“Those heights by great men, won and kept, were not achieved by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – H.W. Longfellow
If you haven’t heard of Brian Tracy before, you need to look into him if you are serious about self-improvement, best business practices and time management. I was scrolling through the internet looking up sales tips videos and found his channel. It was like a gold mine. Great information. I ended up receiving a gift card from a relative to a local bookstore and was excited to go spend it. I went with my wife. We parked the car and entered through the store’s front glass doors. As we entered the building, we stood front faced with the bargain priced section. I love a deal so before we marched around the rest of the store we glanced through this section looking for something interesting. I immediately recognized the author’s name, Brian Tracy. There it was “No Excuses! The Power of Self- Discipline” It was $8 or so. I thought “Why not?” I will still be able to buy another book since it was a cool $25 I could spend. My wife likes to make verbal observations about what excites me and what leaders I like to follow from afar. She especially notices them because I like to talk about something I’ve learned and enjoy the idea of placing new ideas into practice. She made a comment similar to the following, “Brian Tracy is your new Dave Ramsey.” She’s pretty clever. It was humorously accurate I found. To me, each book is a new experience. I was eager to glean wisdom from another leader in the biz. We agreed I should get the book. I took it home and cracked it open.
Here are some of my takeaways from this book. There are just too many. I underlined and scribbled so many things. I think I even drew a graph!
1. One of the most revealing references Tracy makes is to a study by Herbert Grey. The study found a key difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. Successful people are in search of “pleasing results.” Unsuccessful people look for “pleasing methods.” This becomes clearer as you see people who are goal oriented and have a “whatever it takes” kind of attitude. Their tenacity to see their vision come to fruition moves them passed obstacles and discomfort that may deter others who are more interested in comfort and leisure. This explains why some people retain higher quality benefits while others don’t.
2. Similar to this idea, Tracy shares an idea by Denis Waitley. Successful people are looking for ways and methods that achieve goals. Unsuccessful people look for ways to relieve tension. See the difference? “Goal achieving” vs “tension relieving.” In situations like this, successful people are more interested in the benefits of the results. Unsuccessful people are more interested in the ease of the experiences.
3. Tracy explains that self-discipline in one area can be transferred to and used in other areas. I found this to be true. If you look up the work of Maire Kondo, the Japanese decluttering consultant, you will find she has observed the same thing. In her books, she explains that when a client has found that they have self-control consistently over a long period of time to keep their house in order, they use that self-discipline to execute plans in other areas like losing weight and/or saving money. Dave Ramsey shares about the same phenomenon. He talks about changing one’s behavior in order to achieve “financial peace.” People use their newfound discipline in other areas and have a greater degree of control in many areas of their life.
4. Tracy shares the importance of accepting responsibility. Rejecting responsibility corrupts our perspective of cause and effect and diminishes our resolve to get things done. We also undermine ourselves by this flaw in our character. This weakens our influence and can harm our self-esteem. Excuses are ultimately the result of hoisting responsibility onto other things, persons and/or circumstances.
5. Brian Tracy is all about taking action right now. Every chapter ends with a series of questions to guide and challenge your thinking. These questions encourage application of those ideas. Here is one of my favorite quotes from him to get you moving. “Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is the thief of life.”