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Zig Ziglar: Better Than Good Book Summary

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Introduction

  • There are three pillars to the “better than good” life: passion, peak performance, and purpose.
  • Passion is the prerequisite for peak performance. Peak performance is dependent on passion, grit, determination, and a willingness to do something poorly until you can do it well.
  • Change takes time and constant repetition. Feeding your mind new ideas for at least a month is like practicing scales on the piano – you’re teaching your mind and body how to do things they’ve never done before.

PART 1: THE PASSION OF THE “BETTER THAN GOOD” LIFE

CHAPTER 1: A PASSIONATE JOURNEY

  • Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal. The winner is he who gives himself to his work, body and soul. (Charles Buxton)
  • The core problem is not that we are too passionate about bad things, but that we are not passionate enough about good things. (Larry Crabb)
  • Passion plays a significant part in all great accomplishments. Who – and whose – you are will determine whether your passion is noble and generous or selfish and self-serving. Finding and developing passion is a journey, not an event.
  • Different things motivate different people, but inspiration is critical if we are going to discover what we are passionate about.
  • Debbie says now that she has spent the rest of her life walking through closed doors – because she discovered that day that she could.
  • Live creatively, friends…Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.
  • To impact just one person with our passion is to change the world. To encourage, inspire, and motivate one person with our passion is to move beyond ourselves and take others with us. That is the essence of the “better than good” life.

CHAPTER 2: INSPIRATION: THE FUEL OF PASSION

  • Ninety percent of inspiration is perspiration.
  • You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. (Jack London)
  • But that’s the true nature of passion! It’s continually simmering beneath the surface, waiting for the right stimulus to cause it to boil over into world-changing action.
  • I believe inspiration is the fuel of passion. If you think of passion as the flame that burns white hot in the heart of every person, inspiration is the fuel that keeps that flame alive.
  • Without injecting new energy into the situation, things naturally go from a state of repair to a state of disrepair.
  • Now, that law applies not only to “stuff” but human beings.
  • Passion will die without constant injections of new inspiration.
  • Invest in inspiration.
  • Inquire for inspiration.
  • Inspiration is caught better than it is taught.
  • As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
  • Don’t become an apprentice unless you’re willing one day to be a mentor yourself. That’s what happens naturally in extended families. Apprentices grow up to become mentors – and it’s the way passions stay alive for generations.
  • Get involved to find inspirations.
  • Imagine for inspiration.
  • Hard study and earnest thought, but the results are well worth the effort.

CHAPTER 3: STRESS: THE ENEMY OF PASSION

  • The thief I see robbing more people of their passion than anything else is stress – stress in all its forms.
  • Stress suppresses the body’s immune system, interrupts your sleep, and makes you vulnerable to all manner of illnesses.
  • People fall down. Winners get up. Gold medal winners get up fastest.
  • Failure is not falling down – failure is not getting back up.
  • Do things with integrity, know what is wrong, practice what is right, and make your decisions accordingly.
  • The fear of failing inhibits and restricts performance and can throw cold water all over human passion.
  • Did you know the opposite of faith is fear.
  • We have two choices for facing the future: we can face it with faith or with fear. The future is all about the unknown, and we can let that empower us or enslave us.
  • I live my life looking through the windshield, not the review mirror.
  • Laughter is a great stress reducer.

CHAPTER 4: WATCH WHAT YOU THINK

  • Change your thoughts and you change your world. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Everything you think has an impact on the kind of person you will become.
  • Fear is an open invitation to trouble whereas faith invites success.
  • People are attracted to optimism.
  • Frank Outlaw expressed the power of our thoughts this way: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.
  • Pictures simply do not have the ability to lodge themselves in the human heart like words do.
  • Failure is an event, not a person.
  • Yesterday really did end last night.
  • You can change where you are and what you are by changing what goes in your mind. I am living proof.
  • Watch what you feed your mind.

CHAPTER 5: PERCEPTION AND ATTITUDE

  • A pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks. (Michael Levine)
  • The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude of mind. (William James)
  • Optimism is an intellectual choice. (Diana Schneider)
  • As in life, you can change attitude, and when you change attitude, you can change direction. You are not a prisoner anymore.
  • Research shows that happy people and unhappy people tend to have very similar experiences in life. The difference is perspective.
  • Positive people don’t react to life; they respond. Responding is positive, reacting is negative.
  • Happiness is the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good; that state of being on which desires are gratified; the enjoyment of pleasure without pain.
  • Happiness doesn’t emanate from good happening – it springs from something deeper called joy, regardless of what happens.
  • Grateful people are happy people, but the happiest people are those who have the joy.
  • Attitude is a mental outlook – a frame of mind. It’s how you think based on what you know to be true.

PART 2: THE PEAK PERFORMANCE OF “BETTER THAN GOOD” LIFE

CHAPTER 6: DEVELOP A PASSIONATE PLAN

  • Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now. (Alan Lakein)
  • There’s no sense in having passion in life if you don’t apply it.
  • Success is a process, that life is a journey.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to dive in with nothing but passion and raw drive and begin the journey. Since life is about the journey, not the destination, the fulfilment is going to come along the way. Whether you’ve reached your anticipated destination at the end of the journey is almost irrelevant. You may pass the baton to others who take it across the finish line. You’ll be remembered for your passion, persistence, and productivity.
  • We become experts the same way we become better than good – by having faith, taking action, learning as we go, and steadily, purposefully moving forward with hopeful expectations.
  • Passionate Planning
  • You Will Stay Focused on God
  • You Will Live Without Fear
  • You Will Be Inspired
  • Inspiration is stimulation, and passionate planning results in you’re becoming energized to achieve your goals.
  • You Will Work Hard
  • You Will Welcome Failure As Part Of Your Education
  • Edison himself said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
  • You Will Keep Hope Alive
  • You Will Reach Your God-Given Potential
  • Dynamics of Strategic Planning
  • Have Faith
  • Take Action
  • The moment you stop taking action, everything in your plan stops. Even mental reflection is action.
  • Learn As You Go
  • Life is a classroom – only those who are willing to be lifelong learners will move to the head of the class.
  • Those who learn, prosper.
  • Persevere With Hope
  • Real-Life Planning
  • Relationships
  • Goal Setting
  • Gratitude
  • Giving

CHAPTER 7: SETTING GOALS

  • Find the Goal
  • Overcome Obstacles to the Goal
  • Keep Your Eye on the Goal
  • Set an Attainable Goal
  • Goal setters are picture painters. They are artists of life who use a canvas, brush, and paints to create images of what they want life to be like.
  • In achieving of your goals, it’s not what others believe you can do, it’s what you believe you can do.
  • Success does breed success. It increases our confidence and keeps the fire burning.

CHAPTER 8: FAILURE: LIFE’S REFINING PROCESS

  • The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed. (Llyod Jones)
  • Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers as long as we are not crushed by it – as long as we learn from it.
  • In times of change the learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  • Steve Brown has said that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly- until you can learn to do it well.
  • Failure plus perseverance equals success.
  • Wayne Gretzky said it best “I miss 100 percent of the shots that I never take.”
  • The book we never write will never make it to the best-seller list.
  • Winston Churchill said “Success is often nothing more than moving from one failure to the next with undiminished enthusiasm.”
  • Failure is the path of least persistence.

CHAPTER 9: “BETTER THAN GOOD” HABITS

  • What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do. (Aristotle)
  • At some point we cross a line in our lives where behaviours move from “act” to “habit.”
  • Habits are one of the critical components in the life of every person alive today. The problem is that habits can be good or bad, constructive or destructive, positive or negative, encouraging or discouraging.
  • Build as many positive habits into your life as possible.
  • Invest consistent energy into the cultivation of good habits.
  • Erasmus who said “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”
  • The habit of staying motivated.
  • Motivation gets you going, but habit gets you there.
  • Motivation has such a strong influence on our lives because it always precedes a decision, which is generally emotional.
  • When the action is repeated regularly over a period of time, it will lead to a behavioural change. Behavioural change leads to habit formation.
  • The habit of Listening.
  • The habit of Learning.
  • Make learning a “Habitual” part of your lifestyle.
  • It is not where you start – it’s where you want to go and your willingness to work to get there that will make a difference.
  • The habit of reading.
  • The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.
  • Information is exploding so fast that anyone who does not read and keep up is rapidly falling behind.
  • Readers are leader and leaders are readers.
  • The habit of redeeming the time.
  • The habit of doing your best.
  • The habit of Rest.
  • The habit of Self-Discipline
  • The habit of going the Extra Mile.
  • The habits of Pure Thoughts.
  • You can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once.
  • Carl bard said “Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.”

CHAPTER 10: THE POWER OF GRIT

  • What this power is I cannot say, all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it. (Alexander Graham Bell)
  • The secret of success is the consistency to pursue. (Harry Banks)
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have keep on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. (Dale Carnegie)
  • Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. (Ray Knoc)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. That I recall first “If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
  • Grit is the bedrock of success.
  • Intelligence accounts for only a fraction of the reason for success. Grit has value for people at all levels of ability.
  • One common characteristic of their success was that they were tenacious.
  • Determination motivates people to incredible feats of creativity.
  • Peter Doskock cites what experts call the “decade rule” – meaning that “it takes at least a decade of hard work or practice to become highly successful in most endeavours, from managing a hardware store to writing sitcoms – and the ability to persist in the face of obstacles is almost always an essential ingredient in major achievements.
  • The interesting phenomenon regarding the decade rule is this: looking ahead, ten years looks like forever. Looking back, it seems like the blink of an eye. Therefore, don’t let the “long haul” dissuade you from reaching your goal. When you get there, you’ll remember little of the blood, sweet, and tears you expended. You’ll be basking in the air of success as you stand on the performance peak toward which you’ve been travelling.
  • There is power in grit.
  • Refuse to give up on your dreams.
  • Passions without determination will only find the nuggets that are lying on the surface. If you expect to find anything more valuable, it will take passion plus determination.

CHAPTER 11: REDEFINING SUCCESS

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try hard work…Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after other have let go…There isn’t much thrill in success unless one has first been close to failure. (William Feather)
  • Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King Jr)
  • The law of the harvest is this: we reap what we sow.
  • I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
  • This is a great spiritual law – the law of reaping what we sow.

PART 3: THE PURPOSE OF THE “BETTER THAN GOOD” LIFE

CHAPTER 12: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?

CHAPTER 13: DISCOVER YOUR CALLING

  • Nothing worthwhile in life was ever achieved without a compelling reason to achieve it.
  • Your career is what you are paid for; your calling is what you are made for.
  • E Lawrence expressed it quite well: “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day, these are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

CHAPTER 14: PEOPLE AND PURPOSE

  • Fate makes our relatives, choice makes our friends. (Jacques Delille)
  • You can never establish a personal relationship without opening up your own heart. (Paul Tournier)
  • When we come to the end of our lives, it won’t be the material things we’ve accumulated that we’ll want surrounding our bed. It will be the people we’ve loved and those who have loved us in return.
  • Men of genius are admired; men of wealth are envied; men of power are feared. But only men of character are trusted. Logical conclusion: if there is trust in a relationship, it has a marvellous chance of being successful long term.
  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.
  • Addictions have the effect of dividing our personality in half – one half is devoted to the person with whom we have a relationship and the other half is devoted to satisfying the addiction. We get the feeling that the addicted person is never “all there.”
  • He or she made the choices that led to addiction, but once the addiction is full force, it owns the person. There is no way to have a healthy relationship with a person who is addicted to anything until the addiction is broken.
  • When we change our thinking we change our life.
  • Relationships are nothing more than interdependent people bonding and banding together to encourage one another to be their very best.
  • The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. (Pearl Buck)
  • God’s law of the harvest: we reap what we sow.
  • Invest in people and you’ll be investing in the “better than good life”. And the returns will be greater than you can imagine.

CHAPTER 15: CHANGE SOMEBODY’S WORLD ONE ACT AT A TIME

  • Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. (Martin Luther King Jr)
  • Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
  • Smile is the single most powerful force of influence that people have.

CHAPTER 16: LET LOVE BE YOUR GUIDE

  • Love, and do what you like. (St. Augustine)
  • When love empowers people, amazing things can happen.
  • Love that will not desert a loved one is god’s kind of love.

EPILOGUE: THE PROMISE OF A “BETTER THAN GOOD” LIFE

  • Our past is important because it brought us to where we are today. But as important as the past is, it is not nearly as important as the way you see your future – because the way you see your future determines your thinking today.
  • Regardless of the shape we are in, statistics show that 100 percent of us die! The body only lives so long, but spirit lives forever.

THE “BETTER THAN GOOD” LIFE

  • Failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night; and that today is my brand-new day.
  • I have made friends with my past, I am focused on the present, and I am optimistic about my future.
  • I know that success (a win) doesn’t make me, and failure (a loss) doesn’t break me.
  • I understand that others can give me pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when I do things for others.

 

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