Read an Excerpt
Leadership Principles for Graduates
Create Success in Life One Day at a Time
By John C. Maxwell
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Maxwell Motivation, Inc.
All rights reserved.
DREAM EVERY DAY
Nurture Your 'Children'
Do you take care of your "children"? You may never have thought of your dreams as children, but that's what they are. They are your offspring—the joy of your today and the hope of your future. Protect them. Feed them. Nurture them. Encourage them to grow. Care for them. For someday, they may take care of you.
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. —Napoleon Hill
You cannot do it on your own. You will need the help of others—and you will need to give help to others—if you want to be successful. And that will require you to connect with others. To do that, follow these suggestions:
Focus on people.
Show others that you care.
Remember everyone's name.
Walk slowly through the crowd.
Seven Secrets of Success
1. There is no secret of success.
2. Success is for everyone.
3. Your life becomes better only when you become better.
4. There is no success without sacrifice.
5. Success is achieved in inches, not miles.
6. The greatest enemy of tomorrow's success is today's success.
7. No advice on success works unless you do.
Opportunities Are Everywhere
A young man from the city graduated from college with a degree in journalism and got a job at a small-town newspaper. One of his first assignments was to interview an old farmer who lived twenty miles outside of town. As he sat with the grizzled man on his front porch, the young journalist looked at his notepad and started asking his questions. One of the first he asked was, "Sir, what time do you go to work in the morning?"
The old farmer chuckled and replied, "Son, I don't go to work. I'm surrounded by it."
We can learn a lesson from the old farmer. Opportunities are a lot like his work. They are everywhere. But the problem is that we often don't have the eyes to see them.
As you approach each day, look around. Be aware. If you don't see opportunities, remember that it's not because they aren't there. You're always surrounded by them. You simply need to open your eyes and see them. Then act on them.
More to improve and fewer to disapprove.
More doers and fewer talkers.
More to say it can be done and fewer to say it's impossible.
More to inspire others and fewer to throw cold water on them.
More to get into the thick of things and fewer to sit on the sidelines.
More to point out what's right and fewer to show what's wrong.
More to light a candle and fewer to curse the darkness. —Author Unknown
You will be as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration. —James Allen
Find Your Vision
One of the great dreamers of the twentieth century was Walt Disney. Any person who could create the first sound cartoon, first all-color cartoon, and first animated feature-length motion picture is definitely someone with vision. But Disney's greatest masterpieces of vision were Disneyland and Walt Disney World. And the spark for that vision came from an unexpected place.
Back when Walt's two daughters were young, he used to take them to an amusement park in the Los Angeles area on Saturday mornings. His girls loved it, and he did too. Amusement parks are a kid's paradise, with wonderful atmosphere: the smell of popcorn and cotton candy, the gaudy colors of signs advertising rides, and the sound of kids screaming as the roller coaster plummets over a hill.
Walt was especially captivated by the carousel. As he approached it, he saw a blur of bright images racing around to the tune of energetic calliope music. But when he got closer and the carousel stopped, he could see that his eye had been fooled. He observed shabby horses with cracked and chipped paint. And he noticed that only the horses on the outside row moved up and down. The others stood lifeless, bolted to the floor.
The cartoonist's disappointment inspired him with a grand vision. In his mind's eye he could see an amusement park where the illusion didn't evaporate, where children and adults could enjoy a carnival atmosphere without the seedy side that accompanies some circuses or traveling carnivals. His dream became Disneyland.
For Disney, vision was never a problem. Because of his creativity and desire for excellence, he always saw what could be. If you lack vision, look inside yourself. Draw on your natural gifts and desires. Look to your calling if you have one. And if you still don't sense a vision of your own, then consider hooking up with a leader whose vision resonates with you.
From The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader
One Step Further
Do more than exist: live.
Do more than touch: feel.
Do more than look: observe.
Do more than read: absorb.
Do more than hear: listen.
Do more than listen: understand.
Do more than think: reflect.
Do more than just talk: say something. —Author Unknown
People who have given up are ruled by their darkest mistakes, worst failures, and deepest regrets. If you want to be successful, then be governed by your finest thoughts, your highest enthusiasm, your greatest optimism, and your most triumphant experiences. —John C. Maxwell
Mrs. Field's Recipe for Success
Love what you're doing. Believe in your product. Select good people. —Debbi Fields
It's easier to settle for average than strive for achievement.
It's easier to be saturated with complacency than stirred with compassion.
It's easier to be skeptical than successful.
It's easier to question than conquer.
It's easier to rationalize your disappointments than realize your dreams.
It's easier to belch the baloney than bring home the bacon.
The Door to Opportunity
Opportunities and motivation are connected.
Motivated people see opportunities, and opportunities are often what motivate people.
Great attitudes precede great opportunities.
Who you are determines what you see.
Today is the best day for an opportunity.
Opportunity always takes "now" for an answer.
Opportunities are the result of pluck, not luck.
The people who succeed seek out opportunities, and if they can't find them, they create them.
Opportunities don't present themselves in ideal circumstances. If you wait for all the lights to turn green, you will never leave your driveway.
Opportunity without commitment will be lost. Abandoned opportunities are never lost—they are simply pursued by the competition.
Opportunity is birthed out of problems. If you're looking for a BIG opportunity, find a BIG problem.
Opportunities either multiply or disappear. The more opportunities you pursue, the more you find behind them.
Opportunities must be nourished if they are to survive. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, says, "Feed an opportunity; starve a problem."
To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success. —Henry John Heinz
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. —Helen Keller
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences. —Susan B. Anthony
I Dare You to Try
Sometimes we don't know what we want until someone tells us we can't have it. That's what happened with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. He was wounded three times during the Civil War, and while home on medical leave he decided to go to law school. His father, a renowned physician who dominated his family, scorned the young man's decision. "What's the use of that? A lawyer can't become a great man." Many years later, while still serving on the U.S. Supreme Court at the age of ninety, Holmes recalled his father's words and how they spurred him to pursue his dream and prove his worth as a lawyer.
We cannot achieve our wildest dreams by remaining who we are. —John C. Maxwell
Keep your goals out of reach but not out of sight. —Author Unknown
The Da Vinci Dreams
Leonardo da Dinci was a dreamer. While apprenticed to a prominent artist in Florence, Italy, he learned among the best and brightest of the time and had access to the most powerful patrons of the emerging Renaissance.
But Leonardo's circumstances aren't what made him great. His dreams did. From his youth he'd kept notebooks of inventions that he'd dreamed up, natural forms that he'd observed, and even short stories—all things that fired his imagination and his thirst to learn more about the world. The few notebooks that have survived since his death in 1519 show us the genius of a visionary far ahead of his time. The technologies and financial support needed to implement his ideas were still centuries away from being available. Gliders, scuba gear, parachutes, water pumps, bicycles, mechanical looms, cannons, portable bridges, helicopters, musical instruments, a calculator, even a robot—variations of these were among his ideas, and many have been crafted in modern times to prove that they worked perfectly.
The world wasn't ready for most of Leonardo's dreams. But he kept dreaming.
Your colleagues and friends won't always be ready for your ideas. But you must keep imagining. Write down what you envision, refine your ideas, and when the right moment comes, take action to bring your dreams to life.
The Greatest General
A man died and met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Recognizing the saint's knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to ask him a question.
"Saint Peter," he said, "I have been interested in military history for many years. Tell me, who was the greatest general of all times?"
Peter quickly responded, "Oh, that is a simple question. It's that man right over there."
The man looked where Peter was pointing and answered, "You must be mistaken. I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer."
"That's right," Peter remarked, "but he would have been the greatest general of all time—if he had been a general."
All You Can
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
It is your duty to find yourself. —John C. Maxwell
Pursue Your Passion
Elizabeth Blackwell decided to pursue a career in medicine after a dying friend confessed that she might have sought treatment sooner if a woman doctor had been available. However, many obstacles lay in her way: she lacked money, she lacked the education necessary for admittance to medical school, and she was a single woman living in the mid-1800s. No woman had ever been accepted to medical school, and no doctor believed she could succeed.
Persistent in her dream, Elizabeth convinced a doctor to teach her privately and let her use his personal library to prepare for medical school. After dozens of rejections, a small medical school in Geneva, New York, agreed to let her join the class under one condition: the other students had to agree. Thinking it was a joke, the students unanimously agreed to admit her, and on November 6, 1847, Elizabeth took her place in the class. She endured not only the grueling work, but also the curiosity and outright scorn of onlookers. Hospitals refused to permit her hands-on training, so she worked among the poverty-stricken ill and insane of Philadelphia instead.
In 1849, Elizabeth graduated first in her class, having won the respect of teachers, classmates, and townfolk.
But more battles lay ahead. Newspapers throughout the United States and Europe mocked or vilified both Elizabeth and Geneva Medical College. When Elizabeth sought additional training in Paris and London, she had to face the same obstacles there that she had in America. When she established her practice back in New York, patients were slow in coming, so she responded by opening her own medical college that treated indigent women and children while training female doctors and nurses. This institution still exists as the New York University Downtown Hospital, where more than 1,500 people were treated after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
Elizabeth pursued her passion, and she made a tremendous difference—in her own life, in the lives of other women who have followed her into the medical profession, and in the lives of the countless people who have benefited from women's medical expertise.
What's your dream? What are you doing about it? Be persistent in your passion!
Exercise for Success
Think of the pursuit of your dream as being like a major athletic event. Train for it. As you prepare and "exercise," you will get stronger—mentally, emotionally, and physically. To successfully achieve your dream, you need to keep improving. The best way to do that is to ...
keep your body fit.
keep your heart flexible.
keep your mind open.
keep your comfort zone expanding.
Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. —Martin Luther King Jr.
All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action. —James Russell Lowell
Keys to Success
Most men die from the neck up at age twenty-five because they stop dreaming. —Ben Franklin
Those closest to you will stretch your vision or choke your dreams. —John C. Maxwell
You will invest your life in something, Or you will throw it away on nothing. —Haddon Robinson
Never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. —Harriett Beecher StoweCHAPTER 2
PERSEVERE EVERY DAY
Do Yourself a Favor
A poor, hungry young man sat moping on a bridge, watching a group of fishermen. Looking into a basket and seeing a bunch of fish nearby, the young man said, "Boy, if I had a mess of fish like that, I'd be in good shape. I'd sell them and buy some clothes and something to eat."
"I'll give you that many fish if you do a small favor for me," a fisherman replied.
"Tend this line for me awhile. I've got some errands to do up the street," said the older man.
The young man gladly accepted the offer. As he tended the man's pole, the fish were really biting, and he reeled in one fish after another. It wasn't long before he was smiling, enjoying the activity.
When the older man returned, he said, "I want to give you the fish I promised. Here, take all the fish you caught. But I also want to give you a piece of advice. The next time you're in need, don't waste time daydreaming and wishing for what could be. Get busy, cast the line yourself, and make something happen."
A Thorn in Your Side?
As you discover your purpose in life and pursue your dreams, you will inevitably spend more and more of your time doing what you enjoy and do best.
That's good. You can achieve your dreams only if you focus on your priorities.
But success requires something else: discipline. One of the best ways I know to improve discipline is to do something you don't enjoy doing—every day. If you learn to do what you must, you will be able to do what you want.
Excerpted from Leadership Principles for Graduates by John C. Maxwell. Copyright © 2007 Maxwell Motivation, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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