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

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

Chapter 9 Ladder Principle

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.

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.

Unsuccessful people are always asking,

“What’s in it for me?’” – Brian Tracy



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.

You cannot have a million-dollar dream

with a minimum wage work ethic. ― Stephan C. Hogan



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.

Learning to distance yourself from all the negativity is

one of the greatest lessons

to achieve inner peace. ― Roy T. Bennett



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.

Life is short.

Focus on what really matters most.

You have to change your priorities over time. ― Roy T. Bennett



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.

Live the life of your dreams:

Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision

and purpose instead of the expectations

and opinions of others. ― Roy T. Bennett


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?

It takes sunshine and rain to make a rainbow.

There would be no rainbows without sunshine and rain. ― Roy T. Bennett 


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.

If you don’t know who you truly are,

you’ll never know what you really want. ― Roy T. Bennett


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.

You don’t have time and money

because you don’t invest time and money. — Grant Cardone


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.

I’m a great believer in luck,

and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. — Thomas Jefferson


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.

Being grateful does not mean that everything is necessarily good.

It just means that you can accept it as a gift. ― Roy T. Bennett


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.

The road to success is always under construction. — Aysa Angel


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.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions,

but in having few wants. — Epictetus


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.

Always deliver more than expected. — Larry Page


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.

You just have to pay attention to what people need

and what has not been done. — Russell Simmons


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.

“I discovered that wealth is a kind of perception

and that anyone can perceive it

by thinking like a rich person.”– Andrew Young


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.

Opportunity is missed by most people

because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. — Thomas Edisongreat


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.

A wise person should have money in their head,

but not in their heart. — Jonathan Swift




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.

Formal education will make you a living;

self-education will make you a fortune. — Jim Rohn



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.

Empty pockets never held anyone back.

Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. — Norman Vincent Peale

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…

Annual income twenty pounds,

annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.

Annual income twenty pounds,

annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six,

result misery. — Charles Dickens

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