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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Winning Attitude

John C. Maxwell, The Winning Attitude: Your Pathway to Personal Success, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993. This book is encouraging and challenging. Below is a summary of the book:

Summary: it's not circumstances; it's your response to circumstances (i.e. 'Attitude’) that counts. Study the attitudes of winners. Treat everyone you meet as the most important person in the world. Think positively ('The Israelite soldiers thought, "Goliath's so big we can never kill him". David thought, "He's so big I can't miss"'). Be an optimist ('Asked which one of his works he would select as his masterpiece, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, at the age of 83, replied, "My next one"'). Learn to accept what you can't change (Voltaire said each player must accept the cards they're dealt. But each player decides how to play them to win the game). Never ever say 'It can't be done.' Maintain the right attitude when the going gets tough: what happens in us is much more important than what happens to us. Hang in there; be patient: anyone can start, but only thoroughbreds finish. Avoid negativism (like Chisholm's 'Any time things appear to be getting better you must have overlooked something'; or false truisms like 'Leaders are born, not made'; 'Nice guys finish last'; 'It's not what you know but who you know'; 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks' etc.). Success means hard work ('You can tell when you're on the road to success; it's uphill all the way'), and repeating positive thoughts to yourself ('I know salesmen who repeat this phrase out loud fifty times each morning and fifty times each evening: "I can do it"' p. 144). 'Our feelings come from our thoughts. We can change them by changing our thought patterns' (p. 152. My comment: if only it were that simple!). You can't learn without mistakes. Whoever makes no mistakes makes no progress. Find something you can do well and do it often. Trust in God…

Here are some good stories from the book:

· Like this one: '… the attitude of Amos on radio's old "Amos 'n Andy" show. Amos was tired of Andy's constant criticism. Most irritating was Andy's finger continually thumping on Andy's chest. One day Amos could take it no more. He bought some dynamite, taped it to his chest and told his friend Kingfish, "The next time Andy starts criticizing and thumping his fingers on my chest, this dynamite is going to blow his hand off!" (p.111) [I'll leave you to figure out the moral…]
· And this one: '… like the man who angrily jumped out of his car after a collision with another car. "Why don't you people watch where you're driving?" he shouted wildly. "You're the fourth car I've hit today!" (p.21)
· And this: 'One day Charlie Brown was in his back yard having target practice with his bow and arrow. He would pull the bowstring back and let the arrow fly into a fence. Then he would go to where the arrow had landed and draw a target around it. Several arrows and targets later, Lucy said, "You don't do target practice that way. You draw the target, then shoot the arrow." Charlie's response: "I know that, but if you do it my way, you never miss!"' (p.142).

Finally, some wisdom to think about:
· The Duke of Cambridge once said, "Any change, at any time, for any reason, is to be deplored". People who believe that nothing should ever be done for the first time never see anything done' (p.147)
· Take your mind out every now and then and dance on it. It is getting all caked up' (Mark Twain).
· Pacesetters' Prayer: 'Lord, give me the courage to fail; for if I have failed, at least I have tried. Amen'
· Anything less than God will let you down (E. Stanley Jones).
· 'I wonder why it is,' an Anglican bishop once pondered, 'that everywhere the apostle Paul went they had a revolution, and everywhere I go they serve a cup of tea.'

Below is a thought, quote, or principal I received from each chapter:

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

Chapter 1:”We, too, have been given a handbook to attitude living…the Bible” (p. 4) Christ was selfless, secure, and submissive. (p. 5)
Chapter 2: “The attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behavior” (p. 9)
Chapter 3: “…effective ministry to one another is based on relationships” (p. 19)
Chapter 4: “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances” Victor Frankl (p. 41)
Chapter 5: “A rubber band pulls the object it holds together and is effective only when stretched.” (p. 49)
Chapter 6: “How we see ourselves reflects how others see us.” (p. 63)
Chapter 7: “It becomes hurtful, however, when we start placing limitations on our child because he is a ‘C’ student, a ‘fair’ runner, or a ‘plain’ child” (p. 71)
Chapter 8: This is a very rich chapter. Therefore, I need to list many items.
“Many storms can be avoided by thinking and planning ahead” (p. 84)

Lack of experience: Do I know someone else with successful experience in this area?

Lack of knowledge: Have I studied sufficiently to direct my course effectively?
Lack of time: Did I allow the process of time to work on me as well as the storm?

Lack of facts: Are all the facts gathered to allow a proper decision?

Lack of prayer: Is this idea God’s or mine? If mine does, God bless it and back it through the Word? (p. 85)

The wrong decision at the wrong time = disaster.
The wrong decision at the right time = mistake.
The right decision at the wrong time = unacceptance.
The right decision at the right time = success. (p. 86)

“You’ll Be Fine If You’re Connected To The Vine” (p. 87)

“Apart from Me (Jesus) you can do nothing.” (p. 87)

“What really matters is what happens in us, not to us.” (p. 87)

“What we sow, we always reap” (p. 88)

“The difference between success and failure in decision-making is often timing” (p. 88)

Chapter 9: This is also a very rich chapter. But, I will list only one quote.
“It is more important to be obedient to God than to be concerned with survival.” (p. 93)

Chapter 10:””Oh Lord, help me please everybody.” (That is definitely a prayer for failure.)”” (p. 110)

Chapter 11: “His Word within me, not the world around me, began to influence my attitudes.” (p. 133)

Chapter 12: Chart on page 145

Replace These Words - With These

I can’t - I can
If - I will
Doubt - Expect the best
I don’t think - I know
I don’t have the time - I will make the time
Maybe - Positively
I’m afraid of - I am confident
I don’t believe - I do believe
(minimize) I - (promote) You
It’s impossible - God is able

Chapter 13:”There are two keys to determine who we are: (1) who we perceive ourselves to be and (2) who we associate with.” (p. 161)

Chapter 14: This is a super chapter!!!
“They waited, and they were filled. The early Church was launched! The theme of this growing group of believers was ‘forward through the storm’. Seven difficult problems confronted this New Testament Church of the book of Acts. After each obstacle, we read that the church was enlarged and the Word of God multiplied. Setbacks became springboards. Obstacles were turned into opportunities. Barriers turned out to be blessings. Cowards became courageous. Why? Those within the Church were filled with the Holy Spirit.”

To order this book, click here!

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