Summary: Success Is a Choice By John C. Maxwell
Summary: Success Is a Choice By John C. Maxwell

Summary: Success Is a Choice By John C. Maxwell

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Commit to Choices That Bring Success

What does it take to succeed? Can anyone be successful? And where does talent fit in at all?

  1. Everyone Has Talent

People have equal value, but not equal giftedness. Some people seem to be blessed with a multitude of talents. Most of us have fewer abilities. But know this: all of us have something we can do well.

  1. Develop the Talent You Have, Not the One You Want

who would be more successful, the person who relies on his talent alone or the person who realizes his talent and develops it, the answer would be obvious.

  1. Anyone Can Make Choices That Will Add Value to Talent

So if you should focus on developing your best talent, and not your weaknesses, where should you expend your energy? On your choices. The key choices you make—apart from the natural talent you already have—will set you apart from others who have talent alone. Orator, attorney, and political leader William Jennings Bryan said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Who You Are + Right Choices = Success

If you’re willing to commit to making the right choices, you can reach your potential and fulfill your destiny.


Believe in Yourself

If you want to become your best, you need to believe your best. You need to . . .

  1. Believe in Your Potential

Your potential is a picture of what you can become. Inventor Thomas Edison remarked, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.”

  1. Believe in Yourself

It’s one thing to believe that you possess remarkable potential. It’s another thing to have enough faith in yourself that you think you can fulfill it. When it comes to believing in themselves, some people are agnostic! That’s not only a shame; it also keeps them from becoming what they could be. Psychologist and philosopher William James emphasized that “there is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true self.”

  1. Believe in Your Mission

What else is necessary to lift a person’s talent? Believing in what you are doing. In fact, even if the odds are against your accomplishing what you desire, confidence will help you. William James asserted, “The one thing that will guarantee the successful conclusion of a doubtful undertaking is faith in the beginning that you can do it.”


Fire Up Your Passion

Your Passion Can Empower You

Passion can energize every aspect of a person’s life—including his talent.

  1. A passionate person with limited talent will outperform a passive person who possesses greater talent. Why? Because passionate people act with boundless enthusiasm, and they just keep on going!
  2. Passion Is the First Step to Achievement

Loving what you do is the key that opens the door for achievement. When you don’t like what you’re doing, it really shows—no matter how hard you try to pretend it doesn’t.

  1. Passion Increases Willpower

You can’t help people become winners unless they want to win. Champions become champions from within, not from without.

  1. Passion Produces Energy

When you have passion, you become energized. You don’t have to produce perseverance; it is naturally present in you. It helps you enjoy the journey as much as reaching the destination. Without it, achievement becomes a long and difficult road.

  1. Passion Is the Foundation for Excellence

Passion can transform someone from average to excellent.

When you find purpose, you find passion. And when you find passion, it energizes your talent so that you can achieve excellence.

  1. Passion Is the Key to Success

People are such that whenever anything fires their souls, impossibilities vanish. Perhaps that’s why philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.”

  1. Passion in a Person Is Contagious

Writer and promotional publicist Eleanor Doan remarked, “You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning within your own.”


Initiate Action

It’s a cliché to say that every journey begins with the first step, yet it is still true. Successful people don’t wait for everything to be perfect to move forward. They don’t wait for all the problems or obstacles to disappear. They don’t wait until their fear subsides. They take initiative.

  1. Initiative Is the First Step to Anywhere You Want to Go

Where you finish in life isn’t determined so much by where you start as by whether you start. If you’re willing to get started and keep initiating, there’s no telling how far you might go.

  1. Initiative Closes the Door to Fear

Author Katherine Paterson said, “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”2

We all have fears. The question is whether we are going to control them or allow them to control us.

  1. Initiative Opens the Door to Opportunity

Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, advised, “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” People who take initiative and work hard may succeed, or they may fail. But anyone who doesn’t take initiative is almost guaranteed to fail.

  1. Initiative Eases Life’s Difficulties

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck famously stated, “Life is difficult.” That’s not most people’s problem. Their response to life’s difficulties is. Too many people wait around for their ship to come in. When they take that approach to life, they often find it to be hardship. The things that simply come to us are rarely the things we want. To have a chance at getting what we desire, we need to work for it.

  1. Initiative Is Often the Difference Between Success and Failure

Talent without initiative never reaches its potential. It’s like a caterpillar that won’t get into its cocoon. It will never transform, forever relegated to crawling on the ground, even though it had the potential to fly.


Embody Perseverance

No matter how talented people are, there is no success without perseverance. World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker said, “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through—then follow through.” Many people like to think things through; few follow through.

  1. Perseverance Means Succeeding Because You Are Determined To, Not Destined To

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of determination.” The greatest achievers don’t sit back and wait for success because they think they deserve it. They keep moving forward and persevering because they are determined to achieve it.

Perseverance Recognizes Life Is Not a Long Race but Many Short Ones in Succession

Life isn’t one very long race. It’s actually a long series of shorter races, one after another. Each task has its own challenges. Each day is its own event. True, you have to get out of bed the next day and race again, but it’s never exactly the same race as before. To be successful, you just need to keep plugging away.

  1. Perseverance Is Needed to Release Most of Life’s Rewards

Inventor Thomas Edison asserted, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” It’s the last step in the race that counts the most. That is where the winner is determined. That is where the rewards come. If you run every step of the race well except the last one and you stop before the finish line, then the end result will be the same as if you never ran a step.

  1. Perseverance Draws Sweetness Out of Adversity

The trials and pressures of life—and how we face them—often define us. Confronted by adversity, many people give up while others rise up. How do those who succeed do it? They persevere. They find the benefit to them personally that comes from any trial. And they recognize that the best thing about adversity is coming out on the other side of it. There is a sweetness to overcoming your troubles and finding something good in the process, however small it may be.

  1. Perseverance Has a Compounding Effect on Life

Every day that you do the right things—work hard, treat others with respect, learn, and grow—you invest in yourself. To do these things every day takes relentless perseverance, but if you do them, your success compounds over time. Weight-loss expert and author Judy Wardell Halliday supported this idea: “Dreams become reality when we keep our commitment to them.”

  1. Perseverance Means Stopping Not Because You’re Tired but Because the Task Is Done

To successful people, fatigue and discouragement are not signs to quit. They perceive them as signals to draw on their reserves, rely on their character, and keep going. One problem of many people is that they underestimate what it will take to succeed. Enlightenment political philosopher Montesquieu declared, “In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.” When we haven’t counted the cost of success, we approach challenges with mere interest; what is really required is total commitment. And that makes all the difference.

  1. Perseverance Doesn’t Demand More Than We Have but All That We Have

Author Frank Tyger observed, “In every triumph there is a lot of try.” But perseverance means more than trying. It means more than working hard. Perseverance is an investment. It is a willingness to bind oneself emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually to an idea or task until it has been completed. Perseverance demands a lot, but here’s the good news: everything you give is an investment in yourself.

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