Success Principles – Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I read this book a few years back, but thought it was worth a bit of a refresher read. It is not a book of ideas and success philosophies but highlights several tried and tested principles that have worked for many successful people and businesses. I have captured the principles that are specific to managing change, and those that support some of the self-leadership attributes that need to be examined as we navigate a world that is changing at such a rapid pace. Despite the principles being derived over 30+ plus years ago they are perhaps more relevant now than ever before.

With the world becoming smaller, and with ideas and business models being a lot easier to replicate, the need to understand what drives successful change and motivation is key.

Big Messages/Key Quotes :

  • Take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life – the successes and failures. Quit blaming others, and complaining about not getting to where you want to be, which means you need to give up all of your excuses
  • Establishing the “why” of what you want to do is key, as the purpose helps to guide decision making, acting as a compass. The purpose needs to be established early, or you could end up at the top of a ladder which you later find out was leaning against the wrong wall
  • “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes” – Andrew Carnegie. Goal setting is a success habit, the ability to be specific on the why, what, by when and how it will look and feel when you get there
  • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one” – Mark Twain. Chunk large goals down into smaller component parts as it makes the process of getting started easier
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, success leaves clues, learn from those who have gone before you in the area you want to master. This does mean pushing yourself outside you comfort zone, regularly
  • Talk is cheap, only actions count…actions are the only things that allow progress to be made
  • “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all” – Michelangelo. Every success, even if it appears to be overnight, is supported by a long journey of learning, training, action, discipline, and sacrifice. All of this coupled with an appetite for continuous learning, which is a core way of operating for many success people and businesses, always striving to improve
  • “You become like the people you spend the most time with, pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people” – Mike Murdock. Be careful where, and who you spend your time with as you eventually become the company you keep. Hang-out with people that are motoring ahead and looking to grow, not anchors that are aiming to stand still
  • “Your subconscious mind does not argue with you. It accepts what your conscious mind decrees. If you say, “I can’t afford it,” your subconscious mind works to make it true. Select a better thought or decree, “I’ll buy it. I accept it in my mind.” – Dr Joseph Murphy
  • One thing all successful people have in common is the ability to accelerate progress and use this knowledge to forge ahead at speed. Hence, most will have a coach to support them on their success journey, someone in their corner to keep them on course and supporting the attainment of goals
  • “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Former U.S. Supreme Court justice. In summary if you wait for perfect conditions to start a journey, or a venture, or make a change, it will not happen… There is no perfect time to start, you must choose in that one moment to go!

Why read this book?

A very good summary of principles and disciplines that can be adopted by anyone who is looking to drive improvements in either themselves, their career or business. There are a lot of great examples, methodologies and approaches highlighted that can help to mobilise a person into action. Again, more of a reference guide than book, and something that can be referred to time and time again. After all a small part of continuous learning, is also going back and refreshing what was learnt previously, a form of life-exam revision !  


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