Fleming H Revell Co 1993
To quote the author, "This book is based on a very simple premise. That great changes that affect your life are not made progressively over long periods of time. They are the result of conscious decisions that you make at specific moments." I would like to agree with this premise, but it is my belief that this is where change starts. Decision is critical, but it is only the first step. Having said that, this book contains many valuable thoughts, and I include my favourites here.
Acknowledging ‘what is’
"The first step in reaching a destination is to determine your present location… People in the helping professions know that behavioural change will not occur until people discover where they are and begin to deal with what is. Most of the frustration people experience is based on failure to deal with present circumstances… Once we truly see things as they are, we somehow have more desire to be transformed."
"It would be great to think that we all have the necessary training to design master plans for our lives, but that isn’t the case. The tragedy of our educational system is that we can attend school for eighteen years and never have one hour of instruction in goal-setting."
"To the achieving person, failure is viewed as a vital element in ultimate success. When you fall down as a little child, it doesn’t keep you form learning to walk. When you bite your tongue, it doesn’t stop you form eating. Achievement takes a willingness to put your face to the wind and move forward. You don’t make great strides by following the path of least resistance."
"The environment of your youth, or the current status of your checking account should not be allowed to limit your aspirations. When setting goals do some creative thinking to expand the boundary line of your possibilities."
"A balanced life should include a blueprint for achievement in your entire arena of experience – personal, family, financial, academic, physical, and spiritual… If you want to assure ongoing and rapid progress toward any single objective, make certain that all your stated goals are headed in the same direction."
How attitudes manifest in behaviour
"Once you see that your perceptions determine your behaviour, you can begin immediately to shift your focus from your actions to your attitudes… Soon the view from inside becomes manifest in the way you walk, the words you speak, and the manner in which people respond to you."
Releasing emotion baggage
"The moment you allow past experiences to dominate either your present or your future, you are headed for major problems. Many people have been carrying the same old baggage for ten or twenty years. Finally, the weight of it zaps their energy and they permanently collapse under the load."
On changing your attitude
"Whether it is in the area of being thankful, optimistic, enthusiastic, or outgoing, the key to change is to realize that an existing attitude is not something you are “stuck” with. Millions of negative people have reversed their “polarity”. They have substituted yes for no, and hope for nope! … Being an optimist does not mean that you deny the problem. It means that you accept the obstacle as a challenge and prepare for a positive outcome."
"Kicking the habit will not come by focusing on the unwanted behaviour, but by a clear picture of a positive alternative… Replace an undesired behaviour with a healthy one… Become addicted to a new daily activity that is positive… Instead of shining your spotlight on habits you want to break, try creating a list of behaviours you want to add."
On eating properly
"Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince, but eat dinner like a pauper… Give your body the chance to actively burn off the calories it takes in. The less food the body is required to process at night, the healthier and more rested the person becomes, and the fewer pounds are added."
"It has been proven again and again that men and women who begin to dress in the style of the jobs they desire are soon viewed as potential candidates for those positions. The theory is that when people can “see” it, they can “be” it… In point of fact, few people change their appearance without enhancing their self-esteem or setting new goals for themselves… Why are these small details important? When you feel proud and confident of the way you look, it translates into positive action in every situation you encounter."
"Don’t settle for average – Whatever your task, make it your constant goal to perform it better than you’ve even done it before. Then repeat the performance again and again, until you reach the excellence that reflects your best. Unfortunately, many have adopted a personal policy of doing just enough to get by.
Never stop improving – Standards of excellence are not chiselled in stone. They are constantly being redefined. It is important to recognize that what was graded excellent last year may not be so this year. That is why we must keep mastering new skills."
"Without question, the quality that separates winners from also-rans in our society is the inner fire of enthusiasm. You never have to guess whether people have such a quality. It is obvious in everything they do…. Everyone likes excitement. When people bubble with personal energy, others enjoy being around them.
Enthusiasm can be aroused by two things: first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into action."
Living your purpose
"Reading the words of an inspirational writer has great value, and being challenged by a spiritual leader or motivational speaker is beneficial, but it is only when a concept, a cause, or a vision becomes YOURS that a fundamental change happens in your life. When you take ownership of a dream, it becomes a driving force that will cause you to bounce out of bed each day."
Some shorter quotes that just had to be included:
"Your life won’t experience meaningful change if your commitment stops at the cognitive level… Commitment comes from the heart."
"The shortest route from the starting point to your destination is the highway marked 'Willingness to Change'."
"The genius inside can be awakened by consciously breaking the habit of knee-jerk reactions to what comes your way."
"How we experience the outer world is determined by our inner world. We do not see the world as it actually is, but the way we perceive it to be."
"Health experts believe that many people could live twice as long if they didn’t spend the first half of their lives acquiring habits that shorten the other half."
"Those who glibly say, “Money is not important”, are not facing the facts. The average person spends more time earning the medium of exchange called money than any other single activity."
"A person who says, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget”, is really saying, “I refuse to forgive”."
"Frowns don’t produce friends, but they do produce wrinkles. There is no need to look old before your time when a smile can produce amazing results."
"Experts who measure such things say the relaxation response after a good laugh lasts up to 45 minutes."
"No law states that we must constantly be in the company of grumps… we have the right to choose."
"Whatever your objective, there’s one sure way to accomplish it. Make certain that you do something every day that brings you closer to its realization."
"If you’re not making any mistakes or experiencing any setbacks, chances are you’re not doing anything."