Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seeds of Greatness

Seeds of Greatness: The ten best-kept secrets of total success by Denis Waitley

Back before I moved to Utah, the church library was getting rid of all the books that weren’t official church material. So I browsed the books and took quite a few. I’ve decided that I need to read them or I need to give them to someone who will. So I picked one out of the pile and started reading it. This one is actually not even written by someone in the church. I didn’t realize that when I picked it out to read. But it was such an inspiring book! I couldn’t put the book down. I would just type out the whole book if I could, it was that good. But let me see if I can summarize it well. I highlighted A LOT in this book! This will be a long post because I absolutely LOVED this book. It was the best one I have read in a while. I’ll share my favorite quote from each section.

1. The seed of self esteem. (This is not the book I blogged about earlier about self esteem.) A lot of this part is about how to build up the self esteem of others but he does also address the reader as well.

“We live in a narcissistic society. We are struggling to move from the ME generation to the WE generation and the going is tough. The elusive preoccupation we have in self-gratification and self-indulgence has been termed narcissism. The word comes from ancient Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image, reflected in a pool of water. He was the original ‘if it feels good, do it’ guru. Today, narcissism is manifested in redwood hot-tub groupies, designer jeans for tots, too many presents under the Christmas tree, an overt emphasis on youth, sexuality, and physical beauty; and other things and places – things to own, things to adorn and places to own and visit; not to share with others, just to show others.

Don’t confuse narcissism with healthy self-esteem. They are night and day. The word esteem means to appreciate the value of. In the human being, I believe it is the beginning and the first seed to success. It is the basis for our ability to love others and try to accomplish a worthy goal, without fear. Narcissistic self-gratification is a materialistic, hedonistic type of self-worship. Self-esteem is based on the internalization of spiritual love. Why do we stand in awe of the power of the immensity of the sea, the vast unknown reaches of the universe, the beauty of a flower, the splendor of a sunset…and at the same time downgrade ourselves? Did not the same creator make us? Are we not the most marvelous creation of all, with power to think, experience, change our environment and love?

Self-acceptance, as we are right now, is the key to healthy self-esteem—seeing ourselves as worthwhile, changing, imperfect, growing individuals, and knowing that although we were not born with equal mental and physical uniforms—we are born with the equal right to feel deserving of excellence according to our own spiritual standards.

You are a masterpiece of creation. Always carry with you the secret: ‘Love must be within us before it can be given.’”

2. The seed of creativity. In this section he talks about self-talk, mental images and how they impact your life. He says that it is proven that the mind can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly and repeatedly imagined…like in a person who tells a lie so often, they start to believe it themselves.

“Your mental picture of yourself is the key to a healthy development. Who you see in your imagination will always rule your world.

You are your greatest critic. You can devastate your self-esteem and creativity with sarcastic and negative reviews of your daily performance. Or you can elevate your self-image with encouraging and positive feedback and previews of coming attractions. Your self-talk is being monitored and recorded, minute to minute, by your self-image. When you talk to yourself, be careful what you say!”

3. The seed of responsibility. This is another chapter where he explains how to teach others but he does address the reader again.

“In chapter 1 we talked about three great fears: fear of rejection, fear of change and fear of success. One good way to conquer fear and build more self-reliance is to realize that we all are ‘God-created, but self-molded,’ and that we are given love, spiritual leadership, divine rules, and laws to help us understand how we cause our own effects by our decisions.”

4. The seed of wisdom. There was no quote that I absolutely loved in this chapter. He talked about continuing education throughout your life (something we have all heard before). He also addresses the need to find your natural abilities or aptitudes so that you can use those abilities to help set goals right for you.

5. The seed of purpose. He discusses the need to set goals for yourself but my favorite part of this chapter was when he discussed a part of your brain that allows you to focus. I found the very fascinating!

“Radiating from your brain stem is a network of cells, about 4 inches in length, called the reticular activating system.

The reticular activating system performs the unique function f filtering incoming sensory stimuli (sight, sound, smell and touch) and determining which ones are going to make an impression in your mind. It decides, from moment to moment, what information is going to become part of your world.

…Have you ever seen or heard of individuals who always seem to be looking for trouble? Of course, you see them everyday. What they do not realize is that they have tuned their reticular activating systems to guard their minds against success by deliberately seeking the negative inputs and problems they say they are trying to avoid. By considering, so often, the possibilities of failure, their brains have been set up to operate as failure-seeking homing torpedoes!

Stop reading for a moment. Sit quietly and listen carefully to all the sounds around you. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how you are able to concentrate on reading without being aware of all the distractions. The ‘reticular activating system’ filters out the unimportant stimuli and focuses on what is important at the moment. The sound of a crying child, a siren, the ring of a telephone, would cause you to pay less attention to the book and direct your awareness to the sound you heard. Once you have made a distinction that a certain value, idea, sound, picture or feeling is significant to you, your reticular activating system is alerted. It immediately transmits any information it receives regarding the significant item to your consciousness.”

6. The seed of communication. This chapter had a paragraph written just for me. I do this all the time. I don’t know why I do it…maybe because I don’t have anything interesting of my own to say. But nonetheless, I’ve been working on biting my tongue more often but I slip up sometimes.

“… I also had the habit of communication with my children and my wife by playing the game of ‘Can You Top This?’ Whenever they would tell me something really exciting about their world, or something that one of their friends or friends’ families had done, I could hardly wait until they were finished telling me so I could outdo them with my own fantastic experience…”

7. The seed of faith. Denis says that faith and optimism are hand in hand. He tells the reader to associate with the kind of people that have the values and goals you have. That you should make service a part of your daily life and to make Sunday a day to attend church, listening and sharing your faith. He also talks about being careful of the things you listen to and watch.

“Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy; you won’t necessarily get what you want in life, but in the long run you will usually get what you expect.”

8. The seed of adaptability.

“… Two other more active kinds of motivation drive our lives and have much more significant mental and physical effects. These are ‘penalty motivation’ and ‘reward motivation’. I call them the two faces of stress.

‘Penalty motivation’ tells you to do something or there will be a penalty to pay. These options are better known as compulsion (have to) and inhibition (can’t) and there is always a penalty.

‘Reward motivation’ tells you to seek something because there will be a reward for success. It also tells you that you are able to do it. These options are better known as propulsion (want to) and volition (can) and there is always a reward.

Both ‘penalty motivation’ and ‘reward motivation’ cause stress. ‘Penalty motivation,’ associated with feelings of compulsion and inhibition, cause negative stress known as ‘distress.’ Distress leads to disorientation, discomfort, distortion, dysfunction and disease. ‘Reward motivation’, associated with feelings of propulsion and volition, cause positive stress known as eustress. Eustress leads to goal orientation, energy, power, and a sense of well-being.

Is stress god or bad then? The answer is yes, stress is either good or bad, depending on whether you are motivated by ‘penalty of failure’ or motivated by ‘reward of success.’ Which is it for you?”

9. The seed of perseverence.

“Perseverance does not always mean sticking to the same thing forever. It means giving full concentration and attention to whatever you are doing, right now! It means doing the tough things first and looking downstream for gratification and rewards. It means being happy in your work, but hungry for more knowledge and progress. It means making more calls, going more miles, pulling more weeds, getting up earlier in the day and always being on the lookout for a better way of doing what you’re doing. Perseverance is success through trial and error.”

10. The seed of perspective.

“All the best-kept secrets of success involve your perspective—how you see life from within. The seeds of greatness are the responses or attitudes you develop as a result of ‘seeing’ the world more clearly. When you see more clearly, you see yourself as valuable and your self-esteem grows strong. Seeing clearly enables your imagination and creativity to soar. Seeing more clearly gives you the understanding that you are responsible for learning as much and contributing as much as you can to life.

When you see life from within, you see wisdom, purpose, and faith as cornerstones of your family’s foundation. You see through the eyes of love and reach out and touch all those with whom you come in contact. Seeing from within is having the courage to adapt to change, and to persevere when the odds seem overwhelming. Seeing from within is believing that beauty and goodness are worth planting everyday.”

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, well, you should have just read the entire book!

1 comment:

Valerie said...

It really does sound like a great book with so much insight. You chose lots of great quotes. I was at Deseret Book the other day and had this thought: "STOP writing so many good books, all you authors of good books. I can't even read many of the old ones I want to, let alone keep up with all these new ones that I have on my never-ending list!!!" Now you've added to that list. :) Thanks for sharing.

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