief that they are ‘average’ people.³

I can’t stand the idea of ​​settling down with the average, how about you? No one admires the average. The best organizations don’t pay people to average. Mediocrity is often not worth the effort. As writer Bennett Arnold once said, “True tragedy is the tragedy of a man who has never tried his best in his life, who has never reached his full potential, who has never stood up, straight to my full measure.” We must be aware of the gap between us and our potential, and let the pressure of that distance push us to strive to be better people.

2. Staying with the status quo will only lead to dissatisfaction

I believe most people are naturally tempted to settle into a comfort zone where they choose safety over potential. They fall into familiar patterns or habits, do the same things in the same way with the same number of people at the same time, and get the same results. It’s true that being in your comfort zone can feel great, but it leads to mediocrity, and then dissatisfaction. As psychologist Abraham Maslow asserted, “If you’re going to be anything below your means, you probably won’t be happy for the rest of your days.”

“If you’re going to be anything below your means, you probably won’t be happy for the rest of your days.”- Abraham Maslow

If you ever settle for the status quo and then wonder why life doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, you need to realize that you will only reach your potential if you have the courage to push yourself away. safe zone and escape from conventional thinking.

You must be willing to leave what feels familiar, safe, and secure.

You have to give up your excuses and move on.

You have to be willing to face the pressure of pushing your potential.

It was the only way to avoid what the poet John Greenleaf Whittier described when he wrote: “Of all the sad words or phrases, the saddest is: ‘It could have happened.’ ”

3. Efforts always start from within

When I was a teenager, my father told me to read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It has had a profound effect on my life. It made me realize that reaching my potential starts from within. Allen wrote: “Your circumstances may not be appropriate, but they will not remain so, if you perceive the ideal and strive to achieve it. You cannot move if the mind is still.

“You cannot move if the mind is still.”– James Allen

Most people have a dream. For some, it is always at the tip of the lips, and for others, it is buried deep in the heart, but everyone has a dream. However, not many people pursue them. When I gave a lecture on the topic of achieving dreams, and I asked the audience how many of them had a dream, nearly everyone raised their hands. When I asked, “How many people are chasing that dream?” Less than half of the arms went up. And when the question is: “How many people are achieving their dreams?” I only see a few arms raised.

What is stopping them? What is stopping you? The authors of the book Now Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, cited a Gallup poll that found most people dislike their work. current, but they don’t change.

What is stopping them? Most Americans want to lose weight, but they don’t make the necessary efforts. I always meet people who tell me they want to write a book, but when I ask, “Have you started writing yet?” The answer is almost always no. Instead of dreaming, wishing and waiting, people need to find within themselves reasons to get started.

It must be remembered that our circumstances in life are largely due to the choices we make and the actions we take or don’t take. As we get older, we become more and more responsible for our own circumstances. If you’re simply average or you’re not getting closer to your dream this year than last year, you can choose to accept it, defend, cover it up, and justify it. Or you can choose to change, grow and create a new path.

Jim Rohn has observed: “All living things appear to be trying their best except man. How big will the tree grow? As high as possible. Humans, on the other hand, have the right to choose. You can choose to be all or nothing. Why not try your best to see how far you can do it?

Where do you find the intrinsic motivation to put in the effort? Compare what you are doing with what you are capable of.

Measure yourself, Rate it. If you don’t know what you can do, talk to people who care and trust you. If not, find some people. Find a mentor who can help you see who you could be, not who you are. And use that image to inspire you to do your best

4. Trying our best always requires us to change

At the beginning of this chapter, I wrote about my own best-effort experiences at work. When I think about these times in my life, I have to admit that it was a challenge to change. I do not like it. I like to be comfortable and am always tempted to resist pushing myself. But growth doesn’t come from staying in your comfort zone. You can’t improve and avoid change at the same time. How can I embrace change and pull myself out of my comfort zone?

First of all, I stopped looking back. It is very difficult to change if you keep focusing on the past. That’s why I put a picture that says “Yesterday ended the night before!” On the desk. It has helped me stay focused on the present and work to improve what I can do today.

That is very important. Author and contributor to the Seeds for the Soul series, Alan Cohen says, “To thrive, you must be willing to make your present and future radically different from your past. The past is not your destiny.”

The second thing I do is work on developing my “stretching muscles”. A. G. Buckham, a pioneer in the field of aeronautical photography, observed when flights were just opened: “Monotony is a terrible reward for the careful person.” If you want to grow and change, you have to take risks.

“Monotony is a terrible reward for the careful.”– A.G. Buckham

Innovation and progress are often initiated by those who strive for change. TV presenter Jeopardy! Alex Trebek commented: “Have you ever met a successful person who stopped trying, who was satisfied with what they achieved in life? They want new challenges. They want to get up and go… and that’s one of the reasons they’re successful.”

Unfortunately, for some people, entrepreneurs are synonymous with gamblers. But risk has certain advantages. People who dare to take risks learn more and faster than those who don’t take risks. Their depth and range of experience is usually greater. And they learn to solve problems. All help them develop more.

Life’s greatest effort times come when we do things we’ve never done before, pushing ourselves harder and in a not-so-pleasant way. That requires courage. But the good news is that it makes us grow in ways we thought impossible. And it brings to life what novelist George Elliot said: “It’s never too late to achieve what you can.”

“It’s never too late to achieve what you can.”– George Elliot

5. Attempts to pull you away from others

America seems to be becoming more and more satisfied with mediocrity. But that is not the root of a country’s problem; It’s a personal concession, working below your full potential. An individual need only say, “I guess good enough is enough.” But unfortunately, mediocrity spreads from person to person and eventually metastasizes to become a national danger.

Excellence seems to move further and further away from common standards. However, people who live by the Rubber Band Principle and use the pressure between where they are and where they can be as a motivator for effort can stand out from the people around them.

Jack and Suzy Welch made this clear in Winning: The Answers when a young person entering the corporate world asked, “How quickly can I become a winner?” They replied:

First, let’s forget about some of the most basic habits you learned in school. Once you get into the real world – and whether you’re 22 or 62, doing your first or fifth job, the way to move forward is to go overboard.

Look at it this way, for years, you’ve been taught virtues that meet specific expectations. And you’ve been trained that an “A+” (excellent) grade is for someone who can fully answer every question the teacher asks.

Those days are over. To get an “A+” in business, you have to expand the organization’s expectations of you and then exceed it, and you must answer every question the “teacher” asks fully, plus a bunch of questions they didn’t even think about.

In other words, your aim should be to make your boss smarter, your team more efficient, and the entire company more competitive thanks to your energy, creativity, and insight.

If your boss asks you to report on the prospects for one of the company’s products next year, you can be sure she already knows the answer. So go beyond her expectations. Do more research, survey and analyze the data to give her something that really expands her thinking.

In other words, give your boss something to surprise her, something new and exciting that she can report to her superiors. At the same time, those ideas will help the company grow further and so will you.

Self-improvement is the best way to help your team. Successful people are different because they initiate improvements that others need. When you get better, those around you benefit. Excellence can be contagious in the same way as mediocrity. The positive or negative points of a group always start with a positive or negative point. As you get better, so do others.

6. Hard work can become a way of life

When we stop trying, I believe we will stop living really. We can keep breathing. Our vital signs are still maintained. But we died inside and our greatest abilities were lost. As editor James Terry White admits: “Nature painted His objection to ubiquitous inertia; everything that doesn’t fight, doesn’t work, will quickly get worse. What makes a person’s character and maturity is the effort towards an ideal, the effort to go further.”

I am getting old. I won’t always be at peak performance. But I kept reading, asking questions, talking to interesting people, working hard, and embracing new experiences until I lay down. Too many people are just existing, not living! Rabbi Nachman once said, “If tomorrow you don’t get better than today, what do you need tomorrow for?” I will not stop growing. The following words encapsulate my feelings:

I’m not where I’m supposed to be,

I’m not what I want to be,

But I’m not what I used to be.

I haven’t learned how to arrive;

I’ve just learned how to keep going.


I’m not where I’m supposed to be,

I’m not the person I want to be,

But I am not the me of the past.

I don’t know how to get there;

I just go and study.

“If you don’t get better tomorrow than you did today, what do you need tomorrow for?”- Rabbi Nachman

I will continue to work hard until I do my best. And whether I see success today or not. Why? Because, sadly, many people stop growing after they have reached success. Management expert Peter Drucker observes: “The greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is today’s success. No one ever made a significant impact after they won the Nobel Prize.” I don’t want success, big or small, to spoil me.

7. Hard work gives you meaning

The Indian statesman Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The difference between what we do and what we can do is enough to solve most of the world’s problems.” That difference is the gap between good and great. And what helps to close that gap is our willingness to give our best those on the “good” side of this gap live in permissive territory. What they do is fine. They follow the rules and live in peace. But can they make a difference if they follow the Rubber Band Principle? Close the gap, you will find yourself on the “great” side. It is the land of potential. That’s where people achieve extraordinary things. They do more than they believe they are capable of, and they make an impact. How? By constantly focusing on making more of an effort. They are constantly leaving their comfort zone and moving towards their effective zone.

Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said: “One possibility is a suggestion from God. We must follow it.” The path of possibility is the opportunity God has given us to make a difference. As we follow it, we stop asking ourselves who we are, and we begin to ask what kind of people we can become. We may appreciate what we did yesterday, but we don’t worship it. It seems small compared to future possibilities. Looking ahead fills us with energy. We resonate with the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, “Being who we are, and being who we can be, is the only end in life.”

“One possibility is a suggestion from God. We must follow it.”– Sren Kierkegaard

We are born with differences. If we want to put in the effort, that seed can grow until it begins to multiply in our lives. The great thing is that change within us challenges us to change those around us, and our growth creates a belief in others that they can grow. When that happens in an environment where people are working and growing, indifference is replaced by difference. And that’s how we started to change the world.


One of my favorite sports heroes is Ted Williams, widely regarded as the biggest hitman in Major League Baseball history. The last person to cross the .400 mark in a single season, he retired with a record of 521 home runs********s and a career average of 344. It is said that Williams could lift a baseball bat and tell it was a 34-ounce bat about 964g) and a lighter than half an ounce.

He once complained about the shafts of a bunch of clubs and sent them back. As it turns out, their thickness falls short of 5/1,000 of an inch. And when he sees a ball coming toward him while he’s standing to catch the ball, he can tell how it’s being thrown based on how the rims move.

This man loves to hit baseball and is meticulous about every aspect of it. And as long as he lived, he continued to learn and continue to strive in this field.

Recently, I read an anecdote about a meeting between Williams and Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics coach in the 1950s. When these two greats discussed their sport, Williams asked: What do you guys eat on match day?”

“What do you want to know for?” Auerbach asked again. “Looks like what you’re doing is fine.”

“I am always looking for new ways to improve what I do.”

Auerbach said of Williams: “He thinks about the little things, which are so important to being great. When you’re great and you excel, some athletes go after that. This is the best baseball hitter and he’s trying to get a little extra point.

Like any athlete I’ve known, Williams lives by the Rubber Band Principle. He understands that growth stops when you take the pressure off of where you are and where you can be. For most people, as time goes on, they lose the pressure that drives growth, especially if they achieve some success. But less pressure, less efficiency. And it undermines our growth rate towards our potential.

Remarkably, when it comes to hitting the ball, Williams never loses that pressure. Long after he retired, he still talked about hitting the ball with anyone interested in it. He is constantly learning, and constantly sharing what he learns. We should all strive to become people with the same effort as him.


1. In what areas of your life do you lose effort and choose to live peacefully? Wherever they are, you need to find an internal reason to get the urge to work again. Let’s reconnect the breaks inside to keep moving forward.

Where are you lacking in potential?

Did you not achieve a goal that you know you are capable of?

What habits have you developed that hold you back from moving forward?

What past successes prevent you from continuing to win?

Remember, change is key to develop. Use self-discontent to help you get started wherever you are stalling.

2. Make a plan to maintain the pressure of where you are and where you can be by continually setting moderate goals for yourself.

If goals are too immediate, you lose the pressure of achieving them too quickly. If the goals are too high, they can be too difficult to achieve and cause you to become discouraged.

What is the right time frame for you to maintain the pressure?

Three months? Six months? A year? Set goals for yourself according to your personality, and then keep revisiting them at the end of those periods. You want the goal to be just within reach, not too easy, but not too difficult either. The ability to distinguish this is an art. But it does give you well-deserved rewards.

3. If you need an overarching goal to keep pushing yourself, think about what remarkable action you could take if only you were who you could be. Dream big, and make it your life goal.


Chapter 11 The principle of trade-off

You need to give up to grow

“People will often cling to an uncomfortable way of life instead of changing for the better for fear of getting worse.” — Erik Hoffer

What will you need to move to the next step? Vision? Right. Hard – working? Sure. Personal development? Of course. What about letting go of some of the things you love and value most? Believe it or not, this is something that often causes people to procrastinate, even those who have achieved some success.

When you start your career, it’s not too hard to give up in order to grow. In fact, you are willing to give up everything in exchange for a chance.

Why? Because your “everything” is nothing much! But when you start to accumulate something: a job you enjoy, a high salary, a home, a community of which you are a member, a degree of security? Are you willing to give up those things for the chance to do something that will bring you closer to your potential?


I recently read the story of an entrepreneur who realized the importance of making trade-offs to be more successful and reach his potential. The son of impoverished service workers, working hard and trying his best to achieve everything they had, he took care of his own education and earned a degree in mathematics. He began his career working for the government, but soon moved into business, starting with Coca-Cola, the company his father worked as a driver.

He is a manager, but he believes his career will be limited while here, because he thinks they will always see him as the driver’s son and not judge him based on his own ability. So when he got a chance to work at Pillsbury’s headquarters, he took the opportunity and moved to Minnesota.

His superiors at Pillsbury, whom he had known previously at Coca-Cola, told him they were facing a tough challenge, and if unsuccessful, they would look for new jobs. That did not discourage him. “I am always encouraged by the possibility
success rather than the fear of failure,” he explains. He has worked hard and aims to become Deputy General Director before the age of 40.

At Pillsbury, he started in a management position. He was soon promoted to group director, then to senior director of information systems management, and finally to deputy general manager of systems, responsible for overseeing the construction of the company’s headquarters. Pillsbury World, a 44-story twin tower complex in central Minneapolis. He completed the project ahead of schedule and under budget.

He achieved his goal four years ahead of his self-imposed deadline. He became Deputy General Director and owns an office with a beautiful view from the 36th floor of the building. He achieved his dream and went beyond the expectations from his humble beginnings. But for him, that’s still not enough. He wrote;

I was only 36 years old, and although I was blessed with many accomplishments, in a short time, I knew at the time that I had to achieve more. So I started to imagine how exciting it would be if I were actually the decision maker running a business…! After several successful years as Pillsbury’s VP of Systems and Services, I knew I had to dream higher; I dream of becoming the President of some company, somewhere.

If he sticks to his current path, he may never become the Chairman of Pillsbury. His problem is that although he is always successful and handles all responsibilities with great competence, he has never managed profit and loss in any position. What are you gonna do? How did you achieve your dream?


He discussed his situation with the COO of Pillsbury and was presented with a possible solution. Go work for one of Pillsbury’s divisions: Burger King. The move has potential, but it also means he has to make tough trade-offs. I said:

Coming to Burger King meant giving up the position of Deputy General Manager that I had worked so hard to get; salary decreased significantly compared to the original; loss of stock options; need to learn a new profession from zero; and, if successful, I may have to move to another part of the US

in other words, his life would change completely in the opposite direction. But that’s how the Trade-Off Principle works. If you want to grow to reach your potential, you must be willing to give up some of the things you value.

You have to give up to grow.

As he made the decision, he wondered if this would bring him closer to his dream of becoming the president of a business. He also said: “I didn’t ask myself the wrong questions like: How difficult will my new job be? What would my friends think if they saw me making hamburgers in a fast food restaurant? What will I do if this new position doesn’t work as intended?”

He made a trade-off, accepted the position, committed. He arrived at Burger King, along with a host of recent college graduates and restaurant workers who received the opportunity to become assistant managers. He is an “old man”. He learned about a whole new business, starting with roasting chicken, then operating the cash register, and so on. And when the training was over, he became the 4th assistant manager, working at the place. It’s only a 15-minute drive from his Deputy General Director’s office.

At Burger King, he progressed from assistant manager to store manager to area manager and Philadelphia Area Deputy General Manager. It’s not an easy path. He has faced many challenges and there are many people in the organization who do not want to see him succeed. But he persisted, and he succeeded. “In retrospect,” he says, “the unexpected setbacks I encountered at Burger King could have been a blessing in disguise. If I had predicted them, I would have lost sight of my dream.”

Have you ever dreamed of becoming the president of a certain company? The answer is yes. Four years after moving from Pillsbury to Burger King, he was invited to take over a failed company Pillsbury had bought: Godfather’s Pizza. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, I want to tell you that this businessman’s name is Herman Cain.

Although he failed to win the Chairmanship and received a rain of criticism, if you look at his life and career, you can see that he understood the Principle of Trade-off very well and gave up to grow.


Life has many turns, ups and downs. At these crossroads, we are forced to choose. We can add something to our life, take something away, or trade one thing for another. The most successful people know when to do one of these three things. Here are some insights that I hope will help you understand the trade-offs, spot them, and take advantage of them.

We can always make trade-offs throughout life

I’ve known the Trade-Off Principle since elementary school, though I didn’t call it what I do now. At that time, I liked to play marbles. We played marbles during lunch and breaks. Trying to beat your friends and get their best marbles is a great experience.

A friend of mine had a very nice, big cat’s eye marble that I really wanted to get but he didn’t use it to play with, so I never had a chance to win it. He just held it up and showed it to us. So I thought of a plan. I suggest to change it. I would first offer to exchange whatever pellets I have for it. He didn’t care.

Then I offered to exchange two for it. Then three pills. Four tablets. I think he will change if I give up my seven marbles. He was very happy when he got seven marbles. And I’m so glad I got that beautiful marble.

Everyone makes a trade-off in life, whether they know it or not. The question is, have you made good or bad trade-offs. Overall, I believe…

Unsuccessful people make bad trade-offs.

The average person makes very few trade-offs.

Successful people are very good at trade-offs.

I estimate that I have made over 26 major trade-offs so far in my life. I’ve made two trade-offs in the last three months! At 64, I realized that I had to be willing to make tradeoffs if I wanted to continue to grow and strive to reach my potential. When I stop making trade-offs, I will reach the end of my life’s journey. And at that point my growth stopped. And that will be the day when my best years are behind me and my potential is no longer ahead.

We must learn to see trade-offs as opportunities for growth

Nothing creates a greater gap between successful and unsuccessful people than the choices they make. Often, people make their lives more difficult because they have made bad choices at crossroads in their lives or refused to make choices out of fear. But it’s important to remember that while we don’t always get what we want, we always get what we choose.

Although we don’t always get what we want, we always get what we choose.

Whenever I’m faced with a trade-off, I ask myself two questions:

What are the pros and cons of this trade-off?

Any time you react to one of life’s crossroads with fear instead of looking at its merits, you’ve excluded yourself from a potential opportunity. By trying to figure out the pros and cons of any choice, I’ve been able to deal with my fear. Observing harsh realities also helped me discover that I tend to overestimate the value of what I have and underestimate the value of what I can gain by giving it up.

Will I stay the same or grow with this change?

Great trade-offs are not something you have to endure. That reflects a passive attitude and a mindset that says, “I hope this works out.” Instead, positive trade-offs should be viewed as opportunities for growth. After all, we will be more mature. As we grow through change, we become more dynamic. We control our attitudes and emotions. We become agents of positive change in our own lives.

Author Denis Waitley says: “One sign of wisdom and maturity is when you realize that your decisions bring rewards and positive results. You have to take charge of your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” I agree with that, and many years ago I determined that while others may live a lackluster life, I am not.

While others may see themselves as victims, I am not. While others leave their future in the hands of others, I do not. Although others simply exist, I will grow and live truly. It’s my choice, and I won’t give up.

Trade-offs force us to make difficult personal changes

I often hear people express hope that things will change. In those moments, I want to tell them that the difference between where we are and where we want to be is created by the changes we are willing to make in our lives. When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results.

The difference between where we are and where we want to be is created by the changes we are willing to make in our lives.

Changes in our lives always begin with the changes we are willing to make to ourselves. This is usually not easy. But to get through it, we need to remember that…

Personal Change – To change your life, you need to change.

Change is possible – Anyone can change.

Change benefits – You will get results when you change.

Change may not always be easy, but we can always do it. As psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl notes, “When we cannot change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.” We just need to remember that we are the key.

Being willing to change is very important. That’s when we make the change.

Changing just for the sake of change will only make one person suffer.

Necessary advance changes can lead to big wins, but are difficult to implement change when you have to change brings you victory.

Changing after you have to change leads to loss.

Rejecting change is killing your potential.

“When we cannot change a situation, we must change ourselves.”– Victor Frankl

One of the most difficult personal changes I ever experienced occurred in 1978. At that point, I found myself at a crossroads in my life. I realize that my ability to help people as a speaker is very limited. I can only touch the lives of the people I talk to. That’s when I decided that I would write the book.

The problem is that I’ve never written a book and don’t know how. I realized it would take a lot of time and effort to become an author, but I was ready to give it a try.

I spent many hours interviewing authors, taking classes, attending conferences, and listening to tapes. I have spent hundreds of hours writing and revising what I have written. This process took me a year, and all I got was a small, hundred-page manuscript. It was rejected by publishers, and there were times when I asked myself: “is all this effort really worth it?”

In the end, it paid off well. I was able to publish my first book, Think on these things. Did I reach my potential to write that book? No, but it set me on the path to being able to reach my potential because I was an adult. And completing a book has helped me keep writing, learning, and improving.

Today, I have written more than 70 books with more than 21 million copies sold. But I might never have sold a book if I wasn’t willing to make the hard changes needed to become a writer. And I never reached most of the people I had the opportunity to help.

The pain of trade-offs often lasts longer than the pleasure it brings

Not long ago, I visited the home of my son, Joel, and found my grandson, James, a three-year-old boy, sitting in the laundry room. The boy is waiting for his blanket to dry, and he is not happy because the blanket is in the dryer, nothing to hug.

We are very much like James. We really want change, but we don’t want to wait for the results. And often we are acutely aware of what we lose in exchange because we feel it immediately, while we often don’t reap the rewards of the trade-off until many days. , weeks, months, years or even decades later.

This waiting period can be a real challenge. We want results, but we have to deal with the loss of what we want and the uncertainty between the end of the trade-off and the hope for a new beginning. This change is like a loss. Some people deal with uncertainty quite well; others do not.

Some recover from psychological stress of change fairly quickly and successfully overcome; others do not. How well you do will depend partly on your personality and partly on your attitude. You cannot change your personality, but you can choose a positive attitude and focus on the upcoming benefits of the trade-offs.

We can change at any time

We can make trade-offs at any time in our lives. For example, we can give up bad habits for good ones any time we are determined to change. Getting enough sleep, exercising instead of lying around and developing better eating habits to improve our health is a matter of choice, not opportunity. Obviously, the sooner we make decisions, the better, but not everyone does.

After making a bad trade-off, people often panic, feeling that they’ve lost it and can never be saved. But rarely is that true. Most of the time, we can choose to go back. I know that was true for me. I made many bad trade-offs, but I refunded my trade-offs and returned to my original state.

One of my favorite poems is Carl Bard’s work that shows the power from making positive choices after bad ones.

though no one can go back and make

a brand new start, my friend,

Anyone can start from now

And make a brand new ending.


Although no one can turn back

and have a whole new beginning, but my friends,

Anyone can get started now

And create a whole new ending.

Therefore, when it comes to choices, never say never. Never a distant, unreliable thing, and life has too many possibilities for you to waste by imposing that restriction on it.

Some trade-offs appear only once

The cycle of change gives us the opportunity to make decisions. Sometimes that cycle only happens once. Missing it means letting the opportunity go. Andy Grove, former President and CEO of Intel, commented: “There is at least one point in the history of any company when you have to make drastic changes to get to the next performance ladder. If you miss that point, you will start to fall.”

I went through one of those situations a few years ago. For more than a decade, the person I most wanted to meet was Nelson Mandela. It took a few years, but I was finally able to make an appointment to speak with him for a day. But when that day came, Mandela broke his hip so he canceled the appointment.

I could change my schedule to come see you, but that would also mean I had to cancel my talk in Kenya. It’s a trade-off I’m not willing to make, because I promised to get there. Since Mandela was old, I might lose the opportunity to see him forever.

The higher you go, the harder it is to change

As I noted before, if you’re like most people, you have to give up very little at the start of your career. But as you get higher and accumulate some good achievements in life, you have to pay a higher price if you want to trade it. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, “Every success buys a ticket to a more difficult problem.”

“Every success buys a ticket to a harder problem.” – Henry Kissinger

When we are in a low position, we trade for despair. We have an incentive to change. As we climb the ladder, we change for inspiration. At this higher level, we don’t need to do it anymore. We feel comfortable. As a result, we don’t make trade-offs.

One of the risks of success is that it can make a person unwilling to learn more. Many people easily allow themselves to take success as a ticket to stop growing. They believe they know enough to succeed and they start to slow down. They trade creativity and development for a formula, which they use over and over again. They say, “You can’t argue with success.”

But they were wrong. Why? Because the skills that got you here may not be the skills that will get you there. This is especially true today when things are changing rapidly. Five years ago (since I’m writing this), Twitter didn’t exist. Now think about how that affects our culture and our business.

Four years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Now it’s normal to carry this high-powered computer and media device in your pocket. No matter how successful you are up to this point, you can never “stand up”. If you want to continue to grow and learn, you need to keep making trade-offs.

In the end, in trade-off, we are trading one part of ourselves for another. Author and thinker Henry David Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the portion of life you are willing to give up for it.” You give part of your life in return for another part. That may not be easy, but it is necessary.

“The price of anything is the part of your life you are willing to give up to get it. – Henry David Thoreau

Trade-offs never make us the same

Business author Louis Boone asserts, “Don’t be so afraid of failure that you refuse to try new things. The dullest summary of life is composed of three descriptions: could, could be, and should be.” We all have the right to choose, but every time we make a choice, our choices affect us. It changes us. Even bad choices can help us change for the better, because they open up our minds and show us who we are.

Professor, writer, and advocate C. S. Lewis wrote a book called The Great Divorce. It is said that he chose that title because faith requires a choice. If we really test it, we have to decide which side we want to live on, and that choice causes us to part ways with what we once held. Therefore, no matter which way we choose, we can never be the old “us” when making choices.

Some trade-offs are not worth the price

I’m always ready to change. I’ve seen trade-offs as a way of life. But not everything in my life is a trade-off. I don’t want to trade marriage for a career. I am not willing to trade my relationship with my children or grandchildren for fame or fortune. And I don’t want to trade my values ​​for anything or anyone. These kinds of trade-offs only lead to regret. And once these things have been exchanged, it is very difficult to get them back.

Perhaps the most remarkable story of a bad trade-off is that of Jacob and Esau in the Bible. As the eldest son, Esau is the first choice for the position of inheriting everything from his father, Isaac. But then he traded it for a chance to fill his stomach:

One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came back from the field and was very hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some red soup – I’m hungry!”

Jacob said: “Let’s trade it: My stew for your birthright!”

Esau said, “I am hungry! What’s the point of inheritance if I starve?

Jacob said, “First, swear.” And Esau did. He gave up the right to be born the eldest. Jacob gave him bread and lentil soup. He ate, drank, got up and left. Esau gave up his right to be the eldest son.6

I believe most people who make bad trade-offs like this don’t realize they’re doing it until it’s too late. That’s why I believe it’s important to create systems and boundaries to stay safe.

For example, I gave Margaret the power to veto my schedule to keep me from spending too much time working. I also avoid being alone with any women other than family members. And I take time each day to pray that values ​​guide and play an important role in my life. I recommend making choices and using systems to keep yourself on track.


So far in your life, what have you traded for? Have you thought about that? Do you offer guidelines to help you decide what to strive for and what to trade off? Allow me to offer five trade-offs that I think can help you develop your own guidelines:

1. I’m willing to give up financial security today for tomorrow’s potential

Doctor and author George W. Crane says: “There is no future in any job. The future is in the hands of the person holding that job.” I have always believed it too, and as a result, I am always willing to bet on myself, so much so that I often take financial risks in pursuit of what I believe is an attractive opportunity.

“There is no future in any job. The future is in the hands of the person holding that job.”– George W. Crane

I changed jobs seven times in my life and accepted a pay cut for it. The first time was when I chose my first job. When I graduated from college, two churches invited me to lead their churches. A church that offers a full-time salary. The rest of the church does not.

I chose the second church because I believe I will grow more there. (And because Margaret is willing to work to help us!) The second position I hold with a larger church gives me a better salary. That was in 1972. Of all the career changes so far, there was only one place that offered a favorable salary – it was 2010!

Why am I always willing to accept a pay cut when changing jobs? Because I value chance more than guarantee. And I know I will work hard and possibly earn more in the long run. As my friend Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft, puts it: “The only job security we have is our commitment to personal growth.” It’s a trade-off that always pays off.

“The only job security we have is our commitment to personal growth.”– Kevin Turner

2. I am willing to give up immediate gratification in exchange for personal growth

I am a very optimistic person, and I like to have fun. In fact, if you knew when I was a kid, you’d probably guess that my life wasn’t going to work out. I’m useless. All I want to do is play football and spend time with my friends. But as I became an adult, I learned the words of opera singer Beverly Sills: “There are no shortcuts to anywhere of value.” Immediate rewards and personal growth never go hand in hand.

A friend of mine Darren Hardy wrote in his book The Compound Effect about the war most people experience when considering taking immediate rewards or doing what’s best for them. we are as follows:

We know that if we keep eating syrupy cookies, our waistlines will never get smaller. We realize that spending three hours a night watching Dancing with the Stars and NCIS will take us three hours to read a book or listen to good music.

We know that paying for an expensive pair of running shoes doesn’t make us ready to run a marathon. We are a “rational” species – at least that’s what we say about ourselves. So why do we become slaves of so many bad habit? It is because of our need for immediate gratification, which can turn us into the most passive, thoughtless beings.

When it comes to growth and success, immediate satisfaction is always the enemy of growth. We can choose to please ourselves and settle down, or we can delay gratification and growth. That is our choice.

3. I’m willing to give up a fast life in exchange for a beautiful life

We live in a culture that stereotypes movie and movie stars, covets luxurious mansions, idealizes travel, and plays the lottery in the hope of one day having it. opportunity to thrive with an admirable life. But it was almost an illusion. It’s like a well-groomed model on the cover of a magazine. It’s not real.

It’s just one of the reasons I choose to give up the rush life in exchange for a good life. What is the good life? In their book Repacking Your Bags, Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro offer a recipe for the good life.

They say, “Living where you belong, with the people you love, doing the right job, the right purpose.” That’s a pretty good description. I will also add to what evangelist Albert Schweitzer said: “The great secret of success is going through life as someone who never runs out of energy.” In order to keep myself from being “out of energy”, I try to create greater inner capacity and thus always succeed in life.

If you want to create competence and succeed in life, I recommend the following:

• Authorize you to work smarter, not just harder.

• Do what you do best and ignore the rest.

• Take control of your schedule; otherwise someone else will do it.

• Do what you love because it gives you energy.

• Work with people you like so your energy won’t run out.

if you do those things while doing the right job with the right purpose in the right place with the people you love, you will have a good life.

4. I’m willing to give up warranties in exchange for meaning

I know many people whose life goal is security: emotional, physical, and financial security. But I don’t think it’s wiser to measure progress with assurance as a yardstick. I think we should measure by meaning. And that requires development. You’ll never get anywhere interesting by always doing what’s safe.

Most people can make a living. It’s a safe thing. Meaningful work makes a difference. The great men of history are not great because of what they earned and possessed, but because of what they spent their lives achieving. Every trade-off is a challenge to becoming the person we might actually be. If they’re done correctly, we can create opportunities to help others become who they might actually be. That is the meaning!

The great men of history are not great because of what they earned and possessed, but because of what they spent their lives achieving.

5. I am willing to give up the addition in exchange for the multiplication

I started my career as a successful person. I always have a lot of energy, I’m happy to work with the people I love, and I never need a lot of sleep. So I threw myself into work and was motivated to help people. My attitude at the beginning was “What can I do for others?” But that’s an addition. Once I started learning how to lead, my question changed: “What can I do with others?” That is multiplication.

Where I’m investing a lot of time, energy, and resources to multiply is EQUIP, the nonprofit I founded to teach leadership globally. With the intention of collaborating with others and helping more people, we asked that:

What if a company led every day…

Efforts to add value to leaders and organizations

value the spirit of cooperation and actively pursue them;

Share, rather than hoard, resources and knowledge with others;

Doesn’t care who gets the credit; and

Become a fishing rod instead of a fish in the process of helping others?

The answer is multiplication! As of today, EQUIP has trained more than five million leaders in 175 countries around the world. That is a very rewarding result.

If you’ve never considered yourself a leader, I’d like to encourage you to explore your potential for leadership development. Even if you’ve been extremely successful in your personal growth, skills and abilities, if you learn to lead, you can continue to influence those around you even more. However, if you believe you are incapable of leading others, then consider becoming a mentor. Your investment in others will have a scaling effect, and you won’t regret the time you spent.

Most people try to take too much with them when they go on a life journey. They want to keep adding without taking anything away. That won’t work. You can’t do everything; only a certain amount of time in a day. At some point, you will reach your limit. Besides, we need to always remember that if nothing happens, nothing will change!

We can learn a lot about trade-offs from checkers. As someone once said: One step back, two steps forward; don’t take two steps at once; forward, instead of backward; and when you get to the top, you are free to move as you want.9 If you want to reach your potential, be prepared to make a trade-off. As author James Allen once said: “He who sacrifices little will gain little; Whoever achieves much will be forced to make a lot of sacrifices.”


1. Write down your personal list of trade-offs. Start by using the list in the chapter to spark ideas:

� I’m willing to give up financial security today for tomorrow’s potential

� I’m willing to give up immediate gratification in exchange for personal growth

� I’m willing to give up a rushed life in exchange for a beautiful life

� I’m willing to give up security in exchange for meaning

� I’m willing to give up additions in exchange for multiplication

Think about the worthwhile trade-offs you’ve made in the past that you think will continue to be great ideas for the future. Consider what you need to achieve your potential or need to give up to reach it.

2. It’s important to know what you’re not willing to give up in order to determine what you’re willing to give up. Think about the non-negotiables in your life and list them out. Then for each, identify its greatest potential threat and the safety measures you need to put in place to protect it.

3. What trade-offs do you need right now that you don’t want to do? Most people prefer to settle down and learn to live with a limit or barrier that can be removed by trade-offs. What’s the next thing you need to trade off? And what do you have to give up to get it?


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Angel Cherry

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