Everyone wants to be successful. I have never met anyone who wanted to fail. But most have no idea how to achieve success. And they are not sure how to recognize it if they see it—either in themselves or others. Supposed “higher” education has never taught true success. Nor have most understood that there are basic, specific laws that must be employed to reach it.
Most people have no idea how to define success, let alone achieve it. Nor have they been taught the laws that govern it. Do you know what they are?
You are about to receive priceless knowledge.
Just what is success? So many seek it, having never defined it. As a result, very few people ever really achieve true success. And most never actually sit down and try to analyze the reasons for their failure. These same people are certainly capable of recognizing that they have failed—but cannot explain why! Everyone would like to be, and be thought, a success. Yet most people fail without knowing why.
Though some might feel they are destined to fail, this is not true. Men and women of all ages can achieve success. But they must understand and practice the right formula—and only after they understand exactly what they are trying to achieve! This Personal explains the laws to success.
Do you know what success is? Many believe it involves achieving a certain amount of wealth. Their only purpose for being is to accumulate money and material goods. As has been said, “The goal is to see who can die with the most toys.” These seem to believe they must have a significant “net worth”—and many possessions. Yet such people never find true happiness at the end of the “money rainbow.”
Others come to believe that success is a reflection of how much power they have. It is as though the measure of their life is how much influence they have over people, events—or even economic, governmental or world affairs. Such people usually have controlling personalities. To them, success is how much—or how many—they control. Generally speaking, these people are more miserable than those who seek wealth because they live in fear of losing their power.
Still others hope to achieve fame. These people are often driven by a need to be known. They seek “name recognition.” Of course, nearly everyone would love to enjoy their “15 minutes of fame.” But not everyone believes that fame equals success. And those who are famous represent probably the most miserable “success” category.
In every case, the people who appear to have achieved success have gained a certain level of status. Whether that success involves wealth, power and influence, or fame—a certain status in comparison to others has been reached. Success involved elevating oneself above others.
Very few are ever considered to be a success without having obtained one or more of these commonly described elements of status.
Think for a moment! And be honest. How many people could you name who you consider truly successful, but who do not fit one of these categories? Few, if any.
What about people generally thought to have achieved success in their fields? Consider some examples. What about athletes, movie stars or musicians? Some achieve a level of fame almost unparalleled in any other endeavor. They are almost seen as gods and goddesses. These people are pampered, continually written about and photographed, and often become extremely wealthy, having multiple homes. Yet, when they cannot find happiness within sometimes several marriages, they turn to alcohol, drugs, sex and, in many cases, sadly, suicide.
So then, do these people’s lives reflect true success?
Now consider the great captains of industry. Many command enormous salaries and wealth, and wield great power within giant corporations. Are such men truly successful? And what of the more respectable greatest business tycoons of 100 years ago? What did their wealth and fame gain them? If they couldn’t take it with them, and they have been largely or entirely forgotten, what good did it do them—what permanent success did it bring? Whatever they achieved was temporary—at best a fleeting illusion.
Ask: Did famous authors or inventors truly achieve success, simply because their works outlived them? If you say yes, are you sure? On what final basis were they a success?
Are you absolutely certain your definition of success is the correct one? If most people’s view of success is right, then why is there so much misery in the lives of people who have achieved wealth, power and fame? Why do they often change mates as easily as shoes? Why are so many of these success stories quietly delving into drugs, alcohol, overwork, materialism, sex, escapism and pleasure-seeking? Why are their lives so empty—devoid of real meaning?
Why are their children often shameful examples that evidence miserable home lives? Why, when asked, do so many say that wealth, power and fame was not satisfying? Why are so many unable to handle accomplishment?
Think of the world at large. Many elderly people are dependent on government programs and other aid to survive when they should be independent. Upon growing old, they feel uncertain and worried, because they never plotted the course of their lives toward a definite end. They had never set out to achieve true success.
Here is why this happens to so many! The general assumption is that success is largely a byproduct of one’s natural ability. It is as though “you have it or you don’t.” Most think they have little control over their own success or failure. They have been programmed by common assumptions to believe that they cannot do much to change their level of achievement in life.
Is this true? Is success or failure entirely connected to talents one is born with?
I have hired many people, and fired a few. For some years, I owned a successful company. I inherited a small chain of retail stores from my parents, and we continually sought “hired help.” I found that only a certain few worked hard, while others did not. Past a point, their success or failure seemed to have little to do with ability or talent. I learned that people’s success was far more connected to the desire to produce, learn, grow and achieve than any other reason.
Yet, I found that virtually all who did not succeed could have—IF they had known and applied the laws to success. I came to realize that people fail by choice, not by inherited traits, meaning their “genetics.” I learned that people have far more control over the direction of their lives than they realize, or are willing to admit. Sadly, however, most languish throughout their lives believing there is little or nothing they can do to achieve the success they long for.
Now get this! Every millionaire eventually dies. There are no exceptions to the rule that all die. Notice: “...it is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27) and “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts...as the one dies, so dies the other...All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecc. 3:19-20). In every case, the wealth, power and fame—and even recognition of the most famous people—dies with them. Obtaining and enjoying these things could not keep them alive. Although some few may be remembered for a while beyond their lifetime, none have knowledge of this from the grave. And even remembrance of the accomplishments of their lives is fleeting.
There are aspects of character that are generally considered to be virtuous qualities. One must be courteous, loyal, hardworking, honest, always on time, dependable, patient, and probably much more, to have any hope of success in this world. Almost everyone understands these qualities, but few—and fewer every day—exhibit them. You will see these are all outside the enormous importance of the seven laws of success this Personal, as well as the companion World to Come broadcast series, covers.
We are now ready for the first law: set the right goal!
Many kinds of goals can be set through life. Everyone understands this. Some goals can be small—others medium—and still others large or very large.
I have known many who regularly set goals for themselves. You probably have—and do. So do I. One could have a goal to get the garden in (a small goal) or graduate from college (a large goal). Taking a vacation, seeking and achieving a pay raise, getting married, having children, losing weight, buying a house, painting the house, learning an instrument, excelling in a sport, learning to give a speech in public, breaking or building a habit, reading a book—and a thousand other things—are all goals of one size or another.
There is nothing wrong with any of these goals. Many of them, or similar ones, are important to having a full, productive life. But none are anything close to establishing the overall right goal.
Most drift along aimlessly, having no purpose for being. They have no idea what success is—or that it is directly connected to the first law. In fact, understanding the correct definition of success is the first law. While many do define and set lesser, short-term goals, virtually everyone is ignorant of this vital first law of success!
Almost invariably, people allow circumstances to dictate the course of their lives. Few actually sit down and plan in advance what they hope or want to achieve over a long period. Even fewer determine in advance what they want to have achieved before they die. And even if one did reach many short, medium and long-term goals, including those that spanned many years, or even a lifetime, this is of no value unless he established the right goal. Only the goal based on the correct understanding of true success can be considered the right goal.
Few actually take time to analyze whether there should even be a great, over-arching purpose to human life. A few philosophers and “thinkers” have spent much time and thought on such a goal—but all have failed to deduce the right answer. But again, most make no such effort to do what only a few seem interested in learning or figuring out.
While many rich and prominent men—including those whose wealth and status led to great fame and recognition—achieved such prominence by seeking it, this supposed success still died with them because it was the wrong goal.
So then, one absolutely must set the right goal to achieve true success!
Now for the second law: education!
Virtually everything that anyone does involves having some basic education—some know-how. This is not hard to understand.
Consider. If the tire on your car goes flat, it takes at least a little knowledge to fix it. The same with painting a house. More than a little knowledge is required to do this correctly. During college, I painted houses for part of a summer. Even with some experience painting during my teen years, I had to recognize there was still much to learn in order to master house painting. I am glad I learned more, because it meant sufficient experience that I could paint my own house later in life, and teach my children to help.
Concert pianists practice for many years, and perhaps tens of thousands of hours, to become so accomplished. They must learn to play the piano. Many private lessons, and advanced knowledge, are needed to achieve such a high level of skill with the keys and pedals of a piano.
Becoming a rocket scientist requires extensive education in math, physics, chemistry, astronomy and other aspects of science and aerodynamics. Much complex knowledge is necessary to achieve success in this field. Everyone knows this much.
Try to think of a single thing—tying a shoelace, flying a kite, driving a car, building a house, cooking a meal, writing a college textbook—that does not require know-how, and possibly a lot—meaning much knowledge.
Now, what animal has to learn to do what it does? Animals function on instinct from the moment of birth. God has programmed into animals everything they need to function effectively in their environment.
When a kitten is born, it knows instinctively where to find mother’s milk and what to do after it does. It need not be taught to do this. The same for every other mammal. They are born with instinctive knowledge sufficient to survive within their environment.
Again, this instinct is instilled by the Creator. For those who want proof that God exists, the booklet Does God Exist? brings that proof. You will be surprised how many proofs there are of God’s existence. You may also wish to read Evolution – Facts, Fallacies and Implications. Millions have found these publications both eye-opening and inspiring.
Now, I should add that I am not saying animals cannot be taught to do tricks. With patient training, elephants, dogs, horses and other animals can perform on command. But this is far different from being able to design, imagine, plan, reason and think in a directed way toward a goal or other decision.
On the other hand, humans are capable of acquiring knowledge, making decisions, exercising will and developing moral and spiritual character. People do not instinctively know everything necessary to function successfully. They must continually acquire ever more knowledge to address new challenges and demands upon them. This is the single biggest difference between men and animals.
Human beings must educate themselves—gain knowledge—in order to do or achieve anything of worth in life. They must learn throughout life. This is itself fundamental knowledge.
The amount of available knowledge in many fields of study has sufficiently advanced so that people must now acquire much specialized education to achieve their goals. They must learn to do—and be good at—their chosen profession. Many never seem to comprehend this most basic understanding and knowledge.
The advanced fields of chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, engineering, history, medicine and many more are available for study, because men have searched out and acquired vast amounts of information in them. Colleges and universities the world over teach them, requiring students to study, which allows them to educate themselves in their profession.
But understand. To achieve a true education in right morals and principles, one must learn how to live—not just how to earn a living. There is a big difference! Learning morals, spiritual principles and laws—and the great law of cause and effect—are all extremely important in receiving a well-rounded education sufficient to prepare one to achieve true success.
If basic knowledge and education are necessary to understand how to succeed with any chosen profession—or even any physical task—how much more important is it to be educated in the great spiritual values of life?
No one would consider their education complete without some knowledge of literature, music, art and history. Why then do so many think their education is complete without learning much or any of the most important knowledge—that of how to live? Why do so many believe that they must simply earn a living? Why do so many neglect the importance of capturing true values? Why do so few seek to know if there is a purpose for human life?
If the answers to these questions were better understood, this sick, troubled, confused, miserable, war-torn, poverty-stricken, disease-plagued world would have many more happy people.
Ignorance in the true values of life has taken man to his current decadent, degenerate state. Modern false education has set aside—in fact, outright rejected!—right knowledge. The education of this world is shot full of false values, principles and the doctrines of “no absolutes” and “situation ethics.” The result is that colleges and universities are pumping out millions of young people who have no moral compass to direct them in making the many decisions they must face. They are ships without rudders!
So then, right education is the great second step in achieving true success!
Now the vital third law: good health!
Your body is composed of physical matter. You consist of chemicals arranged in certain proportion to one another. The Bible states, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
You are made of dust. Dust is made of physical matter. You must eat food, drink water, and breathe air for continued existence. Without any of these physical substances, for even a short time, you will die! You are utterly dependent on them for survival.
My parents owned a natural food store for many years. It eventually grew into a chain of stores. The largest carried 8,000 different products. Even before this, I grew up with a basic understanding of right nutrition and diet. I am most grateful for this. As a result, I am blessed with extraordinary energy. So many lack even the most rudimentary knowledge of how to achieve and maintain good health. They seem to believe that “food is food,” and “What’s the difference if one eats in any particular way?”
Most people have no concept that diets can be either right or WRONG! The majority load themselves with fatty, greasy foods—or many other types of food that could only be described as sugar bombs, including huge amounts of carbonated soda pop coupled with insufficient water intake. Most have no idea that, like oil to an engine, water cools, cleans, lubricates and generally improves the body’s condition. They have no idea that they should drink significant amounts of water, well beyond simply sipping when thirsty.
It is well-known that fruits cleanse the human body, vegetables build it, grains sustain it, and herbs help to heal it. Most doctors know this. So do pharmaceutical companies, who derive many medicines from plants.
Yet few parents actually teach their children—and this is an important part of right education—that to achieve success in life, they must be healthy!
No one likes to be sick. No one enjoys lacking energy. Ill health and disease do not enrich life. On the contrary, they rob a person of—and potentially can block altogether—the ability to go on to real success! If one has set the right goal and achieved a proper education, yet suffers from poor health, reaching true success is an almost impossible dream.
The world is ignorant of the fact that God has outlined in His Word many kinds of animals, birds and sea creatures that are scavengers—and not good for food. This is revealed knowledge and most critical to understand if one is to enjoy good health. Only the Bible reveals these unclean creatures for what they are. Read Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14—and then stop listening to ministers who tell you these laws were “done away” in the New Testament or by Jesus.
Most people eat devitalized foods—those that have been stripped of the important minerals necessary for good health. I recall a kind of bread as a child that had been stripped of over 20 separate minerals in order to make it white and pure in appearance, with eight of these “added back” so they could call it “enriched.” Later, the manufacturer reported that four more nutrients were “added back,” now making it “enriched” in 12 ways. Then they announced a jump to 16 ways. Most consumers were fooled and did not recognize that the original grains going into the bread had been harmed in two distinct ways: (1) Some elements never made it back into the bread and (2) those that did were not returned with the precision, balance and construction that the Creator had originally intended when He designed different grains.
Millions eat daily what could only be described as “foodless food.” They eat breakfast cereals loaded with sugar and filler materials that provide little more than empty, unmeritorious calories. Sawdust might be better cereal. You will want to read both the booklet God’s Principles of Healthful Living and the article “Are All Animals Good Food?”
With the invention of television and many labor-saving devices, most who live in the modern age no longer exercise as they should. Many are sedentary—what are now called “couch potatoes” sitting before televisions or computer screens, eating potato chips, candy, snacks and junk food. This deadly mix has left the majority of people in western “civilization” overweight and undernourished—and devitalized of energy.
Most of my life I spent training and participating in vigorous sports. At age five, I began a career in competitive swimming that spanned 14 years and included 7,000 miles of rigorous training in the water. Though I reached the goals I had set, I overdid it, and had to pull back to a more moderate approach to exercise. I had to learn balance in physical activity. Human beings are given to extremes. They either exercise too much, too little—or not at all.
I know why I was born—I understand life’s great purpose. To fulfill that purpose, I am inspired and spurred on to take care of my health.
God did not intend that people get sick. The apostle John recorded: “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul [or life] prospers” (III John 1:2). While lessons can be learned from illness and disease, this is not a natural state of being. When people violate cause and effect, this is the result. For the most part, people choose to get sick. Illness and disease are not random predators that knock on some people’s doors and pass by others. Usually, they are a byproduct of ignoring the principles of good health.
I have suffered ill health and injuries that were sometimes caused by carelessness. It is frustrating to lie in a bed or use a cane or crutches to walk. This reduces one’s effectiveness—limiting capability and productivity.
I have never enjoyed being sick. Neither do you. Avoid accidents as much as possible. Be reasonably careful and circumspect about what you do and how you do things. Sometimes just thinking through how to avoid injury can eliminate much unnecessary pain and anguish.
Even a cursory study of the rich and successful of this world reveals most of them enjoy better than average health. They are generally more aware of nutrition, exercise and proper rest. They seem to understand that their body is a resource. Like any non-renewable resource, they know it can be used up!
This need not be you, if you apply the crucial third law of success—good health!
These three laws—the right goal, education and good health—are all we have space for in this Personal. Read the thorough booklet The Laws to Success to learn the last four. It will forever change your thinking!