“How Successful People Think” by John Maxwell: Part One

Honestly, I was skeptical about John Maxwell before I read this book.

  1. A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss.
  2. “Thinking is hard work; that’s why so few do it.” ~Albert Einstein
  3. Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date.
  4. “Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing.” ~S.I. Hayakawa
  5. Passion: When you shape a thought, you find out what you believe and what really counts.
  6. Henri-Louis Bergson, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1927, asserted that a person should “think like a man of action—act like a man of thought.”
  7. Eleven Skills for “Good Thinking”:
  • Seeing the wisdom of big-picture thinking.
  • Unleashing the potential of focused thinking.
  • Discovering the joy of creative thinking.
  • Recognizing the importance of realistic thinking.
  • Releasing the power of strategic thinking.
  • Felling the energy of possibility thinking.
  • Embracing the lessons of reflective thinking.
  • Questioning the acceptance of popular thinking.
  • Encouraging the participation of shared thinking.
  • Experiencing the satisfaction of unselfish thinking.
  • Enjoying the return of bottom-line thinking.
  1. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne wrote, “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little.” The truth is that you can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once.
  2. Thomas Fuller observed, “”He that is everywhere is nowhere.” To get things done, you need focus.
  3. If you want to be a big-picture thinker, you will have to go against the flow of the world. Society wants to keep people in boxes. Most people are married mentally to the status quo. They want what was, not what can be.
  4. No one achieves greatness by becoming a generalist. You don’t hone a skill by diluting your attention to its development.
  5. The purpose of goals is to focus your attention and give you direction, not to identify a final destination. As you think about your goals, note that they should be:
    Clear enough to be kept in focus.
    Close enough to be achieved.
    Helpful enough to change lives.
  6. Ernie Zelinski says, “Creativity is the joy of not knowing it all. The joy of not knowing it all refers to the realization that we seldom if ever have all the answers; we always have the ability to generate more solutions to just about any problem. Being creative is being able to see or imagine a great deal of opportunity to life’s problems. Creativity is having options.
  7. Don’t just work harder at the same old thing. Make a change.
  8. “The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrong questions.” ~Sir Anthony Jay
  9. To stimulate creative thinking, ask yourself questions such as…
  • Why must it be done this way?
  • What is the opposite?
  • Why is it important?
  • What the hardest or most expensive way to do it?
  • What happens if we don’t do it at all?
  1. Goals may have focus, but dreams give power.
  2. Disappointment is the difference between expectations and reality. Realistic thinking minimizes the difference between the two.
  3. People tend to exaggerate their success and minimize their failures or deficiencies. They live according to Ruckert’s Law, believing there is nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion.
  4. “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened.” ~Winston Churchill
  5. “Most people spend more time planning their Summer vacation than planning their lives.” ~Anonymous

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