The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

by Andy Stanley


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Not where you want to be?
Wondering how to get there?

Why is it that smart people with admirable life goals often end up far from where they intended to be? Why is it that so many people start out with a clear mental picture of where they want to be relationally, financially, and professionally and yet years later
find themselves far from their desired destination? Why do our expectations about our own future often go unmet?

What if you knew the answer to those questions? What if there was one simple idea that explained why so many people get lost along the way?

There is. It’s called the principle of the path. And not only does it explain the disappointment and regret that characterize the lives of so many, it provides a way for you to be the exception.

As you are about to discover, the principle of the path is at work in your life every single day. Once embraced, this compelling principle will empower you to identify and follow the path that leads to your desired destination. And this same principle will enable you to avoid life-wasting detours along the way.

“If you’re ready to break the bad habits, bad behaviors, and bad decisions that have been leading you into trouble, you need Andy Stanley’s The Principle of the Path.”
–Dave Ramsey, host of The Dave Ramsey Show
and best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849946363
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/28/2011
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 130,041
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Communicator, author, and pastor Andy Stanley founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM consists of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of more than 90 churches around the globe that collectively serve nearly 185,000 people weekly.

As host of Your Move with Andy Stanley, which delivers over seven million messages each month through television and podcasts, and author of more than 20 books, including The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating; Ask It; How to Be Rich; Deep & Wide; and Irresistible, he is considered one of the most influential pastors in America.

Andy and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children and live near Atlanta.

Read an Excerpt

The Principle of The Path

How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
By Andy Stanley

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Andy Stanley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-2060-8

Chapter One

Swamp My Ride

Now, if Louie and I had not been rescued by the stranger in the black Monte Carlo; and if we had, in fact, driven through the next set of barricades into a swamp, we would have done so for two reasons. And neither reason has anything to do with IQ, education, goals in life, net worth, looks, or church attendance. We would have ended up in the swamp because that's where the road led and that was the road we chose.

Anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, or sex, would have ended up in the same place had they chosen that stretch of highway. It didn't dead-end in one place for one kind of person and somewhere else for another kind. That unfinished stretch of highway was no respecter of persons. Everybody got the same treatment. And that's true of every highway, freeway, driveway, or path. It leads where it leads, regardless of who's on it.

Nothing new or original about that.

But here's where you may need some convincing. The principle you employ every time you look at a map or fire up your GPS (i.e., roads lead to the same place every time) applies to other arenas of your life as well. But what's perfectly obvious in the realm of geography is not soobvious in those other arenas. And, as we are about to discover, what's true geographically is equally true relationally, financially, physically, and academically. There is a parallel principle that affects parenting, dating, marriage, our emotions, our health, and a host of other areas as well. Just as there are physical paths that lead to predictable physical locations, there are other kinds of paths that are equally predictable.

Realizing that we are only a few pages into our time together, I don't expect you to accept my premise just yet. But before you start pushing back, consider this: What if I'm right? What if there really are financial paths that lead to predictable financial destinations? What if there are relational paths that lead to predictable relational destinations? What if there are emotional and spiritual paths that lead to specific emotional and spiritual destinations? I don't have to convince you that there are dietary paths that lead to specific health destinations. And we all know people whose lifestyle decisions led them to predictable predicaments. But what if those we-all-saw-it-coming scenarios reflect a universal law? What if there is a single unifying principle that governs what happens not only on the highway but in every area of life? I believe there is. I call it the principle of the path.


I refer to this as a principle because this isn't a rule you follow. Truth is, the principle of the path follows you. It's not a law. You can break a law. But the principle of the path has the power to break you. It is not an idea or concept you choose to apply. As we will discover, it is being applied to you every moment of every day. Principles are different from rules or laws. Perhaps an example will help.

When you were in high school, you probably studied Archimedes' principle. Ring a bell? No? It ought to, because every time you get in a pool, a boat, the bathtub, or a cruise ship, you are being impacted by Mr. Archimedes' principle of buoyancy. "But wait," you argue, "that's impossible; I don't even know what it is!" Maybe not, but you are impacted just the same. And to be fair, so is everybody you know. That's the nature of a principle. You don't have to know it or apply it to be impacted by it. And that's just the beginning. The principle that explains why a drowning man sinks is the same principle that explains why the flotation device the lifeguard throws in his direction floats. Go figure.

When the principle of buoyancy is leveraged, things float. When this principle is ignored or misapplied, things sink. According to Archimedes' principle, a body immersed in liquid receives an upward thrust from the bottom toward the top, equal to the weight of the displaced liquid. So five-ounce pebbles sink, and a fifty-one-ton battleship floats. Now, Archimedes was an inventor as well as a mathematician, but he did not invent this principle-he discovered it. Things were sinking and floating long before he came on the scene. He simply gave the world an explanation for something that had been happening since the first duck spotted the first pond. Knowing about his principle won't keep you from sinking, but learning how to leverage it will. That's the nature of a principle.

Like Archimedes' principle, the principle of the path is not anyone's invention. It is a discovery. A discovery that explains patterns that have been observed since the beginning of time. Specifically, the principle of the path explains why many people's dreams don't come true. It explains why intelligent people with admirable goals and ambitions end up far away from where they intended to be relationally, financially, educationally, emotionally, even spiritually. It explains why people who seemingly have everything end up with nothing.

But this same principle also explains why other individuals are able to attain the life and lifestyle they have always dreamed of. As Archimedes' principle explains both why rocks sink and boats float, so this principle explains why some people do well in life while others don't. But the principle of the path is more than an explanation. Again, it is a principle, which means that once it is discovered, it can be leveraged. To leverage something is to borrow or use its power. The principle of the path is a powerful principle, and its power is available to anyone who is willing to leverage it.

What Farmers Know

If you grew up around church or on a farm, you may be familiar with the principle of the harvest. As is the case with Archimedes' principle, whether or not you are familiar with it, you've been impacted by it. The principle of the harvest states that we reap what we sow. Sow apple seeds and you will reap a harvest of apple trees. Sow watermelon seeds and you get-you guessed it-watermelons. Nothing new there. This cause-and-effect relationship is in place whether you know about it or not. And it is in place whether you agree with it or not.

Chances are you've heard the principle of the harvest applied outside the realm of agriculture. The principle of the harvest applies to friendships, finances, and marriage. What you put into something impacts what you can expect to get out of it. Neglect your marriage or your health and the outcome is predictable. You experienced this principle at work throughout your time in school. What you put in determined what you got out. This principle operated in the background of your life whether you were aware of it or not. And if someone had brought it to your attention and you refused to accept it as true, it really would not have mattered. You were going to reap what you sowed anyway. That's just how principles work. And the principle of the path is no different. But whereas I've never met anyone who disputed Archimedes' principle or the principle of the harvest, I've talked to dozens of individuals and couples who refused to accept the principle we are going to focus on in this book. And the tragedy is, believing it or not believing it doesn't change the fact that it operates in the background of our lives each and every day.

Coming Up

At the beginning of the next chapter, I'm going to introduce you to and define the principle of the path. This one powerful principle, if embraced, will empower you to identify the paths that lead to the destinations you desire in a multitude of arenas. This same principle will aid you in identifying the paths you should avoid as well. Let me be specific. If you're married, this principle will help you stay married. If you and your partner embrace this idea, your marriage will get better. If you have kids, this principle will position you to hand off your values and worldview to your children. I've seen this principle heal broken relationships. Better yet, this simple idea protects relationships from being broken to begin with. If you're single, this insight will maximize your potential for healthy and enjoyable relationships.

When applied to the realm of finance, this principle will ensure that you live with more margin and less pressure. I've seen individuals and couples take this idea to heart and within a few months dramatically change the way they handle and view their finances. Sandra and I adopted this idea early in our marriage. We've never-and I mean never-had any consumer debt of any kind. And we've never argued over money. Granted, we've only been married eighteen months but ... Not really. We just crossed the twenty-year mark.

But that's just half of the story.

Embracing the principle of the path is the key to avoiding regret. All kinds of regret. Relational, professional, academic, moral, marital ... as a pastor, I've heard more stories of regret than I can recount. Hundreds. I've walked with individuals and couples through bankruptcy, divorce, custody battles, lawsuits, partnerships gone bad, and kids gone wild. I've listened to countless people tell me how badly they wish they could go back and do it all over: marry differently, date differently, spend differently, parent differently, live differently. But, of course, you can't go back. Anna Nalick is right: "Life's like an hourglass glued to the table." And for all you country music fans, Kenny Chesney is correct as well: "When your hourglass runs out of sand, you can't turn it over and start again."

Perhaps you've heard someone make the argument that experience is the best teacher. That may be true, but that's only half the truth. Experience is often a brutal teacher. Experience eats up your most valuable commodity: time. Learning from experience can eat up years. It can steal an entire stage of life. Experience can leave scars, inescapable memories, and regret. Sure, we all live and learn. But living and learning don't erase regret. And regret is more than memory. It is more than cerebral. It's emotional. Regret has the potential to create powerful emotions-emotions with the potential to drive a person right back to the behavior that created the regret to begin with. If regret can be avoided, it should be. And the principle of the path will empower you to do just that.

Now, I realize that's a big promise. I wouldn't blame you for being a bit skeptical. I'm well aware that the discount table at your local bookstore is filled to capacity with books making similar promises. But if you will indulge me for one more chapter, I think I can connect enough dots to convince you that this is not hyperbole. This is not a self-help book. I'm not offering a formula. I'm not going to provide you with seven steps. My intention is to bring to your attention a dynamic that is operating in the background of your life and the lives of the people you love. And if you accept my premise and keep reading, you will discover what I've learned about leveraging this powerful principle for your benefit. Because like the other principles to which I've referred, the principle of the path impacts your life every single day. And like any principle, you can leverage it for your benefit or ignore it and reap a harvest of regret.

Thirty-two years ago, a stranger in a black Monte Carlo raced ahead of me on a deserted stretch of highway and saved me from driving my car into a swamp. He kept me from ending up precisely where I didn't want to be. But he did more than that. He took the time to lead me to the road that would take me where I wanted to go. My hope is that this book will do the same thing for you.

Chapter Two

Why Bad Things Happen To Smart People

Once upon a time, before there were six hundred channels, DVDs, and On-Demand movies, three networks pretty much decided what Americans would and would not be allowed to watch on television. And I'm not referring to a rating system; I'm talking content. If they didn't broadcast it, there was no way to get it. During that era one of the major networks decided that it would be a good idea to broadcast The Wizard of Oz annually on a Sunday night. That was really significant for our family for two reasons. First, we loved The Wizard of Oz. Who didn't? Second, it was on Sunday night, which meant we got to stay home from church! This was an event my sister and I looked forward to almost as much as Christmas. If you were to ask my parents to recount their memories of this sacred occasion, they would be quick to point out that I watched most of the movie from behind my father's big, leather chair. The witch was a bit much for me, even in black and white. But I loved that night nonetheless.

As you probably know, the plot of this classic film revolves around Dorothy's desire to go home. After all, there's no place like home. Dorothy may have been the only adolescent to actually believe that. But this is a fairy tale, so anything is possible. Early in the film, Dorothy meets Glinda, the good witch of the east. And it is Glinda who informs Dorothy that her only option is to seek assistance from the great and powerful Oz. Unfortunately, that will require a trip to the Emerald City. Upon discovering this bit of disconcerting news, Dorothy turns to Glinda and asks, "But how do I start for the Emerald City?"

Glinda, with her head tilted to one side and her arms stretched wide to avoid crushing that impossibly large skirt, responds, "It's always best to start at the beginning-and all you do is follow the yellow brick road ... just follow the yellow brick road." And as it turns out, Glinda was right. A bit overdressed, but she was right. Finding the Emerald City was simply a matter of following the yellow brick road. Granted, Dorothy encountered a few obstacles along the way, but she never got lost. She just kept following that yellow brick road, and eventually she found herself in the wonderful Land of Oz. Why? Because there was something special about Dorothy or her companions? No, because that's where the yellow brick road led, and that was the path she chose. Well, actually it was the path L. Frank Baum, who originally wrote the story, chose for her. But you get my point.

Wouldn't it be great if there were a yellow brick road that led to wherever it is you want to go in life? Imagine a yellow brick road that led to a marriage that made you want to come home early every day. What about a yellow brick road that led to financial security? Or a yellow brick road that led to better health? Imagine a yellow brick road that would lead you back into a relationship with someone you never thought you would be able to reconnect with-your dad, mom, son, daughter, best friend. What if there were a road that led out of the valley of guilt, shame, or even depression? If that were the case, you would stop looking for solutions to problems, and you would start looking for the right path.

Recognizing the distinction between a solution and a path is the first step in understanding the principle of the path.

Let me explain.

How absurd would it be for someone who was lost, miles away from where he wanted to be, to say, "I need a solution!"? Or to ask you to fix his problem? Wouldn't make sense, would it? When someone is where he doesn't want to be, he already knows the solution; what he needs is direction. There is no fix for being lost. To get from where we don't want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction. There isn't a quick fix.

Being lost or far from where you want to be is not a problem to be solved. There is no instant solution for being lost. One gets to the place one wants to be the same way one got to the place one didn't want to be-by putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a specific direction. Cars have problems that can be fixed. Computers have problems that can be fixed. Lawn mowers have problems that can be fixed. But generally speaking, people have directions that need to be changed.

I've talked to many individuals who want to discuss their problems. But they don't really have problems. They have chosen to live in the wrong direction. They don't need a solution. They need a new direction. If you aren't sure you're buying all of this, just look back at your own life.


Excerpted from The Principle of The Path by Andy Stanley Copyright © 2008 by Andy Stanley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Swamp My Ride 1

2 Why Bad Things Happen to Smart People 9

3 The Great Disconnect 18

4 Should've Seen That Coming 35

5 The Heart of the Matter 56

6 My Italian Job 76

7 The Story You Will Tell 96

8 A Little Help from Our Friends 115

9 Attention Retention 135

10 Road Closed 156

Epilogue 174

Study Guide 179

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Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
PJtheEMT More than 1 year ago
This book is not simply another superficial self help book on how to achieve your worldly dreams of financial prosperity, successful career or satisfying marriage. Stanley offers practical and memorable advice on living one's life based God's moral principles rather than selfish or emotional desires. The message delivered in this book is broad enough to appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike. Nevertheless, Stanley does not shrink from the task of delivering the saving message of the gospel. Biblical truths are not watered down. According to Stanley, "The principal of the path trumps all things (page 15) .it is universal" (page 44) and regardless of your age, education, gender or economic status, the principle works the same way. Summed up, the principle explains that the direction a person takes, rather than intentions lead to the outcome in life. The biblical verse, "The heart is more deceitful than anything else", in Jeremiah 17:9 sums up the tragic results when we depend on emotion and worldly wants rather than on a God- directed path. Furthermore, to make poor choices that violate morals, will eventually result in one's downfall. As the book of proverbs advises we must run from danger, rather than succumb to it. If you simply depend on intention and short term wants, then emotions will lead you to become sidetracked to the wrong path. There is a cause and effect relationship at work, and these principles can be leveraged to our advantage when navigating through life's options. It is in our power to choose right or wrong, but at times we must step back, and evaluate our choices in light of God's wisdom. The simple abstract diagram on the cover cleverly sums up the principle of connecting the dots and staying on the God- directed course. A big strength for this book is the acknowledgement that at times we do suffer through no fault of our own. Or sometimes, we simply cannot reverse the damage or undue the consequences caused by a lifetime of poor choices. Because Stanley advocates a God directed path above all else, he acknowledges that we can still find peace even in adversity and turmoil. As a member of the Thomas Nelson Review Blogger program , I recommend this book for anyone who seeks some objective worthwhile advice.
johnsamuel More than 1 year ago
Beginning with a personal story, the author starts explaining about direction, destination and determination. He clearly states that it is direction not determination that decides our destination. The book encourages the readers to turn back to the past and see their current state and position. We all have certain desires and ambitions in life. Even though we are determined to obtain them, our current state is far away from what we desired for. The author explains the reasons behind the failure. Taking the examples of various biblical characters, the author proves the point. Through his book, the author stresses on the actions to be taken to reach our destination, a destination which we deeply desire for
gl More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: Andy Stanley's book caught my attention. He writes that the principle of the path governs the way that our lives progress, whether we're aware of it or not. Our paths that will take us to the path's destination, regardless of what we'd intended or had hoped to go. Certain actions always have the same results. In the simplest terms, the principle of the path is like the principle of the harvest, we reap what we sow. Or as he puts it, "Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences." It is easy enough to identify when someone else seems to be on the wrong path - one of disappointment or regret. It is not as easy to spot in our own lives. We can see the paths that we took in hindsight, but we need to take special care to see where our paths are pointing us right now. The book provides us with questions for self-examination to help with this. As we identify areas which we need to address, Stanley stresses that it is direction not intention that sets our destination. He writes that by acknowledging and acting on this cause and effect principle, we can avoid the regret that might come on many levels, "What seems like a sacrifice now will feel like an investment later on." The key is identifying when we're on the wrong path. The principle of the path does not try to provide a solution or fix, but instead proffers a guide to better self awareness. Review and reaction: I received this book through the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program. It's my first exposure to their books and found the book interesting and a bit discomfiting. The writing is anecdotal and clear. While the main point is straightforward, I thought the discussion was helpful because it forced me to think through my own actions and the areas in my life that need some work. It was the review of my own life that was a bit discomfiting. I particularly liked his description of the ways that we rationalize decisions. We delay making changes. "We listen to our hearts, and then we assign our heads the responsibility of building a case to support our hearts' decisions. But again, the reasons follow the decisions - they aren't the real reasons behind the decisions." I found the book interesting and helpful and would recommend it to others who are interested in examining their own lives and whether they're taking the right steps to reach their long term goals, whether financial, relational, or on any other level. Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing, Inc. (March 31, 2009), 204 pages. Courtesy of Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program.
I-love-to-read More than 1 year ago
Lord help me see trouble coming long before it gets here and give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. This simple prayer, based on Proverbs 27:12 is the basis of Andy Stanley's new book, The Principle of the Path. It is an easy-to-read common sense book, essential for today. Stanley asks us to just tell ourselves the truth and make decisions by asking ourselves these questions. Has God already spoken on this matter? What outcome am I expecting? Will my decision affect that outcome? What is the final story I want to tell? I read the book and then tried out this thought-provoking method on a few of my own issues. I was impressed with the ease of the process. Granted I still had to DO the right thing, but the questions make options clear. I would recommend the book (and the path) to any you who wants to live life at their best....
Jeff_McCann More than 1 year ago
Self-help books are a dime a dozen. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone, so wading through the useless, over-obvious or the more dangerous, complete fallacies, is a skill in and of itself. I can't believe how often I hear about well meaning Christian friends who get caught up in the Eckhart Tolles or and take those concepts as an addendum to their Christian walk or completely disregard the faith of their childhood for a new more fashionable and less "restricting" faith fad. This book will probably not become Oprah's book-club pick, nor will it likely gain the worldwide attention that Eckhart Tolle's books have, but it should. Andy Stanley has captured a principle so important and vital to our lives that it can't be ignored and if you read this book, I'm pretty sure you'll agree. The thing about principles is this, a principle is a principle whether you know it (and how to apply it's rules) or not. You don't need to know a principle exists in order for it to work or to benefit or be affected by the outcome. The principle applies it's rules to the situation regardless of how you respond. The best example of this in the book is when Andy refers to Archimedes' principle that ".any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object." This principle exists whether you know it or not, just ask any child who saw a pool full of people swimming, decided it looked like fun, jumped in and immediately sank to the bottom! The child hadn't been taught the principle of buoyancy, but if he/she had learned what Archimedes knew about floatation AND (the most important part) applied it to his/her situation, their outcome would be much different and more enjoyable! So, what if we could know the outcome of every situation and how to apply the principle of the path to every aspect of our lives. According to Stanley, we have already fallen victim or conquered situations in our lives by inadvertently applying the rules of the principle of the path or ignoring them. Andy Stanley's conversational approach to this concept affords an easy (but no less informational) read about improving every aspect of our life by understanding that no matter what decision we make, we are on a path and our decision has the potential to alter that path for the good or the not-so-good. Take the time, read the book and enjoy Andy's relaxed and matter-of-fact writing style. You'll learn a lot about yourself and I know you'll be the better for it. A very highly recommended book.
LOSTinMiami More than 1 year ago
Looking for a way to change something in your life? this book will compel you and give you the strength you need to take responsibility for your actions and remember that they affect more than just yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered why you are not where you want to be even though you got all A's in school, or was top ten in your class? In The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley explains how life is not made of decisions but is a path, and how to find the way to the road to get to where you want to be. It's a unique book full of great advice, funny stories, and informational experiences that keep you entertained while you read. The Principle of the Path will help you out financial, relationally, mentally.whatever! You will walk away from this book with a new insight on how you chose what you do everyday. Andy Stanley has a comical, creative way of writing that makes you want to continue reading to find out what he'll say next. If you give this book a chance you'll fall in love with it like I did!
cenneidigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book doesn¿t mince words, the author tells it like it is and sometimes that¿s a hard thing to hear. But if you are somewhere you don¿t want to be, then you need this book. He¿s not just talking spiritually, he¿s talking everything.Are you having financial, relationship, personal, and/or employment problems? If so, you need to stop and figure out what you need to change and how to do it. The author offers Bible and personal stories from his ministry to help you find the right direction. He gives you questions to ask yourself and explains how to tell yourself the truth, instead of the lies that got you in the mess in the first place. Honesty is the best policy, even to ourselves. Everyone else sees through the lies we tell them and us, so save yourself the trouble and don¿t lie in the first place.His next section made me really think. Attention determines direction, so where is your attention? What are you spending your time doing? That will be the direction you are going. Do you really want to go that way? Do you want to get out of debt, but you need to buy the latest gadget no matter what the cost? Do you want to marry someone you respect and adore, but you troll bars where the less then desirable members of society hang out? Do you want a promotion, but you arrive late and leave early whenever its convenient(more often than not?) These are tough questions, but direction determines your destination and many of us start out on the wrong road and years later wonder what happened. Decide where you want to be and get started going that direction and doing the things that will get you there.I saw myself in this book. I¿ve taken the easy way out more times than not and then wondered why I ended up without the job, education, or finances I really wanted. Where I am now is from the attention I placed on things in the past. I really can¿t complain too much, but maybe a different major in college would have been a good idea, and if we had read Dave Ramsey years ago we would be better off financially now. Read this book and you will see yourself and maybe, like me, you will have the desire to make a course correction and get on the right path again.Everything you do determines where you end up in life. Think about it and I bet you can see times you took the wrong path. What¿s amazing is, that it¿s not always your parents fault.I enjoyed this book, maybe not the fact that I now realize how many times I've screwed up and lost my direction, but it was well worth reading. It is short and to the point, take a few hours and discover a thing or two about yourself.
wkelly42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It really seems like a no-brainer: if you don't like where you're headed, get off that path. If you stick to a path, you'll end up where it leads. And in the physical world, it is a no-brainer.But spiritually, financially, and many other ways, people ignore this simple premise. They continue to do the same things, thinking that it will give them different results, and then wonder why things turned out the way that they did. Andy Stanley's book really does tell you "how to get from where you are to where you want to be."The most important lesson in this book, I think, is that intention doesn't matter. Sincerity doesn't matter. Direction matters. You can be sincere, but if you're sincerely wrong, you will fail. This is true in business, in our interpersonal relations, and in our spiritual lives as well.The book is an easy read, and serves as an outstanding starting point for a lot of different discussions. It would make for a great book club book; in fact, there is a 20 page study guide at the end of the book that facilitates book club discussion rather well.
Justjenniferreading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A review copy of this book was provided by Book Sneeze.The message in this book was a great one. Good choices and intentions are not all that lead a person to where they want to be. Not being a very spiritual person (in the sense that I don't go to church) I sometimes forget that if I do not let God into my life then my choices aren't what God wants me to choose. And even though I'm not spiritual I do realize that if I block God from my life than my life will not take the path I am supposed to be on.Having said that I have to say that this one took me forever to read (literally I think I've had this for a year and a half). It has a good message, I didn't feel it as being "preachy", and I agreed with most of what the author was saying. The problem was that I got so bored with reading it. It wasn't stimulating enough to keep my interest very long. I would read a few pages, set it down and dread coming back to it. The other day I realized I only had 50 or so pages left so I made myself set down and finally finish it, and even 50 pages took me forever.Again, I liked the message I just didn't connect with the writing.
KeikiHendrix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)These are not new words, not to many Christians and not to Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Church in Alpharetta, GA.In his book, 'The Principle of the Path: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be', these words are expounded in an authentic, genuine, conversational style prompting the reader to consider many of the choices made in their lives in light of an unyielding principle.So simple and still so profound is the key message "Direction - not intention - determines your destination." With engaging and often comical recollections of his sometimes 'unwise' decisions, Pastor Stanley addresses many of the causes and effects of the decisions we make.I particularly enjoyed the reference to Shanti Feldman's book, 'For Parents Only' and the study claiming that the frontal lobe of the human brain does not fully develop until the mid twenties offering a physical cause for the 'mistakes of youth'.Bible study students will identify with the many references to Proverbs and the examination of two great Old Testament men, King David and his son Solomon.Perhaps the most resilient herald in the book is the statement that the Principle is unyielding, unforgiving, and not prejudicial. You will reach the destination of the path you are on. It is in your best interest to acknowledge and examine your what direction you are headed.Small Group LeadersAs an additional bonus, a 10 Lesson Study Guide is included in the back of the book providing those interested in delving deeper and applying the ideas presented . A great resource and compliment to the book.
jpogue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered how you ended up here? Is your reality a far cry from your dreams? Are you a young adult in the midst of life¿s important questions about marriage, career and fulfillment? Andy Stanley offers a refreshing look at ancient wisdom about our chosen roads in ¿The Principle of the Path¿. Using an incredibly powerful analogy ¿ modern-day driving ¿ this little gem reminds its readers over and over that ¿what captures our attention influences our direction. Attention, direction, destination¿and as your attention goes, so goes your life.¿Stanley begins his study with an explanation of a principle, which is much different that a law or a rule one follows. Principles operate in the background of our lives, whether we are aware of them or not. They remain true, even if we dispute their existence. And the Principle of the Path impacts our destinations, even if we don¿t know about it or choose to leverage it in our lives. ¿Just as there are physical paths that lead to predictable physical locations, there are other kinds of paths that are equally predictable.¿ Through careful scrutiny of the lives of Kings Saul, David, Solomon and Reheboam in the Old Testament the author demonstrates this principle in action. He first asks us to examine our own hearts, where ¿the problem stems from the fact that we are not on a truth quest¿. Indeed, he convincingly argues, most of us are on a ¿happiness quest¿, which more often than not ultimately leads us to unhappiness.Throughout this book, Stanley asks tough questions that forced me to ¿pull over¿ and search my heart¿s true desires and God¿s call for my life. ¿Why do I hesitate to give God full access to every part of my life? How does God describe the human heart? How does this truth complicate things for [me]?¿ Stanley points us to God¿s Truth by way of Israel¿s great kings: David obediently following God¿s path instead of conventional wisdom when he had the opportunity to kill King Saul in a cave; King Solomon¿s happiness quest in accumulating seven hundred wives - many of whom worshiped foreign gods; and Rehoboam¿s foolish choice to follow his peers¿ direction over that of his father¿s advisors.Initially, ¿The Principle of the Path¿ seemed to smack of ¿prosperity gospel¿, a step-by-step guide to ¿attain the life and lifestyle [you] have always dreamed of.¿ I felt oddly uncomfortable as I read the first few chapters in which the author encourages his readers with the promise that the Principle of the Path¿s power is available to anyone who is willing to leverage it.¿ By the end of the third chapter, I found myself caught myself being overly critical of Stanley¿s message about our ¿destinations¿. After all, Jesus calls us to much more than power and success in life.I am glad, however, that I kept reading. By the fourth chapter, ¿The Heart of the Matter¿ Mr. Stanley takes us through an in-depth look at wisdom, truth, integrity and common sense. The reminders from the Bible to take refuge from danger, to seek out advice from those older and wiser, and to pay attention to things that matter were quite practically helpful. Nonetheless, this author still seemed to miss God¿s ultimate desire for each of us ¿ to embody and personify His Love as we journey through life.After an incredibly difficult year for me personally, this book¿s true redemption was Mr. Stanley¿s compassion for those inevitable times when all of us receive ¿information that serves as a stake through the heart of our dreams¿ ¿ lost chances, a loved one¿s death, a friend¿s betrayal, and the point in time when we realize ¿that dream isn¿t coming true.¿ This author doesn¿t simply offer a clear and biblical road map for leaning on God to get us where we want to go. In his chapter ¿Road Closed¿ he also offers God¿s healing balm of love and mercy for those of us faced with a destination not of our own choosing as we continue to trust the One who has led us here.With a wonderfully probing study guide
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading the first 2 chapters you can infer the simplicity of the message Andy Stanley is portraying. All of the principles in the book are basic, however, imparatively necessary. We all took a path to get where we are. Stanley makes a point that we were all being shown signs, such as ones you would see while taking a road trip; & these signs are warnings that tell us where we're going, even if its not where we intend to be. Using Biblical principles to staple his point, this book is a great read that emphasizes what God knows is best for us.
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djd1795 More than 1 year ago
Andy Stanley states, "The principle you employ every time you look at a map or fire up your GPS (i.e., roads lead to the same place every time) applies to other arenas of your life as well. But what's perfectly obvious in the realm of geography is not so obvious in those other arenas. And. what's true geographically is equally true relationally, financially, physically, and academically. There is a parallel principle that affects parenting, dating, marriage, our emotions, our health, and a host of other areas as well. Just as there are physical paths that lead to predictable physical locations, there are other kinds of paths that are equally predictable." Stanley calls this the principle of the path. Through the retelling of life experiences, both personal and gained through his years of being a pastor; and stories from the Bible, Stanley demonstrates how direction-not intention- determines destination. Although the information given is not new it is presented in such a way that made me stop and think about some of my own past decisions and about where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. I used this book in my daily devotions for several weeks and am sure that many of Stanley's points will be forever engrained in my mind: -You don't have problems to fix; you have directions that need to change. -Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences. -What gets our attention determines our direction and, ultimately, our destination. -Knowing doesn't make a difference. Doing does. The Principle of the Path is a good book, whether you are where you want to be or still trying to reach your destination. The book can be a quick, easy read; or used as devotional material (there is a study guide in the back of the book) over a longer period of time. It's your choice. As Stanley states at the end of the book, "The decisions you make will determine the direction and the destination of your life. Choose wisely." -------------------------- Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review through BookSneeze®. I am not required to give a positive opinion but I am required to give my honest opinion.
IgniteSuccess More than 1 year ago
The Principle of the Path Overview I grew up believing in fate - that whatever happened, it was meant to be. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley presents an interesting argument that each decision we make places us on a path for the rest of our lives. It puts us in the driver seat of our own lives and allows us to feel some sense of control over our successes and failures. This book is an excellent as Andy intertwines many of his own personal stories with the key messages of his book. His language is easy to read and his stories bring his theories to life. The book includes the following topics Why bad things happen to smart people Should have seen that coming The heart of the matter Getting help from your friends Attention retention Road Closed Greatest Lesson The greatest lesson I learned from this book is that we must have the foresight to consider the long-term impacts of our decisions. Each decision is not an isolated event, but rather one additional step on our life plan. The book offers some wonderful advice about how to select and stay on the right path throughout life. For example, Andy suggests that you should become friends with individuals who are further down the path you want to be on and seek advice from them on how they got there. This is much more effective than surrounding yourself with friends who are at the same stage as you and may not have the wisdom and experience to help you move forward in your path. "You will never reach your full potential without tapping in to the wisdom of others" (page 133) Recommendation I recommend The Principle of the Path for anyone (young or old) who is looking to understand why they have ended up on the path they are on. This book will inspire you to adjust your path to achieve greater success and happiness in life. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RonD More than 1 year ago
The Principle of the Path is a simple concept yet so powerful. I believe many readers initially would say, 'Andy, can you write something new?' but as they read on, they change to 'Andy, can I have more?' Andy Stanley, like any great writer would, presented to us concise unambiguous principle of life. This is a complicated world and people make difficult choices and this book if carefully adhered to would be life and destiny changing! In fact, not only Christians can benefit from this principle but everyone should get a hold on it. This book has disturbed me in a good way as I now have to think through every path I take. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is serious about life and destiny. I give this book a five-star!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Marcin_Hartman More than 1 year ago
I love and appreciate books and sermons by Pastor Andy Stanley and in "The Principle of the Path" he is definitely in top form. The book is subtitled "How to get from where you are to where you want to be" and deals with the, seemingly well-known, premise, that direction - not intention - determines our destination. Hence, in order to arrive at the desirable place, we need to make every effort to get on the right path. The one that leads to where we're heading. It's not exactly a book on rocket science, no. But, with a number of well-placed examples and personal stories of failure (don't we all love to learn from examples of others ;)), Pastor Andy shows the clear way forward. And leaves it to our determination finding (and following) the right path. How do you respond to the warning signs you see? How do you handle independence when it is so tempting to neglect the voices of reason in our life? If you arrived to where the current path of your life leads you to, would you be satisfied with the destination? There is plenty to do while we still can make a difference in this world and I find "The Principle of the Path" to be very helpful on this quest. Especially that it comes with a study guide to help us turn our wishful thinking into direction shift. Most of us need it more than we know.