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John C. Maxwell!15 Golden Rules of Personal Development! Consistency Principle

John C. Maxwell!15 Golden Rules of Personal Development!

Chapter 5 Consistency Principle 

“Be nice to people.

It doesn’t cost anything.” – Grant Cardone

Motivation keeps you going – discipline helps you to grow.

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.

“To maintain your enthusiasm,

you have to make your goals substantial enough

that they keep your attention.” – Grant Cardone



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,


why and when to improve yourself.

Take a moment to consider the following four questions about development:

“I discovered that wealth is a kind of perception

and that anyone can perceive it

by thinking like a rich person.”– Andrew Young


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.

Remember, your mind is your greatest asset,

so be careful what you put into it. — Robert Kiyosaki


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 potentia

l 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.

Before you can become a millionaire,

you must learn to think like one. ― Thomas J. Stanleyt 


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 rich see each dollar as a “seed”

that can be planted to reap hundreds of dollars more,

which can then be planted to reap thousands more. – T. Harv Eker


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.”

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer

to where you want to be tomorrow. ― Paulo Coelho


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.”

That progress cannot happen if you don’t appreciate the process.

There’s nothing wrong with having a steady paycheck,

unless it prevents you from accessing higher income opportunities,

based on what you deserve.

Therein lies the crux of the problem. And often so. – T. Harv Eker


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,


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:

In sales, the point is not that you’re selling the product,

you’re ‘selling’ yourself. – Aysa Angel


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,



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.

Take care of yourself mentally,


and spiritually so that you can take care of the world. ― Susan Love


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.

“Don’t ask for life to be easy.

Ask for it to be worth it.”— Jim Rohn



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.

“In order to achieve goals you have not achieved

before you have to become someone you haven’t been before.” — Jim Rohn



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.

“Do whatever you have to do as quickly as you can,

so you can do whatever you WANT to do, for as long as you can.”— Jim Rohn



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.

“We must learn to apply all that we know

so that we can attract all that we want.” — Jim Rohn


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.

Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits.

Each day we must strive for constant

and never ending improvement. — Tony Robbins


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,


and dreams.

Think about how it can help you with your career,


and spirituality.

Any reason for personal growth is a good one,

as long as it’s yours.

Make today worth remembering. — Zig Ziglar

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