Monday, June 20, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

“Faith is the one power against which fear cannot stand. Day by day, as you fill your mind with faith, there will ultimately be no room left for fear. This is the one great fact that no one should forget. Master faith and you will automatically master fear.”

“How to have constant energy”
Peale revealed the secret source of energy of every great person he had known: attunement with the infinite. The knowledge that what one is doing is supported outside oneself and is serving a divine end provides a constantly renewable source of energy. Working only by oneself and for oneself leads to burnout.

“Try prayer power”
Prayer is different to what you may have thought. It is a space to say whatever is on your mind, in whatever language you choose. Instead of asking for things, give thanks in advance for what you desire, leave it in God’s hands, and visualize the good outcome. The Peale formula is“Prayerize, Picturize, Actualize.” Be surprised at its effectiveness.

“Expect the best and get it”
Fearful creatures that we are, we tend to expect the worst. But an expectation of the best has a way of organizing forces in your favor. You are less likely to keep anything in reserve. The subconscious, which regulates many of our actions, merely reflects your beliefs. Alter the belief about an outcome and your actions will seem to be shaped in order to achieve it. Peale’s phrase is: “Doubt closes the power flow. Faith opens it.”

In a nutshell
You can achieve anything if you have faith.

Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life 

“The traditional view of achievement, like the traditional view of depression, needs overhauling. Our workplaces and our schools operate on the conventional assumption that success results from a combination of talent and desire. When failure occurs, it is because either talent or desire is missing. But failure can also occur when talent and desire are present in abundance but optimism is missing.”
 
“The commonness of being knocked flat by troubles, however, does not mean it is acceptable or that life has to be this way. If you use a different explanatory style, you’ll be better equipped to cope with troubled times and keep them from propelling you towards depression.”
 
“What we want is not blind optimism but flexible optimism—optimism with its eyes open. We must be able to use pessimism’s keen sense of reality when we need it, but without having to dwell in its dark shadows.”

In a nutshell
Cultivation of an optimistic mindset significantly increases your chances of health, wealth, and happiness.

Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

“Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming.”
 
“We don’t have to allow the programming of our past to control our present and future. With this book, you can reinvent yourself by systematically organizing your beliefs and values in a way that pulls you in the direction of your life’s design.”
 
“Though we’d like to deny it, the fact remains that what drives our behavior is instinctive reaction to pain or pleasure, not intellectual calculation. Intellectually, we may believe that eating chocolate is bad for us, but we’ll still reach for it. Why? Because we’re not driven so much by what we intellectually know, but rather what we’ve linked pain and pleasure to in our nervous systems.”

In a nutshell
It is time to seize the day and live the life you’ve imagined. This is your starter kit.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

“The result of the affirmative process of prayer depends on your conforming to the principles of life, regardless of appearances. Consider for a moment that there is a principle of mathematics and none of error; there is a principle of truth but none of dishonesty. There is a principle of intelligence but none of ignorance; there is a principle of harmony and none of discord. There is a principle of health but none of disease, and there is a principle of abundance but none of poverty.”
 
“Whatever is impressed in your subconscious mind is expressed on the screen of space. This same truth was proclaimed by Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Buddha, Zoroaster, Laotze, and all the illumined seers of the ages. Whatever you feel as true subjectively is expressed as conditions, experiences, and events. This is the great law of life.”
 
“The law of your mind is the law of belief. This means to believe in the way your mind works, to believe in belief itself.”

How the subconscious works and what it can do
Murphy saw the subconscious mind as a darkroom within which we develop the images that are to be lived out in real life. The subconscious responds to habit and habitual thinking. Being totally  neutral in a moral sense, it is happy to adopt any habit as  normal”— good or bad.

Believing it to be so
“The law of your mind is the law of belief itself,” Murphy noted.  What we believe makes us who we are. William James observed that whatever people expect to be true will be so, irrespective of whether the object of their belief exists.


In a nutshell
By understanding how the subconscious mind works, you can learn how dreams become reality.

Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters by Philip C. McGraw

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Doing What You Love, Doing What Works

“The winners in this life know the rules of the game and have a plan, so that their efficiency is comparatively exponential to that of people who don’t. No big mystery, just fact.”
 
“Become one of those who get it. Break the code of human nature, and find out what makes other people tick. Learn why you and other people do what they do, and don’t do what they don’t.”
 
“Fact: Life is a competition. They are keeping the score, and there is a time clock.”

The message
People will take things away from you unless you stand up for what is rightfully yours, but because life unfolds over a much longer timeframe, you may not notice that, lacking a clear strategy, you are losing.
 
The very effective purpose of Life Strategies is to jolt you into realizing that the “trial” is permanently on and that there is no recess. If it could be boiled down to nine words, the book’s message would be: Life is serious and you are judged by results.

You either get it or you don’t
If you don’t “get” what behaviors create what results, if you don’t  have a plan for your life, you are not even in the race with those who do have these basic skills and strategies. 

Part of having this plan is to become a person who “knows the system.” You must become a scholar of human nature and the way things are done if you are going to get what you want.

In a nutshell
Get realistic about yourself and smart about the world. No one can do this for you.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change Your  Thoughts, Change Your Life

“If you want to understand your parents more, get them to talk about their own childhoods; and if you listen with compassion, you will learn where their fears and rigid patterns come from.”
 
“People will often tell  us that they can’t love themselves because they are so fat, or as one girl put it, ‘too round at the edges.’ They say it because they don’t love themselves. When we begin to love and approve of ourselves, it’s amazing how weight just disappears from our bodies.”
 
“Be grateful for what you do have, and you will find that it increases.”

All the familiar self-help messages are given attention, including breaking free of limiting thoughts, replacing fear with faith, forgiveness, and understanding that thoughts really do create experiences. Some of the main points are:

❖ Disease is the product of states of mind. She believes that the inability to forgive is the root cause of all illness.
 
❖ Healing requires us to release the pattern of thought that has led to our present condition. The “problem” is rarely the real issue. The superficial things that we don’t like about ourselves mask a deeper belief that we are “not good enough.” Genuinely loving the self  is the basis for all self-healing.
 
❖ Affirmations are about remembering our true self and utilizing its power. Therefore, trust in the power of affirmations to manifest what you want. They must always be positive and in the present tense; for example, “I am totally healthy” or “Marvelous work opportunities are coming to me.”
 
❖ “Whatever we concentrate on increases, so don’t concentrate on your bills.” You will only create more of them. Gratefulness for what you do have makes it more abundant. Become aware of the limitless supply of the universe—observe nature! Your income is only a channel of prosperity, not its source.
 
❖ “Your security is not your job, or your bank account, or your investments, or your spouse, or parents. Your security is your ability to connect with the cosmic power that creates all things.” If you have the ability to still your mind and invoke feelings of peace by realizing you are not alone, you can never really feel insecure again.
 
❖ One of the first things Hay says to people who come to see her is “Stop criticizing yourself!” We may have spent a lifetime doing this, but the beginning of real self-love—one of the main ingredients in healing your life—happens when we decide to give ourselves a  break. 

In a nutshell
You will only begin to change your life when you learn how to love yourself properly.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Doing What You Love, Doing What Works

“To feel better, women talk about past problems, future problems, potential problems, even problems that have no solutions. The more talk and exploration, the better they feel. This is the way women operate. To expect otherwise is to deny a woman her sense of self.”
 
“Just as a glass of water can be viewed as half full or half empty, when a woman is on her way up she feels the fullness of her life. On the way down she sees the emptiness. Whatever emptiness she overlooks on the way up comes more into focus when she is on her way down into her well.”

Men Are from Mars in brief

❖ The golden key to better relationships is the acceptance of differences. In our parents’ day everyone accepted that men and women were different, but the culture changed to the other extreme of there being no differences.
 
❖ A woman aims to improve a man, but a man only wants acceptance. Her unsolicited advice is never welcomed, being interpreted as negative criticism. Rather than presenting a problem to a man, which is often taken to mean that he is the problem, a man should be approached as if he may embody the solution. Men are focused on their competence and if they cannot solve problems they feel as if they are wasting their time. Women, on the other hand, actually like to discuss problems even without a solution in sight, because it gives them the all-important chance to express their feelings.

❖ Women are like waves, rising to peaks, falling into troughs, then back up again. Men must know that the trough time is when women need men most. If he is supportive and does not try to get the woman out of the trough immediately, she feels validated. In order to be motivated a man must feel needed—but a woman must feel cherished.
 
❖ Men alternate between the need for intimacy and the need for distance. Men’s going away into their “cave” is not a conscious decision but is instinctive. Women who don’t know about the need for the cave and seek constant intimacy will see relationship turmoil. Like a rubber band, a man needs to stretch—but will usually spring back.
 
❖ Arguments quickly descend into hurt feelings about the way a point is being made, rather than its content. It is the uncaring sound of the point being made that is upsetting. Men do not see how much their comments hurt and provoke, because they focus on “the point.” Most arguments start because a woman expresses a worry over something and the man tells her that it is not worth worrying about. This invalidates her and she gets upset with him. He then gets mad because she seems to be getting angry at him for nothing. He will not say sorry for something he believes he has not done, so the initial argument goes into cruise control for hours or days.
 
❖ Men will argue because they do not feel trusted, admired, or encouraged and are not spoken to with a tone of trust and acceptance. Women will argue because they are not listened to or put high on a man’s list of priorities.

In a nutshell
Before we can treat each other as individuals, we must take into account the behavior differences of the sexes.

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

 “Creative visualization is magic in the truest and highest meaning of the word. It involves understanding and aligning yourself with the natural principles that govern the workings of our universe, and learning to use these principles in the most conscious and creative way.”
 
“If you had never seen a gorgeous flower or a spectacular sunset  before, and someone described one to you, you might consider it to be a miraculous thing (which it truly is!). Once you saw a few yourself, and began to learn something about the natural laws involved, you would begin to understand how they are formed and it would seem natural to you and not particularly mysterious. The same is true of the process of creative visualization. What at first might seem amazing or impossible to the very limited type of education our rational minds have received, becomes perfectly understandable once we learn and practice with the underlying concepts involved.”

In a nutshell
Life tends to live up to the thoughts and images you have about it, good or bad. Why not imagine your future the way you want it?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

“The Character Ethic is based on the fundamental idea that there are principles that govern human effectiveness—natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real, just as unchanging and unarguably ‘there’ as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension.”
 
“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”
 
“Most people tend to think in terms of dichotomies: strong or weak, hardball or softball, win or lose. But that kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed. It’s based on power and position rather than on principle. Win/Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense of exclusion of the success of others.”

In a nutshell
Real effectiveness comes from clarity (about your principles, values, and vision). Change is only real if it has become habitual.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

“He had studied Latin, Spanish and theology. But ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world, and this was much more important to him than knowing God and learning about man’s sins. One afternoon, on a visit to his family, he had summoned up the courage to tell his father that he didn’t want to become a priest. That he wanted to travel.”
 
“’It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.’ 

Following the dream
This belief is a marvelous one, a support for anyone embarking on a major project. Nevertheless, is it a hope based on nothing? If you think about the energy you put into something once you are committed to it, probably not. The “universe conspiring” to give you what you want is, more precisely, a reflection of your determination to make something happen.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it—boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Love
The Alchemist is remarkable for being a love story that renounces  the  idea that romantic love must be the central thing in your life.  Each person has a destiny to pursue that exists independently of other people. It is the thing that you would do, or be, even if you had all the love and  money you want. Too often we see a love relationship as the meaning of our life, but the obsession with romantic coupling can cut us off from a life more connected with the rest of the world.

In a nutshell
We too easily give up on our dreams, yet the universe is always ready to help us fulfill them.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

“When we understand these laws and apply them in our lives, anything we want can be created, because the same laws that nature uses to create a forest, or a galaxy, or a star, or a human body can also bring about the fulfillment of our deepest desires.”
 
“The best way to put the Law of Giving into operation … is to make a decision that at any time you come into contact with anyone, you will give them something. It doesn’t have to be in the form of material things; it could be a flower, a compliment, or a prayer … The gifts of caring, attention, affection, appreciation, and love are some of the most precious gifts you can give, and they don’t cost you anything.”
 
“The fourth spiritual law of success is the Law of Least Effort. This law is based on the fact that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. This is the principle of least action, of no resistance … When we learn this lesson from nature, we easily fulfill our desires.”

In a nutshell
There is an easier way to get what you want from life, involving attunement with nature and the universe.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Achievement And Goal Setting

“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. ‘To know all is to forgive all.’”
 
“Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.”

The message: Education, not manipulation
The success of Carnegie’s adult courses revealed a deep desire for education in the “soft skills” of leading people, expressing ideas, and creating enthusiasm.

The book lists 27 principles, but most follow the logic of these first couple. They include:
❖ Arouse in the other person an eager want.
❖ Become genuinely interested in other people.
❖ The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
❖ Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong.”
❖ If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
❖ Begin in a friendly way.
❖ Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
❖ Appeal to the nobler motives.
❖ Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.


“If we merely try to impress people and get people interested in us, we will never have many true, sincere friends. Friends, real friends, are not made that way.”

In a nutshell
Really try to see the world as another sees it. The appreciation he or she feels means that whatever you have to say will be truly heard.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff... and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life -  Keeping It In Perspective

“So many people spend so much of their life energy ‘sweating the small stuff’ that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. When you commit to working towards this goal you will find that you have far more energy to be kinder and gentler.”
 
“One of the major reasons so many of us remain hurried, frightened and competitive, and continue to live life as if it were one giant emergency, is our fear that if we were to become more peaceful and loving, we would suddenly stop achieving our goals. We would become lazy and apathetic. You can put this fear to rest by realizing that the opposite is true. Fearful, frantic thinking takes an enormous amount of energy and drains the creativity and motivation from our lives.”

Become an early riser
Getting up long before his wife and children gives Carlson a “golden hour” in which to read, meditate, or think about the day in peace and solitude. Many have told him that this single act of becoming an early riser has revolutionized their life.

Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers
A frantic life of constant emergencies somehow seems to fit our idea of forceful, achieving individuals. Our idea of becoming more peaceful and loving seems to equate with a dreamy apathy. However, frantic thinking and constant movement leach motivation and real success from our lives.

If inner peace becomes your habit, there is ease in the way you achieve your goals and serve others.

Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences
This is a surprisingly easy way to become a more relaxed, loving person—try it.

Learn to live in the present moment
John Lennon said that “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.” With attention to the present moment, fear—being associated mostly with an imaginary future—tends not to exist. You may be amazed how easily tomorrow’s troubles sort themselves out. Make this a habit of mind and see life subtly transformed.

Allow yourself to be bored
Don’t be afraid of the vacant moment. You are a human being, not a “human doing,” so just be and consider your boredness. You may be surprised at how it clears the mind and provides new thoughts.

Imagine yourself at your own funeral
This is a super-valuable way of reassessing your priorities now, when it matters. Not many people, looking back on their life, would be pleased by how much of it they spent being uptight, with all the “small stuff” over which they sweated. Ask yourself: What sort of person was I? Did I do the things I loved and did I really love and cherish those close to me every day?

Redefine a meaningful accomplishment
Instead of always thinking of an accomplishment as an external thing, ask yourself about the achievements you have made in terms of your self. This could include, for instance, staying centered in the face of adversity.

Be open to “what is”
The world is frequently not how you would like it to be. When someone disapproves of you, even someone close, or if at work there is some sort of failure, acknowledge to yourself that this is the case, rather than automatically becoming emotional about it. After some time, things that once bothered you so much slip by without damage. In many ways, you are free of them.

In a nutshell
Put your little struggles into perspective; by doing this you can gain more enjoyment of other people and life generally.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

“You don’t have to be seriously depressed to derive great benefits from these new methods. We can all benefit from a mental ‘tune-up’ from time to time. This book will show you exactly what to do when you feel down in the dumps.”
 
“What is the key to releasing yourself from your emotional prison? Simply this: Your thoughts create your emotions; therefore, your emotions cannot prove that your thoughts are accurate. Unpleasant feelings merely indicate that you are thinking something negative and believing it. Your emotions follow your thoughts just as surely as baby ducks follow their mother.”

In a nutshell
Feelings are not facts. Always question whether your emotions accurately reflect reality.

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Keeping It In Perspective

“Throughout nature, growth involves periodic accelerations and transformations: things go slowly for a time and nothing seems to happen— until suddenly the eggshell cracks, the branch blossoms, the tadpole’s tail shrinks away, the leaf falls, the bird molts, the hibernation begins. With us it is the same. Although the signs are less clear than in the world of feather and leaf, the function of transition times are the same.”
 
“Whether you chose your change or not, there are unlived potentialities within you, interests and talents that you have not yet explored. Transitions clear the ground for new growth. They drop the curtain so the stage can be set for a new scene. What is it, at this point in your life, that is waiting quietly backstage for an entrance cue?”

The way of transition 
One of the interesting things about transition is the way it descends on us unexpectedly. The morale is: Focus less on whether an event is good or bad, but whether or not it involves an important change of life for you. And don’t be worried if the event seems relatively inconsequential; it may merely be the most obvious symbol of change, when there are deeper rumblings in the psychological ground beneath.  

The only constant is change
One of the messages of transition is that we can’t be the same person doing the same thing all our life.

Endings
To have a new beginning you need to acknowledge an ending. We all have different styles when it comes to coping with an ending, but each ending may reawaken old hurts or feelings of shame.

New beginnings
When do we make our great new start? Beginnings can often only be seen in  retrospect—they don’t seem impressive at the time. We meet someone who ends up being our spouse at a party we didn’t want to go to, we happen to open a book at a friend’s place that changes us for ever.

When we are ready to move on, opportunities will appear and it will be an exciting time. But be easy on yourself and maintain at least some form of continuity with your old life. Fresh with your insights from limbo time, don’t be too disheartened if things don’t move as quickly as you would like.

In a nutshell
All life transitions have a pattern, which if acknowledged will make tough times more comprehensible.

Finding Your Own North Star: How to Claim the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Secrets of Happiness


Your family of origin does not know how to get you to your North Star. They didn’t when you were little, they don’t now, and they never will. … People whose families were accepting and supportive have to face the fact that familial love can’t take them all the way towards their right lives.
Many people can’t figure out what they want to do with their careers until they restore themselves to physical health by resting deeply for weeks, sometimes even months. Whatever your body tells you to do, the odds are very good that it’s the next step towards your North Star.

The essential self and the social self
The essential self is the quiet voice that will ask you to “walk to the beat of a different drum” when you would prefer to stroll with thepack. The social self is the voice that may have determined most of your life decisions so far; it has provided you with skills, networked for you, and is basically “responsible.” Most people make their social self their master, but for you to live a fulfilled live it should be the other way around—take your lead from your essential self, and let the social self do what is practically necessary to get you where you want to go.

Bringing out the essential self
One of the most vital aspects of regaining your essential self is to learn how to say “no” again. Your body and your brain will happily tell you when the essential self has been ignored, be it through illness, forgetfulness, numb hostility, apathy, Freudian slips, or addiction. Listen to your body!

In a nutshell
The book for you if you feel as though your life has taken a wrong turn.

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Inspirational Book To Transform Your Life - Change your thoughts, change your life

“Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul that have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this—that you are the master of your thought, the molder of your character, and the maker and shaper of your condition, environment and destiny.”

“Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results … We  understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world—although its operation there is just as simple and undeviating— and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.”

“Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. This being so, we have to but right ourselves to find that the universe is right.”

We are the sum of our thoughts
We attract not only what we love, but also what we fear. Those thoughts that receive our attention, good or bad, go into the unconscious to become the fuel for later events in the real world.
“A person is what he thinks about all day long.” -  Emerson

Our circumstances are us
Circumstances do not make a person, they reveal him. we have no one else to blame for our present condition except ourselves.

Change your world by changing your mind
Most of us are anxious to improve our circumstances, but are unwilling to improve ourselves—and we therefore remain bound. Prosperity and happiness cannot happen when the old self is still stuck in its old ways.

Tranquillity = success
The best path to success is calmness of mind. People who are calm, relaxed, and purposeful appear as if that is their natural state, but nearly always it is the fruit of self-control.


In a nutshell
We don't attract what we want, but what we are. Only by changing your thoughts will you change your life.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nobody Wins Without a Loser

On the path to success, you will sometimes confront situations in which you must directly compete with someone and your victory will create bitterness. Even more frequently, your success will cause others to compare themselves to you and to react with jealousy at your ability.

Take comfort in the knowledge that it is not a personal attack on you but instead a sincere but unpleasant form of flattery.

Your Work and Home Lives Must Fit Together

Even if 99.9 percent of the parts of your car are in perfect shape, a defective .1 percent that includes a flat tire or a dead battery means your car can’t be used.

Much of your life can be healthy and satisfying, but if an important part of it is not working well, you will not feel fulfilled.

Successful living is not a matter of success in the workplace or success at home; it is the product of their combination.

Remember the Difference Between You and Everybody Else

Turn on the evening news, and you’ll see another day’s catalog of
terror and trauma. Read the business page, and you’ll see which local company is downsizing. Our big-picture perspective can be shaped, or misshaped, by attention-grabbing events.

The news doesn’t cover people who had a particularly good day and return home to their happy families. The news doesn’t cover the continued existence of a healthy company.

Don’t let the negative picture of the world cloud your perspective.

Whet Your Appetite for Success

Appetite is an instinctive human regulatory device. We do not have to do anything to create it; it is already there. We were born with some level of appetite necessary to keep us alive.

Motivation for achievement is also an instinctive human regulatory device. We do not have to do anything to create it; it is already there. We were born with some level of motivation necessary to keep us alive.

Because appetite and motivation are instinctive, they predate our knowledge of their existence. But that doesn’t mean we are powerless to change them. We already know how to regulate appetite: drink two big glasses of water before a meal, and you will reduce your appetite for food.

In the same way, we can kill or whet our appetite for success. If you spend your time worrying and impatiently awaiting an easy life, you will reduce your motivation for success. If, on the other hand, you  pursue activities you really care about, your motivation will increase.

Cultivate your instincts in the direction you want them to lead you, and your growing motivation will make the pursuit of success easier.

You Don’t Have to Get Straight A’s Anymore

We all remember our first performance evaluation. Report cards. We carried them home and presented them to our parents, yearning for their approval.

From a very early age we were taught the significance of outcomes. Whether it was getting a dollar for every A, being given a smile or  kind word, or avoiding being grounded, we discovered the report card mattered and we needed to be good at what we did.

We still carry this formative lesson of contingent approval with us. We still seek success to win approval, some of us from parents or spouses, others from colleagues and supervisors.

But just as having to get good grades to please your parents did not instill a love of reading, having to succeed to attain the approval of someone else will not make you enjoy the process.

To succeed, not just in the outcome but in the process, you need to invest the effort for yourself, not to win approval from others.

Life Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

Deciding how to spend money without going into debt is a zerosum process. If you want to spend more on housing, you will have to spend less on your car. Every additional expenditure has to be matched with an equal reduction in spending.

Some people view their lives in much the same way. If they want a career, they have to sacrifice family time. If they want a family life, they have to sacrifice their career.

But this equation is incomplete and misleading. Your time is not literally an accounting of minutes, like your budget is an accounting of dollars. Your time is a measure of commitment, concern, and efficiency, not just quantity.

You can do more when you use your time better. Take out a few frivolous time killers and work harder at using time well, and you can add to both sides of your life’s equation.

You Will Give Up Faster if You’re Not in Control

Some people give up the moment an obstacle is placed in front of them. Some people doggedly continue to pursue a goal even after years of frustration and failure.

What is the main difference between these people? It’s not ability or even patience. It is actually their sense of control.

Those who feel they are not responsible for choosing their goals and pursuing them tend to believe that results are arbitrary. To them, it doesn’t matter how hard you try or how talented you are, being  successful is like winning the lottery; it’s all a matter of luck. With this attitude, it hardly makes sense to work hard or be dedicated to a dream or goal.

Those who persevere, conversely, recognize that they are ultimately responsible, not just for pursuing their goals, but for setting them. When you are in control, what you do matters, and giving up will  not seem very attractive.

Leadership Is Contagious

True leadership strengthens the followers. It is a process of teaching, setting an example, and empowering others.

If you seek to lead, your ability will ultimately be measured in the successes of those around you.

Think About Who You Ought to Be

If you could snap your fingers and change anything about yourself and your life, what would you change?

Did you ask for riches and fame? Or did you ask for industriousness, caring, and honesty?

The more you direct yourself toward a fantasy life, the less satisfied you will be with who you are and the more frustrated you will become as you fail to attain the fantasy. The more you direct  yourself toward a better, more fulfilling life, the more you can actually lead a better, more fulfilling life.

You’ll Get What You’re Afraid Of

When we spend time worrying about things that could go wrong, we’re not spending time trying to improve. Which means that  worrying about things going wrong increases the chances that they will go wrong.

Accepting that sometimes we will succeed and sometimes fail frees us to pursue achievements and to spend time thinking about what we can do instead of what we can’t.

Take Off Your Blinders

Perspective is a powerful force. From a young age we are taught to hold certain expectations, and those expectations influence how we see the world.

Stereotypes inculcated in you when you were a child may be affecting how you evaluate other people and even how you evaluate yourself.

Nobody rationally chooses to limit their aspirations, deny themselves opportunities, and misjudge other people’s talents based on a set of stereotypes. But that is just what we do without even thinking about it because stereotypes alter our view of the world.

Listening Is More Than Not Talking

We think about what we have to say, how much to say, and how best to say it. We invest so much in talking that we sometimes treat the time when we’re not talking as a rest break.

Instead, active listening, investing ourselves in what others are saying, is the only way we can learn from others and adapt what we have to say to correspond to the other person’s perspective.

Make Change Count

We are all tempted by change. Whether it’s a change in procedure or a change in jobs, we are hit with a wave of enthusiasm as we focus on the potentially positive results.

All talented people want to make changes in their lives and in the world around them. If you believe you are talented, you begin with the notion that you can do things better, and therefore you should.

But it makes no more sense to rush into making every change you can than it does to run away from every change possible.

Boredom Is the Enemy

Boredom will eat away at your persistence and resolve. No one can do the same job, requiring the same tasks, with perpetual interest and enthusiasm.

When evaluating a job opportunity, don’t just worry about the salary and workload; investigate how much variety there is in the tasks you’ll perform.

Exercise and Eat Right

You’re focused. You use your time well so that you can accomplish as much as possible. Because you’re busy, you don’t have time to exercise, and you grab some fast food because it’s quicker.

That makes about as much sense as trying to save time by never buying gasoline, then having to walk to work when the car dies.

Healthy habits increase our energy and improve both our  performance and our satisfaction on the job. It may take more time, but in the end, preserving your own health makes possible  everything else you want to do.

Embrace Work; It May Have to Last Forever

We live in a culture that cherishes the dream of early success followed by early retirement. We read of a retirement utopia awaiting those who can afford it.

In truth, most retirees base their identity on their career and yearn for the activity and responsibility their work life provided.

Learn from Losses

The setbacks you experience are wonderful opportunities to learn. Not only can you learn, in a critical sense, what you might have done wrong, but you also can come to understand what has led you to make the choices you’ve made.

Are you pursuing the goal you truly want? Are you pursuing a goal whose steps you are suited for? Practice gaining something every time things don’t go your way.

Role Models Are Not One Size Fits All

We often see stories of inspiring people and wonderful successes. Some of us put their pictures on our walls or clip notable quotes from them. But what does that do for us if the inspiring person has done things we will never or could never do?

For many of us, the choice of a role model invites comparison, and if our abilities and outcomes do not measure up, the role model serves not as an inspiration but as a source of frustration and defeat.

Choose as your role model someone who has accomplished something you can accomplish and something you want to  accomplish. There is tremendous value in using co-workers or family members whom you admire rather than famous athletes, leaders, or historical figures, who have experienced great successes but whose experience has less in common with yours.

You Need to Know More Than Just How Talented You Are

You need confidence to succeed. You’ve seen that, you’ve read that, you know it. But your self-esteem must be built on a foundation of self-respect.

All of us will suffer blows to our self-esteem when we fail. Regardless of how strong our beliefs are, negative outcomes will shake us.

That is why you must realize not just how capable you are, but who you are. When events undermine your self-esteem, you must have faith in yourself that is unquestionable, undeniable. This faith in your integrity and your humanity will survive any attack based on a failure or even a series of failures. It will give you something to start from as you rebuild your self-esteem.

Success Is Formula, Not Fantasy

Watch a movie or a TV show, and see what makes people successful and happy. It’s usually some almost magical quality or event.

In real life, the main difference between people who achieve and people who do not isn’t as exciting or mysterious, but it is as important. It is simply conscientiousness. People who approach things with order, common sense, consistency, and persistence will ultimately succeed.

Lessons Can’t Threaten

Try to teach someone who doesn’t work with computers how much a computer might make their job easier. The most common reaction you find is stark reluctance. Why would anyone be against earning something that might make their job easier? Often it is because they fear that something that makes their job easier might one day take over their job.

Teaching is like asking someone to go on a trip. Just as no one is going to take you up on an invitation to travel on a trip from which they would never return, people will be reluctant to participate in learning about their own obsolescence.

When you try to teach anyone something new, you have to make it clear from the outset that the destination is someplace we’d all like to go.

Efficiency in Everything

Every organization suffers some waste. We’ve all heard stories of the federal government purchasing thousand-dollar hammers and hundred-dollar nails.

Sometimes we laugh at these matters, but ultimately they are very important to us. Nothing kills our initiative as quickly as the feeling that what we do doesn’t matter. An organization that wastes important resources, like the efforts of its workers, is an organization
that will waste your motivation.

Notice Patterns

What is the great common denominator of intellectual accomplishment? In math, science, economics, history, or any subject, the answer is the same: great thinkers notice patterns.

They see patterns no one else has thought of, patterns no one else has paid any attention to. Thinkers notice what goes along with what, and they consider the meaning behind those patterns.

Take time to consider patterns in your world that you’ve never thought about before.

It Starts and Ends with You

We live in a world where massive international corporations can grow bigger than a country. Yet many yearn for the freedom and personal responsibility of running their own operation. Given the number of different places the average person will work, the lifetime commitment of company to employee is a thing of the past.

Even if you never step out on your own, however, you will be making highly significant decisions about where you want to work and what you want to do. Accept personal responsibility for these decisions, and prepare yourself for the potential opportunities of the future.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When there are only so many hours in the day, and so much to do, the loser often ends up being sleep.

But sleep is a crucial factor in your ability to function. It is food for your brain.

You can sacrifice sleep to gain extra time, but ultimately you are sacrificing your ability to use your time with purpose and efficiency.

The Past Is Not the Future

It’s tempting to simplify things. The game is rigged. Some people have all the advantages, and they succeed. Some people have all the disadvantages, and they fail.

It is also, however, terribly misleading.

Your success is far more dependent on your behavior now than it is based upon where you grew up, where you went to school, or whether your path so far has been easy or difficult.

Opportunity lies ahead; it is a matter of whether or not you choose to pursue it.

Play the Odds

There is an element of chance in everything.

Every aspect of your education and career has been affected by quirks of fate. Great jobs are found or ignored depending on who read the classifieds that day. New opportunities are glimpsed or missed depending on who is paying attention.

Still, you have to embrace the uncertainty of outcomes and realize that chance can play for you or against you on any given day. But the more you try, the greater your opportunity to benefit from a lucky outcome.

Remember the Task, Forget the Rankings

How would you react if everyone in your office was being taught a new procedure and you felt completely lost about how it worked?

Most people say they would hide their ignorance from their coworkers. This means that for most people, not letting anyone know they need help becomes more important than finding out what
they need to know.

What is your true priority? Is it to cleverly trick your colleagues into believing you know everything? Or is it to learn what you need to know to do your job well?

Volunteer to Feel Better

You’re busy. You don’t feel there’s much more you can do at work or at home. But you want to do more, and feel better doing it. Take an hour this week and volunteer.

Yes, give your time away.

Volunteering of course aids our community, but it also opens us up to a greater appreciation of our own lives, which enhances our motivation to do what we do the best that we can.

Negotiate with Confidence, or Don’t

You will face many negotiations in your life, whether for a pay raise or the terms of a car purchase. What determines whether a negotiation is successful?

Skill enters in. So does relative bargaining position. But ultimately, when negotiations are prolonged, your willingness to continue is based on your level of self-confidence. No matter what your other advantages might be, you will end negotiations faster if you lack confidence, which means you’ll settle for a less advantageous resolution.

Remember Who You Are and Where You Are

A big organization, by definition, must ask its people to put their own individuality aside and work as a group. There is little room for some of the aspects of your life that are most central to you, be they religious beliefs or cultural traditions.

The ability to put these things aside at the workplace is an asset to your organization because your beliefs and traditions no doubt would conflict with those of others, until nothing could be accomplished other than arguing over decorations and the relative superiority of ethnic foods.

Nevertheless, putting these things aside in the workplace does not mean putting them aside in your life. To feel we have succeeded in life, we cannot conclude we have given up the things that really matter to us. Otherwise, what have we really accomplished?

Those who express satisfaction with their accomplishments know that they can never toss aside the beliefs, customs, and values that they hold dear. They just display them on their own time.

Use Your Own Self-Interest

What is the difference between people who willingly take work home with them on the weekends and people who scoff at the idea?

What is the difference between people who work hard all day and people who do as little work as they can possibly get away with? What is the difference between people who sign up for night school classes and those who can’t imagine going back to school?

What is the difference between the most driven and the laziest person? Self-interest.

We all do what we do because of self-interest; we think it’s the best thing for us. Those who work hard do so because they believe there is a reward awaiting them that not only justifies their efforts but also demands their dedication. Those who do not expend themselves do so because they cannot see the long-term benefit of work outweighing the short-term benefit of laziness.

Remind yourself of the value of the things you want, and the costs to you in effort will not feel as great.

Where You Stand Depends on Where You Look

Are you doing well? Average? Below average? We know the  answer. It’s obvious, isn’t it?

But how do you know the answer? Where does your response come from?

These judgments, in truth, are entirely relative. Feelings of success are based on our position relative to those who have accomplished less. Feelings of failure are based on our position relative to those who have accomplished more.

Your feelings are as dependent on your frame of reference as they are on anything you’ve done.

Speak Slowly

We have a lot to say and only a short time in which to say it. The natural tendency is to try to pack in as much as we can.

But communication is not about the number of things we say, it’s about the number of things that are understood. Good speakers master a practice that is simple but powerful: they speak more slowly than others.

Self-Motivation Works Once

Declare something, say all the motivational speakers.

What do you want? Declare that you shall have it. Want to be in better shape? Declare that you shall be. Want to get a better job? Declare that you shall have one.

We are comforted, energized, enthused by these declarations. Our mood, self-image, and self-esteem improve.

Unfortunately, the effects are temporary and diminishing. When the outcome doesn’t happen, we feel bad. And when we make our next declaration, it will be harder to work up even temporary enthusiasm as we recall the effects of our last failed plan.

Success comes not from self-motivating tricks and declarations of desired outcomes but from a steady, informed effort at progress.