The Commodity of Kings
"The great end of life is not knowledge but action."
Thomas Henry Huxley
I had heard about him for many months. They said he was young, wealthy, healthy, happy, and successful. I had to see for myself. I watched him closely as he left the television studio, and I followed him over the next few weeks, observing as he counseled everyone from the president of a country to a phobic. I saw him debate dieticians, train executives, and work with athletes and learning-disabled kids. He seemed incredibly happy and deeply in love with his wife as they traveled together across the country and around the world. And when they were through, it was time to jet back to San Diego to spend a few days at home with their family in their castle overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
How was it that this twenty-five-year-old-kid, with only a high school education, could have accomplished so much in such a short period of time? After all, this was a guy who only three years ago had been living in a 400-square-foot bachelor apartment and washing his dishes in his bathtub. How did he go from an extremely unhappy person, thirty pounds overweight, with floundering relationships and limited prospects, to a centered, healthy, respected individual with great relationships and the opportunity for unlimited success?
It all seemed so incredible, and yet the thing that amazed me most was that I realized that he is me! "His" story is my own.
I'm certainly not saying that my life is what success is all about. Obviously, we all have different dreams and ideas of what we want to create for our lives. In addition, I'm very clear that who you know, where you go and what you own are not the true measure of personal success. To me, success is the ongoing process of striving to become more. It is the opportunity to continually grow emotionally, socially, spiritually, physiologically, intellectually, and financially while contributing in some positive way to others. The road to success is always under construction. It is a progressive course, not an end to be reached.
The point of my story is simple. By applying the principles you will learn in this book, I was able to change not only the way ! felt about myself, but also the results I was producing in my life, and I was able to do so in a major and measurable way. The purpose of this book is to share with you what made the difference in changing my life for the better. It is my sincere hope that you will find the technologies, strategies, skills, and philosophies taught within these pages to be as empowering for you as they have been for me. The power to magically transform our lives into our greatest dreams lies waiting within us all. It's time to unleash it!
When I look at the pace at which I was able to turn my dreams into my present-day life, I can't help feeling an almost unbelievable sense of gratitude and awe. And yet I'm certainly far from unique. The fact is we live in an age where many people are able to achieve wondrous things almost overnight, to achieve successes that would have been unimaginable in earlier times. Look at Steve Jobs. He was a kid in blue jeans with no money who took an idea for a home computer and built a Fortune 500 company faster than anyone in history. Look at Ted Turner. He took a medium that barely existed -- cable television -- and created an empire. Look at people in the entertainment industry like Steven Spielberg or Bruce Springsteen, or businessmen like Lee Iacocca or Ross Perot. What do they have in common other than astounding, prodigious success? The answer, of course, is...power.
Power is a very emotional word People's responses to it are varied. For some people, power has a negative connotation. Some people lust after power. Others feel tainted by it, as if it were something venal or suspect. How much power do you want? How much power do you think is right for you to obtain or develop? What does power really mean to you?
I don't think of power in terms of conquering people. I don't think of it as something to be imposed. I'm not advocating that you should, either. That kind of power seldom lasts. But you should realize that power is a constant in the world. You shape your perceptions, or someone shapes them for you. You do what you want to do, or you respond to someone else's plan for you. To me, ultimate power is the ability to produce the results you desire most and create value for others in the process. Power is the ability to change your life, to shape your perceptions, to make things work for you and not against you. Real power is shared, not imposed. It's the ability to define human needs and to fulfill them -- both your needs and the needs of the people you care about. It's the ability to direct your own personal kingdom -- your own thought processes, your own behavior -- so you produce the precise results you desire.
Throughout history, the power to control our lives has taken many different and contradictory forms. In the earliest times, power was simply the result of physiology. He who was the strongest and the fastest had power to direct his own life as well as the lives of those around him. As civilization developed, power resulted from heritage. The king, surrounding himself with the symbols of his realm, ruled with unmistakable authority. Others could derive power by their association with him. Then, in the early days of the Industrial Age, capital was power. Those who had access to it dominated the industrial process. All those things still play a role. It's better to have capital than not to have it. It's better to have physical strength than not to. However, today, one of the largest sources of power is derived from specialized knowledge.
Most of us have heard by now that we are living in the information age. We are no longer primarily an industrial culture, but a communication one. We live in a time when new ideas and movements and concepts change the world almost daily, whether they are as profound as quantum physics or as mundane as the best-marketed hamburger. If there's anything that characterizes the modern world, it's the massive, almost unimaginable, flow of information -- and therefore of change. From books and movies and boomboxes and computer chips, this new information comes at us in a blizzard of data to be seen and felt and heard. In this society, those with the information and the means to communicate it have what the king used to have -- unlimited power. As John Kenneth Galbraith has written, "Money is what fueled the industrial society. But in the informational society, the fuel, the power, is knowledge. One has now come to see a new class structure divided by those who have information and those who must function out of ignorance. This new class has its power not from money, not from land, but from knowledge."
The exciting thing to note is that the key to power today is available to us all. If you weren't the king in medieval times, you might have had a great deal of difficulty becoming one. If you didn't have capital at the beginning of the industrial revolution, the odds of your amassing it seemed very slim indeed. But today, any kid in blue jeans can create a corporation that can change the world. In the modern world, information is the commodity of kings. Those with access to certain forms of specialized knowledge can transform themselves and, in many ways, our entire world.
We're left with an obvious question. Surely in the United States the kinds of specialized knowledge needed to transform the quality of our lives is available to everyone. It's in every bookstore, every video store, every library. You can get it from speeches and seminars and courses. And we all want to succeed. The bestseller list is full of prescriptions for personal excellence: The One Minute Manager, In Search of Excellence, Megatrends, What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, Bridge Across Forever...The list goes on and on. The information is there. So why do some people generate fabulous results, while others just scrape by? Why aren't we all empowered, happy, wealthy, healthy, and successful?
The truth is that even in the information age, information is not enough. If all we needed were ideas and positive thinking, then we all would have had ponies when we were kids and we would all be living our "dream life" now. Action is what unites every great success. Action is what produces results. Knowledge is only potential power until it comes into the hands of someone who knows how to get himself to take effective action. In fact, the literal definition of the word "power" is "the ability to act."
What we do in life is determined by how we communicate to ourselves. In the modem world, the quality of life is the quality of communication. What we picture and say to ourselves, how we move and use the muscles of our bodies and our facial expressions will determine how much of what we know we will use.
Often we get caught in the mental trap of seeing enormously successful people and thinking they are where they are because they have some special gift. Yet a closer look shows that the greatest gift that extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is their ability, to get themselves to take action. It's a "gift" that any of us can develop within ourselves. After all, other people had the same knowledge Steve Jobs did. People other than Ted Turner could have figured out that cable had enormous economic potential. But Turner and Jobs were able to take action, and by doing so, they changed the way many of us experience the world.
We all produce two forms of communication from which the experience of our lives is fashioned. First, we conduct internal communications: those things we picture, say, and feel within ourselves. Second, we experience external communications: words, tonalities, facial expressions, body postures, and physical actions to communicate with the world. Every communication we make is an action, a cause set in motion. And all communications have some kind of effect on ourselves and on others.
Communication is power. Those who have mastered its effective use can change their own experience of the world and the world's experience of them. All behavior and feelings find their original roots in some form of communication. Those who affect the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the majority of us are those who know how to use this tool of power. Think of the people who have changed our world -- John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi. In a much grimmer vein, think of Hitler. What these men all had in common was that they were master communicators. They were able to take their vision, whether it was to transport people into space or to create a hate-filled Third Reich, and communicate it to others with such congruency that they influenced the way the masses thought and acted. Through their communication power, they changed the world.
In fact, isn't this also what sets a Spielberg, a Springsteen, an Iacocca, a Fonda, or a Reagan apart from others? Are they not masters of the tool of human communication, or influence? Just as these people are able to move the masses with communication, it is the tool we also use to move ourselves.
Your level of communication mastery in the external world will determine your level of success with others -- personally, emotionally, socially, and financially. More important, the level of success you experience internally -- the happiness, joy, ecstasy, love, or anything else you desire -- is the direct result of how you communicate to yourself. How you feel is not the result of what is happening in your life -- it is your interpretation of what is happening. Successful people's lives have shown us over and over again that the quality of our lives is determined not by what happens to us, but rather by what we do about what happens.
You are the one who decides how to feel and act based upon the ways you choose to perceive your life. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it. Most of us have turned this process of interpretation on automatic, but we can take that power back and immediately change our experience of the world.
This book is about taking the kinds of massive, focused, congruent actions that lead to overwhelming results. In fact, if I were to say to you in two words what this book is about, I'd say: Producing results! Think about it. Isn't that what you're really interested in? Maybe you want to change how you feel about yourself and your world. Maybe you'd like to be a better communicator, develop a more loving relationship, learn more rapidly, become healthier, or earn more money. You can create all of these things for yourself, and much more, through the effective use of the information in this book. Before you can produce new results, however, you must first realize that you're already producing results. They just may not be the results you desire. Most of us think of our mental states and most of what goes on in our minds as things that happen outside our control. But the truth is you can control your mental activities and your behaviors to a degree you never believed possible before. If you're depressed, you created and produced that show you call depression. If you're ecstatic, you created that, too.
It's important to remember that emotions like depression do not happen to you. You don't "catch" depression. You create it, like every other result in your life, through specific mental and physical actions. In order to be depressed, you have to view your life in specific ways. You have to say certain things to yourself in just the right tones of voice. You have to adopt a specific posture and breathing pattern. For example, if you wish to be depressed, it helps tremendously if you collapse your shoulders and look down a lot. Speaking in a sad-sounding tone of voice and thinking of the worst-possible scenarios for your life also helps. If you throw your biochemistry into turmoil through poor diet or excessive alcohol or drug use, you assist your body in creating low blood sugar and thus virtually guarantee depression.
My point here is simply that it takes effort to create depression. It's hard work, and it requires taking specific types of actions. Some people have created this state so often, though, that it's easy for them to produce. If fact, often they've linked this pattern of internal communication to all kinds of external events. Some people get so many secondary gains -- attention from others, sympathy, love, and so on -- that they adopt this style of communication as their natural state of living. Others have lived with it so long that it actually feels comfortable. They become identified with the state. We can, however, change our mental and physical actions and thereby immediately change our emotions and behaviors.
You can become ecstatic by immediately adopting the point of view that creates that emotion. You can picture in your mind the kinds of things that create this feeling. You can change the tone and content of your internal dialogue with yourself. You can adopt the specific postures and breathing patterns that create that state in your body, and voilà! You will experience ecstasy. If you wish to be compassionate, you must simply change your physical and mental actions to match those the state of compassion requires. The same is true of love or any other emotion.
You might think of the process of producing emotional states by managing your internal communication as being similar to a director's job. To produce the precise results he wants, the director of a movie manipulates what you see and hear. If he wants you to be scared, he might turn up the sound and splash some special effects on the screen at just the right moment. If he wants you to be inspired, he'll arrange the musk, the lighting, and everything else on the screen to produce that effect. A director can produce a tragedy or a comedy out of the same event, depending upon what he decides to put on the screen. You can do the same things with the screen of your mind. You can direct your mental activity, which is the underpinning of all physical action, with the same skill and power. You can turn up the light and sound of the positive messages in your brain, and you can dim the pictures and sounds of the negative ones. You can run your brain as skillfully as Spielberg or Scorsese runs his set.
Some of what follows will seem hard to believe. You probably don't believe there's a way to look at a person and know his exact thoughts or to instantly summon up your most powerful resources at will. But if you had suggested one hundred years ago men would go to the moon, you would have been considered a madman, a lunatic. (Where do you think the word came from?) If you had said it was possible to travel from New York to Los Angeles in five hours, you would have seemed like a crazy dreamer. But it only took the mastery of specific technologies and laws of aerodynamics to make those things possible. In fact, today one aerospace company is working on a vehicle that they say in ten years will take people from New York to California in twelve minutes. Similarly, in this book you will learn the "laws" of Optimum Performance Technologies® that will give you access to resources you never realized you had.
"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward."
People who have attained excellence follow a consistent path to success. I call it the Ultimate Success Formula. The first step to this formula is to know your outcome, that is, to define precisely what you want. The second step is to take action -- otherwise your desires will always be dreams. You must take the types of actions you believe will create the greatest probability of producing the result you desire. The actions we take do not always produce the results we desire, so the third step is to develop the sensory acuity to recognize the kinds of responses and results you're getting from your actions and to note as quickly as possible if they are taking you closer to your goals or farther away. You must know what you're getting from your actions, whether it be in a conversation or from your daily habits in life. If what you're getting is not what you want, you need to note what results your actions have produced so that you learn from every human experience. And then you take the fourth step, which is to develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you get what you want. If you look at successful people, you'll find they followed these steps. They started with a target, because you can't hit one if you don't have one. They took action, because just knowing isn't enough. They had the ability to read others, to know what response they were getting. And they kept adapting, kept adjusting, kept changing their behavior until they found what worked.
Consider Steven Spielberg. At the age of thirty-six, he's become the most successful filmmaker in history. He's already responsible for four of the ten top-grossing films of all time, including E. T., The Extra-Terrestrial, the highest-grossing film ever. How did he reach that point at such a young age? It's a remarkable story.
From the age of twelve or thirteen, Spielberg knew he wanted to be a movie director. His life changed when he took a tour of Universal Studios one afternoon when he was seventeen years old. The tour didn't quite make it to the sound stages, where all the action was, so Spielberg, knowing his outcome, took action. He snuck off by himself to watch the filming of a real movie. He ended up meeting the head of Universal's editorial department, who talked with him for an hour and expressed an interest in Spielberg's films.
For most people that's where the story would have ended. But Spielberg wasn't like most people. He had personal power. He knew what he wanted. He learned from his first visit, so he changed his approach. The next day, he put on a suit, brought along his father's briefcase, loaded with only a sandwich and two candy bars, and returned to the lot as if he belonged there. He strode purposefully past the gate guard that day. He found an abandoned trailer and, using some plastic letters, put Steven Spielberg, Director, on the door. Then he went on to spend his summer meeting directors, writers, and editors, lingering at the edges of the world he craved, learning from every conversation, observing and developing more and more sensory acuity about what worked in moviemaking.
Finally, at age twenty, after becoming a regular on the lot, Steven showed Universal a modest film he had put together, and he was offered a seven-year contract to direct a TV series. He'd made his dream come true.
Did Spielberg follow the Ultimate Success Formula? He sure did. He had the specialized knowledge to know what he wanted. He took action. He had the sensory acuity to know what results he was getting, whether his actions were moving him closer to or farther from his goal. And he had the flexibility to change his behavior to get what he wanted. Virtually every successful person I know of does the same thing. Those who succeed are committed to changing and being flexible until they do create the life that they desire.
Consider Dean Barbara Black of the Columbia University School of Law, who envisioned herself to be dean one day. As a young woman, she broke into a predominantly male field and successfully obtained her law degree from Columbia. She then decided to put her career goal on hold while she created another goal -- developing a family. Nine years later, she decided that she was ready again to go after her first career goal, so she enrolled in a graduate program at Yale, and developed the teaching, researching, and writing skills that led her to "the job that she had always wanted." She had expanded her belief system -- she had changed her approach and had combined both goals and is now the dean of one of the most prestigious law schools in America. She broke the mold and proved that success could be created on all levels simultaneously. Did she follow the Ultimate Success Formula? Of course she did. Knowing what she wanted, she tried something, and if it didn't work, she kept changing -- changing until now she learned how to balance her life. In addition to heading an important law school, she's a mother and a family woman as well.
Here's another example. Ever had a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Do you know how Colonel Sanders built the empire that made him a millionaire and changed the eating habits of a nation? When he started, he was nothing but a retiree with a fried-chicken recipe. That's all. No organization. No nothin'. He had owned a little restaurant that was going broke because the main highway had been routed elsewhere. When he got his first Social Security check, he decided to see if he could make some money selling his chicken recipe. His first idea was to sell the recipe to restaurant owners and have them give him a percentage of the proceeds.
Now that's not necessarily the most realistic idea for beginning a business. And, as things turned out, it didn't exactly rocket him to stardom. He drove around the country, sleeping in his car, trying to find someone who would back him. He kept changing his idea and knocking on doors. He was rejected 1,009 times, and then something miraculous happened. Someone said "Yes." The colonel was in business.
How many of you have a recipe? How many of you have the physical power and charisma of a chunky old man in a white suit? Colonel Sanders made a fortune because he had the ability to take massive, determined action. He had the personal power necessary to produce the results he desired most. He had the ability to hear the word "no" a thousand times and still communicate to himself in a way that got him to knock on the next door, totally convinced that it could be the one where someone said yes.
In one way or another everything in this book is directed toward providing your brain with the most effective signals to empower you to take successful action. Almost every week I conduct a four-day seminar called "The Mind Revolution." In this seminar, we teach people everything from how to run their brains most effectively to how to eat, breathe, and exercise in a way that maximizes personal energy. The first evening of this four-day process is called "Fear Into Power." The design of the seminar is to teach people how to take action instead of being stopped by fear. At the end of the seminar, people are given the opportunity to walk on fire -- across ten to twelve feet of burning coals, and in advanced groups I've had people walking across forty feet of coals. The firewalk has fascinated the media to the point I fear its message is getting lost. The point is not to walk on fire. I think it's fair to assume there's no great economic or social benefit to be gained from a blissful stroll across a bed of hot coals. Instead, the firewalk is an experience in personal power and a metaphor for possibilities, an opportunity for people to produce results they previously had thought impossible.
People have been doing some version of firewalking for thousands of years. In some parts of the world, it's a religious test of faith. When I conduct a firewalk, it's not part of any religious experience in the conventional sense. But it is an experience in belief. It teaches people in the most visceral sense that they can change, they can grow, they can stretch themselves, they can do things they never thought possible, that their greatest fears and limitations are self-imposed.
The only difference between whether you can walk on fire or not is your ability to communicate to yourself in a way that causes you to take action, in spite of all your past fear programming about what should happen to you. The lesson is that people can do virtually anything as long as they muster the resources to believe they can and to take effective actions.
What all this leads to is a simple, inescapable fact. Success is not an accident. The difference between people who produce positive results and those who do not is not some sort of random roll of the dice. There are consistent, logical patterns of action, specific pathways to excellence, that are within the reach of us all. We can all unleash the magic within us. We simply must learn how to turn on and use our minds and bodies in the most powerful and advantageous ways.
Have you ever wondered what a Spielberg and a Springsteen might have in common? What do a John F. Kennedy and a Martin Luther King, Jr., share that caused them to affect so many people in such a deep and emotional way? What sets a Ted Turner and a Tina Turner apart from the masses? What about a Pete Rose and a Ronald Reagan? All of them have been able to get themselves to consistently take effective actions toward the accomplishment of their dreams. But what is it that gets them to continue day after day to put everything they've got into everything they do? There are, of course, many factors. However, I believe that there are seven fundamental character traits that they have all cultivated within themselves, seven characteristics that give them the fire to do whatever it takes to succeed. These are the seven basic triggering mechanisms that can ensure your success as well:
Trait Number One: Passion! All of these people have discovered a reason, a consuming, energizing, almost obsessive purpose that drives them to do, to grow, and to be more! It gives them the fuel that powers their success train and causes them to tap their true potential. It's passion that causes a Pete Rose to continuously dive headfirst into second base as if he were a rookie playing his first major-league game. It's passion that sets the actions of a Lee Iacocca apart from so many others. It's passion that drives the computer scientists through years of dedication to create the kind of breakthroughs that have put men and women in outer space and brought them back. It's passion that causes people to stay up late and get up early. It's passion that people want in their relationships. Passion gives life power and juice and meaning. There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it's the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessman. We'll discover how to unleash this inner force through the power of goals in chapter 11.
Trait Number Two: Belief! Every religious book on the planet talks about the power and effect of faith and belief on mankind. People who succeed on a major scale differ greatly in their beliefs from those who fail. Our beliefs about what we are and what we can be precisely determine what we will be. If we believe in magic, we'll live a magical life. If we believe our life is defined by narrow limits, we've suddenly made those limits real. What we believe to be true, what we believe is possible, becomes what's true, becomes what's possible. This book will provide you with a specific, scientific way to quickly change your beliefs so that they support you in the attainment of your most desired goals. Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take the actions that could make their dream a reality. People who succeed know what they want and believe that they can get it. We'll learn about what beliefs are and how to use them in chapters 4 and 5.
Passion and belief help to provide the fuel, the propulsion toward excellence. But propulsion is not enough. If it were, it would be enough to fuel a rocket and send it flying blindly toward the heavens. Besides that power, we need a path, an intelligent sense of logical progression. To succeed in hitting our target, we need
Trait Number Three: Strategy! A strategy is a way of organizing resources. When Steven Spielberg decided to become a film-maker, he mapped out a course that would lead to the world he wanted to conquer. He figured out what he wanted to learn, whom he needed to know, and what he needed to do. He had passion, and he had belief, but he also had the strategy that made those things work to their greatest potential. Ronald Reagan has developed certain communication strategies that he uses on a consistent basis to produce the results he desires. Every great entertainer, politician, parent, or employer knows it's not enough to have the resources to succeed. One must use those resources in the most effective way. A strategy is a recognition that the best talents and ambitions also need to find the right avenue. You can open a door by breaking it down, or you can find the key that opens it intact. We'll learn about the strategies that produce excellence in chapters 7 and 8.
Trait Number Four: Clarity of Values! When we think of the things that made America great, we think of things like patriotism and pride, a sense of tolerance, and a love of freedom. These things are values, the fundamental, ethical, moral, and practical judgments we make about what's important, what really matters. Values are specific belief systems we have about what is right and wrong for our lives. They're the judgments we make about what makes life worth living. Many people do not have a clear idea of what is important to them. Often individuals do things that afterward they are unhappy with themselves about simply because they are not clear about what they unconsciously believe is right for them and others. When we look at great successes, they are almost always people with a clear fundamental sense about what really matters. Think of Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Wayne, Jane Fonda. They all have had different visions, but what they have in common is a fundamental moral grounding, a sense of who they are and why they do what they do. An understanding of values is one of the most rewarding and challenging keys to achieving excellence. We will consider values in chapter 18.
As you've probably noticed, all these traits feed on and interact with one another. Is passion affected by beliefs? Of course it is. The more we believe we can accomplish something, the more we're usually willing to invest in its achievement. Is belief by itself enough to achieve excellence? It's a good start, but if you believe you're going to see a sunrise and your strategy for achieving that goal is to begin running west, you may have some difficulty. Are our strategies for success affected by our values? You bet. If your strategy for success requires you to do things that do not fit your unconscious beliefs about what is right or wrong for your life, then even the best strategy will not work. This is often seen in individuals who begin to succeed only to end up sabotaging their own success. The problem is there's an internal conflict between the individual's values and his strategy for achievement.
In the same way, all four of the things we've already considered are inseparable from
Trait Number Five: Energyt! Energy can be the thundering, joyous commitment of a Bruce Springsteen or a Tina Turner. It can be the entrepreneurial dynamism of a Donald Trump or a Steve Jobs. It can be the vitality of a Ronald Reagan or a Katharine Hepburn. It is almost impossible to amble languorously toward excellence. People of excellence take opportunities and shape them. They live as if obsessed with the wondrous opportunities of each day and the recognition that the one thing no one has enough of is time. There are many people in this world who have a passion they believe in. They know the strategy that would ensure it, and their values are aligned, but they just don't have the physical vitality to take action on what they know. Great success is inseparable from the physical, intellectual, and spiritual energy that allows us to make the most of what we have. In chapters 9 and 10, we'll learn and apply the tools that can immediately increase physical vibrancy.
Trait Number Six: Bonding Power! Nearly all successful people have in common an extraordinary ability to bond with others, the ability to connect with and develop rapport with people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Sure, there's the occasional mad genius who invents something that changes the world. But if the genius spends all his time in a lonely warren, he will succeed on one level but fail on many others. The great successes -- the Kennedys, the Kings, the Reagans, the Gandhis -- all have the ability to form bonds that unite them to millions of others. The greatest success is not on the stage of the world. It is in the deepest recesses of your own heart. Deep down, everyone needs to form lasting, lving bonds with others. Without that, any success, any excellence, is hollow indeed. We'll learn about those bonds in chapter 13.
The final key trait is something we talked about earlier.
Trait Number Seven: Mastery of Communication! This is the essence of what this book is about. The way we communicate with others and the way we communicate with ourselves ultimately determine the quality of our lives. People who succeed in life are those who have learned how to take any challenge that life gives them and communicate that experience to themselves in a way that causes them to successfully change things. People who fail take the adversities of life and accept them as limitations. The people who shape our lives and our cultures are also masters of communication to others. What they have in common is an ability to communicate a vision or a quest or a joy or a mission. Mastery of communication is what makes a great parent or a great artist or a great politician or a great teacher. Almost every chapter in this book, in one way or another, has to do with communication, with bridging gaps, with building new paths, and with sharing new visions.
The first part of this book will teach you how to take charge and run your own brain and body more effectively than ever before. We will be working with factors that affect the way you communicate with yourself. In the second section, we'll be studying how to discover what you really want out of life and how you can communicate more effectively with others as well as how to be able to anticipate the kinds of behaviors that different kinds of people will consistently create. The third section looks from a larger, more global perspective at how we behave, what motivates us, and what we can contribute on a broader, extrapersonal level. It's about taking the skills you've learned and becoming a leader.
When I wrote this book, my original goal was to provide a textbook for human development -- a book that would be packed with the best and the latest in human change technology. I wanted to arm you with the skills and strategies that would enable you to change anything you wanted to change, and to do it faster than you'd ever dreamed of before. I wanted to create an opportunity for you in a very concrete way to immediately increase the quality of your life experience. I also wanted to create a work you could come back to again and again and always find something useful for your life. I knew that many of the subjects I would be writing about could be books in themselves. However, I wanted to give you information that was complete, something you could use in each area. I hope you find this book to be all these things for you.
When the manuscript was completed, the advance readings were very positive, except for one thing -- several people said, "You've got two books here. Why don't you split them up, publish one now, and market the other one as a follow-up twelve months later?" My goal was to get to you, the reader, as much quality information as quickly as I could. I did not want to dole out these skills a piece at a time. However, I became concerned that many people would not even get to the parts of the book that I think are most important simply because it was explained to me that several studies have shown that less than 10 percent of the people who buy a book read past the first chapter. At first, I couldn't believe that statistic. Then I remembered that less than 3 percent of the nation is financially independent, less than 10 percent have written goals, only 35 percent of American women -- and even fewer men -- feel they are in good physical shape, and in many states one out of every two marriages ends up in divorce. Only a small percentage of people really live the life of their dreams. Why? It takes effort. It takes consistent action.
Bunker Hunt, the Texas oil billionaire, was asked once if he had any one piece of advice he could give people on how to succeed. He said that success is simple. First, you decide what you want specifically; and second, you decide you're willing to pay the price to make it happen -- and then pay that price. If you don't take that second step, you'll never have what you want in the long term. I like to call the people who know what they want and are willing to pay the price to get it "the few who do" versus "the many who talk." I challenge you to play with this material, to read it all, to share what you learn, and to enjoy it.
In this chapter, I've stressed the primacy of taking effective action. But there are many ways to take action. Most of them depend on a large degree of trial and error. Most people who have been great successes have adjusted and readjusted countless times before they got what they wanted. Trial and error is fine, except for one thing: it uses a vast quantity of the one resource none of us will ever have enough of -- time.
What if there was a way to take action that accelerated the learning process? What if I could show you how to learn the precise lessons that people of excellence have already learned? What if you could learn in minutes what someone took years to perfect? The way to do this is through modeling, a way to reproduce precisely the excellence of others. What do they do that sets them apart from those who only dream of success? Let's discover...
Copyright © 1986 by Robbins Research Institute