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

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

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.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. ― Mahatma Gandhi



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 next year.

There is no substitute for strategy.

To maximize growth,

you must devise strategies.

Those are Design Principles.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth. ― William W. Purkey



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.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ― Oscar Wilde


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?


– 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.

We are all in the gutter,

but some of us are looking at the stars. ― Oscar Wilde


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.

Do what you can,

with what you have,

where you are. ― Theodore Roosevelt


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.”

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery,

today is a gift of God,

which is why we call it the present. ― Bill Keane


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,


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.

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come.

Get up and make them. ― Madame C. J. Walker



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,


and capabilities.

They are great tools for personal development.

The system is precise, purposeful and realistic.

They really work

– whatever your profession,



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:

Successful investing takes time,


and patience.

No matter how great the talent or effort,

some things just take time:

You can’t produce a baby in one month

by getting nine women pregnant. — Warren Buffett


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.

n 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,


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?

Always deliver more than expected. — Larry Page


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 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?

Don’t count the things you do,

do the things that count. — Zig Ziglar


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?


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.

Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something

and a want to create. — David Karp


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:

Be mindful.

Be grateful.

Be positive.

Be true.

Be kind. ― Roy T. Bennett


“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.

Do what you can,

with what you have,

where you are. ― Theodore Roosevelt


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.

Remember, your mind is your greatest asset,

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


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.

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


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.

Always have a willing hand to help someone,

you might be the only one that does. ― Roy T. Bennett



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?

A smart person knows how to talk.

A wise person knows when to be silent. ― Roy T. Bennett


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?


– ​​Does the system provide you with a tangible tool

to gauge if you’ve been successful?


– Is the system action-oriented?


– Is the system a better use of your time

than what you are doing now?


– 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.

I prefer dreams of the future

to the history of the past. – Thomas Jefferson

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.

One of the most difficult things is not to change society.

But to change yourself. ― Nelson Mandela

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Angel Cherry

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