Revisiting Earl Nightingale

It is New Year’s Eve, the time to consider resolutions.

All of us recognize needs in our lives and we sometimes take action to minimize these or to build the tools to achieve our goals.  Sometimes we mistake action on a specific attribute as the most crucial.  There are underlying points that we might beneficially address first.

As some may recall, Earl Nightingale was the forerunner of people like Anthony Robbins and Wayne Dyer.  People knew him as “The Dean of Personal Development.”  Many of his thoughts still resonate.

Here are some ideas from the original motivational speaker.

  1. Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.
  2. People who have goals succeed because they know where they’re going. It’s that simple.
  3. We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.
  4. You are now, and you do become, what you think about.
  5. We’ve got to put the fuel in before we can expect heat. Likewise, we’ve got to be of service first before we can expect money. Don’t concern yourself with the money. Be of service. Build. Work. Dream. Create. Do this and you’ll find that there is no limit to the prosperity and abundance that will come to you.

We can summarize these ideas into a strategic resolution.

Hold only those thoughts, beliefs and attitudes ideas that lead to and promote success.

You can implement that if you have goals that matter to you.  People seldom reach a goal they do not aim for and work at achieving.  They can claim success as they reach that goal. 

Have ever expanding goals.  The most successful people never reach their goal because their goals are always growing as fast, or faster than they are.

We all make obvious mistakes when seeking our goals.  One of the more insidious is to simplistically compare ourselves to others.  Comparison in the sense of discovering success inducing behaviours or skills is useful.  Comparison that results in minimizing your own achievements is not.  Joy motivates us to even greater achievements, but comparison is the thief of joy.  Be wary of comparing your normal life to someone else’s personal highlight reel.

In the same way, be wary of comparing to others who are doing less well.  Every other person knows something you do not,  or can do something that you cannot.  None of us is superior.  Earl Nightingale has said, “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.”  Try to define yourself in terms of the highest possible you.

Perhaps 2015 is the year for a strategic resolutions.  Specific ones may not lead you to the place you want to be.  Keep your thoughts on your goals and your efforts on service.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: 

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