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

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.

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.



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,

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?


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 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,


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?


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?


Make a list of the people

who are having the biggest influence on your life:

friends, family,


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 to 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 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?


– 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,


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,


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:


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?


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?


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.


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?


– ​​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.

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,


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),


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,


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,


I was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance…

I never expected to speak in public again”

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.”

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

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.


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,


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,


or timid,


or stingy,


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.

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,


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:


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;


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,



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,


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.

That ancient idea has been repeated by other wise writers

and confirmed and 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,




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 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 with 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 a

nd 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,


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,


and attention on things that will help you grow even

if they 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,


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,



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 in safe zone

and escape from conventional thinking.

You must be willing to leave what feels familiar,


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 in 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,


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.”


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,


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?


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,


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,


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

nd 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,


“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 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.



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:



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,


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;


instead of backward;

and when you get to the top,

you are free to move as you want.

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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