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March 30, 2009

Twelve Pillars

Twelve Pillars is a novel by Jim Rohn and Chris Widener. This book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be successful in all aspects of life. Here is what I learned from this must read book. Enjoy!!

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Pillar #1- “The only way things are going to change for you is when you change.” Success comes when you develop yourself beyond where you currently are. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. “So how do I do that?” you might ask. Read books, attend seminars, and study the best people. The only way things are going to change for you is when you change. What are you going to change that will in turn change your life? If you keep on living like the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life that you already have. That’s the way it works.

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Pillar #2- Live a life of health. You should make sure that the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you.” Pillar number two is total well-being. The book talks about three-dimensional health. When you say ‘health’ to most people, they think of your physical well-being, but it is more than that. A person is made up of three parts: the body, the soul, and the spirit. Sure we have our bodies but we also have our soul, which is basically our intellect and our emotions, also our will; and then we have our spirit. That is the part of us that transcends this world. It is the part of us that is designed to be eternal. The fact is that most people pick one of those and work exclusively on that area. We need to work on each area because they are interdependent. You have some people who work on their physical health. Have you ever noticed that some people take better care of their pets than they do themselves? Their animals can run like the wind, but they can barley make it up a flight of stairs. Those who take care of their physical health many times neglect the other two areas. Other people are all about the intellect and forget their bodies or spirits. And then there are people who are so spiritual they are no earthly good.  If you focus on improving all of these areas- the body, soul and spirit- you will see that each one will get stronger and the strong they get, the stronger they will make the others. It all ties in together.

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Pillar #3-The gift of relationships. “Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.” The greatest gift the Grand Designer gives is the gift of other people. Yes, relationships can be hard, but they are also what the joy of life is made of. Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing. You see, relationships are the backbone of our existence. We need to cultivate them as best we can. When you are on your deathbed, you want your family there with you, sending you on your journey. That is the sign of an excellent life. You can gain every possession in the world, but if you lose your relationships, what good has your life been? Start with time. Spend more time with your mate. Spend more time with the kids. Spend more time with your friends. Remember, life is always about the relationships and the way to build relationships is by giving them time. “I always thought it was quality time, not quantity time”. I would like to see the person who said that. Their spouse probably wasn’t happy. If you are like most young people today, you are running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off, never spending time with that wife of yours-or the kids. They need you to be there!

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Pillar #4- Achieve your goals. “The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it.” “So just write my goals down…and that’s it?” First, in order to write it down, means you have to have a goal in the first place. Secondly, there is a power in writing your goal down. It brings it into reality. One of the best things you can do is to write down one hundred things you want to accomplish. The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than the goal you achieve. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.

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Pillar #5- The proper use of time. “Every day has many opportunities, but only one best opportunity.” We must all suffer from one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. There is one certainty, and that is that the end of your life will come, and sooner than you want it to.  Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely. Every day has many opportunities, but only one best opportunity. Your best opportunities are those that align with your overall goals and should be what you spend your time on. Would that be how you describe your days? The time management trap that most people get into, is that they spend their time on the urgent rather than the important. The urgent is a tyrant of a master that enslaves you if you let it. It is better to be the master of time rather than vice-versa. It is important to be the designer of our lives. Either you run the day or the day runs you. Either you control your time or it controls you.

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Pillar #6- Surround yourself with the best people. “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” Surround yourself with winners, successful people who exhibit and live consistent to values and skills you want to acquire and develop. You see, the people in your life have an amazing power to influence your destiny. Ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What effect are they having on me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most importantly, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big questions: Is that okay? Every relationship you have is an association, and each association has either a positive, neutral or negative effect on you. So a person who wants to achieve success has to constantly make a determination about what kind of relationship it is and how to approach that relationship. You place every person you meet into one of three categories: disassociation, limited association, and expanded association. Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.

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Pillar # 7- Be a life-longer learner. “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.” If someone is going down the wrong path, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. He needs education to turn him around. Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Most of life is lived after your formal education. That means the rest is up to you. The state makes you to school through twelfth grade, then people choose to go through college, but the truly successful decide to learn for the rest of their lives. There are a few mainstays to learning that anyone can use to improve their lives. The first is to read books. The second is to learn from successful people by observation. And the third is to constantly reflect on your own experiences and learn what went right and what went wrong. Books have been, are, and will continue to be one of the greatest learning tools in human history. As for the cost, it isn’t what the book costs. It is what it will cost you if you don’t read it.

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Pillar #8- All of life is sales. “One key is having influence with others is to have others perceive you as a person of talent and virtue.” Influence is the key to a successful life. Anyone who wants to succeed must learn the art and skill of influencing others. When they do that, they will be successful. Think about it. From the time we are born, successfully reaching our goals is dependent upon influencing others. And as we grow, we hone those skills. A baby must influence his or her parents to feed him. A child influences his or her parents for a bike. A teenager has to influence the person they fancy so they can get a date. The person who graduates college must influence their potential boss to give them a job. Sales people must influence prospective buyers- if they want to eat well! You see, all of life is sales, and all of sales is influence. Thomas Jefferson said, “There is a natural aristocracy among men, the ground of which is talent and virtue.” This is fascinating. If you think about the founders of America, they had come from a place where there was an aristocracy based on the Monarchy. Aristocracy was passed from generation to generation. You became wealthy and had influence based solely on what family you were born into. Jefferson was speaking of the beauty of America, namely that anyone can achieve a natural aristocracy- the maximum levels of success- if you master the ground of achieving it: Talent and Virtue. The key to influencing others is to have others perceive you as a person of talent and virtue. Be a person of strong character and increasing skill and you will always be growing in your influence.

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Pillar #9- Income seldom exceeds personal development. “What you become directly influences what you get.” One of the mistakes many people make in all actuality; money doesn’t make the world go ‘round’”. For the vast majority of the wealthy, money isn’t the number one thing in their lives. They have had money and realize that life still goes on, just as it did before. They may live in nicer homes or drive fancier cars, but life happens to everyone. Money doesn’t solve the problems of life. Money provides no security. If you are hoping for security in your wealth, you will have a long wait. Money can always go away. You lose it. You can get sued. Inflation can eat away at it. It can be stolen. Every year, you hear of what were once millionaires and even multi-millionaires having to file for bankruptcy, going from hundreds of millions of dollars to nothing…in one year. Imagine that! After you become a millionaire, you can give it all away because what’s important is not that million dollars, what’s important is the person you have to become in the process of becoming a millionaire. You can give it all away, because you have become a person who could get it back. If you want to make a million dollars, you had better grow personally to the point where you are a million dollar person.

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Pillar #10- All communication brings he common ground of understanding. “Communication is two or more people working together to find the common group of understanding.” And when they find that common group, they are positioned to have tremendous power together. Communication isn’t just what you say. It is also how you say it, when you say it, and the receptiveness of who you say it to. And that’s just the half of it. The other half is making sure you really listen. The most important thing about communication is listening. Most people aren’t listening, they are merely waiting for the other person to take a breath so they can interrupt them and speak their own mind.

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bigstockphoto_leadership_798680Pillar #11- The world can always use one more great leader. “To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs, and actions for the better.” Managers help people see themselves as they are. Leaders help people see themselves better than they are. Leaders talk about what could be. And they take the step to help people become what could be. Learn to help people with more than just their jobs: help them with their lives. Great leaders are interested in people in general, not just for what they can get from them. Great leaders have optimistic vision. A leader knows where they are, that’s realism. But they also know how to get a better destination. That’s an optimistic vision.

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Pillar #12- Leave a legacy. “Live a life that will help others spiritually, intellectually, physically, financially and relationally. Live a life that serves as an example of what an exceptional life can look like.” One thing that I realized this past year is how short life is. It seemed like just yesterday that I was a schoolboy, playing with my friends. It seems such a short time ago that I fell in love and we began a family. Such a short time ago, I was building my businesses. We are but breezes of wind that blow through this world. Here one day, gone the next. No one knows how long they will live. You cannot choose who long you will live, but you can choose how well you will live. I believe that how well you live is bound inherently with how much you leave for others who come behind you and follow your path. My goal in life has been to live it in such a way that it would serve those who have come after me, to blaze a trail. So many people waste their short lives here and then spend their final days weighted down with regret. There is no more time to go back and redo their lives. Live a life that will help others spiritually, intellectually, physically, financially, and relationally. Live a life that serves as an example of what an exceptional life can look like. Let others lead small lives. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you. Leaving a legacy is like planting a tree. As that seed grows into a tree, it will provide seeds, so that future generations can then plant their own.


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August 14, 2009

James Crockett @ 11:26 am

Totally agree

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