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

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

Chapter 14. Extended Principle

“There is no such thing as a finish line.”— Nike Commercial

Growth always enhances your abilities

Have you maximized your potential?

Have you reached your maximum potential?

I believe that

if you are reading this book,

your answer will be no.

But the good news is

that you can continue

to increase your abilities.

In the book

If it ain’t broke…

Break it! (roughly translated:

If it’s not broken, break it) authors Robert J. Kriegel

and Louis Patler write:

We don’t know where the limits of man lie.

Every test, timer,

and finish line in the world cannot measure human potential.

When someone follows their dreams,

they go beyond what seems

to be their limitations.

The potential that exists

within us is limitless and largely untapped…

when you think the limits,

you’ve created them.

The potential that exists within us is limitless

and largely untapped…

when you think of the limits,

you’ve created them. — Robert J. Kriegel & Louis Patler

How can you boost your potential

and increase your potential?

I’ve written quite a bit about how

to increase your efficiency on the outside.

You do that by bringing in other people

and learning how to work with people.

But the only way

to increase your inner power is

to change the way you develop personally.

Learning more information is not enough.

You have to change your thoughts and actions.

How to increase thinking capacity?

I’ve heard that most experts believe

that people usually only use 10% of their true potential.

That statement is amazing!

If that’s true,

then the average person also has the ability

to make great progress.

It’s like we have hundreds of samples of possibilities

but only grow in half an acre.

So how do we tap 90% of our unused potential?

The answer is found in changing the way we think and do.

Most experts believe that people often

only use 10% of their true potential.

You are the master of your destiny.

You can influence, direct and control your own environment.

You can make your life what you want it to be. — Napoleon Hill


1. Stop thinking about more things

and start thinking about what works?

Ask most people how they can increase their capacity

and they will tell you to work harder.

There is a problem with that solution.

More work does not necessarily increase your ability.

Many of the same things often bring many of the same results,

when what we really want are better results.

I fell into this trap

when I was just starting out.

In fact, when people started asking me

to help them be more successful,

my response to them was

to work harder.

I suppose their work ethic is not as high as mine,

and only by doing more will they succeed.

However, I realized this mindset error

when I started going to underdeveloped countries,

where many people,

despite working very hard,

achieve very little for all their efforts.

I learned that hard work is not always the answer.

This made me start looking at how

I approach my work.

As an energetic person,

I worked very hard

and kept my morale high for many hours.

But I know that I am not getting the desired effect.

I realized that the problem was

that I valued effort more than efficiency.

I did a lot of things

instead of the right thing.

My to-do list goes on and on,

but my influence doesn’t grow.

I realized that I had to change my mind.

I re-examined everything

I was doing and started asking myself,

“What is working?”

That’s what I recommend you do.

Find out what works.

To do that,

ask yourself these three questions:

What can I do?

What gives the best results?

What gives me the biggest reward?

These questions will help you focus your attention on

what you have to do,

what you should do,

and what you really want to do.

“Man is born to be rich or will surely get rich

through the use of his mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


2. Instead of thinking “Can I do this?”,

start thinking “How can I do this?”

At first glance,

these two questions seem very similar.

In reality, however,

they are worlds of difference in outcome and manner.

Can I do this? question full of confusion,

hesitation and doubt.

It is a question that imposes limitations.

If that’s a question you frequently ask yourself,

you’re undermining your efforts

before you even start.

How many people can achieve much in life

but don’t dare to try because they doubt

and answer “No” to the question ”

Can I do this?”

The most common reason people can’t get through is

that they don’t challenge themselves enough.

When you ask yourself,

“How can I do this?”

You give yourself a chance to make an effort

to achieve something.

The most common reason people can’t get through is

that they don’t challenge themselves enough.

They don’t test their limits.

They don’t push their capacity.

Question Can I do this by?

How? show me there’s a way.

You just have to find it.

As a young leader,

I was challenged

by the words of Robert Schuller, who said,

“How would you try

if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

To me, the answer is very clear.

Trying a lot harder than the current me!

Schuller’s question encouraged me

to think outside the box.

It makes me want to take more risks,

push more boundaries,

test my own limits.

It made me realize that most of our limitations are not

due to lack of ability,

but to lack of faith.

Sharon Wood, the first North American woman

to set foot on Everest,

said of her experience:

“I discovered the problem was not physical strength

but psychological strength.

Conquest is in my mind, pushing me

to break through self-imposed barriers

and move towards my destination

– a destination called potential,

90% untapped.”

If you want to exploit them,

ask yourself,

“How do I do it?”


great achievement is only a matter of how and when to do it.

Recently, a friend gave me a book

by Price Pritchett titled, You2.

In it, Pritchett writes:

Your skepticism,

which you claim to be rational

and objective assessment of the facts about yourself,

is rooted in the garbage in your mind.

Your doubts are not the product of correct thinking,

but habitual thinking.

Years ago you accepted incomplete conclusions as true,

started living life

as if your distorted ideas of potential were true,

and stopped engaging in daring life experiences

that brought gives you a lot of disruptive behavior as a child.

Now is the time to find the faith

that you already have in you.2

If you’ve ever lived in a negative

or abusive environment,

you may find this thought transition difficult.

If so, let me take a moment to encourage you

and explain something.

I’m asking you to move on from asking “Can I do this?”

to the question

“How can I do this?” I believe

that if you read this part of the book,

you will also believe

that you can achieve many things.

I believe you can.

I believe God has placed

in each of us the potential to grow,


and achieve.

The first step to doing that is to believe you can!

I trust you!

Second is perseverance.

When you get started,

it may seem like things are not going well.

That’s not a problem.

Do not give up.

Pritchett says everything looks like a failure in the middle.

“You can’t bake a cake

without making a mess in the kitchen,”

he wrote.

Midway through the operation seemed

like a murder in the operating room.

If you send a spacecraft to the moon,

it’s about 90% deviated

from its intended course

– it “fails” on its journey

to the moon by constantly making mistakes

and correcting them.”

Everything looks like a failure in the middle.

You can change your mind.

You can believe in your potential.

You can use failure as a resource

to help you find the core of your ability.

As psychologist Fritz Perls admits,

“Learning is discovering something with potential.”

The principle of expansion lies in our ability to learn,


and enhance our capabilities.

“Learning is about discovering something with potential.”- Fritz Perls

It is said that one day,

the great artist Michelangelo entered Raphael’s salon.

He looked over to one of his first drawings,

examined it for a moment,

then took a piece of chalk

and wrote the word Amplius,

meaning “bigger”

or “bigger” over the entire drawing.

Michelangelo is encouraging Raphael to think bigger.

That’s what we need to do.

Some people want it to happen.

Some wish it would happen.

Others make it happen. ― Michael Jordan


3. Stop thinking about “one door”

and start thinking about “many doors”

When it comes to development,

you don’t want to bet your future on “one-stop”.

That door may never open!

It is better to consider many possibilities

and seek multiple answers to all your questions.

Think about options.

I made the mistake of looking for a one-stop shop

when I was just starting out.

I wanted to build a great church,

so I went looking for the key to my success.

I started interviewing people

to find out who could give me my “secret”.

It’s almost like I’m looking for someone

who can grant me a wish.

That thought of mine was wrong.

I want someone to give me a formula for my dream

so I can act on it.

It was then that I realized

that I had to fulfill my dream

and create my own recipe along the way.

Flexibility is important to progress,

and my strategy begins

to evolve beyond my exploration.

One of my favorite words is options.

Anyone who knows me knows

that I don’t like being “stopped”.


Well, my desire for options is not driven by my desire

to avoid the fear of mental captivity.

It was motivated by my desire

to increase my capacity.

The more time passes,

the more I want to explore creative options and the less

I want to rely on other people’s systems.

As I learned to think about multiple doors

and explore options,

here’s what I learned:

• There are many ways

to do something successfully.

• The ability to go anywhere is directly proportional

to creativity and adaptability.

• Intentional movement creates possibility.

• Failures and roadblocks can be great tools

for learning.

• Knowing the future is very difficult;

Controlling the future is unthinkable.

• Knowing today is essential;

Today control is possible.

• Success is the result of continued action accompanied

by constant adjustments.

Knowing the future is very difficult;

Controlling the future is unthinkable.

Knowing today is essential;

Today control is possible.

The biggest challenge you will ever face is

to open your mind.

It’s like crossing a vast border.

You must be willing to be a pioneer,

to enter unknown territory,

face unfamiliar people,

conquer your own doubts and fears.

But this is good news.

If you can change your mind,

you can change your life.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes observed:

The human mind,

once stretched by a new idea,

never regains its original size.

If you want to expand your possibilities,

the first place to start is always in your mind.

“The human mind,

once stretched by a new idea,

never regains its original size.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes



If you want to expand your potential

and thus increase your capacity,

you must change your mind.

However, if you only change your thoughts

without changing your actions,

you will not be able to increase your potential.

To begin expanding capabilities,

follow these three steps:

Rich people wonder why not me?

I’m as good as everyone else and I deserve to be rich.

If I help other people solve problems,

why can’t I receive a fortune?

And because they believe so,

they direct their behavior towards the goal of realizing their dreams. — Steve Siebold


1. Stop just doing the things you did before

and start doing the things you can and should do

The first step towards success is doing well at

what you know how to do.

But the more you do what you know,

the more worthwhile things you’ll discover you can do.

When this happens,

you need to make a decision.

Will you keep doing what you’ve always done,

or will you take the leap

and try new things?

Doing new things leads

to innovation and new discoveries,

and among those discoveries is realizing

what you should be doing on a regular basis.

If you do those things,

you will continue to grow and expand your potential.

Otherwise, you will lead a mediocre life.

My friend Kevin Hall described the discovery

and development process in Aspire

when he wrote about a discussion he had

with one of his mentors,

retired professor Arthur Watkins.

This gentleman describes the growth of an entrepreneur

from an apprentice to a teacher.

Kevin recalls their conversation as follows:

One does not become a teacher overnight,

he explained.

There is a whole process.

One must first become an apprentice,

then a craftsman,

and finally a teacher.

Apprentice. Worker. Teacher.

These three words show how important

it is to go through the basic

and necessary steps

to acquire the humility

that is commensurate with true leadership.

Arthur became excited

as if he was about to reveal an ancient truth.

“Did you know that ‘apprenticeship’ means learner?” he asked,

then said that the word came

from the French word “appendre” which means to learn.

In earlier times, apprentice was the name given

to a person who would choose a profession,

then find a master in the village

and ask this person

to teach him the necessary skills in the profession.

After learning all that is needed from this teacher,

the apprentice will then go elsewhere to expand his learning.

After that journey,

the apprentice will become a craftsman.

A craftsman will go a long way

to study with a teacher

who can help him hone his skills

to the best of his ability.

Over time, a craftsman can eventually become a master

– and can start the cycle again.

The process of expanding one’s potential is always ongoing.

It has many ups and downs.

Opportunities come and go.

The standards we have to set

for ourselves are constantly changing.

What we can do changes as we grow.

What we should do also changes.

We have to leave some old things behind

in order to embrace the new.

It can be a very difficult task,

but if we are willing,

our lives will change.

In 1974, I began to believe that all ups

and downs were due to leadership.

With that belief, a passion

for leadership begins to emerge.

I work hard to learn how to lead effectively

and then reach out to people

is different.

After a few years,

I was able to comfortably lead others

and teach on the subject.

I enjoy what I have done

and reach for success.

But then I started to see opportunities,

other things that I could do.

I have the opportunity to reach more people.

I am at a decisive point.

Should I enjoy life or try to expand it?

Expansion means leaving your comfort zone.

I will have to set up a business

to produce teaching materials.

I will have to develop my team.

I would have to learn how to write books

so that I could reach people

I could never talk to.

I will need to travel to learn the customs

and cultures of people living in other countries

so that I can communicate beyond the borders of the United States.

All of these changes take time.

I made a lot of mistakes.

Often I overestimate myself.

Most days I feel like Pablo Picasso

when he said,

“I always do the things that I cannot do,

to learn how to do it.”

“I always do the things that I can’t do,

to learn how to do it.”- Pablo Picasso

The process of adaptation

and expansion has been and continues to be for me.

Recently, I have been learning

how to use social media to expand my reach.

I have founded two companies.

I learned how to start a coaching initiative.

And I’m continuing

to learn how to connect

with people in other countries around the globe.

I never want to stop learning.

I want to continue to expand myself,

expand my potential,

and improve my skills

until the day I lay down.

I want to live as author

and pastor Norman Vincent Peale says:

“Ask God, who created you,

to continue to pay attention to you.

Most everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone.— Jack Canfield


2. Stop doing what is expected

and start doing more than is expected

We live in a culture that rewards those who perform,

whatever their contribution.

Therefore, many people think

that they are doing well

if they only do what is expected.

I don’t think that helps people reach their potential

or expand their possibilities.

To do that, a person must do more than is expected.

We live in a culture that rewards those who perform,

whatever their contribution.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch called this “beyond mediocrity.”

To differentiate yourself

and elevate your career,

you need to do and do more.

You have to be above average.

You can do this by asking yourself more than others,

expecting more of yourself than others,

believing in yourself more than others,

doing more,

giving more and helping more.

I love the way Jack Johnson describes this:

“Going beyond what’s required of that mission,

doing more than others expect,

excellence is what it is!

And it comes from striving,

maintaining the highest standards,

paying attention to the smallest detail,

and going beyond.

Excellence means doing the best you can.

In all things! In every way.”

Doing more than expected

not only helps differentiate you

from your peers by giving you a reputation for performance.

It also helps you get into the habit of excellence.

And it accumulates over time.

Continued excellence will help expand your abilities and potential.

“If a person has the right view of money,

it can solve most other problems in their life.”– Billy Graham


3. Do the important things every day

Have you ever heard the saying “life is one big picture

and you should throw all the paint in it if you can?”

I like the meaning and spontaneity of those words,

but I don’t think this advice works

unless you want a mess.

A better idea is to turn your life into a masterpiece,

which requires forethought,

a clear idea,

and choice

when it comes to the paint you use.

How do you do that?

By doing the important things every day.

Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau writes:

If someone walks confidently in the direction

of his dreams and strives

to live the life he has imagined,

he will encounter an unexpected success in ordinary times.

He will cross an invisible line;


more universal,

and freer principles will begin

to take their place around

and within him;

and he will live with the right

to be in higher ranks than others.

I believe that moving confidently in the direction

of your dreams means doing important things every day.

Doing the right things every once in a

while won’t lead to consistent growth

and expansion in your life.

Both components are needed.

Daily growth leads to personal expansion.

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow compared his growth

to the growth of an apple tree.

“The purpose of the apple tree is

to grow a little bit of wood each year,” he said.

That is what I intend to do.”

He also expressed similar thoughts in one of his poems

when he wrote:

Not enjoyment

and not sorrow is our destined end always;

But to live that each tomorrow finds us further than today.

No enjoyment and no sorrow

is always the end of our destiny;

But live to make every tomorrow better than today.

If we do important things every day,

that may be true for us.

The majority think that getting rich is due to external factors,

while the rich know that it is due to internal factors. — Steve Siebold



One of the biggest rewards

I get from writing

and speaking is sometimes receiving news

that my work has positively impacted someone.

Recently, I received a letter

from Tim Williams,

a police officer with the county sheriff’s office in Colorado Springs,


He wrote me to tell me about the purposeful growth path

he has chosen to take

and how he has expanded his abilities.

Tim wrote:

I was asked to read 21 Golden Rules of Leadership

as part of my promotion exam.

I told myself that I would first read the books

I was assigned to read,

then reread each book,

and finally reread each book carefully with a marker

to highlight the test questions in potential investigation.

The first reading of 21 Principles left no impression on me.

Rereading it made me feel better

and agree with most of the statements in the book.

Upon re-reading it,

I concluded that I had a better leadership foundation

for the rest of my life.

Prior to being a non-commissioned officer in the sheriff’s department,

I spent 25 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces,

[so] I didn’t see leadership as a new concept.

Tim went on to say that he still reads books

as part of his personal development plan.

They changed his thoughts and actions.

As a result, he has continued to advance

within the organization.

“When I was promoted,” he writes,

“I was also able to institute some organizational changes thanks

to what I learned…

I was able to influence others

and be of great help in many people.”

Tim has acquired two habits thanks

to what he has learned.

First, he was the one

who took the initiative

to go to where the employee was

“I spent many nights in the prison going

from ward to ward visiting staff on duty and talking

to them about anything,” says Tim.

I spend time listening to them talk about their family

and sometimes their complaints.”

As a result, he started connecting with people.

The second is to write personal notes about people

to let them know that you care about them

and appreciate their work.

He is also intentional about recording

the positive things his employees

do in addition to candid criticism in their evaluations.

It boosts their morale,” says Tim.

Tim continued,

At the end of the year,

I decided to send an e-mail

to everyone assigned to my shift.

I want it to be positive

and transparent to everyone.

I held an annual event

and the results were amazing!

The use of my shift time off is greatly reduced.

I have attached the first version of the note

I named “Thank you guys! I know it all“:

Shift 4,

As the year comes to a close,

I wanted to take a moment

and think about the things you all personally have done

to make my duties as a supervisor easier.

Given the combative nature of our work,

I want all of you to know

what you’ve done for each other.

This year has passed,

in a way,

each of you has contributed to the success

that we all have and are having.

So for all the little things you might think have gone unrecognized,

let me just say:

Thank you guys,

I know it all.

Michael B., thank you

for postponing two planned vacations

so we have enough people for the shift,

for the math project,

for participating in the Academy Instructor challenge,

Thank you, I know it all !

Bruce B., thank you for coming

to work in pain,

not being able to hear

when you could take a break,

for being candid in your assessments,

for asking others questions

that you wouldn’t want to ask.

they want to,

because they have made efforts

to overcome difficulties to work.

Thank you, I know it all!

Rosemarie P., for reminding me of

what I had forgotten,

for giving up your place

as a member of my grand scheme in favor of Layne D.,

and for always waiting for me.

Thank you, I know it all!

Kelly S. for always being willing

to change your duties,

for coming here when you could say no,

to help us set the record

for midnight tire change among most people.

Thank you, I know it all!

John W. for being my first deputy superintendent

and the new commander of the shift

and knew very well that he would do his best,

doing it with his great personality.

Thank you, I know it all!

As a sergeant major

and retired officer of the Green Berets,

Tim Williams can say:

I have been a leader for over 25 years.

I know what leadership is

even when people’s lives are in danger.

I have completed my study program.

I will rely on my experience

and finish your career,

and everyone better do what I say!”

He could have done it,

but he didn’t.

Instead, he was open to development.

He decided to continue being a learner.

And for that reason, his life, his growth

and his potential continued to expand.

He lives by the principle of expansion:

Growth always increases your possibilities.

That quality is present in lifelong learners.

And for that reason,

their capacities continue to expand.

It is said that when Pablo Casals was 95 years old,

a young reporter asked: “Mr. Casals,

you are 95 years old

and the greatest violinist ever.

Why do you still practice six hours a day?”

Casal’s answer was:

“Because I think I’m making progress.”

You have the potential to continue

to improve until the day you die

– if you have the right attitude towards growth.

You need to believe what Rabbi Samuel M. Silver did.

“The greatest miracle of all,” he said,

“is that we don’t have to be our tomorrow today,

but we can improve ourselves

if we take advantage

of the potential that we have.

God has planted it in each of us.”

“The greatest miracle of all,” he said,

“is that we don’t have

to be our tomorrow today,

but we can improve ourselves

if we take advantage of the potential that we have.

God has planted the seed in each of us.”– Samuel M. Silver



1. You have made the mental transition from “I can’t! Or can I?”

to “How can I do it?”

Check it out yourself.

Do a dream exercise. Then ask yourself:

If I knew I couldn’t fail,

how would I try?

If I have no restrictions,

what do I do?

� If finances weren’t an issue,

what would I do with my life?

Take your time and write down the answers

to those questions.

Now, see your answer.

What is your reaction to them?

Do you look at them and think,

That’s so far away?

This is not possible.

It’s weird!

Or do you look at them and think,

How can I do that?

What do I have to do

to make this happen?

What do I have to trade

to make this transition?

If you are the latter,

you are mentally ready

to expand your capabilities.

If you are the first,

you still have to make an effort.

Take some time to figure out

what’s stopping you from believing

that you can make the necessary changes

to expand your life.

Test your own effectiveness

to make sure you’re thinking

What works?

instead of doing more.

Rich people are masters of non-linear thinking,

especially money thinking.

For example, if they come up with an idea

but don’t have the financial means to execute it,

they’ll use other people’s money to turn the idea into reality. — Steve Siebold


2. Test your own effectiveness to make sure you’re thinking

What works?

instead of doing more.

Flip through your calendar

and to-do list from four weeks ago.

(By the way,

if you’re not already using some sort of system

to plan your day,

that’s the first step you need to take).

Try to quantify the amount of time you spend on each action

and activity during those four weeks.

Then think about

how much time you believe each activity should take,

and rate yourself from A+ to F.

Now categorize all activities into categories.

Where do you see the patterns?

What is working?

What not?

What are you doing too much,

because you are not efficient enough

or because the activity is not successful enough?

What do you need to change?

Use required criteria,

achievements, or rewards

to help you determine what needs to be changed.

It is not the man who has too little,

but the man who craves more,

that is poor. — Seneca.


3. Do you have a plan and system in place

to make sure you’re doing important work every day?

First, determine what is essential

to you on a daily basis.

In the book Today Matters,

I write about dozens of my daily tasks.

I list them here for your reference:

Choose and display the right attitudes.

Identify and act on important priorities.

Know and follow healthy guidelines.


and taking care of my family.

Practice and develop positive thinking.

Make and maintain the right commitments.

Earn and manage your finances properly.

Deepen and live my faith.

Start and invest in strong relationships.

Plan and model generosity.

Embrace and practice good values.

Find and experience the advancements.

Once you’ve created your own list,

figure out what you’ll do

to follow those priorities on a daily basis

to stay on track and continue

to expand your potential.

The rich know that the safest thing is to act.

No matter who signs your salary,

your success depends on the service you provide

and the number of people you serve. — Steve Siebold

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