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Thursday, January 21, 2010


Take a look at the following eight principles set forth by John Maxwell in his book "Self-Improvement 101." They’ll help you develop into a person dedicated to personal growth:

1. Choose a life of growth.
• It’s said that when Spanish composer-cellist Pablo Casals was in the final years of his life, a young reporter asked him, “Mr. Casals, you are ninety-five years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?” What was Casals answer? “Because I think I’m making progress.” That’s the kind of dedication to continual growth that you should have.
• You need to have an attitude like that of General George Patton. It’s said that he told his troops, “There is one thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying we are holding our position. We are advancing constantly.” Patton’s motto was, “Always take the offensive. Never dig in.”

2. Start growing today.
• Napoleon Hill said, “It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts.”
• Why do you need to determine to start growing today? There are several reasons:
i. Growth is no automatic.
ii. Growth today will provide a better tomorrow.
iii. Growth is your responsibility.

3. Focus on self-development, not self-fulfillment.
• Rabbi Samuel M. Silver taught that “the greatest of all miracles is that we need not be tomorrow what we are today, but we can improve if we make use of the potential implanted in us by God.”

4. Never stay satisfied with current accomplishments.
• My friend Rick Warren says, “The greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is today’s success.”
• It’s another characteristic of destination disease. But successful people don’t sit back and rest on their laurels.
• Sydney Harris insisted that “a winner knows how much he still had to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others; a loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.”

5. Be a continual learner.
• The best way to keep from becoming satisfied with your current achievements is to make yourself a continual learner. That kind of commitment may be rarer than you realize. For example, a study performed by the University of Michigan several years ago found that one-third of all physicians in the United States are so busy working that they’re two years behind the breakthroughs in their own fields.
• Henry Ford said, “It’s been my observation that most successful people get ahead during the time other people waste.”
• Frank A. Clark stated, “Most of us must learn a great deal every day in order to keep ahead of what we forget.”

6. Develop a plan for growth.
• The key to a life of continual learning and improvement lies in developing a specific plan for growth and following through with it.
• Earl Nightingale, which says, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.

7. Pay the price.
• President Theodore Roosevelt boldly stated, “There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.”

8. Find a way to apply what you learn.
• Jim Rohn urged, “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.”
• Successful people develop positive daily habits that help them to grow and learn.
• “Something in human nature tempts us to stay where we’re comfortable. We try to find a plateau, a resting place, where we have comfortable associations with people, without the intimidation of meeting new people and entering strange situations.” (author and leadership expert Fred Smith)