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Don’t Leave Your 2021 Goals to Your Future Self

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The Success Principles - critical summary review

The Success Principles Critical summary review
Personal Development

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 978-0606365215

Publisher: Random House

Also available in audiobook, download now:


Critical summary review

What is your biggest dream? If you are struggling to answer this question, you have probably become so caught up in everyday life that you have forgotten about pursuing a goal. And if you do know the answer, what are you doing to achieve it? If you know what you want but are struggling to get there, Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles” can help you. By adopting these principles into your everyday life, you can reach everything you ever dreamed of! Get ready to learn how to become successful.

You can be successful

Since 1968, Canfield has been learning and applying his Success Principles. He believes they are the reason for his own phenomenal success: He has written and edited more than 150 books, earns a multimillion net income every year, and lives with his wife and children on his estate in California. 

When he started out, Canfield was leading an average life. His parents had to get by on $8,000 a year, and when Canfield went to college, he worked several jobs to cover his living costs. Even still, he would often end up eating his “21-cent-dinners” of tomato paste and spaghetti at the end of the month. His life changed completely when he met his mentor W. Clement Stone, a self-made millionaire who taught Canfield how to get there as well.

You, too, can achieve everything you ever dreamed of. If you apply Canfield’s Success Principles succinctly and continuously every day, you will soon reap the benefits. Whether you want to become a leading architect, an award-winning journalist, a multimillionaire, or buy your dream home, you can do it. Canfield says, “All you have to do is decide what it is you want, believe you deserve it, and practice the success principles.”

The first step to achieving your dream life is by taking 100% responsibility for your own life. Too often, we blame others for the things that go wrong in our lives. Consider the following story: a man is walking home one night and encounters another man who is down on his knees under a streetlamp, searching for his lost keys. The passerby offers to help, and for a while they look for the keys, without success. Eventually the first man asks. “We’ve looked everywhere for it and we haven’t found it. Are you sure that you lost it here?” To which the other man replies, “No, I lost it in my house, but there is more light out here under the streetlamp.”

Do you see how fruitless it is to look for reasons and answers outside of yourself? You need to realize that you are the only person controlling your life. In fact, your life right now is the result of all your past thoughts and actions. So start acting in ways that produce more of what you want. You can do so by paying close attention to your daily actions, and the results they bring about. 

Fundamentals of success

The first step toward success is to be clear on your goals. The author believes that every person is born with a specific purpose in life. You too have been put here for a reason, so take some time to figure out what your purpose is. 

Without being clear on this, you will easily get sidetracked in life and accomplish little. But with a purpose, everything will fall into place. The author says, “To be ‘on purpose’ means you’re doing what you love to do, doing what you’re good at and accomplishing what’s important to you.” What is more, once you start living “on purpose,” you will automatically serve others in your actions.

Listen to your inner guidance system. Pat Williams, the senior vice-president of the Orlando Magic basketball team, and a successful author and public speaker, says that the secret to success is to “figure out what you love to do as young as you can, and then organize your life around figuring out how to make a living at it.” To find your own purpose, make a list of things and times when you felt most joyful and alive. Once you have your list written down, read through it every day, ideally in the morning.

Since our brains are goal-setting organisms, in order to realize your purpose, you need to convert your vision, your desires and your needs into concrete goals. Successful goal setting involves two criteria – your goal always needs to answer the questions “how much?” and “by when?” Answering these two questions is what separates a good idea from a good goal. 

“I want to lose weight.” is an example of a good idea. If you say however, “I will weigh 185 pounds by 5 p.m., January 1, 2006.” you have formulated a good goal. Having such concrete goals will mean that your subconscious will start working on these day and night. 

Write your goals out in detail – think of them as a list of orders made to God or the universal mind. Reread your goals three times a day. That way you will create what psychologists call “structural tension” in your brain, which means that your brain will want to close the gap between your current reality and your envisioned goal.

Finally, to help you on your path to success, turn to the advice of others. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, someone has likely already done this before you. And success always leaves clues in the form of books or videos, workshops, or seminars. 

Transform your inner critic into an inner coach

According to research, the average person talks to themselves about 50,000 times a day. And 80% of this self-talk is negative! These are thoughts such as,“I shouldn’t have said that,” “They don’t like me,” or, “I’ll never be able to do this.” Research has shown that our thoughts have a powerful effect on us, and that means that these negative thoughts control our behavior.

Thinking negative thoughts might make you stutter, break into a sweat or forget your lines. While negative thoughts weaken your body, positive thoughts have the effect of making you feel more alert, centered, and relaxed. So, talk to yourself like a winner! Get rid of your negative thoughts. Psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen calls these thoughts ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). And just like real ants, you need to be aware of them and stomp on them to get rid of them. Then, replace your ANTs with positive and affirming thoughts.

There are several types of ANTs and several ways of dealing with them. Take “Always-or-Never Thinking” as an example. These are thoughts along the lines of “I’ll never get a raise,” or, “They’re always making fun of me.” When you realize you are thinking these kinds of thoughts, replace them with what is actually true. 

“Guilt-Tripping” is another kind of ANT. This happens when you think words like “should, must, ought to” and so on. However, as soon as you think there is something you should do, you automatically create an internal resistance to doing it. Instead, replace the guilt-tripping words with phrases such as, “It supports my goals to...” or “I want to....”

Remember, just because you think it, does not mean that it is true. Ultimately, you are in charge of whether you agree with any of that negativity or not. 

Access your inner wisdom

There is an ancient legend of a time when people had access to all the wisdom of the gods. However, they grew so used to it that they did not value this gift anymore. The gods decided to take the wisdom away and hide it, so that only those worthy of it could still access it. 

They debated whether they should hide it in the deepest ocean, on the highest mountain top, or deep within the earth, but always decided that too many people could reach it there. In the end, they decided to hide the wisdom deep inside the people themselves, as only the worthy would think to look there.

You have that inner wisdom, and it makes itself felt through your intuition or your gut feeling. Burt Dubin, the creator of Burt Dubin Speaking Success System, is a great example for what listening to your inner voice can do for you. For some time, he had known that he wanted to invest in a four-corner property in Kingman, Arizona. One night, he woke up at 3 a.m. with the sudden feeling that he should drive to Kingman at that very moment. 

This was weird since he had called a realtor in Kingman the day before and had been told that there were no four-corner properties available on the market. Nevertheless, Dubin decided to listen to his intuition and made it to Kingman by 8 a.m. He bought a newspaper and there it was: a listing for the exact estate he had been looking for! By 9:15 a.m., the property was his.

How could this happen? Late the previous afternoon someone had decided to sell their four-corner estate, and since it was too late to put the property into the multiple listings system, the agent put an ad in the paper instead. That was how Dubin could buy his dream property before anyone even knew it was on the market. 

If you want to learn how to tap into your inner wisdom, try meditation. Getting into a place of calm regularly will make you forget the world around you and instead listen to the voice within.

Success starts now

You might be wondering: If these success principles guarantee success, how come more people don’t use them? Because most people never start. Even when the knowledge is right there, many people are scared of failing and never even start pursuing their dreams. If you want to be successful, you need to start now. The author writes, “Don’t keep putting things off waiting for 12 doves to fly over your house in the sign of a cross before you begin. Just start.”

You do not need to be perfect at what you want to do. If you have a dream, just get started. You will learn by doing. Also, making mistakes is part of mastering a skill – only then will you get feedback and can improve yourself.

Take the author as an example. Several times, he just jumped straight in without having the slightest idea what he was doing. When he was trying to sell his book “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” he thought it would be a great idea to sell some copies in bulk to large network marketing companies so they could provide their sales force with them. 

So, Canfield started making some cold calls, and got many rejections. But over time, he learned to improve his sales strategies and eventually managed to make some good sales through his cold call strategy.

If you are struggling to get started by yourself, maybe create a mastermind group or get someone to join you on your success-principle journey – that way, you may finally feel motivated to start becoming successful.

Final Notes

If you want to achieve your dreams, start applying Canfield’s Success Principles every single day. Learn to listen to your inner voice. You have everything you need to be successful already within you. You are the only person responsible for your life, and that also means learning to become your own biggest fan. Once you have transformed your inner critic into your inner coach, nothing can stop you!

Canfield’s “The Success Principles” is more than 500 pages long and has convinced readers far and wide with its 65 Success Principles.

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Who wrote the book?

Jack Canfield is an American motivational speaker and author. He has authored and co-authored more than 150 books with 100 million copies... (Read more)