John C. Maxwell!15 Golden Rules of Personal Development!
Chapter 4 Contemplation Principles
“One of the major differences
between successful and unsuccessful people is
that the former look for problems to resolve,
whereas the latter make every attempt to avoid them.” – Grant Cardone
Learn to pause so growth can catch up with you
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.
“To maintain your enthusiasm,
you have to make your goals substantial enough
that they keep your attention.” – Grant Cardone
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
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.
“Successful salespeople know
how to make somethings. – Aysa Hazan
THE POWER OF PAUSE
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:
“Go the extra mile,
there’s no one on it.”– Grant Cardone
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.
“No one is going to come to your house
and make your dreams come true.”– Grant Cardone
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
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,
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,
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.
“Your problem isn’t the problem.
Your reaction to the problem is your problem.”– Grant Cardone
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,
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.”
– even super rich
– shouldn’t be taboo.
It should be your battle cry.” – Grant Cardone
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.
“Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons
why more people don’t create it for themselves,
and why most people don’t even get close
to living up to their full potential.” ― Grant Cardone
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,
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…
Do what you have to do
until you can do what you want to do. ― Oprah Winfrey
“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,
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.
“To attract attractive people, you must be attractive.” — Jim Rohn
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,
and insightful quotes?
Illustration is the process of giving content to ideas.
Author and firefighter Peter M. Leschak believes:
“We are all viewers television,
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.
To have the highest income, you have to be the best. – T. Harv Eker
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,
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.”
“I discovered that wealth is a kind of perception
and that anyone can perceive it
by thinking like a rich person.”– Andrew Young
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.
If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep,
you will work until you die. ― Warren Buffett
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,
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.
“If you don’t confront the tough stuff
it will always have control over you.”– Grant Cardone
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,
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.
The voice you believe will determine the future you experience. ― Steven Furtick
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.
In order to become rich,
you must believe you can do it,
and you must take the actions necessary to achieve your goal. ― Suze Orman
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.
“The goal is not comfort, it is freedom!”– Grant Cardone
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.
“Remember, to create wealth,
you can’t just score once,
you must be able to repeat it.”– Grant Cardone
6. What is my least valuable emotion?
The least appealing emotion not only to me,
but to anyone,
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,
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.
Live life to the fullest,
and focus on the positive. ― Matt Cameron
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.
Rich people plan for four generations.
Poor people plan for Saturday night. — Gloria Steinem
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.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Berle
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 other and for yourself.
Take care of yourself you never know when the world will need you. ― Hillel the Elder
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,
Where there is attention and effort,
there will be results. – T. Harv Eker
Worth the effort
All of this sounds confusing,
many steps and a lot of trouble.
You were right;
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.
Unless you prove you can manage what you have,
you won’t get any more! – T. Harv Eker
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.
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
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.
(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.
Life is either a daring, adventure or nothing at all. ― Helen Keller
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.
“The mark of excellence,
the test of greatness,
is consistency.”— Jim Tressel