Why Should I Read | The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

For me, you pursue what you love regardless of what else happens. If you fail or fall flat on your face, and that’s the worst thing that can happen, it’s OK. When did pursuing what you love become such a bad thing? I’ll make all the sacrifices to be the best I can.                         -Tim Tebow quoted in The Atlantic

Tebow Showcase

Former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow smiles during a work out for baseball scouts and the media during a showcase on the campus of the University of Southern California, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 in Los Angeles. The Heisman Trophy winner works out for a big gathering of scouts on USC’s campus in an attempt to start a career in a sport he hasn’t played regularly since high school. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Some would say Tebow’s baseball ambitions are a sideshow, I say it’s a world-class example of Stephen Covey’s first habit.

Did Tebow’s MLB tryout this week inspire me to pick up The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?  No, but because I’ve read this book, I see the results of these habits played out more clearly in the lives of people around me.

Back while reviewing The Slight Edge I wrote, “If we can structure our habits so that they feed our positive progress up the slight edge, we can use the momentum we build over time to ride our way to goals that may seem incredible at this time.”

Will picking up The 7 Habits magically transform you into a highly effective person? Absolutely not, and the late Dr. Covey would be the first to tell you the same. What makes this book so foundational and powerful is the consistent application and awareness that it can spark in a life.

People like Elon Musk or Sam Walton offer us the opportunity to scrutinize their lives for traces of these habits. It’s a fascinating foray into the psyche of success ( and a little alliteration alights the senses ;).

That’s the main reason I believe you should read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleIt allows a framework for understanding success and then using that understanding for your own development. 

This post isn’t a summary of the book, click on this great summary from Hubspot for that, rather it’s about understanding the habits played out in the real world.

So let’s get back to Tebow.

Habit #1 in the book is to “Be Proactive.” Regardless of your opinion on Tebow’s performance for 46 MLB scouts this week, you have to admit, he’s taking control of the things that he can control.

The Washington Times reports that he said playing quarterback and hitting a baseball were his favorite things as a boy. At 29, prospects may seem slim that he will ever play in the Major Leagues but his determination to pursue what he loves to do is unmatched.

I think we could all learn a lesson from Tebow here.

Until next week,

Keep reading friends!


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Why Should I Read | Crucial Conversations

You’ve been asked by your boss several times to have expense reports in on time. It’s been on the agenda at 3 monthly staff meetings now. He has given several “office lectures” about punctuality. You’re on top of things this month, and got it in by the deadline. Two days later you see the boss slip an expense report into accounting. What do you do?

Crucial Conversations can sneak up on you at any time.

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler define a Crucial Conversation, as “any conversation between two or more people where emotions run strong, opinions are varied, and the stakes are high.

Check out this week’s video at 0:45 for a fun story about one of my past experiences being totally unprepared for a crucial conversation.

Later on in the video I give one main idea and two quick points for getting you out ahead of the mass of people who find themselves in crucial conversations.

There are a plethora of situations that these world-class researchers have analyzed and give ideas for handling. But this main strategy and two applications will put you in good stead in many of them.

The main idea is this: Keep dialogue and the flow of meaning alive.

The word “Dialogue” from Etymology.com has this history:

dialogue (n.)Look up dialogue at Dictionary.comearly 13c., “literary work consisting of a conversation between two or more persons,” from Old French dialoge, from Latin dialogus, from Greekdialogos “conversation, dialogue,” related to dialogesthai “converse,” from dia- “across” (see dia-) + legein “speak” (see lecture (n.)).

In my video, I state a different etymology of this word, based on the original greek roots of the parts of the word.

In order to make the free flow of relevant information the path of least resistance we need to start with ourselves and be aware of our style under stress. There are a number of ways that people try to throw you or themselves off the path to dialogue but you can be prepared. Go read the book for full strategies but here are two to start with.

First, “Learn to Look.” Within this strategy we will look at two tangents that you need to look for that take you away from dialogue: Silence & Violence.

Within Silence, people intentionally leave out or withhold information from the pool of meaning. The three most common forms of this are masking true intentions, avoiding sensitive subjects, or withdrawing from the conversation altogether.

Within Violence, one tries to force meaning into the pool. This generally comes through trying to controlling others, labeling them something derogatory, or attacking them verbally.

Second, “Make it Safe.” There are five parts to making it safe, and you’ll have to go read the book to get them in detail. In summarizing them, I looked back to last week when we went through Tribes by Seth Godin and took a page from his book. He states that leaders when communicating with their tribe and bringing them together either choose to “lean in” or “lean out.” Making it safe for the person you are in conversation with could mean leaning in by determining the true issue or it could mean leaning out by stepping out to clear the air.

You’ll have to go read the rest of the book to get through mastering your story, exploring paths to reconciliation, taking action with others and by yourself.

Until next week, keep reading!

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Why Should I Read | Start with Why

Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired.  – Start With Why p. 6

If you enjoy TED talks, you’ll enjoy Start With Why. Simon Sinek’s explanation of “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” through the “The Golden Circle” and “The WHY” is the third most watched clip in TED’s history with 26.7 million views.

For a group of over 26 million people to spend 18 minutes doing the same thing is remarkable. In comparison, the new Game of Thrones premiere on HBO brought 10.7 million viewers together and broke the HBO record.

Sinek brings out many of the same points in his book and is able to expand and apply the concepts that he touches on in this video. A phrase you’ll hear repeated throughout is that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” 

In this week’s video, I start off with the now-famous newspaper ad Ernest Shackleton put in an early 1900s London newspaper:

Men Wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.

 Sinek argues that an ad like that brought together individuals who were united by their burning desire to overcome, to face long odds, to survive. When Shackleton assembled a team of overcomers like this, they set off to traverse Antarctica.

ice wave

But the expedition was ill-fated, the Endurance, was crushed in the ice before they ever reached the southern continent. Yet the men were undaunted. Shackleton led his intrepid band across the frozen sea 828 miles to Elephant Island. During this ordeal not a single explorer perished.

Their incredible stamina and their undying perseverance speaks to the intensity of their desire to overcome. ice hikers

Sinek says that individuals who are able to tap into this well of inner strength and fortitude of individuals have accessed their “WHY.”

In fact, we are designed with our limbic brain and through our subconscious minds to attach to certain values and actions in a way that generally cannot be accurately described in words. Usually we can find a logical reason for the way we act, but in general we act on our “gut” feeling. (p.53-64)

This gets us closer to the central premise that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

The “WHY” of an organization or movement, according to Sinek, is usually embodied by an individual. Someone like Steve Jobs, who made everything he did about challenging the status quo, inspired a company that disrupted several industries.

You’ve never waited in line for the next Dell product or heard of people that did, have you. apple store

People, when asked why they bought Apple products, could come up with any number of seemingly logical explanations but in many cases it was because they resonated with the “WHY” of challenging the status quo. It was a certain type of person who sat outside the Apple store for the next model iPhone.

They could have gotten a similar phone with nearly identical specifications from a different brand or just waited a week and got an iPhone later, but they were busy buying the “WHY” of Apple. The “What” had to trail behind.

This doesn’t mean that companies or individuals can tap into a “WHY” and then run rampant. Several weeks back we took a look at Sam Walton. He embodied customer service in his retailing, and every action that Walmart took while he was alive was to serve people. This built their business into one of the largest companies in the world, but after Walton passed away, the corporation lost the “WHY.”

Today, if you go to Walmart, you’ll find a very different store than the ones described in Made in America.

You and I have the opportunity to tap into this well of motivation as well. We are well supplied throughout history with individuals who found their “WHY.”

Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi identified their why and inspired a movement that went far beyond their personal influence.

Sinek encourages you and I to inspire rather than manipulate, and I agree with him.

Start with your Why.

Just don’t get shipwrecked in Antarctica.

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Why Should I Read | Outliers

What is the question we always ask about the successful?

We want to know what they are like, what kind of personalities they have, or how intelligent they are, or what kind of lifestyles they have, or what special talents they might have been born with. And we assume that it is those personal qualities that explain how that individual reached the top.

Outliers, pg. 18

Malcolm Gladwell is an author who typifies Mark Twain’s exhortation to be a “prodigious noticer.” While Twain used his prodigious noticing power to point out humor, Gladwell takes stock of common assumptions and everyday opinions.

As an author, Gladwell, asks “why” in a way that is entertaining and informative.

The American archetype is an individual who is a “self-made man” or someone who “overcame the odds.” This book takes a closer look at the assumption that we hold regarding success. Gladwell comes right out and says it bluntly, “People don’t rise from nothing” (pg 18). He states that one’s background, family upbringing, and environment have much to do with later success. This is a fascinating aspect of the book, and I encourage you to go check it out.

This revelation doesn’t lift the burden from individuals who desire success though. There is still a threshold of mastery one must overcome to even consider becoming an outlier in a certain area.

 Through the stories of people like Bill Gates and the Beatles, Gladwell points out that people who are massively successful had the opportunity to put in ten thousand hours of practice in their field of endeavor before they became massively successful. A study by K. Anders Ericsson of violin students at the Berlin’s elite Academy of Music, demonstrated this trend in 100% of the students there. All of the students tested were already in the top level of music school, but yet were separated into three groups. “Group A” were potential world-class soloists, “Group B” were merely ‘good,’ and “Group C” were unlikely to play professionally and were headed to be public school music teachers.

violin pic

Ericcson’s researchers discovered that by the age of twenty, all  of the elite performers had logged ten thousand hours of practice time. The merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers roughly four thousand.

Here’s where things got crazy for me as I was reading this portion of the book. From pg. 39

The striking thing about Ericcson’s study is that he and his colleagues couldn’t find any “naturals,” musicians who floated effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did. Nor could they find any “grinds,” people who worked harder than everyone else yet just didn’t have what it takes to break the top ranks. Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else.

They work much, much, harder.

According to neurologist Daniel Levitin, “No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time.”

Levitin states that this concept of ten thousand hours holds true across a multitude of disciplines: writers, basketball players, master criminals, chess players, etc.

That idea is extremely empowering when one gets right down to the base premise:

If you will put in your ten thousand hours, you will become a master at what you have chosen to do.

I remember reading this concept when I was 18, and thinking to myself, “I have a several chunks of ten thousand hours available to me if I live a regular life span.” And it’s true for you as well, if you desire to completely master a topic, within ten thousand hours of practice you can achieve that goal. I can look at my  grandfather who is a master at farming strawberries. You could ask him any question regarding the fruit, and he would be able to tell you all about the relevant process. This knowledge comes from owning a strawberry farm since 1976.

There are a number of other topics housed within our assumptions about success that Gladwell deconstructs throughout the book. Yet without mastery in a subject, one is unable to capitalize on their latent advantages of culture, upbringing, and environment.

Overall, this book is massively fun to read due to the plethora of stories Gladwell uses. Hockey player birthdays, Jewish lawyers of the 1970’s, Asian math abilities, and the smartest men in the world are just the beginning.

So what have you put ten thousand hours towards?

Have you seen this week’s video?

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Why Should I Read | Attitude is Everything

In this week’s video on the Why Should I Read That series, Jeff Keller’s Attitude is Everything is the book under review. Interestingly, the Tesla 3 reveal is a great illustration of how thought patterns play into attitude and lead to action.


I’m including the 4 minute video below, which has two main points:

  • Thought patterns lead to conversation and are the precursor of action.
  • Habits contribute to our subconscious thought patterns and by taking control of our habits we influence our tendency for action

Check the video out here:

Also as promised in the video, we will cover the 7 ways in which adversity serves as a benefit to us.

You may be wondering, isn’t the point of problems to be fixed, for adversity to be overcome, and comfort to be reached? Yes. However, the way in which we approach adversity can either help us or harm us as we endure or triumph over them.

So without further ado, here are Jeff Keller’s 7 ways in which adversity serves us.

  1. Adversity gives us perspective. Say for example (because it happened), it snowed three inches today. Michigan doesn’t usually get snow in April. I could be bummed about the snow, because it affects my evening plans, but on the road today I saw a tow truck on its way to pull a car out of the ditch. I was immediately reminded that things were going relatively great for me today.

  2. Adversity teaches us to be grateful. Doing my best to not be cliché, we don’t appreciate things as much until they are gone. I have written before about my tenuous relationship with manual labor on my parent’s farm growing up. However, now looking back on that I see the value in it, from learning diligence, responsibility, and the like, to maintaining a physically active lifestyle simply by doing that job.

  3. Adversity brings out our hidden potential. By overcoming, we are better prepared to face the next challenge. I have a two-fold story on this one. I can remember being turned down for a certain internship and being quite frustrated. However, because of that denial, I was open later for accepting a political job that required me to use every single skill I had in my repertoire. That field rep position equipped me for almost all of the challenges I have experienced in the last 18 months and each time I’m faced with a challenge, I can remember what I overcame to succeed in that job and I’m encouraged. Had it been easier, I wouldn’t have that experience to draw on now.

  4. Adversity encourages us to make changes and take action. One speaker and author I have an incredible amount of respect for, Orrin Woodward, shouted on an audio one time, “When the pain of staying the same overcomes the pain of change, you will change.” For some, this means that they would rather stay the same and lose rather than overcome their adversity, change, and win. For others, this means that they meet hardship, realize that the pain of becoming who they need to be to win is less than the pain of staying the same, and triumph.

  5. Adversity teaches us valuable lessons. If you fail in business or in life, it’s highly likely you shouldn’t repeat that mistake that led to the failure. Like all the others, this benefit is available only if you and I choose to learn the lesson. I was driving too fast on a tractor growing up, went through a dip and broke the plow I was towing. I had to face my father and tell him I busted his plow, definitely an adversity. However, if I didn’t learn from that and went careening around the farm at high rates of speed you can be sure I would have had to go tell my dad that I broke more implements of his.

  6. Adversity opens a new door. Back to the rejection I faced when applying for that internship a couple years back. Because they turned me down, I got to live on my own in Texas, be responsible for getting 28,898 votes for Greg Abbott, and learn a ton.

  7. Adversity builds confidence and self esteem. Please don’t take these stories as braggadocios, because of the tough situations I found myself in, I look back and appreciate the challenges. And the same is available for everyone reading this! When you choose the higher road of looking for the positive aspects of your situations, you gain skills and insights that directly contribute to your confidence to face the next challenge.

The view you take of adversity can be either negative or positive. Remember this quote from Mary Case.

No pressure, no diamonds.

(Credit to Digital Trends for the post image)

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WSIR 008 | The Speed of Trust

“Fish discover water last” -Stephen M.R. Covey

Because fish are immersed, surrounded, and in constant contact with water, their perception is fundamentally changed. Covey says that humans have the same experience, but that trust is so much a part of civilization that we rarely realize it.

However, we are at a trust crisis, with each passing day illustrating our departure from basic trust in one another or the institutions of our society. It doesn’t take much thought to remember the latest juicy scandal that further reminds us that we can’t trust our leaders.

While we definitely have some bad apples in our society, this deficit of trust does nothing but damage our productivity and creativity as a civilization.

Besides being one of the most widely read books by CEOs, The Speed of Trust puts an equation forward that applies to all interactions. Here is the equation:

When Trust is High, speed is High and cost is Low.

When Trust is Low, speed is Low and cost is High.

Covey goes so far as to categorize these situations in specific economic terms, and I would refer you to the book if you are interested in how building the competency of trust can impact your organization. For the remainder of this post we will examine the central origin of trust from others: whether or not one is worthy of trust.

So now that we are aware of trust, and that it has the potential to bring concrete economic and relational results, where can we start?

Covey argues that trust acts in the same manner as a ripple on water after a drop has fallen. Each wave radiating outwards based on the action of the one before that. His five waves are as follows. Self Trust (1) leads to competence and inspires Relationship Trust (2) which permeates an organization and brings Organizational Trust(3). When Organizational Trust is apparent organizations can work together to achieve Market Trust (4). When all these are present, then Societal Trust (5) is the result.

If this ripple analogy holds true, a failure at higher levels of trust is the result of lack of trust at a more central level.

So let’s talk Self Trust.

Self trust comes from four cores, two of which have to do with Character and two of which have to do with Competence.

Again, I highly recommend you either pick up the book, The Speed of Trust, or go grab the audio presentation from Stephen M.R. Covey on audiobook to fully grasp the content because it is broad and extremely applicable.

As promised in this week’s video, we jump into the core of credibility, and the first of three behaviors to build credibility, making and keeping commitments to oneself.

If you are like me, it is easier to hit snooze in the morning, it is easier not to pick up the book you are meaning to read, or it’s easier to put off making that call. Now, there is nothing wrong with the snooze button, or not reading, or choosing to make a call at a later date. The problem comes when we told ourselves we were going to do something and then we wimped out on ourselves.

The failure to follow through on self commitments does nothing but tear down self trust and hurts our ability to experience trust at higher levels.

So what’s next? Covey says by practicing three habits in the context of self commitments we can increase our successes in this area.

His three habits are these

  1. Don’t make too many commitments.
  2. Self commitment merit the same importance as commitments to others.
  3. Don’t make impulsive commitments.

Remember, a true commitment is not a preference. Commitment comes with synonyms like obligation, responsibility, duty, or dedication. If it is a true commitment, it cannot be taken lightly. If so, it may not have been a true commitment.

  1. If we causally commit to activities without fully understanding the work involved, we are liable to be frustrated later on when we realize what is really going on.

2. Back to hitting snooze, the reason so many people have workout partners is that as humans we are far more likely to follow through if we know someone else is involved. If we can learn to treat self commitments that no one else on earth will ever know about in the same way we treat public commitments we are significantly far down the path to self trust.

3. Some personalities have more of a problem with this than others, but it can be easy, in a moment of inspiration or passion to declare, “I’ll run 5 miles every day for the rest of the year!” or “Today’s the day I’m quitting everything but water for the rest of the year!” If you truly have self trust, you have no choice but to follow through on these public commitments. So be careful what you commit to.

Some of this may be new to you, but remember, if fish really do discover water last, but are truly hurting for it when it is gone, the realization that trust does the same thing for humans should be a breath of fresh… water… That analogy breaks down 🙂

fish photo

Anyway, check out this week’s video, I almost was attacked by geese while filming. Leave a comment with a commitment you are proud you followed through on!

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WSIR 007 | The Slight Edge

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have a drastically negative effect on your life?

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have an immensely positive effect on your life?

Likely you believe that each of these things are possible but that these two paths of action are quite different.


What if they were nearly identical?

In this week’s video I quote from page 41 Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge, 

“The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, most people miss it.”

The Slight Edge presents a philosophy of our actions, one that affects the choices that you and I make over the course of our lives.

This philosophy is based on the principle of compounding, the idea that one thing builds upon another and adds up over time to a logical conclusion.

Before we get into the body of this post, a story.

I hate weeding.

weed photo

I should probably frame my experiences differently in my mind but at this point in my journey of life I haven’t achieved that yet. I grew up on a farm and while the sheep were fluffy and the fruit tasted good, I could not stand being dirty, sweaty, and bending over for hours on end to pull tiny sprouts out of the dirt. One summer sticks in my mind because we had a new 4 acre field of strawberries and they all needed to be weeded. For those of you who don’t know what 4 acres look like, imagine a field that you have a hard time hearing someone on the other side who is yelling and you’re pretty close.

So myself and the other workers that summer were busy in the field from roughly 8am til 12pm 6 days a week and then we got to work on less offensive projects. During that year the worst weed was Nut Grass. I also hate Nut Grass. My description of this plant wont be written on this blog because children could read it. Anyway, as we weeded I can remember doing enough to make the field look great, but it wasn’t 100% clear. Generally there were a few small weeds left, or roots not fully unearthed and those would spring back like, well, weeds. Several weeks later, by the time we had made our way across the yell-distance field, those first small weeds had grown back and multiplied and we had to start over.

My point with this story is that had we put in that last 5-10% effort to demolish the weeds, we wouldn’t have had to weed the field multiple times. That final 5% was the difference between a summer filled with 4 hour spinal stress sessions and one that still included weeding, but only half as much.


That is the Slight Edge.

A cursory search of “Compound interest retirement saving” got me Business Insider article. Check it out if you want a reminder to be consistent in the things that you do, or if you like graphs and charts.

The slight edge not only applies to finances but to areas as diverse as health, relationships, skill sets, and thought patterns. It can be summed up in the following image, thanks to attackstylewrestling.com for hosting the image online and demonstrating that it also applies to wrestling!

Your daily actions matter.

They do.

So what does this mean for our original idea that our actions tomorrow on the success path or our actions tomorrow on the failure path look quite similar?

Simply put, the right actions to take are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.

Brushing your teeth. Easy.

Buckling your seatbelt. Easy.

Writing down 3 things you’re thankful for each day. Easy.

Pulling 38 more weeds in the midst of 3200. Easy

Listening to an audiobook instead of the radio. Easy.

However each of these things are also easy not to do. 

Would you agree with me that NOT writing down three things you’re thankful for would be unlikely to mean that you are a grouch and constantly complaining tomorrow?

Would you agree that NOT buckling your seat belt on your commute on Monday would be unlikely to end in a fiery car crash?

In my opinion, one of the main ideas of the book is that our habits generally rule the actions that tie directly into the slight edge.

Your habits are what will propel you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

–J. Paul Getty

If we can structure our habits so that they feed our positive progress up the slight edge, we can use the momentum we build over time to ride our way to goals that may seem incredible at this time.

This post is not designed to be the exhaustive resource on habits, if you would like more information on the power of habits, making them stick, and a book recommendation on the subject, here are three resources:

However, I would like to encourage you to start as soon as you can to build the habits that you need to propel you towards the goal you have. Think of it in this way, could you move in that direction by 0.3% tomorrow? That’s only one third of one percent!

If you usually run 1 mile, you would run 1 mile and 15 feet.

This is a ridiculously small improvement, right?

Consider this though, if you are able to consistently improve at this rate, one year from now you will be well over 100% better!

This old Chinese proverb is worth pondering.

Be not afraid of going slowly;

be afraid only of standing still


So what easy thing are you going to do today?

Have you watched this week’s video?

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Why Should I Read | Confidence of a Champion

Have you ever been scrolling down Instagram and been hit with a barrage of happy couples, outfit grids, tanned legs in front of palm trees, or engagement rings?

If you’re like me, you’ve thought to yourself “Wow, they have it all together! I wish I were more ….” You fill in the blank, in shape, more handsome, wealthier, more successful. You name it. We are consistently barraged with the comparison game in our social media, social circles, or social lives.


This game, however, doesn’t lend itself to your success. In Tim Marks’s breakthrough book, Confidence of a Champion, section two is dedicated to stopping people from negative comparing. He chronicles our tendency to focus on our weak points in an unfair comparison with other’s fantastic successes.

This post is the follow up to the YouTube video, check out the video if you haven’t yet!

Our minds and bodies are wired for accomplishment and when we feel like we don’t measure up to others that we see around us we feel inferior. However, this becomes a never-ending quest for trophies and trinkets.

This could be why John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and one of the richest men in historym when asked, “How much money is enough?” responded with the ground shaking statement:

Just one more dollar

Think about that, the most financially successful individual in recent history didn’t feel as if he could be satisfied even when “beating” everyone else in the rat race.

Reality Check. You and I have a very small chance of beating John D. Rockefeller in the possessions game. 

While I certainly believe that you and I have unlimited potential and we live in a time of unparalleled opportunity for success, the fact remains that even if we “succeed” in the world’s eyes the victory will be hollow if all your satisfaction is tied to your accomplishments or accolades. As a Christian, I believe most people have a God-shaped hole in their lives that they try to fill with money or success but are ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor.

So stop comparing your weaknesses to other’s strengths.

Stop it.

Instead rest assured that our country is founded on the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” You have worth regardless of your accomplishments because you are created in the image of the Creator.


In the video this week, there are several topics and each of them give value to individuals seeking to live confidently in their current situations and avoiding unhealthy comparison.

Our tendency to compare usually has something to do with the association we have, the stories we tell ourselves, and our understanding of the world we live in.

First of these three topics, association.

Association: The connection between people, ideas or things

Confidence of a Champion was written by Tim Marks and he was highly influenced by association through audio with Zig Ziglar. If you aren’t familiar with Zig, he was the foremost motivational speaker and teacher of the late 20th century and a highly respected authority on the topic of motivation and hope.

I have recently listened to Zig Ziglar’s audio series and then reading this book I was struck by the similarities in thought process and example types. The reason I share this observation is because of the association that both Tim and I share with Zig and it has influenced both of our views of the world. For you reading this, you may want to identify a leader in your chosen field and find ways to associate with them through audio or in person.

The power of association is apparent in the way you and I choose to view ourselves. By spending time with inspiring and healthy individuals we become more like those we are with. This has direct impact on our comparison tendency because we are reminded by inspiring stories that we can achieve our goals.

The second of these topics, Self Talk, deals directly with the inner dialogue we keep with ourselves. This topic is handled in section three of the book and one major point in that section is the idea of framing one’s circumstances in a positive light.

When I started my most recent job, I was faced with multiple areas of responsibility that needed to be addressed. These things seemed to pile up and pile up and eventually I sat down and filled a notebook page with bullet points of things that weren’t right and I needed to address. However, I stopped in that moment and took another sheet of paper and for each of those “wrong things” I wrote down a corresponding point of what was right in that area and how it could be improved on. This exercise helped me push off frustration in the moment because I could focus on the things that were going well.

The third of these topics, understanding our world, is handled in section six of the book. This section is entitled “Fight fear with faith.” Without faith, you and I tend to be down on ourselves or are ruled by fear. This is why we see such fear-mongering and the scared reaction many have to current events.

However, we are not called to a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And while we may tend towards comparing our current situation with others and become fearful, we need to remember that the end of the story is already written for those of us with faith. Tim Marks writes from a Christian perspective and encourages those with a different faith background to understand what their faith tells them about their world.

Two days ago, I had an opportunity to attend a luncheon with a favorite speaker and author of mine, John Stonestreet. One of his points was that as Christians we understand that moment in which we find ourselves, in light of the overarching story of the Bible’s four areas: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This gives us hope for the moment we are in (even when things seem crazy) because we understand our world in the context of the full story.

The next time you find yourself wondering why you aren’t as successful as Bill Gates, or as beautiful as Beyoncè, or as funny as Kevin Hart, remember that we are created with that self evident value and without an eternal perspective, even if you did accomplish those goals you would still desire more. Instead try associating with someone you respect, framing your situation in a positive light and getting some eternal perspective on the moment you find yourself in.

That’s my current take on confidence, I hope it helps.

See you next week for a discussion on the Slight Edge!

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WSIR 004 | How to Win Friends and Influence People

If your goal is to be a likeable person, these 6 points are for you.

Warren Buffett, currently the third wealthiest man in the world, has a diploma up on his wall. But it isn’t from an Ivy League university, or an honorary doctorate from a prestigious admirer, no, he has a Dale Carnegie course completion certificate that cost him $100 back when he was 20 years old. Check out his story on this topic here:

The book that Dale Carnegie put together, and the one the Buffett read and gives reference to is How to Win Friends and Influence People this classic, first published in 1936, has sold over 15 million copies and contributed to the rise of many famous individuals.

Most of us will immediately recognize the single sentence summarizing the first chapter, “Never criticize, condemn, or complain.” Yet, I for one struggled to recall all six of the ways to make people like you from section two of the book. Central to success in dealing with people is their ability to tolerate or their enjoyment in interacting with you, and these six points have a great deal to do with making one a more likeable person.

Despite reading the book several times over the past few years if you were to ask me what the 6 ways to make people like you are, up until now I would have had a hard time remembering them. I put together a list of 6 keywords all beginning with “S” and hopefully it helps you remember them like it has helped me.

Here they are.


  1. Straightforward
  2. Smile
  3. Sound
  4. Shut Up
  5. Special Interest
  6. Sincere Importance

1. Straightfoward interest.

Be genuinely interested in the other person.

Carnegie uses the everyday example of a dog because a pooch doesn’t have any ulterior motives or wants to get anything out of you. They are genuinely happy to see you. This straightforward approach is the most innocent tactic you can use in dealing with others.

2. Smile

Hopefully it is abundantly clear what is meant by this statement. 🙂

3. Sound

Remember, the sweetest and most important sound in any language is that of the other person’s name. This keyword serves a double purpose, the first being that people like to hear their name and when you use it when you are with them they appreciate you for it. The second is that when trying to remember names it is extremely important that you get the cadence and the sound of their name correctly in your mind. If you simply let the pronunciation of their name wash by you when they introduce themselves, you are unlikely to get it correct later on.

4. Shut Up

Certain people are more prone to overtalking than others, but in general, when in conversation you can practice generosity by letting the other person talk more.

Cultivate the art of listening well!

Listening is much more than only not talking, but that is outside of the scope of this point, you can read a great section on “empathic listening” in Stephen Covey’s bestseller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

5. Special Interest

Most of the time I don’t favor special interests, but in this case what I mean is that your interests should reflect those that the other person holds when you talk with them.

As they talk about things that they are comfortable with, the walls begin to recede and the capacity to relate is strengthened.

If you are passionately interested in building houses out of cards, but the other person is into dirt-biking, ask them more about dirt-biking! You might learn something interesting.

6. Sincere Importance

When you deal with others, remember that one of the base desires of individuals is to feel important. This need is insatiable and will be filled either in healthy ways or unhealthy ways.

If you motives are pure, you can give others a feeling of importance and they will love you for it.

You can make someone’s day or even week by sincerely giving them a feeling of importance. In some cases that becomes a touch-point of their self-identity, and you, by doing something that could have been an off-hand remark changed a bit of that person’s self image.

I remember several times throughout my childhood on the family farm my father put me in situations where I knew that he was trusting me with something important. I remember driving a truck from one farm to another at 12 years old (very illegal, do not recommend) and I felt like a man. My parents let me drive by myself to Wisconsin from Michigan at 17 and I loved it. Things like that built my own sense of capability and I hold those experiences of responsibility to this day.

Warren Buffett said that the Dale Carnegie course changed his life, judging by his results, it seems like it did. 

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How To Read Like A Top Leader

These are the top habits from Life Leadership CEO Chris Brady summarized by a 15 year old young man, Charles, who has been implementing them for several years. Wow!

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Charles Hysen

I am going to blog about a book that of course I got through LIFE Leadership called TURN THE PAGE by Chris Brady. ”Not every reader is a leader, but every leader must be a reader.”- Chris Brady. What this means is that leaders read differently than everyone else, top leaders don’t just read by accident, and suddenly learn something important, they read on purpose with specific goals in mind and as a result they improve as leaders. Here are some parts of the book that helped me.


WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS: Writing in your books is very important because it increases your own level of understanding and will help key parts of the book stand  out to you when you reread the book, and don’t just highlight and note on parts you agree with, readers learn the most from parts they disagree with. If you disagree  with something then explain why…

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