Reviewed in India on 26 March 2019
This book is written by Jeff Keller who is a motivational speaker, which is evident through the motivational tone of the book. After graduating from law school in 1980, he practiced for a few years. Feeling unhappy with his career in law, he became a motivational speaker which he felt was his true calling. The numerous examples of people who achieved their goals through positive attitude are from his personal experience and research
What do I like about this book?
- The overall motivational tone of the book, that creates a positive drive within yourself
- To-the-point crisp writing, without being verbose at all (unlike some other books which keep reiterating the same points through multiple pages)
- Powerful examples from history
- Great quotes by famous men. It is just a treat to read all these famous words by eminent people.
- The book justifies its title ‘Attitude is everything’ through its content.
What I did not like about the book?
Well, honestly, NOTHING. I’m usually critical of books if I find any flaws with the writing, or content, or engagement, but I didn’t find anything lacking in this one. Hence, the complete five stars. The book is beautifully written with meaningful content.
The book begins with a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson – “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” In the first chapter, Jeff Keller talks about his own circumstances that led to his career change, finally becoming a motivational speaker. He mentions general problems faced by common people in their day to day lives and hence creates a bond with the reader.
The book is primarily divided into 3 parts and 12 lessons. Each part includes various lessons, which are thought-provoking. The basic message conveyed through these three parts and lessons is – “When you THINK, SPEAK, and ACT in ways that support your success, you’re firing on all cylinders and on the way to achieving phenomenal results in your life.”
PART 1 – SUCCESS BEGINS IN THE MIND: THINKING
In this part, the author tries to teach us that success begins in the mind, and he focuses on the power of attitude and belief in shaping your destiny.
Lesson 1 – Your Attitude is your window to the world.
Attitude is like a mental filter through which you experience the world around you. Some people see the world through a filter of optimism while others have a more pessimist outlook. A person with positive attitude thinks ‘I CAN’ while the others think ‘I CAN’T’. We all start off with a clean window when we are young, and as we grow old, life throws some dirt on the window (like criticism, ridicule from peers, rejections, disappointments), and we start doubting our capabilities, we start having negative outlook towards thinks, and we are not as confident as we used to be earlier. The advice given in the lesson is to wash our mental window, so we can control our mental attitude. Every human being has the power to choose his attitude. Every human being has the power to choose his/her reactions to different things happening all around.
One of the many Examples cited – Dr. Viktor Frankl’s (Author of Man’s Search for Meaning – would recommend people to read this) experiences during concentration camp.
Lesson 2 – You are a human magnet.
The message of this lesson can be summed up in a single quote by Earl Nightingale – “We become what we think about.” Jeff states the idea of ‘dominant thought’. He says, your dominant thoughts rule the day. Your beliefs brought you to where you are today, and your thinking from this point forward will take you where you will be in the future. As human magnets, we have the power to attract success through our thoughts. If you think about positive things, positive outcomes, success – same shall follow. However, he rightly warns against the expectation of overnight success too.
Lesson 3 – Picture your way to success.
The author asks the readers to create mental movies in the mind, picturing things and milestones they wished to achieve. At the same time, we have to get rid of our old rubbish mental images, which remind us of failure, negativity, and disappointments.
One of the many Examples cited – Story of singer Celine Dion where she mentions that from the age of five, she had always imagined singing in front of houseful audience, receiving multiple awards and becoming a superstar. Another example quoted is of Jim Carrey, who wrote a post-dated cheque to himself for $10 Million, which acted as a source of inspiration for him.
Lesson 4 - Make A Commitment And You Will Move Mountains.
Jeff mentions the book ‘The ultimate secret to getting absolutely everything you want’ by Mike Hemaki. He says, the key to getting what you want is the ‘willingness to do whatever it takes’ to accomplish your goals. When you commit to something, positive events start happening, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.
He gives the example of Benjamin Roll who cleared the bar council exam in his 14th attempt at the age of 74! Another example cited is that of ‘Baldacci’ who became a writer, by learning the craft of writing, through sheer commitment.
Lesson 5 - Turn Your Problems Into Opportunities.
Whenever something goes wrong, we start questioning ourselves, our circumstances and at times our luck. In such a situation, we have two choices – 1. Keep feeling miserable or 2. Learn a lesson from the problem and move on. A problem should be seen as an opportunity to learn, improve, and do something better next time. Adversity encourages us to make necessary changes in our life, tap our hidden potential. It teaches us to be grateful for the small things and helps us build self-esteem and confidence.
As Napolean said, “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”
PART 2 – WATCH YOUR WORDS: SPEAKING
In this part, the author focuses on what we speak. What we say, directly shows how we think, and precedes our actions.
Lesson 6 – Your Worlds Blaze A Trails.
The author says that words have immense power. They can build your future, destroy opportunities or help maintain the status quo. Your choice of words defines your personality.
Always remember – Thoughts > Words > Beliefs > Actions > Results
The author cites an inspirational example of Kent Cullers, a scientist at NASA.
Lesson 7 – How are you?
Jeff says that this question is the most frequently asked questions to any person, and what reply a person gives to this question is extremely important. Now, a reply to this question can be – Positive, Mediocre or Negative. We should avoid negative answers as they drain the energy of others as well. Jeff says that we should always reply to this question with words such as ‘Terrific’ or ‘Great’ or other such positive words. This will help boost our confidence and create a positive outlook.
Lesson 8 – Stop complaining.
Nobody wants to hear about our pains and problems. As William Penn said, “the secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.” Jeff says that complaining is a major problem in all of us, whereas it doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help the person ranting about his problems, and definitely doesn’t help the listener who’s least interested in listening to someone else’s problems when he has plenty of his own. However, at the same time, the author clarifies that sharing your problems with your nearest ones, is different from complaining, and rightly so.
PART 3 – HEAVEN HELPS THOSE WHO ACT: ACTION
In this part, the author emphasizes on the fact that without action, positive thoughts and words will not help you attain the level of success you aimed for.
Lesson 9 - Associate with Positive People.
We are the average of the people we spend our most time with. The people you hang out with define your outlook and future because they greatly influence our thoughts and life. Hence, it is very important to be in the company of positive people, who have definite goals for themselves. Hanging around folks with no ambition or goals, who imbibe negativity in you, will put you on the path of failure.
Lesson 10 - Confront Your Fears and Grow.
The path that leads to success is often filled with obstacles. The people who succeed, do so by overcoming these obstacles. If you want to achieve something, you have to get out of your ‘comfort zone’. You have to stretch yourself. Adopt a mindset that helps you acquire what you want. Remember, repetition is the key, like any other muscle. It will build up and encourage you to do something great.
Lesson 11 – Get out there and fail.
Winston Churchill said, - “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” In order to success someday, you must be willing to fail today. Successful people around the world are wise enough to know that success doesn’t come in one shot. You have pe persevere, fail again and again, learn from your failures, and work on it again with double enthusiasm.
The author cites an example of TV talk show host ‘Sally Jessy Raphael’, who was fired 18 times, couldn’t pay her credit card bills for 26 years, lived on food stamps, before finally making it big in the industry.
Lesson 12 - Networking That Gets Results.
This lesson shows the importance of teamwork. It shows, if you’re positive and ready to help people, people, in turn, will go out of their way to help you back. Some key points from this lesson –
- Develop a win-win attitude.
- Effectively participate in a group or organization.
- Do not stop the flow of messages, you should keep in touch with your peers.
- Become a good listener.
- Congratulate people on for their accomplishment.
- Make new friends in your field.
- Do more for others, before expecting something in return.
In my opinion, this is one of the best self-improvement books ever written. The content of this book far outweighs its price, and although I have provided the summary for a quick glance, you can still go ahead and pick the book for a quick read. There are many more powerful impactful examples cited throughout the book which make this one an interesting read. Recommended!
Favorite Quotes from the book:
- “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food, and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not the result of camp influences alone.”
- “When you believe you can do something, you have the courage to move forward despite being afraid.”
- “As adults, most of us become a lot more concerned about the opinions of others, often hesitating because people may laugh at us or criticize us. At the age of six, we knew we had to fall.”
- “Whether you think you can—or think you can’t—you’re right!” – Henry Ford
- “You see, when you change your attitude, sparks fly in the universe. You’re energized. You begin to see new possibilities. You move into action. You achieve extraordinary results. That’s why I say when you change your attitude, you change your life!”
- “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
- “They can because they think they can.” – Virgil