Thanks Mike for your kind words about our audio book The Secret Advantage!
The only motivational self-help book you’ll ever need!
Hands down the most complete self-help, motivational, inspiring book you’ll find today. I have all of them and this audio book is filled with golden nugget after golden nugget. I’ve listened to this book for few weeks each morning…pure gold. This audio book clearly is now my top book to date.
Thinking of changing to the highest paid career on the planet?
Here’s what a new Keller Williams agent had to say.
Best business book ever! Hundreds of helpful gems.
I switched careers from computer programming into real estate sales and found this audiobook many times more helpful than the training at Keller Williams. This is the BEST sales training audiobook for any industry. I especially like the different perspectives and the depth of experience from the authors. I have been a fan of Brian Tracy for years and now have several other great authors to follow.
When I read this review about the program I did featuring the life works of Earl Nightingale, my first thought was the reviewer considered Earl and I are old goats. Then, the reviewer wrote, “Impossible to surpass such vital deep memorable information.”
The two statements seemed to contradict each other.
So, I Googled what it means when someone refers to a G.O.A.T… to my surprise it is urban slang for a compliment. The Urban Dictionary explains, “An acronym for G.reatest O.f A.ll T.ime” “Greatest Of All Time. Not a title that should be easily given out.”
Well then, thank you very much!
Here’s the complete review of The Secret Advantage:
The program itself is based on an acronym; C.O.R.E. This is for skills based on Competency, Opportunities, Results, and Effectiveness.
In addition to Audible and Amazon, get the complete collector’s edition box set with the BONUS Six Classic Earl Nightingale videos and the Nightingale Conant Documentary at discount.
There’s another program based on the word; G.O.A.L.S. The new Goals and Vision course that will be live on Audible soon. Goals,
It is safe to say that if you want the C.O.R.E. skills to be a G.O.A.T. you will have to know everything you can about G.O.A.L.S. Goals, Opportunities, Attitude, Leadership and Lifelong Learning, and Success.
At the moment I’m not even halfway through and I already plan on multiple listens to this book. I’ve listened to one chapter 3 times and will probably try to commit it to memory before I’m done. Now it may seem to you, like it does to me, that a major reason for this recording is to sell more books…I’d say you are absolutely right: HOWEVER it does have a lot of its own content that is very useful. Think of it maybe as Cliff’s Notes or highlights of the recordings they are being taken from. By the way it is a little annoying that they jump around like they do, this is part of the course structure and accents the process. Overall, this is a very helpful and interesting listen that has good places to break your listen even though the next is waiting like a serial. I recommend getting to it as soon as you can.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It is but you can’t. This book is packed with information from the greats and should be meditated on, notes need to be taken, meetings need to be revisited. You, dear listener, need to catch what is going on here.
Work began on the presentation six weeks before the meeting.
A national buyer planned a cattle call meeting to be held for only one day in a motel room. The budget for the entire following year would be awarded to hungry radio sales people. There would be lots of numbers to be crunched and teeth to be gnashed preparing for the event. This one salesman had never met the buyer and his station had yet to win any buys from the company that represented a national beer. Our salesman carefully calculated prices and extra bonuses to get the buyer’s attention. He received the station’s pre-approval for his negotiating range and felt armed for combat. The big day came. Sales people from the region filled the motel lobby and hall waiting their turns. Finally our guy got his chance. When he was just about to open the notebook to display an extensive presentation, the buyer looked at and held up her Rolex and said, “You got three minutes. Make it good.”
With that, our salesman closed his notebook, sat back in his seat, folded his hands comfortably across his mid frame, took a breath, and said, “What are your two biggest goals for next year?”
The buyer relaxed and answered, “Increase case sales to retailers and lower my cost of promotions.”
The salesman said, “We can do that. Work with us this year. You’ll see our promotions are not silly contests, but based on real measurable traffic to retailers where we can get you in the door.”
At that point there were two minutes left on the countdown. The buyer checked her watch. The room was quiet until, “I want to hear more.”
There was no more talk of time limits. This encounter, which is a true account, provides a secret advantage only used by the best of the A Team players.
First, you probably recognize the ‘High Gain’ question that probes for two goals that are strictly customer focused.
The other teachable moment is in one word. Confidence.
Weaker sales people will fall all over themselves when a buyer intimidates them with time limits or other distractions. They’ll rush to tell the buyer all the great things about their business. In the case of radio sales, the dialogue will be filled with ratings, how their station is number one here and there, and the cost to reach a thousand people, or hit some magical cost per point figure. All boring stuff. The real pro takes a breath, relaxes the room, and puts the customer first with a high gain question. Buyers want their problems solved and features about your business are the last things they care about. That’s where confidence comes in.
Confidence comes from passion. The key is to be capable of delivering on the promises made. If you say can do it, be sure you can. For some people confidence is natural. For others it can be developed.
Confidence came natural to me beginning as a kid. One afternoon when I was imitating the morning radio announcer on the most popular station in Richmond, VA. WLEE ruled as Number One and the morning man was Harvey Hudson. He was also the General Manager and the best sales person at the station. As I imitated Harvey and played with my record player, my big brother and my father walked through on the way to build something or tear down something in the back yard. Real work. My father mentioned in passing, “That’s an idea,” sarcastically, “Play records for a living.”
That was a real ‘ah ha’ moment for my young nine year old brain. “Really. People make a living playing records.”
At that moment, even though I didn’t know what the feeling was at the time, a huge sense of confidence welled up in me. Turns out, some are lucky enough to make a living playing records. The real lucky ones, in any field, are the ones that get that dose of confidence that propels them through life like rocket fuel.
Another teachable moment happened years later. I played more Kiss records in high rotation than is probably good for anyone. Gene Simmons rocked and Kiss sky rocketed. Later on his reality TV show on cable, he showed why Kiss was so successful. In some of the episodes he is given a challenge, and Gene Simmons always says, “I can do that.”
Many times Simmons has to figure out later what he has to do to deliver on the promise, but it is that unshakeable confidence that got him his first record deal and every deal he has enjoyed since. Confidence. Unshakeable confidence is the stuff of winners in any field.
Earl Nightingale, another radio guy, made it clear in one of his syndicated radio broadcasts how important confidence is. He began, “Once a person believes they can do something, they actually can.”
This does not allow a total escape from reality. If you think you can earn 20 million a year in the NBA, you may need to be taller than 5 feet and have some skills like running. However, nature created a specific ‘pull’ for each of us. If you have artistic talent, some endeavor may draw you into a passionate profession you are well equipped to handle. Mine wasn’t that tough. Play records for a living.
Earl continued his broadcast with another natural inclination. “We are so full of doubt; we are so suspicious of our own abilities under normal circumstances that we operate far below our capabilities.”
It’s natural to have initial doubts. Doubt creates growth. Doubts come at us internally and from outside sources that may say things such as, “Only one in a million make it in show business, or whatever.”
For me, the only consideration was that I would be that one in a million. That’s where confidence wins. The actor Burt Reynolds addressed this once when he said, “When anyone tells me that something can’t be done, that fuels my fire and motivates me to prove I can.”
Self confidence sets the stage to get anything you want. Earl said, “Begin to act the new part of who you want to be and everything falls into place.”
Confidence comes from visualization. Key findings include:
Determine what position in your life you want.
Act immediately in the present to see yourself already in that position.
Want to own a business? Act and carry yourself in your speech, actions, appearance, stance, and demeanor as if you are that person right now.
Want to be a rock star? Act like Gene Simmons and say, “I can do that. Kiss is the greatest Rock band in history.”
If you want to play records for a living. Stop. There are no more records. The songs are digital. But, you can talk on the radio.
Years after I played with my record player imitating Harvey Hudson, confidence and determination paid off when my dreams came true. He became my boss when I worked for WLEE.
Harvey continued his radio career for 70 years and visited one of our Motivation Monday events held by the station we owned in Fort Lauderdale.
He’s a good man. Like a number of men in his circle of influence he has enough work to keep his hands dirty and a six pack in the fridge.
One particular morning with a cup of coffee in his left hand he cranked the engine on the ’92 Cougar; the one with duct tape keeping the rust away from the left tail light. It was his usual drive past the chain link fenced yards, some protecting cars on cinder blocks, and onward leaving his zip code for a neighboring five digits where the gated communities and the guard gates took the place of wire and pipes. The guard knew the car and lifted the barrier to let the man in. On the job site he was greeted by another carpenter, “Hey Buddy, what’s up?”
“Same old, same old,” he answered.
As soon as the words were out, there appeared something different this morning. He looked up gazing at just one of the gables sculpting the roof line of the second floor. There it was. A small dim glimmer in his eye. A wonderment of what might have been.
Each person is actually two people. Earl Nightingale wrote that for one of his radio broadcasts. Like the line identifying this blog, “The way the world is, and the way the world can be,” we too as individuals live a dual life. The way we are. The way we can be. Or, more accurately; the way we are meant to be.
The true measure of a person is not the things they have in the present. A real measure for all of us is the imaginary line between what we settle for and what we can become.
Earl in his broadcast said, “To visualize this, get a picture of a person standing inside the outline of a considerably larger person. Let this outline represent the highest potential for the person.”
Our worker described above could relate to this as the blue print of a current house with a large addition planned to double the square footage. His skills then would kick in to planning the steps needed to turn printed page into a renovated home to be enjoyed for many years. He would think of plumbing, electrical, materials, sub-contractors needed, and the long list of items it would take to complete the improvement.
Using that analogy for our own personal development, our skills should be able to identify what our next steps should be. Advanced study, new contacts, experts to rely on, communication with friends and family, and daily mental challenges to improve our focus. Earl Nightingale has been the expert millions have turned to for ‘ah ha’ moments of inspiration. He dedicated his life to shortening that imaginary line between where we stand, and where we want to be. That day on the radio, Earl spoke, “The development of people, whether directed by someone else or by the people themselves, should be a never ending process.”
Earl implied that this process should be a top line principle for businesses. The businesses should encourage people to personally grow. He continued, “To the well managed company this should be as important as its advertising; for here is profit that can be increased without plant expansion or capital investment. In terms of results that can be measured and tabulated, the cost is ridiculously low. In fact, the best investment a company can make.”
In terms of businesses today, many that are solely information and data based, human capital is the most important concern. For businesses to compete in the 21st century landscape, benefits become an advantage. Imagine a company that offers benefit packages for today’s people like time off, work from home, childcare, vacation perks, financial incentives, and a program of lifelong learning through applied personal development programs. Earl concluded that daily program, “Every person is, in reality, two persons. The person today and the person tomorrow. There is an exciting and rewarding area of development awaiting each of us.”
To make the most of this, here’s a simple and quick self test.
How big is the outline of the person I want to become?
Have I already filled that space, or can the image be stretched?
What steps or actions do I have to complete to get what I want?
Are there specific skills that can be developed?
Do I have a motivational or inspirational resource to charge my creative thinking?
A final thought: There is no competitor standing in your way to get what you want. Circumstances are excuses for losers. The greatest competitor blocking the path to who you really are to become, is the person you see in the mirror today.
A crisp breeze became an alarm clock that time of year. Two brothers sat down with new school supplies at the dining room table. Their mother leaned in from the kitchen, “How do you two think you’ll measure up this year?”
The older brother answered, “Keep my average up to be sure I won’t get cut from the football team, so I can get into college.”
The younger brother said, “Well, just be sure I don’t have to repeat this year, so I can stay up with my class.”
Two brothers. Two goals. One set of goals was specific based on winning, while the other was happy to get by. This is a true story about me and my big brother. He was the one with common sense and drive. As any kid, I couldn’t wait for the school bell. But it wasn’t to go play. It was to go to work. My days of long sessions of window gazing and day dreams were focused on a career already decided. My passion came true at 14 years old with my first job on the radio.
Looking back, school was a short chapter. My real obsession for knowledge was sparked by my determination to win in my career. The process of goal setting never came to mind at my young age, but it was just that. A definite purpose pulled me into my future.
There are many articles based on the technical steps in goal setting, this story is about the journey.
That should be no big surprise as we all know that planning is critical to achievement. The challenge comes in developing a real plan to get real results.
Earl Nightingale wrote many radio broadcast and focused on the topic of goal setting in many of his best selling programs. Even though serious effort must be exercised when setting goals, Earl emphasized the quality of life we should enjoy on the journey to achieving our goals. In one of his thousands of radio broadcasts titled, It’s Not the Destination, he said, “Where a person goes is not nearly as important as how he gets there.”
He continues with an analogy of building a house, “That a house is built is not that important. It is the manner in which it is built that makes it great, average, or poor.”
This consciousness of how we execute the daily tasks needed to reach a goal is far more important than making a list and checking off items. Many of our articles focus on the mechanics of making the various long term and short term goal lists. This article is to focus on our attitude we bring to the completion of each step.
Another Nightingale Conant published author Jim Rohn said this, “Set a goal to make a million dollars. Not because of what a million dollars can buy, but what you become by achieving the goal of making a million dollars.”
In Earl’s broadcast, he said, “People forget what they are really looking for, or what they should be looking for: the discovery of themselves.”
For some of us, our self discovery comes years after the cap and gown ceremonies have been forgotten. The change of the season isn’t important. The change in our daily actions is. On the subject of school and my academic acumen, one day my father and I discussed my time of being a bad student. He said, “What do you mean? You weren’t a bad student. You loved school. You loved it so much you went all year long. You never missed summer school.”
On that, I did do what was needed to not get set back and repeat a year. The question for all of us now comes down to the quality of our efforts in all tasks; both big and small.
Once planted, seeds of excuses grow into formidable Oak trees blocking the road.
So much of what we get in life depends on what we see in the path ahead.
Excuses are nothing new to the masses. Today, there’s a long list and I’ll bet you’ve heard most. So, we’re not listing any excuses here. Instead, we have the answer how to overcome any negative thoughts that grow into the oak trees in your way.
The book was an expanded version of a speech Gray gave with one major take away, “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”
Gray made that statement many years ago at the National Association of Life Underwriters convention in Philadelphia. He was an official of the Prudential Insurance Company of America and had 30 years of continuous experience both as an agent in the field and as a promoter and instructor in sales development.
After reviewing the speech and Gray’s work, Earl made the following observations:
Successful people have a purpose strong enough to make them form the habit of doing things others nay use for an excuse.
While the majority is satisfied with average results and average lives, successful people are never settle for mediocre results.
Winners are driven by desire for the best results, while failures are willing to accept poor performance and rely on excuses.
The words, “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” makes you want to sing Take It Easy.
When Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey wrote the song the point they tried to make was despite troubles, one should ‘take it easy.’ The Eagles made it the opening track on the debut album and it is one of their signature songs.
Those words, “Take it easy” is so ingrained in our culture nearly everyone says it when they walk away from someone. For those inclined to achieving success the saying should be, “Take a chance.”
The little whistle stop of a town that became the subject of the song was built by men who were no strangers to chance. It is a story that could be an episode in the hit AMC TV series, Hell on Wheels. The namesake of the real town, Edward Francis Winslow had been a Calvary Captain in the Union Army. After the war he began his longtime career in the railroad industry as a conductor and by taking chances he rose to become a very successful railroad executive and they named the town after him. Winslow Arizona became important in the days of the wood burning steam locomotives. Trains wood stop for water and fuel and passengers could take it easy at La Posada, the last great railroad hotel. As chance has it, the big diesels put the steam engine out of business and Winslow slowed down. That is until 1926 when Route 66 roared through the city making it a popular stop once again. US 66, the Mother Road, was the path for all that migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The road paid off. People doing business along the route became prosperous. People got their kicks on Route 66 up to the time when chance made the new Interstate 40 shoot by whisking potential visitors past the small town. Main Street of America slowed down to take it easy.
If we are to learn anything from people like Edward Winslow, it is the take a chance attitude to success. Hard times come and go. This is the same lesson taught by Earl Nightingale. He wrote, “Quality can make work worth doing.”
That may be lost in today’s vocabulary where so many are only interested in what’s in it for me and let the other person do all the heavy lifting. Earl goes on to say, “In business, the constant never ending search for quality should be paramount. Any person that produces less than the very best is cheating.”
In this one of thousands of Earl’s daily radio messages he referred to Earnest Hemingway’s book,A Moveable Feast, where Hemingway wrote in his small apartment he and his wife could barely afford. He explained how he would work and labor and sometimes spending an entire morning on one paragraph only to throw it away if it did not meet his standards of quality writing.
Earl summarized in this recording that every year businesses fail and hundreds of thousands lose their jobs because they tried to get more for less. He lamented that the time when people encouraged one another to work hard, they now say, “Take it easy.”
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
Anyone around in the late 70’s and early 80’s can tell you this is the famous slogan from FedEx. Chances are, if you were around in the 70’s, you may have adopted a new personal slogan, “When it absolutely, positively does not matter.”
What will you do when you run out of goals?
In The Secret Advantage, Earl Nightingale tells the story of Fred Smith, who took a mediocre college paper he wrote while at Yale and used the idea to craft the business plan that launched FedEx. The company name is now synonymous with business people all over the globe that say, “FedEx it” instead of “Overnight it.”
He took his passion and made it real. As a young man, he loved aviation and served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam where his duty taught him the ins and outs of logistics.
As Fred Smith entered the age of, “What’s next?” he found a long list of charities and organizations to keep him busy.
Not at all like Warren Schmit, the fictional lead character brought to life by Jack Nicholson in the critically acclaimed and box office success movie, About Schmit. The story is about Warren Schmidt who is forced to retire from his position as an actuary with an insurance company. After a retirement dinner, Schmidt finds it hard to adjust to his new life, feeling useless. After a return visit to his old office, he leaves the building and sees the contents and files of his office, the sum of his entire career, set out for garbage collectors. Schmidt is overcome by loneliness. He stops showering, sleeps in front of the television, and goes shopping with a coat over pajamas to load up on frozen foods. On a footnote to this film, anyone who wants to be an actor must watch Jack Nicholson. The final scene is one of the best examples ever of an actor telling a story with no words, no making faces, just real emotion. He won a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a drama.
Back to the purpose of this article; no one wants to end up like Schmidt.
So, what do we do when we run out of goals?
Earl Nightingale wrote a great story for one of his many radio broadcasts. In that program, he listed these questions:
If you could live your life over and go back to 12 and live your life over, would you do it?
If you could have any career you want, what would it be?
If you could change places with any person on earth, who would that be?
If you could live in any part of the country you would want to live in would you move?
Earl stated that of the numerous studies he had researched on the questions, the vast majority of those surveyed said no.
Why when given the chance to change why do so many resist?
A friend once called his job a position with ‘golden handcuffs.’ Working hard to a point where the risk of change weighs heavier than the reward.
The fact most miss is, most people are all like Schmidt in the movie. Play by the rules, stick to a profession, and one day see your life’s work on the curb with the next stop; the garbage dump. Earl stated in his program that scientists, the self employed, artists, writers, and musicians, seem to escape the peril of wondering what’s next. There’s always a new discovery in science, another song, story or painting. But, what of the insurance actuary like Schmidt. Files in the garbage.
It has been written in Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Instead of fearing change, think of these alternatives for your vision of the future:
What do you love to do as a hobby?
Would you make a career of that hobby if it paid?
What do you have to lose if you act on your dream?
And, I love Dr. Robert Schuller’s quote, “What great thing would you do, if you knew you could not fail?”
My father became a great example of a person who never ran out of goals. As a young man, he sang with a big band, and in the Army he was the entertainment direct at Pearl Harbor before it was bombed. After the attack he was a Ranger.
When he returned home he built his annuity with the US Postal Service until he retired. Once retired, he found new work in the private sector. Then, became a building inspector, and finally he returned to his first love. Back to entertaining, he performed hundreds of times singing and telling jokes, some off color, to civic organizations all over Virginia. He raised a lot of money never for himself, but for charities like The Shriners Hospital. I duplicated hundreds of cassettes for him to hand out for donations. When he visited me in Chicago at Nightingale Conant and saw the huge plant cranking out thousands of cassettes a minute, his face looked like a kid in a candy store. On his music, Dad liked to joke, “Mickey Gilley sang than song one time and made a million dollars. I sang it a million times and made ten cents.”
He was a good example of what’s next. Do what you love. He did just that until he was ninety-five, so he perished before his dreams.
Rain bounced off his wide brim trooper hat and rain coat as he approached the cab of the truck. A 60 year old man lowered the window enough to communicate. He spoke in a Cajun drawl, “Officer, what it is up ahead? Road don’t look washed out.”
“We’re not taking chances,” he answered speaking the man’s name in a consoling voice.
The man in the truck pushed the brim of his baseball cap back on his head to wipe his forehead and eyes, “Got to git down there. My dog is locked up in the house.”
“Most places are wiped out. Best be happy you’re alive and think of the future.”
The words ‘think of the future’ are never more poignant than at times of despair and grief. Even when times are good, we all think of the future. Some of our best selling authors address the issue. One of my favorite lines comes from Jim Rohn as he speaks of the power of the ‘pull of the future.’ Zig Ziglar states, “Everything in your past pales in comparison to your vision of the future.”
The way the world can be in the future drives us. All humankind, back to the Stone Age, has stargazed wondering what’s next, but the science of predicting the future is relatively new.
One of the first advocates for a study of the future was H.G. Wells. After success in 1901 with the best seller, Anticipations, he gave a lecture in 1902 titled, The Discovery of the Future. As he spoke, Wells anticipated what the world would be like in 2000. The lecture became another best selling book that accurately forecasted trains and cars moving the majority of the population out of cities to the suburbs. In the lecture, he argued for a “knowability” of the future. He said there are two divergent types of minds. One mind judges and states the importance of the past and the other mind finds it more important to focus on things that will happen in the future. You may be aware of H.G. Wells as the author ofWar of The Worlds.
The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898. It has been made into numerous movies and was the subject that panicked all America in Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast that listeners believed to be real news. His other science fiction novels include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. Tragedy was a motivator for Wells. His bright future didn’t look so bright in 1872 when an accident in 1874 left him bedridden with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, much the same way a young Earl Nightingale found his future. Forecasting has been defined as the process of estimating outcomes in uncontrolled situations. So, how can we empower ourselves to take advantage of the pull of the future?
To be scientific, there are specific fields of study such as:
Probability requires some quantification to determine a confidence level that a specific event will happen. There are enough of mathematical formulas to send us soaring into the oblivion of confusion. Governments rely on this to determine regulations, taxes, and all sorts of ways to control our lives. Insurance underwriters use these models to figure out how much the rest of your life is worth.
Strategic Foresight is a planning tool to enter the realm of the study of the future. Strategic planning requires analysis, but statistics put aside, it comes down to forecasting possible futures, probable futures, and an action plan to move in that direction. Strategic foresight is being hailed in corporate practice to grow both businesses and personal lives.
Think of a three legged stool with each leg dependant on the other on three paradigms:
Foresight to actualize personal goals
Skills to execute organizational business goals to produce profit and growth
Movement toward a better world by forecasting the needs of social issues
Earl Nightingale wrote a great deal about creating a better future. In one of his audio segments in The Secret Advantage he even forecasted events that may happen deep into the 21st century. It is interesting to see that some things have already come true. Most of his practical advice on the future did not rely on complicated math or some sort of detailed matrix, but two simple lists. Call them bucket lists if you wish.
Long range goals could be the big things like cars, homes, travel, college funds, or building a legacy.
Short term goals are things you can get in a relative short period of time such as getting a raise, making a sale, starting a business that will in turn serve the long term goals. In the short term, do not confuse ‘wants’ with ‘needs’. Needs are required items such as having a job; not a goal, but a necessity.
Take time to write out a list of everything you want. The first analysis of your list begs the question if there is something on your list you do not have, why not? What have you done to get what you want, and what have you failed to do? One thing that is guaranteed; your future will be the result or consequence of what you do today. In another related article, we’ll discuss, “What happens when you run out of goals?”
In the meantime, dig deep into the core fundamentals on The Secret Advantageand you will find out what needs to be done to get anything you want.
Creatures delay their destiny to rest before stirring the black waters. In the dark, long before the sun dares to poke up over the marshes and cut through ghostly Spanish moss draped from big cypress trees all is quiet. Enemies must sleep. Bodies are stacked in rows covered by wool olive colored blankets. Silence is ripped open by a blaring trumpet and a short tough guy with a voice big enough for four men yells, “Hit the deck.”
Young men with no hair bolt out of bunks ejecting their greenish blankets.
Their boots kick up dust and stomp down a path through the dark. At last, a pink sky shoots some light across the sign they march past. The sign reads, “Let’s be damned sure that no man’s ghost will ever say –‘If your training program had only done its job.”
It had been many years since the first Marines landed on Paris Island in 1861.
Rumors of intense tough training over all those decades became clear to the young recruits in that line.
The young man calling cadence and menacing the young troops would be destined to train millions of people worldwide how to become successful and fulfill each destiny.
That morning before the great war, the young man with the big voice was Earl Nightingale. Soon on another morning, Earl watched the sun begin to rise over the Pacific as he stood on the deck of the USS Arizona. Buzzing of the foreign fighter planes parted the clouds and bombs fell when America’s destiny changed on December 7, 1941.
The huge devastating explosion knocked Earl off the deck. A fellow sailor pulled him to safety. Earl was one of only a handful of young Marines to survive the explosions on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Later, Earl stated that he felt he was saved for a special destiny. He recalled words from the Marine’s creed, “I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace.”
His destiny expanded to help millions master their enemies with six words he discovered in a book that ignited his passion to record the first ever million selling spoken word recording, “The Strangest Secret.”
Owning an insurance company is a highly lucrative occupation. Big bucks can be made, but is selling insurance a true calling? It is for some who feel the need to help provide protection and financial planning. However, many people full of hope and sense of purpose are attracted to insurance sales as an occupation that is very useful to providing for family and security when the commissions roll in.
There is nothing wrong with rising to responsibility in any line of work in any occupation.
That does not stop the hunger.
As a young man, Earl Nightingale took that path. He had been poor. He had served as a Marine. And, he became a successful announcer in Chicago.
Fate stepped in once he started an insurance agency and was successful.
Earl decided to take an extended vacation and the sales manager asked Earl to record a message to motivate the sales people while he was away.
The idea made sense to Earl. He sat at his typewriter.
Blank pages have a way of staring back.
After another cup of coffee, he looked around his office and saw his inspiration. The book he discovered in the Long Beach Public Library and remembered the words, “We become what we think about.”
Words flew and filled the pages.
Later at the studio standing at the microphone, Earl began, “I want to tell you the most interesting story in the world. Why a person becomes the person he or she becomes.”
He gave the recording to the sales manager and in Earl’s absence, people for the first time heard, The Strangest Secret.
Word got around and before long other companies wanted the recording.
That action launched the personal development audio publishing industry. Since then, the record sold over a million copies making it the first spoken word record to go gold.
In the pursuit of an occupation, Earl Nightingale discovered his true calling.
A marble mantle reflected small beams of amber rays over the face of two men. The room was lavish for the time with rich wool carpet and portraits hanging in shadows between dark windows draped with long flowing silk. The old and fragile man sat studying. Another man was young and anxious. “I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky,” the old guy says, “My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families. Probably a lot like you and not too far from your family roots in those Virginia hills.”
The older man scratched his beard and looked over his spectacles at the young man sharing the warmth of the fireplace with him, “Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher … but that was all. So, what would you like to ask?”
The young man swallowed and licked his lips before speaking, “Mr. Lincoln, I desire to build into my own character the keen sense of justice, the spirit of patience, the sense of humor, the human understanding, and the tolerance which were your distinguishing characteristics.”
This scene does not come from one of Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Liesseries. It was not found in a history book. The conversation with Abraham Lincoln never happened in real life. The exchange happened only in the imagination of Napoleon Hill as written in Think and Grow Rich in the chapter about the Master Mind Alliance. Before dismissing this as lunatic fringe talking to the dead, the Master Mind Alliance is just one of seventeen principles Napoleon Hill discovered and developed during his lifetime of studying successful people. Hill explains, “I wish to state most emphatically that I regard my cabinet meetings as being purely imaginary.”
The ‘cabinet’ he refers to consisted of nine people he admired for specific traits that each possessed to use as role models for developing his potential to succeed. He continued, “Members of my cabinet may be purely fictional, but they have led me into glorious paths of adventure, rekindled an appreciation for true greatness, encouraged creative endeavor, and emboldened the expression of honest thought.”
The Master Mind Alliance as described in my other articles is based on two or more like minds focused on the same goal or objective. In Hill’s words, “The Master Mind is the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Hill took this principle to a much higher level to draw upon what may be called the sixth sense; the source of inspiration and ‘Ah Ha!’ moments that come to us.
Belief in guardian angels is not required to benefit substantially from this exercise. The idea of modeling mentors of your choice in your imagination feeds the subconscious, and can be enhanced by this fantasy of speaking with anyone you admire, living or dead.
Maybe your angels are more along the line of angel investors. If so, pick a few really successful ones and imagine you have the opportunity to pitch your brightest and best idea to them. What would you say? This visualization technique rehearses, practices, and trains your mind to act on ideas, and not just dream. If you were to land an appointment in Silicon Valley where riches flow to ideas, would you be prepared to act, speak, and become the person you need to be to walk away with a millionaire partner? Forbes Magazinehas carried and continues to cover angel investors and the opportunities they represent to the growing list of entrepreneurs. David K. Williams contributes a number of articles to Forbes. He is the author of the acclaimed business book, The 7 Non-Negotiables for Winning. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Fishbowl and leads the team on his training website, www.7NNS.com. While researching angel investors and entrepreneurs who have mastered the coordination of ideas and action, an article David wrote caught my attention. The article starts with a quote, “While an entrepreneur creates a business, a Zentrepreneur creates a business and a life.”
What an interesting term; Zentrepreneur. David wrote about Ron Rubin, owner of The Republic of Tea to explain, “An entrepreneur pretends to know what’s next, a Zentrepreneur imagines what’s next. An entrepreneur creates a business; a Zentrepreneur creates a business and a life. A true Zentrepreneur believes in their right to live the life they imagine,” Rubin has said. “They adhere to the mantra that the positive force of a pliant attitude is the most powerful source of energy available, allowing to adapt to circumstance and attend to things that can be controlled — your thoughts, your emotions, the self-directness that gives you the endurance to act, excel and succeed.”
In future articles, we will share a great deal more about the Master Mind principle and the way this exercise creates energy and opens doors of opportunity.
David also writes, “Believe. There is no bigger word. None.”
The quote echoes Earl Nightingale’s statement, “We become what we think about.”
Those six words from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich inspired Earl Nightingale. Earl created a Master Mind Alliance with Lloyd Conant and the audio publishing personal development industry was launched over 50 years ago. Nightingale Conant grew to become the world’s largest personal development audio and video publisher. Today, Lloyd’s son, Vic Conant, has taken the company to higher success and just released a new program based on the life work of Earl Nightingale in The Secret Advantage. The program is based on CORE fundamentals to get anything you want in the 21st century. Stories and messages that Earl recoded set the stage for you to discover your next ‘Ah Ha’ moment and develop a path to coordinate your knowledge and effort.
When a woman breaks up with a man all he can do is hope she’ll come running back to him someday.
Words like that inspire poets and song writers. Jerry Ragovoy wrote a lot of hit songs in the sixties. One day in 1963 those words of a jilted lover came to him. The song and the melody took shape. A year later twenty year old Mick Jagger pouted up to the microphone in a recording studio and belted out the words, “Time is on my side, yes it is.”
So, Jerry Ragovoy under the pseudonym of Norman Meade penned a song that has racked up royalties for over fifty years. The fact that Mick continues to rock into his seventies proves that age is a state of mind.
How many old looking people do you know? Old looking is the key, not how old in years. Many times people will start saying things like, “Getting old is a bitch.”
Actually, getting older is a blessing. Think of the alternative.
As those heavy in the gut and short on breath console themselves with self defeating statements about declining health being an expected part of life, they are right. Their own statements age them faster.
We all have a subconscious mind that believes anything we say. Tell it you’re feeling aches and pains of aging and it will give you aches and pains.
On the other hand, that powerful subconscious mind built you in the womb. The sculpting of cells and genes and DNA formed your arms, legs, brain, heart, and all of you. That same powerful unleashed subconscious mind is still sculpting each new cell that is generated by the millions every minute in your current body.
Order your subconscious minds with thoughts of healing and rebuilding.
Never, ever think or say your own death sentence, “I am getting old.”
You are getting better, healthier, smarter.
Earl Nightingale addressed this on one of his radio broadcasts titled, When Your Dreams Die. Here’s the way he opened the segment, “How would you like a recipe for staying young? From earliest times people have believed that their search for a fountain of youth would be rewarded. And they found that the secrets of both youth and happiness lie in the same place: within themselves.”
As in many of Earl’s writings he searched for and found perfect quotes to amplify his message that day when he quoted a philosopher who once wrote, “There is not much but to bury a man when the last of his dreams is dead.”
These thoughts explain why we all are as young as our dreams, why some people appear old at forty, and others become famous at ninety. It explains a lot about Mick Jagger dancing across a stage at seventy-three still singing, “Time is on my side, yes it is.”
In the broadcast, Earl listed a few points to consider as you seek to find the right things to tell your subconscious.
First, a list that ages us faster:
The person who has no dream or goal to achieve is already old.
Age comes when hope and planning for the future die.
Every person’s life work must be much larger than an eight hour workday.
People grow old in occupations with fixed limitations, uninteresting surroundings, and no call upon the imagination.
Next, the list that keeps us younger:
Some stay young regardless of their work because they strive for a higher calling such as providing for family members.
People who stay young are those that feel young regardless of their age.
Youthful individuals try new things, learn new skills, and plan new careers whether they live long enough to reach it or not.
Those of us who stay young never think much about old age or death.
Staying alive and young requires people with a sense of humor.
Happy youthful people among us do not hold grudges or hatred.
People who stay young are quick to accept new ideas and have a healthy curiosity.
Earl goes on to say, “Above all they continue in pursuit of a dream, something to learn and earn, and a higher plateau upon which to stand.”
Finally, Earl gives this challenge, “What are you trying to bring into fulfillment? A person is as young as his dreams, and as old as his doubts.”
During the heat of the political season the newscasts on all channels are filed with pundits arguing over which candidate’s temperament is worst.
This article has nothing to do with candidates. It has everything to do with temperament and mentors.
There is so much nonsense today about safe zones. To dispel this dangerous myth, the following two examples make the point that honest, tough mentors that are ready, willing, and able to kick you in the ass may elevate you to become a winner. These are true stories from my life.
Case number one. My radio career turned into the third year as I reached 16. It was the first night on staff at WRVA radio in Richmond, VA. At 16 of course I knew everything. My mentor was the production director, Harold Phillips. This cigar smoking drill sergeant of a guy with gray hair addressed me, Mr. Nuckols. Imagine that; ‘Mr. Nuckols’ to a kid of 16. He said, “Mr. Nuckols, it’s time to find out what you know. Go in the production room and record this newscast.”
To me, a seasoned two year veteran that was no big deal until he listened to the tape. My newscast rolled less than thirty seconds when he stopped the machine, dropped his head, closed his eyes, and said, “It is beyond me to ever understand how anyone so bad could ever be hired by WRVA.”
Imagine the crushed ego of a 16 year old with no safe zone to run to. Then, Harold took me to his office and gave direction that would change my life, “Okay, Mr. Nuckols. You have a decision to make. If you get your feelings hurt and can not take constructive criticism, you may as well run home crying to Momma. If, instead, you can listen, rehearse, learn, and improve you may some day become something.”
That’s a speech never to be forgotten and the months that followed were brutal. Because of my southern accent, he made me record a full half hour tape saying, “running, jumping,”… and any dangling participle that came to mind to make me stop dropping the ‘g’. No more ‘runnin’ jumpin’ in my vocabulary. To use my resonating chambers in my sinuses he made me record a half hour of humming. He must have had a good laugh. But, I did it. Every exercise was taken with the same seriousness of an Olympic athlete practicing for hours. Think of a swimmer up at 4:00AM to repeat laps over and over to shave even the smallest fraction of a second from her speed. People who become successful are those that will do what others will not.
Thank you Harold… Mr. Phillips.
Case number two. Jump ahead to my thirties when W. Robert Lappin at WNJY in Palm Beach, FL entered my life. He retained my position as General Manager when he bought the radio station. The first thing he did was to have me call him Bob. Next, he had me frame and hang a poster with a W. Clement Stone quote, “Intentions are one thing, results are another.”
Bob was an extremely successful businessman that demanded excellence, and sales. He was never one to sugar coat facts. In one of our meetings he said, “I don’t get ulcers, I give them.”
Today there’s a desire to protect people in ‘safe zones’ where tough talk is not allowed. We miss something grand by that. While working for Bob, there was pressure; so much pressure it kept me awake late at night. There I was, starring into darkness when a quiet prayer came to mind, “Why are you doing this? Do you want me to do something else with my life? Should I not be a general manager?”
Another Bob of influence in my life was Robert Schuler, the Crystal Cathedral pastor on TV, who had spoken on the power of two way prayer. Pose a question and wait for a response. Within a nanosecond an answer came, “I am making it tough on you to make you a better general manager.”
From then on, every word spoken by my mentor Bob Lappin rang true. We hit our goals.
Then, being full of myself, a desire to be more became stronger as my goal became to own a radio station. Bob counseled me, and like Harold told me I had a decision to make. I considered it wise counsel when he asked me to decide to continue to give full attention to his station, or pursue my own dream. We eventually parted. I was the beneficiary and received far more than I could have given Bob. His leadership encouraged me to do better. Years later, Bob sold his radio stations and pursued a higher calling of his own. In addition to his business acumen, Bob was a master pianist and composer. After retiring from business, he returned to music, guest conducting orchestras for several years. He founded the Palm Beach Pops, where he became the dominant force — designing programs and performed 36 concerts annually at the Kravis Center, the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens and the Florida Atlantic University Performing Arts Center in Boca Raton.
The point of having great mentors is a topic not foreign to Earl Nightingale. In one of his radio broadcasts, he quoted Dr. Abraham H. Maslow formerly of the Department of Psychology of Brandeis University, “The person who is criticized honestly may be hurt for the moment but ultimately is helped and cannot but become grateful. It is a great sign of respect to me, for instance, if someone feels I’m strong enough and capable enough.”
Maslow was best known for his revolutionary hierarchy of needs; a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people. Earl quoted him on a number of occasions to illuminate specific points of interest on developing our full potential. On the topic of criticism, Earl wrote, “The secret test to which criticism should be put before it is spoken is to be sure it is born of love and courage; not out of anger, or spite, or to make the other person feel small.”
As for me, my two tough mentors must have spoken from love and encouragement as there was no benefit to do otherwise. I had no position or leverage that could in anyway be a threat to them. They taught tough, and I have loved and admired them for it. There have been other mentors along the way that will be the subject of various articles based on other topics. These two stand out as the first and last mentors during my radio career that inspired me. I remember Harold for testing me, “If you can listen, rehearse, learn, and improve you may some day become something.” And, I will never forget Bob for the sign he had me make, “Intentions are one thing, results are another.”
Now, it’s my turn to become a mentor and pay it forward to hopefully inspire you. The first lesson; surround yourself with those that will speak the truth, even when it hurts
An entire generation of mostly young men came back from the Pacific and Europe with a hope of a better life they kept alive by fighting enemies over there. Crowds waved flags along packed sidewalks and confetti filled the sky above the streets with each parade of soldiers back in the states. Women and men of World War II were cut from strong cloth. Strands of that cloth bound them together in the struggle to win, and now formed a new bond to build, grow, succeed, and create a world worth living. Hope everywhere was high, even the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series. The local radio station played Frank Sinatra singing, “Put Your Dreams Away.”
Those lyrics, “Wishing on a star never got you far, and it’s time to make a new start”, filled the cab of the car until the driver clicked the radio off as the car pulled to a stop in front of KTAR Radio.
The young driver marched through the lobby and swung open the thick sound proof door to the studio.
Behind the double pane glass window an engineer nodded to the guy. In the control room, the second hand notched its way around the large face of the Western Union clock hung over the other side of that double glass window.
The engineer puffed a Lucky Strike and a suited man walked in, “What’s network doing?”
Both guys laugh, “That guy really thinks he’s going to make it to the big time.”
That young man they nicknamed ‘Network’ was Earl Nightingale.
Earl adjusted his collar, stood tall before the microphone, cleared his throat, and looked over the copy finding just the right words to emphasize. He rehearsed. But more than the guys in the control room could see, Earl Nightingale visualized himself as he planned to be, not as he was. His training to focus, his study of Napoleon Hill, and his burning desire to rise to the top worked together to prove a powerful point. Six words that changed his life and the lives of millions he would never meet. There are just six words.
We become what we think about.
Those two guys in the control room and others at the local station warned Earl about the huge risks of trying to make it in the big time. Earl packed his car for Chicago. As the car pulled away, the engineer from the station struck a match, and sucked in smoke from another Lucky Strike and told his buddy, “He’ll be back.”
Earl Nightingale never looked back. It wasn’t long until his friends heard Earl Nightingale star on a national radio drama as Sky King.