How to get Success in life

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™™ ® ™© 2008 The SUCCESS Foundation. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any forms or means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without the written permission of the publisher. Published by SUCCESS Books, an imprint of SUCCESS Media. SUCCESS Media is a division of Video Plus, L.P. Various teen stories copyrighted by and provided courtesy of Youth Communication/N.Y. Center, Inc. See bibliography on page 143. 200 Swisher Road Lake Dallas, Texas 75065 U.S.A. Toll-free: 800-752-2030 Tel: 940-497-9700 www.SUCCESS.com 200 Swisher Road Lake Dallas, Texas 75065 U.S.A. 940-497-9700 www.SUCCESSFoundation.org To learn more about The SUCCESS Foundation, contact us at 940-497-9700 or infoSUCCESSFoundation.org. ® The Slight Edge is a registered trademark of The Meyer Resource Group, Inc. and is used under an exclusive license. SUCCESS is a registered trademark and SUCCESS Books is a trademark of R&L Publishing, Ltd. SUCCESS for Teens is a trademark of The SUCCESS Foundation. Video Plus is a registered trademark of Video Plus, L.P. Printed in the United States of America. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 Cover and text design by Floro Torres and Carl Waters Copy by Jeff Olson, John David Mann, and Al Desetta ISBN-13: 978-0-9790341-5-2 ISBN-10: 0-9790341-5-9Contents Preface ..................................................................vii Foreword ................................................................xi Introduction ........................................................... xv Chapter 1: Little Things Matter ...................................1 Point 1: Little Things Matter .............................................................................2 Point 2: Knowing What to Do Isn’t the Same As Doing It .................................6 Point 3: The Ripple Effect ............................................................................... 10 Point 4: Make the Right Choice at the Right Moment .................................... 12 Think About It: What Does Success Mean to You? .......................................... 16 Chapter 2: Attitude Is Everything .............................. 19 Point 1: Your Philosophy Is the Key ................................................................20 Point 2: How You View Yourself Creates Your Life ........................................ 21 Point 3: Change Yourself by Changing Your Philosophy ..............................22 Point 4: What You Think Matters, Too ...........................................................26 Think About It: What’s Your Philosophy? .........................................................32 Chapter 3: Use the Moment ....................................... 37 Point 1: Your Circumstances Aren’t You ........................................................ 37 Point 2: You Can’t Control What Happens to You, Only Your Reactions ........39 Point 3: When You Stop Blaming, You Take Back Your Power ......................43 Point 4: Someday Never Comes ....................................................................45 Think About It: Past or Future? .........................................................................48 Chapter 4: Everything Starts with Small Steps ............. 53 Point 1: The First Step Looks Harder Than It Is ..............................................53 Point 2: There’s No Such Thing As a Lucky Break ..........................................55 Point 3: Make the Steps as Small As You Can ................................................ 57 Point 4: The Second Step Is Just As Important ................................................59 Think About It: The Power of Small Steps ........................................................64Chapter 5: There’s No Such Thing As Failure ............... 67 Point 1: Success Is Built on Failure ................................................................. 67 Point 2: It’s All in Our Heads ..........................................................................69 Point 3: Failure Creates Unexpected Opportunities ..................................... 72 Point 4: Another Word for Learning .............................................................. 76 Think About It: The Key to Success Is Failure .................................................. 79 Chapter 6: Habits Are Powerful ................................. 81 Point 1: Habits Run Your Life .......................................................................... 81 Point 2: Make Your Habits Serve You ............................................................85 Point 3: Take Small Steps to Develop Good Habits .......................................86 Point 4: Don’t Give Up a Habit—Start a New One ..........................................90 Think About It: What Are Your Habits? ............................................................94 Chapter 7: You’re Always Learning ............................ 97 Point 1: The Earlier You Invest, the Greater the Reward ...............................98 Point 2: Take Advantage of All Opportunities ............................................. 105 Point 3: You Need a Team on Your Side ....................................................... 108 Point 4: Adjust Your Course Continually ......................................................111 Think About It: Take Advantage of Opportunities .........................................114 Chapter 8: Make Your Dreams Come True ................ 117 Step One: Picture It Vividly ............................................................................ 118 Step Two: Look at It Every Day....................................................................... 124 Step Three: Start with a Plan .......................................................................... 125 Step Four: Don’t Quit on Yourself ................................................................... 129 Afterword .............................................................133 The Slight Edge Principles ......................................135 Resources for Teens ............................................... 137 Bibliography ......................................................... 143 Acknowledgments ................................................. 147A Mess Age to t eens Dear Teen, Sometimes one book can make all the difference in your life. Stuart Johnson learned this at age 15 when he was given David Schwartz’s The Magic of Thinking Big, which began his own personal-development journey. That book led him to read other classics, including Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Success through a Positive Mental Attitude by W. Clement Stone, and many others. Through these books, he discovered that working on himself first best prepared him to take on the challenges of business and life. Today, he is a highly successful businessman, the owner of VideoPlus, L.P., SUCCESS Media, SUCCESS magazine, and founder of the SUCCESS Foundation. Perhaps you have received this book from a parent, coach, teacher, or friend who wants to give you a resource for making the transition from passively waiting for life to happen to actively pursuing your dreams. It is our hope that SUCCESS for Teens will provide you with similar “magic” for thinking big in your life. t he slight edge For the past few years, I have made it my mission to help youth receive the fun- damental life-skills and personal-development philosophies necessary for success in school and in life. One of the best tools I have found for achieving this is the slight edge philosophy, which was first articulated in Jeff Olson’s best-selling book, The Slight Edge. Jeff, through his wonderful book and from more than 20 years of teaching its philosophy, has positively inu fl enced hundreds of thousands vii of lives, encouraging people to do those simple, little disciplines that can change their life for the better forever. You have in your hands what is NOT taught in high school or college. What you are now holding is the secret to a successful life. These pages provide you with the time-tested principles that will allow you to excel in all areas of your life—your health, your finances, your career, your personal relationships, and your family life. You’ll learn essential skills such as goal- setting, time management, and self-motivation to help you reach new levels of achievement. And, best of all, you have the benet o fi f youth to get the most from these life-changing principles. The foundation for the slight edge philosophy comes down to this: You can create any life you want, no matter how difc fi ult it may seem, by understand - ing how small, positive steps make a difference over time. It’s the things you do every day that don’t even seem to matter… that do matter most. In this book, you’ll learn that through the eight slight edge principles that teach you:  Little Things Matter There’s No Such Thing As Failure  Attitude Is Everything Habits Are Powerful  You Must Use the Moment You’re Always Learning  Everything Starts  You Can Make Your with Small Steps Dreams Come True I know that once you read these pages, you will come to understand that little things do matter, the choices you make are important, and you can make dreams come true. Regards, John Fleming Executive Director The SUCCESS Foundation www.SUCCESSFoundation.org viii Success for TeensPreface A Mess Age to P Arents Dear Parent, A startling number of young people say they aren’t motivated to achieve, don’t know how to plan or make decisions, and don’t feel a sense of purpose. That’s why Stuart Johnson created the SUCCESS Foundation. He believes that young men and women thrive best when they first understand themselves and then apply that knowledge to the world around them. He wanted a way to illustrate the importance of clarifying goals, practicing the small efforts neces- sary for success, and accepting responsibility for one’s own destiny. We believe that every teen needs to be directed toward a path that enables them to achieve their goals, pursue careers, and become productive citizens. The tools for enhancing skills such as goal setting, dream-building, self- motivation, time management, and creating high self-esteem and a sense of purpose are so very important but often not taught in school. The SUCCESS Foundation believes that providing today’s youth with personal development resources such as SUCCESS for Teens will help them reach their full potential. I encourage you to share the fundamental life-skills and personal-development philosophies found in these pages and at www.SUCCESSFoundation.org with your teen. Together, we can help make a difference in the lives of our children. Regards, John Fleming Executive Director The SUCCESS Foundation www.SUCCESSFoundation.org Preface ix Fro M t He DAUgHter : small s teps Win the race The slight edge has made a huge and positive impact on my life, and it can do the same for you. When I was a senior in high school, I felt overwhelmed about applying to college. Applications, essays, recommendations, financial aid—there are tons of things I had to get together, and I felt the pressure to do it better than anyone else. I didn’t think I would ever get everything done, but I ended up putting together a strong application and getting into colleges that I wanted. How did that happen? Because I disciplined myself in getting everything ready and didn’t leave anything for the last minute. I didn’t let my feelings of being overwhelmed keep me from accomplishing tasks. I applied the slight edge—I took one small step after another until I reached my goals. My most vivid memory of how I used the slight edge was during my fresh- man year at the University of Florida. There were about 8,000 students in the freshman class, and everyone was incredibly smart and had done great things in high school. Once again I felt overwhelmed, up against people who were obviously very bright. I wasn’t sure I belonged among them. I remember asking my dad, Jeff Olson, “How am I going to do well in college? How am I going to stand out?” And he gave me some fantastic advice: “If you apply the slight edge prin- ciples, simply show up at your classes every day, and do the things your professors tell you to do, you’re going to beat 50 percent of the people by just doing that.” xi What my father meant was that many people just don’t put in the effort— they let the small things go by the wayside. So starting out freshman year, I went to classes every day and studied every night. It was amazing to me how many students didn’t do those small things—instead, they crammed for tests and tried to take shortcuts at the last minute. I did very well in college and graduated in the top 15 percent of my class. It wasn’t because I was smarter than the other 85 percent of my classmates—it was because I was disciplined and did the small things every day, the little things that didn’t look like such a big deal at the time. Life is always a struggle, and you can get in the mindset that skipping the small things and taking shortcuts isn’t going to harm you, especially when you get to college, because the professors aren’t checking up on you, making sure you read the books, and showing up to class. You’re on your own, and you can end up thinking, “If I don’t go to class one day, it isn’t going to hurt me.” But the little things you do every day are more important than you can imagine. Whether you want to play a new sport, do better in math, lose five pounds, or write your own book, the slight edge philosophy will help you. Success will come your way, if you do the things that are simple and small, and do them every day. You don’t need to take huge leaps in life. When you tackle problems and challenges step by step, you’ll be amazed at how much prog- ress you can make. Remember the tortoise and the hare—slow and steady wins the race. I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Amber Olson Dallas, Texas xii Success for TeensForeword Fro M t He DAD: When I Was 19, I Was Headed nowhere I wish someone had given me this book when I was a teen. I sure could have used it. For the first 20 years of my life, success was the last word anyone would have used to describe me. Throughout my childhood and teen years, it seemed like I was destined for nothing but failure and trouble. In the third grade my teachers told me I had a low I.Q. My dad died when I was 10, and I became a troublemaker. My mom did her best to hold every- thing together, but as a fatherless, blond-haired kid growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I just didn’t fit in. I struggled my way through school, and by the time I was 19, I was headed nowhere. But somewhere along the way I stumbled upon the ideas in this book—and everything shifted. I went to college, got straight A’s, and graduated at the top of my class. I went to work for a company and did well, then left and started my own company, which became one of the largest in its e fi ld. Then I built another company. Since then, I’ve created several multimillion-dollar sales organiza- tions, produced nearly 1,000 television programs with New York Times best- selling authors, and presented seminars in every major city in the United States. I’ve even written a best-selling book, called The Slight Edge, upon which this book is based. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here: This book is not just about financial and career achievements. Success is not defined by money. It’s about what you achieve in all areas of your life. Beyond the business successes and bank accounts, I’ve been blessed with the joys of family and friends. I have relationships in my life that are more fulfilling than I ever thought possible. I’ve discovered new ways of learning and taken many paths to adventure. When I was 19, it looked like I was getting ready to u fl nk out of life. But today I have an amazing life, one I never could have imagined when I was a teen. None of this was luck, and it sure wasn’t coincidence. I owe it all to the ideas contained in the pages you’re about to read. Foreword xiii “The slight edge philosophy comes down to this: you can create any life you want—but not all at once, and only by utilizing your philosophy and the secret of time. To understand that little steps, compounded over time, do make a dif- ference. That the things you do every single day—the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter—do matter.” I learned this in my 20s, but now you have the opportunity to learn in just a few hours the valuable principles that took me years to learn. I’ve seen it work wonders for my daughter Amber, for her friends, and for other teens. You can put these principles to work no matter how old you are, and the earlier you start, the better. I am honored that The SUCCESS Foundation, which made it possible for you to be holding this book in your hands, has built its first initiative around the slight edge principles that have changed so many lives. It is a most important endeavor, and I applaud and support my good friend Stuart Johnson for his commitment to providing teens with the personal develop- ment tools and resources needed to achieve new levels of success. As I said before, I wish someone had given me this book when I was a teen. Fortunately, you won’t have that same regret, because someone who cares about you has put it in your hands now. My deepest wish is that you read it, take it to heart and put it into practice. Here’s to your amazing life Jeff Olson Author, The Slight Edge xiv Success for TeensLItt Le tHI ngs M Atter This book is about becoming the best possible person you can be. It’s about making the most of your talents and opportunities, dealing with problems in positive ways, no matter what life brings, and achieving success—however you define it. We’ve talked to teens from around the country to find out how they define success and what they’re doing to make their dreams come true. And the answers they gave seem to boil down to the same answer (or set of answers). Teens have said that success in life is not a question of how smart you are, how talented you are, or how lucky you are. It’s not about the family you come from, the neighborhood you grew up in, or the school you go to. It’s not about good looks or good luck. There’s only one difference between teens who are on the path to success, and those who aren’t yet on the path. That difference is called the slight edge and it boils down to three words: Little things matter. Or, to put it another way, you can create any life you want—but not all at once, and only by taking small, positive actions every day. These small steps may not look like a big deal, but the teens in this book show how important they really are. By understanding your attitudes and the secret of time, you can achieve success in life, no matter how difc fi ult that might seem right now. The slight edge is having faith that miracles do happen, if you know how to trust yourself and keep trying. To understand the heart of the slight edge, let’s look at an example from nature. xv THE LESSON OF THE WATER HYACINTH The water hyacinth is one of the most beautiful and unusual plants on earth. A delicate flower with six petals, it ranges in color from blue to lavender to pink and floats on the surface of ponds in warm areas around the world. What makes the water hyacinth really special is that it is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. A single water hyacinth can produce as many as 5,000 seeds and sends out short stems that become new plants. Over time, a single water hyacinth continuously doubles itself— one plant becomes two plants, two plants become four plants, four plants become eight plants, and so on. One day there was a very beautiful (and very small) water hyacinth growing near the edge of a big pond. Nobody noticed it. Nobody noticed the second day either, when it had doubled and there were now two plants. Nobody noticed the water hyacinths on the third day or the fourth day. Even though they kept doubling in numbers, the water hyacinths were so small on the big pond that you’d have to look very hard to see them. For two weeks the water hyacinths continued to double, but still covered only one square foot of the pond, just a tiny part of its huge surface. On Day 20, a person passing by the pond noticed something floating along the shore, but mistook it for a lost towel or a discarded trash bag. But by Day 30, it was impossible to ignore the hyacinths, because a blanket of beautiful flowers now covered the pond’s entire surface. The lesson of the water hyacinth is this: Small actions may not seem like much at first, but over time they have a compounding effect. All that means is that actions add up or intensify over time—you can get big results from small, daily steps. This is perhaps the most important lesson of the slight edge and it applies directly to your life. As you read this book, keep the image of the water hyacinth in your mind. You are making choices every day, every hour of your life, and the impact of those choices spreads throughout your life like a blanket of water hyacinths covering a pond. You may not see the results of your choices today, tomorrow, or even next year. But, over time, you will see the results of your actions. The question is this: What kinds of actions will you choose? xvi Success for TeensIntroduction As you read on, remember two more important points. Only you can define what success means, and no one can do it for you. It’s what you most want to do, not what others tell you to do. Everyone has the ability to be successful. Maybe you think success comes only from doing incredibly difc fi ult things—things you don’t think you’ll ever be able to do. But that’s simply not true. The teens in this book talk about the many ways they’ve used the slight edge: They describe how they discovered what matters most in life, and how that’s inu fl enced their decisions and choices. They will teach you new ways of thinking and acting that will help you to make wise choices, whether at home, with friends, in school, in choosing a career, or in using your talents to their fullest potential. They will show you how to deal with difc fi ult obstacles and challenges and keep going until you reach your goals. They will explain how you can be successful, however you define it. Listen to what these teens have to say. Think about your own life as they tell their stories. After each story, ask yourself some questions. How are their experiences similar to yours? How are they different? How can you use what they’ve learned to improve your life? What new ideas or insights do you have? (If you want, there are places in the book where you can write down your thoughts and reactions.) But most of all, use the advice these teens have to share—because, if you do, your life will start to change. Maybe not tomorrow or even the next day, but soon enough. Because when you understand the slight edge, time is on your side. Introduction xvii Chapter 1 hen Ferentz Lafargue was 16, he thought back to the fun he had with his friends when he was younger. They hung out in a W parking lot, playing baseball, football, manhunt, and anything else they could think of. Like most kids, they made up their own games. One day we noticed a piece of wood in the corner of the lot. We found a rock to prop it up and made ourselves a bicycle ramp. We practiced jumping for a week or two until the wood broke. Every winter when it snowed, there would be huge piles of snow in the corners of the lot. We would start out by doing some light skiing to get warmed up. (The skis were made of the finest cardboard we could find.) But we all know what happens when you put a bunch of guys somewhere with snow... SNOWFIGHT When that happened, it was every man for himself. We would go home looking like we had just climbed Mt. Everest, and some- times I think that would have been easier. But Ferentz and his friends drifted apart: These days the parking lot is just used for parking cars. We don’t even keep in touch like we used to. Rarely will you see two of us together. Some have moved away, the rest just feel like they’re miles away. The only thing we all have in common is that we grew up. Devon was the superstar of the parking lot. He could throw, run, catch—the whole nine. We thought he would play high school base- ball or football, and go on to become a major leaguer. But instead he ended up hanging out and doing things like robbing people, stealing chains, or getting caught up in stupid gang battles. Devon’s only 18 1 and has been sent to jail two times already. The sad thing is he has no fear of going back. Devon’s younger brother John was a pretty good ballplayer, too, but more importantly he was a B+ student and a born leader. Now John is 17 and has a kid, and he’s not even close to a high school diploma. He was hardly ever in school last year. The word is that John is dealing guns. Then there’s Angel, who used to be my best friend and in a way he always will be. One summer he lost his glove and, being that he was the only lefty in the parking lot, he taught himself to pitch right-handed. He could trick an opposing batter with a wicked right-handed curve ball. Angel hasn’t dropped out yet, but I doubt he goes to school more than five full days a year. He’s dealing drugs. He used to have determination, but these days the only thing he seems determined to do is mess up his life. I looked up to Devon and John and Angel. But I was smart enough to learn from their mistakes. I intend to go to college and study communica- tions and advertising. One day, hopefully, I’ll be writing for a big-time news- paper or working for an advertising company. Then I’d like to do whatever I can to help out some of my old friends. Devon, John, and Angel still keep an eye out for me. Every time one of them sees an article I’ve written or hears about me doing anything else good, he’s always ready to congratulate me and tell me to keep it up. It’s almost like I’m their last hope of success: If I come out OK, then they’ll honestly be able to say they had a hand in raising me. Perhaps you’ve known people as talented as Devon, John, and Angel. Any of them could have turned their skills in a better direction. Why didn’t they? Because of three words: Little things matter. PoInt 1: L Itt Le tHI ngs M Atter Those three words are the heart of this book. The slight edge is a pretty basic idea and you can sum it up this way: every day, every hour, every moment of your life, you face a choice. You can take a simple, positive action. Or you can take a simple, negative action. The difference between teens who 2 Success for Teens

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