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Zig Ziglar Articles

The Power of the Word: Part 2

Charles Osgood, the “word merchant,” said that “compared to the spoken word, a picture is a pitiful thing, indeed.” C. J. Ducasse said that “to speak of mere words is much like speaking of mere dynamite.” The wisest man who ever lived said, “The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.” It has been said that the way people talk is the best indication of how they think, and the most powerful instrument for influencing a person’s thought process is the spoken word.

A Game of Golf Can Help the Game of Life

To take a little literary license and paraphrase Tim J. M. Rohrer of WSOC FM 103 radio in Charlotte, North Carolina, in golf the objective is to hit each shot well and to get into position to hit the next one effectively. Tim says this is the smart way to approach a demanding game. Concentrating on hitting each shot forces the player to focus on the current shot and to forget about past mistakes. Unfortunately, in golf and in life, we do hit some “bad shots” or things just don’t go “our way.” It is important, however, that we not let a missed shot or a bad break today keep us from doing our best tomorrow.

The Power of the Word

Frequently we become so pragmatic we fail to be effective. A number of years ago the editor of the Dallas Morning News pointed out to the sports writers that “Bill” was not a suitable substitute for “William,” and “Charlie” was not a suitable substitute for “Charles.” Taking him literally, one of the sports writers, in the heyday of Doak Walker of Southern Methodist University, wrote about an important game. In his story he pointed out that in the third quarter Doak Walker had left the game with a “Charles horse.” I think you’ll agree that the story lost some meaning with the use of the word “Charles.”

Unsung Heroes: Prominent or Eminent?

“Let it never be forgotten that glamour is not greatness, applause is not fame, prominence is not eminence, the man of the hour is not apt to be the man of the ages, a stone may sparkle but that does not make it a diamond, and man may have money, but that does not make him a success.

Help Is Available

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz tells the story of the fellow who was driving on a slippery country road when he slid into a ditch.

Sometimes Ya’ Gotta’ Hustle

In bygone years when cassette players were the rage, one day I needed a new one and, since I liked the one I had been using, I decided to buy another.

The “Bounce-Back Kid”

He died three times on the way to the hospital after a head-on collision on his motorcycle caused by a car abruptly turning into his lane. I’m talking about a remarkable young man named Billy Wright, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

Conviction Is The Key

The late Mary Crowley frequently commented that one person with a conviction would do more than a hundred who only had an interest. Commitment is the key to staying the course and completing the project. Conviction always precedes commitment.

Gambling – Or Risk-Taking?

There is a difference between gambling and risk-taking. John Scully says, “People who take risks are the people you’ll lose against.” A study of the first graduating class from the Harvard School of Business revealed that, across the board, these men were risk-takers. They would not pass a car on a hill or a curve, nor blindly go into a business venture. They assembled the facts and evaluated carefully from every possible perspective the chances of success and the benefits which went with that success. They understood there were no guarantees and that the possibility existed that they could lose. Nonetheless, they recognized that the possible gain was so much greater than the possible loss that they deemed it appropriate to take the risk.

Pooper Scoopers Unlimited

My friend, Lou Holtz, former head football coach at Notre Dame University and a man I admire greatly, frequently closes his talks with the statement, “Do the right thing.” That’s sound advice, regardless of your profession or status in life.

Truth Is Stranger And More Exciting Than Fiction

“Gone With The Wind” is the classic. “Scarlett” is the follow-up to the classic. However, the original story had more than just a kernel of truth in it. There was a Rhett Butler, but his real name was Rhett Turnipseed. Scarlett O’Hara was Emelyn Louise Hannon.

You Can’t Please Everyone

To attempt to please everyone is a surefire formula for misery and lack of success in life. As a speaker and author, I communicate a considerable amount of information. It is my conviction that I must give people information to put them in better position to make good decisions. It is not my place to tell them which decisions to make.

Hugging is the Answer

Perhaps I feel this way because my wife is affectionately known as “The Happy Hugger.” If it’s moving she’ll stop it and hug it, and if it’s not moving she’ll dust it off and sell it! However, there’s another reason I believe hugging is the answer.

Denial Is More Than Just A River In Egypt

An incredibly high percentage of people are in denial. Something like 90% of alcoholics do not recognize that they have the problem and most will become incensed if someone suggests they do. Denial is the hallmark of alcoholism. Denying a problem never solves that problem. To paraphrase someone else, no snow flake blames itself for the blizzard, nor does a raindrop blame itself for the flood, and yet each plays a part in the problems.

Courage, Convictions and Commitment

Those are the very words you could use to describe Truett Cathy and the success of his Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. It took Truett 21 years from the time he opened his first Dwarf House Restaurant and perfected his Chick-fil-A sandwich to open his first Chick-fil-A restaurant in a shopping mall.

Schooling vs. Education

My Executive Assistant, Laurie Magers, has worked with me over thirty-three years. Although her formal education ended with the tenth grade, Laurie is far more educated and competent than any college graduate I have ever had in that position. Here’s why.

I Have No Relationship Today With My Dad

There are many reasons for strained or broken relationships between parent and child. Damaged relationships are always painful to those involved. The good news is that relationships can be mended. The hard part is that you must initiate action that will lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. Here’s how.

From Sharecropper's Daughter to College President

My mother used to say, "As the twig is bent, the tree shall grow." I believe that Ruth Simmons, once president of the highly-prestigious Smith College in Massachusetts, is the classic example of the truth of that statement. She is currently serving as President of Brown University. She is also the epitome of the American Dream and living proof that it is still alive and well in America.

Positive Words Create Positive Actions

In our society today we tend to accentuate the negatives instead of the positives. One example is the “alarm clock” we use to wake ourselves up in the morning. Realistically, when we hear an alarm it generates fear or anxiety. When somebody robs a bank, an alarm is sounded; when there’s a fire, someone sounds an alarm. Perhaps waking up to an alarm helps explain the profusion of negative words we use. If you rethink the issue of your clock you will realize that it is really giving you an opportunity. When you hear it ring, you have the opportunity to get up and go. A whole day full of possibilities is available to you once you hear your “opportunity clock.” If you can’t hear it ring, that might mean you’ve gotten up and gone! That could be bad.

Up In Smoke

Recently, I saw two attractive teenage girls smoking cigarettes. I watched them and it was obvious that they were new smokers. As a father who has watched two of his daughters go through the pains of death trying to quit smoking, I wanted to give the two young women a warning and a lecture. I didn’t do it, because they could rightfully have said it was none of my business. As an employer, I looked at those two girls and knew that it would definitely jeopardize their opportunities for getting some jobs. Many companies do not hire smokers. I looked at them as future parents and knew what that smoke would do to their babies, should they continue to smoke and ever become mothers.

Where You Stand Is Important

To be honest, I could have started this column with “where you sit is also important.” The reality is that where you sit influences where you stand, but where you stand has a direct bearing on where you sit. Let me explain.

Communication is Important

The dictionary says that to communicate is "to impart, to give to another, as a partaker, to confer for joint possession, to bestow, as that which the receiver is to hold, retain, use or enjoy. To impart as knowledge, to reveal, to give as information, either by words, signs or signals, as to communicate intelligence, news, opinions."

A Philosophy To Live By

Wisdom goes back a long way and comes in the form of examples, illustrations, stories, cliches, parables, etc. One of the oldest bits of philosophy says that “for want of a nail a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse a rider was lost, for want of a rider a leader was lost, for want of a leader a battle was lost, for want of a victory a war was lost, for want of a plan a nation was lost.”

We’re Both On the Same Side

One of my favorite stories concerns a young lad who was confronted by three bullies with violence in mind. Quickly, the little guy drew a line on the ground, stepped back several feet, looked the biggest bully in the eye and said, "Now, you just step over that line." Confidently, the big bully stepped over the line, preparing to commit mayhem on the little guy. Quickly the little fellow grinned and said, "Now we're both on the same side."

Leaders Are Communicators

There is an old saying, “That which can be misunderstood will be misunderstood.” This resolution, passed by the Board of Councilmen in Canton, Mississippi, in the mid-1800s brings that into focus. “Number one: Resolved by this Council that we build a new jail. Number two: Resolved that the new jail be built out of the materials of the old jail. Resolved that the old jail be used until the new jail is finished.”

Needed - One More Friend

Somebody once said that a stranger is simply a friend you haven't met. The dictionary says that a friend is one who is attached to another by affection which leads him to desire his company, or one who has sufficient interest to serve another.

Get To Or Got To?

Every morning for several years, promptly at 10:00 a.m., a prominent business woman visited her mother in a nursing home. She was close to her mother and loved her very much.

Appearance Counts

According to a study I read, the way we look has a direct bearing on our paycheck. Employment data from 7,000 adults was analyzed. Interviewers divided the group according to looks and then compared what those working similar jobs in each category were paid. Those who were below average in appearance earned less than those rated “average.” Those who rated average earned less than those who were rated “above average.”

Win/Win Negotiations

Virtually everything involves some sales or negotiation skills. Negotiations are easier if we come from a position of power - having complete confidence in our product. It’s also nice to have an “ace in the hole” (a persuasive bargaining chip) that enables us to influence the other party in a positive way.

Living with Integrity

”What I do is who I am” Chris Schenkel. Several years ago I heard about an ad placed in a sports magazine advising hunters how not to scatter their shots. The ad said, “For one dollar we’ll give you that information.” Many people sent their dollar and the advice was, “Just use one shot.” While the ad was deceptive, and I’m certain many of the respondents were irritated at being taken in, the advice was good.

Be Kind and Listen

It has been said that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Another “oldie” is the fact that when you’re talking you’re not learning; it’s only when you listen that you learn.

Why Worry?

Worry has been described as "interest paid on trouble before it comes due." One of America's worst enemies is worry. Worry is like a rocking chair, it requires a lot of energy and it gets you nowhere. Leo Buscaglia said, "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."

Those “Good Ol’ Days”

A popular joke goes like this: A former athlete (teacher, preacher, coach, etc.) laughingly says, "The older I get, the better I was!" There's more truth than fiction in that statement and, in a way, that's good. It certainly indicates the person is looking back and thinking of the good things instead of the negatives of life. That kind of attitude will ensure not only a longer life, but a happier and healthier one to boot!


A team of all-stars or an all-star team? When my wife and I were in Sydney, Australia, we had an opportunity to attend a performance of the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra at the famed Opera House. The seats were choice, our night was free, so we jumped at the opportunity. When we arrived 30 minutes early, the orchestra members were already warming up. The individuals came in all sizes, ages and colors, and were both male and female. Some of them, like the cymbals player, would perform five or six seconds during the entire evening, while the cellist had one part that would extend over 20 minutes. As they warmed up, the "music" sounded like noise to me.

It’s Never Too Late!

In May of 1983, Helen Hill, age 95, received her high school diploma. She was absolutely ecstatic. When she finished high school 76 years earlier, she and her five classmates did not receive formal diplomas because the school was so much in debt they could not afford them. When she received her belated diploma, Mrs. Hill was thrilled.

Playing to Win

Anything can happen - and it often does! One of the old clichés in professional athletics is that on any given day in any given city, one professional athletic team can beat another team. Their standings in the won-loss record at that moment don’t really matter. That’s equally true in individual competition when you have players who are skilled and determined to do their best.

Productivity and Attitude

I'm the only one who does anything around here! Several years ago I was on a late-night television show in New York City. For some strange reason, they wanted me in the studio that afternoon at 4:30. I walked in and was stunned by the small size of the reception area. It contained a couch for three, a chair for one and a sink, refrigerator and coffee maker.

Getting Out of the Box

Many people set low ceilings on their expectations and capabilities. In the process, they place themselves in a "box." Alexander Whortley took that a step further and literally lived in a box. It was a mini-trailer, three feet wide, four feet long, and five feet high. He lived there until he died at the age of eighty. His box was made of wood, had a metal roof, and it housed him and all his meager belongings. Regardless of where he worked, Whortley chose to spend his life in that cramped space, even though larger, more comfortable quarters were always available.

Ambition - Good or Bad?

An anonymous writer said that ambition, fueled by compassion, wisdom and integrity, is a powerful force for good. It will turn the wheels of industry and open the door of opportunity for you and countless thousands of other people. Fueled by greed and the lust for power, ambition is a destructive force that ultimately does irreparable damage to the individual in its grasp and to the people within its reach.


Change can be good for you. In today's world of societal and corporate change, job security is a thing of the past. While we must face the fact that change is inevitable, we should also realize that many changes are positive and benefit both individuals and businesses.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Humbly grateful or gratefully humble? In a recent sermon Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas points out that each person in his or her lifetime will cultivate either an attitude or spirit of thanksgiving, gratitude and thankfulness, or an attitude or life as a cynic, full of anger, bitterness and arrogance. He expands on this by pointing out that a grateful child, by-and-large, is far more likely to be a happy child. He also says a person who is hostile, angry and critical, who is a fault-finder, is basically an ungrateful person.

Christopher Columbus Was a Salesman

Many people do not realize the important role that sales people have played in America. America was discovered by a salesman. Christopher Columbus was looking for India and missed it by about 10,000 miles. Fortunately, he was a better salesman than he was a navigator!

Fixing Problems

Question: Can you remember a day when you did not have some "problem," irritation, disappointment, defeat or set-back of some kind? It might be having to make an unexpected stop at the service station because your mate drove your car and neglected to refill it. Or maybe your boss gave you incomplete information on an important project and now you have to start all over.

Moving Up In Life

It has been accurately stated that when you hire somebody smarter than yourself, you prove you are smarter than they are. We can apply that to all areas of ability. The sales manager should strive diligently to hire sales people who are better at selling than he or she is. That way they can share information and they will both be even more effective. Also, by continuing to learn from each sales person, the manager will stay one step ahead of all of them. Exactly the same thing applies in coaching. A good head coach seeks assistant coaches who know more about their specialty than he does and he learns from them. Ditto for managers in manufacturing, engineering, architecture, etc.


Okay - I admit it - this one is extreme. Several years ago before I realized that my body retains ice cream, my wife and I were in our favorite ice cream parlor. An unusual-looking young man walked through the front door. In my lifetime I have never seen anything like it. His hair was sticking out in every direction and came to a point at the top so sharp that it was dangerous. He had every imaginable color represented - green, purple, orange, red, lavender, black - it was really a sight to behold!

Words Can Make A Difference

As a youngster I heard a little rhyme which said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." That's untrue. Words can give us hope and encouragement, or they can break our spirits and dash our hopes.

Solving the "Blues" Problem

First, let me define the "blues." I am not referring to clinical depression, which is a medical condition and requires the help of a skilled physician. I use the term "blues" to describe the type of depression most of us experience at one time or another. It simply starts with a mild case of "stinking thinking" and accelerates into a severe case of "stinking thinking."

Find a Need and Fill It

When I was in the seventh grade I was on the boxing team and later I boxed while in the Navy. I don't want to sound boastful, but it's a matter of record that the worst I ever finished was second. I finally quit boxing because of my hands - the referee kept stepping on them! As a boxer, the coach would always instruct us in the early part of the fight to feel our opponent out, probe and discover his weakness, and then exploit that weakness. The same basic procedure is followed in all athletic endeavors.


Got A Problem? Find A Problem! Many years ago Dr. Karl Meninger of the world-famed Meninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, was asked the question: "What would you do if you feared that a nervous breakdown was coming on?" Without hesitation Dr. Meninger said, "I would find somebody with a bigger problem and get involved with helping him solve his problem; in the process I would forget about my own."

Those "Those "Instant" SuccessesInstant" Successes

Many times an unknown person does something spectacular and suddenly becomes a "hero," a public figure, an "overnight success," the object of much envy. Let's explore this "overnight success" syndrome.

Those "Instant" Successes

Many times an unknown person does something spectacular and suddenly becomes a "hero," a public figure, an "overnight success," the object of much envy. Let's explore this "overnight success" syndrome.

The Ten-Minute Difference

American workers are basically honest and they are almost always at work on time. However, for most workers, the last one hundred yards to get to work are pretty hectic. There is the mad dash into the parking lot, the rush to the building, the clocking in, the sprint to the coffee pot, and the unloading of bags, briefcases and outer garments. The work day frequently starts five to ten minutes after the paycheck starts.

Difference Makers Have Courage

When Jackie Robinson was brought to the major leagues by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, he was the first African-American to play major league ball. At that point, Mr. Rickey carefully explained to him that he would have thousands of chances to lose his temper and get upset because of the overt racism that existed in the major leagues at that time. He warned him about the hate-mail and boos he would get because many of the white players and fans would be adamantly opposed to his presence in the major leagues.

Positive Thinking

Just what can positive thinking do? To be candid, some people have given positive thinking a bad name. I can't stand to hear some gung-ho individual say that with positive thinking you can just do "anything." If you think about that one for a moment, you recognize the absurdity of it. As a ridiculous example, I'm a positive thinker, but I could never slam-dunk a basketball or perform major surgery - or even minor surgery - on anyone and expect that person to survive. Nate Newton, the 300-plus pound lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, is positive, optimistic and outgoing but he'd be a complete failure as a jockey or a ballet dancer.


I worked in a grocery store as a youngster. The Depression was on, inventories were limited and merchants frequently ran out of stock items. As a result, the merchants would borrow from each other until their next shipment came in. I was the "runner" for our store and Charlie Scott was the "runner" for the store across the street.

Discipline Is A Beautiful Word

In today's social climate many people look with disfavor on the word "discipline" because they simply do not understand that discipline means "to instruct or educate, to inform the mind, to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits."

What Is Success?

Very frequently I'm asked to give my definition of success. Here is one of my responses: I believe success is getting a reasonable number of the things money will buy and all of the things that money won't buy. (People who say they're not interested in money will lie about other things, too!)

Where You Start Is Not Important

I was born in L.A. (that's Lower Alabama). Fortunately, I was raised in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I say "fortunately" because Yazoo City, Mississippi, is the geographical center of the world. Many people don't realize it, but you can start in Yazoo City and go anywhere in the world you want to go. The neat thing is, the maximum distance to any place you wish to go is only 12,000 miles.

Little Things Make a Big Difference

There's an old saying that "by the mile it's a trial, and by the inch it's a cinch." The reason the saying is old is because it's good, it's valid. If it were not, it would be dead and buried. For 24 years of my adult life, by choice I weighed well over 200 pounds. I say "by choice" because I have never "accidentally" eaten anything, so when I choose to eat too much, I have chosen to weigh too much. Every choice has an end result.


The choice is yours. Question: Do you believe there is something you can specifically do in the next seven days that would make your personal, family and business life worse? Chances are good you did a double-take on that one and rhetorically responded, "What does he mean, 'make it worse'?" O.k., next question: Do you honestly believe there is something you can do in the next seven days that would make your personal, family and business life better?

Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World (Part II of II)

Cheerful, Upbeat People Reproduce Cheerful, Upbeat People

Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World

You get back what you send out. I am a very "up" person and people frequently ask me how I maintain my enthusiasm. I do several things, including reading an average of three hours each day for the past 30+ years. One of the fun things I do is to give people my special greeting. Whether it's eight o'clock in the morning or eight o'clock at night, I always try to greet others before they have a chance to speak to me.


Quit your griping - use what you've got! In 1993 the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce recognized John Foppe as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. John worked as a speaker while in college and graduated cum laude in just three and a half years. He's also a gifted artist and an inspiration to all who know him.

Using Your Talents

Read and learn from this depressed, overweight housewife who blossomed into a professional speaker and writer. At barely five feet tall, Pam Lontos weighed over a hundred fifty pounds, was spending most of her day in bed, and was under the care of a psychiatrist who told her that she would always need counseling.


When you respond to life, that's positive; when you react to life, that's negative. Example: you get sick and go to the doctor. Chances are good that after an examination he or she would give you a prescription with instructions to return in several days. When you walk back in if the doctor starts shaking his head and says, "It looks like your body is reacting to the medicine, we're going to have to change it," you probably would get a little nervous. However, if the doctor smiled and said, "You're looking great! Your body is responding to the medication," you would get excited and feel much better. Yes, responding to life is good. Reacting to the incidents of life is negative - and that's bad. The next example validates that fact.


From the pages of Crossroads, written by Edgar T. Chrisemer and published in 1962 by Bruce Humphries of Boston, MA, comes this inspiring story:

The Best News

There are many different attitudes. Roberto de Vincenzo, a golfer from Argentina, beautifully displayed one of the best ones many years ago when he won the Masters Golf Tournament but was denied the coveted green jacket. I say he won it because he had the lowest score at the end of four days. But his playing partner who kept the score had inadvertently written that he had made a five on one of the holes when in reality he had made a four. De Vincenzo signed the card, and when an incorrect card is signed, the player is disqualified. He had not cheated, but the rules stood. What was his reaction when he learned he was disqualified? Did he blame his playing partner? No, he said he made a stupid mistake. He accepted full responsibility himself. Now what kind of man is he?

Making the Time

One time we were keeping Timmy, a young cat with a long, fluffy tail for our granddaughter, Sunshine. Somehow he went missing and we spent a considerable amount of time and energy looking for that cat before he was found. That’s typical. Most people pull out all stops to recover a pet or a treasured relationship. We would “do anything” to change some things or to have them back.


Are you prepared for retirement? As a nation, our citizenry is getting older and older. At the turn of the century the average person lived less than three years after he retired. Now the average is more than five times that, and the typical 50-year-old of today will probably have twenty-plus years in retirement.

Give To Live and Get Refired

I often tell people who haven’t seen me recently and wonder if I have retired, “I’m not retired, I’m refired. I’m not gonna ease up, let up, shut up or give up until I’m taken up. As a matter of fact, I’m just getting warmed up!”


My dream to be a speaker was born in 1952 . . . . However, it wasn't until 1968 that I was able to go full-time in the business, and it wasn't until 1972 that my career really took off. In those intervening years, I was privileged to read a large number of excellent books and listen to outstanding speakers as I traveled countless miles driving to the "freebies" that I conducted. During this period my skills as a communicator slowly developed and my experience produced real-life stories and lessons that I shared with audiences of all kinds and sizes. I spoke to civic clubs, schools, rehab centers, prisons, churches--to virtually any group that permitted me to share with them.


Some things cannot be measured, and the heart is one of them. I think of three former NFL football stars. Mike Singletary, according to the experts, was too short and his 40-yard speed was not that great. However, they could not measure his heart and they did not measure his speed for the first five to fifteen yards, and at that distance he was exceptionally fast. As a result, when a running back broke through the line of scrimmage . . . Singletary was able to stop him in the first couple of yards. That made quite a difference.

A Little Extra Effort

I wonder about the many things we could do if we didn’t know that we couldn’t do them. Many people never make a serious effort to achieve worthwhile objectives because they assume they can’t reach them.


Laughter is a great stress reducer. If you have never read Norman Cousins’ account of his experience of self-healing as described in Anatomy of an Illness, I encourage you to do so. When diagnosed with an incurable illness, he brought a movie projector into his hospital room and watched reel after reel of old classic comedy movies, laughing himself into hysterics. He found he could relieve his otherwise significant pain on a consistent basis through laughter. That practice, along with some other novel therapies, resulted in his healing. He left his prestigious journalistic career and taught on the faculty of a major medical school about the power of the mind and emotions in healing the body of disease.

Talking To Yourself

One of the most moving experiences of my life took place on Sept. 13, 1997, when I was autographing books. . .One lady who asked for an autograph had such a compelling expression on her face that I knew I had to listen carefully to what she had to say. She shared with me that when she got the self-talk card that was included in one of my audiotape programs, she couldn't even read the first list of qualities that she was supposed to claim.


If I were to ask the question, Would you like to improve your productivity dramatically without working any longer or any harder? chances are pretty good that you would say, “That would be nice! I’d be more effective and I’d probably get a raise! I might even have more fun in the process.”

Doing Better Than Good!

People frequently ask me, “How can I know when I am doing better than good?” I thought about that question and came up with 15 ways to measure yourself. Take a look and see what you think:


Learn one new word each day. In less than five minutes per day you can get amazing results. The average American learns only twenty-five new words each year and actually has a speaking vocabulary of five hundred words. One new word per day will mean that in one year you will have a distinct advantage over most people with whom you are dealing; within five years you will have a colossal advantage, not because you know the words but because those words give you a breadth and depth of understanding that will enrich your life in every way. Plus there is more good news: Every word has several buddies; when you learn one new word you’ve just expanded your vocabulary by several more.

The TRUST Selling Process

The better prepared you are, the greater the chance for success. Preparation compensates for a lack of talent! The R is for “Relate,” which is building trust and rapport with the prospect. The focus in this step is on the prospect, not on you. This step is a continuous process. You should relate to the prospect through the entire process. You are continually establishing, building and maintaining trust and rapport.

The art of being, doing, and having

One of my favorite phrases is, "You've got to be before you can do and do before you can have." In short, you have to be a person of character and do the right things, and then you can have the things you really want. To make the "be, do have" theory valid, look at some examples in your own life.

Saying Thank You

US President Theodore Roosevelt has been described as founder of the Bull Moose Party, the man who led his troops up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, a big game hunter, family man, civic servant and a host of other things.

Scout's Oath

The Boy Scout Oath in its entirety says, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."


We frequently hear little jokes about gossip, like the two people who were talking and one said, "I can't tell you any more. I've already told you more than I heard." In that line is much of the tragedy about gossip, which can and often has destroyed a person's reputation. Gossip always damages relationships and specifically with the person you are gossiping about. For example, once you have said something unkind about a person, you will feel uncomfortable around him or her and your relationship will suffer.


In America there is growing concern about the dramatic increase in the use of text messaging to communicate with others.

Coping With Stage Fright

When you are asked to speak in front of a group – whether it is six people or hundreds of people do, you get nervous? If you answered yes, you are in good company. Stage fright is a normal, natural reaction and even helpful – once you learn to use it to your advantage instead of your destruction.


Worry has been described as "interest paid on trouble before it comes due." One of America's worst enemies is worry. Worry is like a rocking chair; it requires a lot of energy, and it gets you nowhere. Leo Buscaglia said, "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."

The Buzzard, The Bat & The Bumblebee

The BUZZARD If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

Sales Call Objective

It is important for you to know what you want to happen as a result of meeting with your prospect because everything you say will lead toward that goal and you control the conversation and steer it in the right direction. You need to decide what your sales call objective is before you call the prospect. Prospects are busy, and you will be more successful if you know your objective. Do everything you can to make it easier for the prospect to say yes.

Success - What it is and isn't

Success is looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love. It’s being mentally and emotionally free to share yourself with them and to be interested in them.


It’s been said, “You can always get more stuff, but you can never get more time!” There will always be more to do than you can accomplish in a day and more people needing more of you than you are willing to give! It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out! But don’t - instead think about the power of planning.

Uncle No Name

His name was Wally Amos and he built a $100 million business selling his "Famous Amos Cookies." Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, he lost his business. He went from fame and fortune to a debt level of one million dollars.


Truly successful people in life are givers and forgivers.

Using Your Time

The question often asked is do we really use our time to our own best interests? To the best interests of our family, and the best interests of our employer (or employees, if we happen to be the boss)?

Precious Moments

Many years ago at a family reunion in Yazoo City I had a precious moment.

Pa-ZIG-ative Thinking

People who are doing better than good will be sensitive to the needs of others and do the little things that make a big difference.

Good Choices

Brandon Silveria tells his story in a pamphlet published by the Century Council (1310 G Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005-3000 [202/637-0077] He says, “My life before: I had a job, a car, a girlfriend…and after: one bad decision.

Investing Yourself

One of the most fascinating stories I’ve ever heard comes out of Holland. The citizens in the little village of Ida in Holland were astonished when Hans Bergen died because he left an estate of $40,000 to a young girl named Anne Martin. She, of all people, was the most surprised villager of all, for she had never spoken to Hans Bergen. How could such a thing happen to her?

Being Nice

I'm seated in the Tampa airport on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2005. A gentleman recognized me and approached me saying, "Greater love hath no man for his wife than to always open her car door." That's something of a takeoff on what I've been talking about for many years, that it's the little things husbands and wives do for each other on a regular basis, not the big things once or twice a year, that breed long-term, successful marriages and lots of honeymoons instead of just anniversaries.

The Talent You Already Possess

Many people do not realize that Nat "King" Cole started his musical career as a piano player. It was while he was on a trip to California, performing in a night club, that his singing career got a jump start.

How to Stay Motivated

One word can transform your life.


Before he won his first national basketball championship, Hakeem Olajuwon, the all-pro center for the Houston Rockets, knew that he needed to improve his 15-foot jump shot.

Goal Setting

Studies tell us that only 3% of people in the USA set goals, and they are among the wealthiest people in the nation! Worldwide the percentage is probably lower. Why so low? There are several reasons, but the one that concerns us the most at Ziglar Training Systems is lack of know-how. When we ask people why they don't set goals they often say, "I don't know how."

Simplicity & Dignity

A parent or teacher who treats a child with dignity builds the self-esteem of the child and automatically increases the child's performance, which generally improves the child's conduct.

Your Future

Many years ago as a young, aspiring speaker, I heard an older speaker who was quite philosophical say that you are where you are because that's exactly where you want to be. I thought about his statement, decided it was the "wisdom of the ages" and verbalized it in my own presentations. Over a period of time, a series of events took place that convinced me that his statement was not true in my case. I was broke, in debt and down in the dumps. I wanted to be prosperous and excited about my future. It came through loud and clear that I was where I was and what I was because of the decisions and choices I had made in my life.


In his inspiring book Be A People Person, John Maxwell tells a true story about an important game of rugby that took place between two English schools. During the closing minutes of the contest, a boy more gifted with enthusiasm and school spirit than with experience, was sent into the game for the first time.

Hitting The Bull's Eye

Somebody once said the difference between a big shot and little shot is that the big shot was the little shot who kept on shooting. There's much truth in that witticism. The reality is, no matter what our target might be, we seldom hit it on the first try unless the target is low, which means the accomplishment--and the rewards--will be insignificant.

Straight Talk

A few days after my second daughter was born, I had to take a trip over to South Carolina from our home (at the time) in Knoxville, Tennessee. On the way back, a snow storm left me and a few hundred other motorists stranded for the night. Fortunately, I was stranded directly behind a nice, warm Greyhound bus. The driver was kind enough to permit me to climb aboard and spend the night.

Communicating Effectively

My friend, author-speaker Nido Qubein, in his Executive Briefing newsletter, gives some advice on communicating with people from other cultures. "We must remember that people from different backgrounds send and receive messages through cultural filters. Words, expressions and gestures that mean one thing in one culture may mean something entirely different in another culture.


I suspect that all of us in the world of business, athletics, music, etc., recognize the importance of teamwork. Old cliches come to mind, like, "Individuals score points, but teams win games."

Revealing Ourselves

We reveal ourselves in many different ways: By the people with whom we associate, the way we use our free time, our clothing, our sense of humor, etc. We even reveal ourselves by the way we walk, talk, the way we handle our successes and our failures.

Developing Leadership Effectiveness

What advice would you offer others who are trying to develop their leadership effectiveness?

Doing Poorly Until You Learn To Do Better

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. When I was a youngster I got into a number of fist fights on the school grounds. Now fighting was obviously frowned on by all teachers, but in those days kids settled differences between themselves and there was never any thought--regardless of the outcome of the tussle, which in most cases lasted just two or three blows--of getting a knife or a baseball bat, certainly not a gun, to get even with the victor. No, once the scuffle ended it was all over.


My dictionary tells me that personality is the "personal or individual quality that makes one person be different and act differently from another." Personality is "the total physical, intellectual and emotional structure of an individual, including abilities, interests and attitudes." Personality is the sum total of all of our qualities. With this in mind, let's explore the benefits and ramifications of a pleasing personality.

Using Time

In our hurry-hurry world, the most popular phrases are, "We've got to get together sometime, but it seems that I'm always so busy." "Attend a neighborhood gathering? I just don't have the time!" "Visit with my neighbors or my family? I'm too busy to breathe." And so it goes.

Handling Critics

I'm comfortable in saying that anyone who has ever done anything of significance has been, at one time or another, unfairly criticized by those who believe they deserve a reward for finding fault.

Failing To Succeed

"You've got to learn to lose in order to win" sounds like strange advice, but the man who says it has earned over three hundred million dollars. Even in today's economy, that's a considerable sum of money. Here's the story.

Overcoming Fear

Fear has been correctly identified with the acrostic False Evidence Appearing Real. The truth is that if we think something is to be feared, that perception becomes the cruelest form of reality.

Personal Discipline

Personal discipline, when it becomes a way of life in our personal, family, and career lives, will enable us to do some incredible things. One of my favorite sayings is "When you discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them."

The Next Hill To Climb

I recently received an interesting letter from one of our subscribers, quite complimentary. He pointed out that he particularly enjoyed one week's edition of the newsletter having to do with success. Then he elaborated on the fact that he has achieved so many things--God has been really good to him--and his question was, "I guess it's like winning the World Series or the Super Bowl. After you have done that, there simply isn't a Universe Series or a Galaxy Bowl to win. When you are on top, how do you find a bigger hill to climb? Or do you?"

Survival Tactics

The giraffe is the largest mammal that gives birth while standing up. I don't speak "giraffe," but I can imagine what the baby giraffe must think when he bounces on the ground from that great height. He just left warm, cushioned quarters in which all his needs, comforts and security were provided. Now he finds himself bouncing off (comparatively speaking) hard, cold, unwelcoming ground.

Problem Solving

Fortunately, problems are an everyday part of our life. Consider this: If there were no problems, most of us would be unemployed. Realistically, the more problems we have and the larger they are, the greater our value to our employer.

Pragmatic Optimism

Most people consider me an optimist because I laughingly state that I would take my last two dollars and buy a money belt. I'd even go after Moby Dick in a rowboat, and take the tartar sauce with me! However, I've got to confess that I don't hold a candle to the ultimate lady optimist who lived in a retirement home.

The Immigrant's Attitude

Some time ago, my associate, Krish Dhanam, and I were returning from an engagement in Tampa, FL, where we had spoken for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The flight was uneventful; we landed at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, got our luggage and loaded it on one of the rental carts. The walk was fairly lengthy and the first two hundred yards were uneventful; then we came to the moving sidewalks.

Healthy Fear

There really is "healthy fear." For example, it's very healthy to fear drinking before you drive. However, fear should not be allowed to run rampant through our lives so that it becomes such a devastating factor that it produces failure. The problem is not getting rid of fear, but using it properly.


As the 10th of 12 children, my older brothers and sisters obviously got here many years before I did. Two of my older brothers and two of my older sisters had failed marriages. Since I was at the bottom of the production chain, my younger brother and I had the benefit of what my mother had observed and taught us. She pointed out that we should never date a girl more than once or twice if we discovered we would be unwilling to have her as the mother of our children and be unwilling to take her wherever we were and introduce her with pride to anyone. I listened intently to what my mother had to say. I chose carefully.

Special Olympics

The Special Olympics really touch my heart. One of my granddaughters, Elizabeth, is a special 22 year old. She is one of the most beautiful, loving and funny people I have ever known and because we have been blessed to have her in our family a whole new world has opened up to us.


Which Prime Minister would you want as a friend?

Using Positive Affirmations

Using positive affirmations is a proven technique that works miracles in many lives. Ideally, you should look yourself in the eye as you make these positive affirmations. Don't be shy; go ahead and get started! Repeat the following statements to yourself every Monday morning to get your day and week off to a great start:

Eleven Sales Success Secrets

Use these ideas to increase your sales productivity:

Talent You Already Possess

Many people do not realize that Nat "King" Cole started his musical career as a piano player. It was while he was on a trip to California, performing in a night club, that his singing career got a jump start.

Using Mistakes Successfully

Each of us at one time or another has thought about how wonderful it would be to have as much foresight as hindsight. Then we could avoid making mistakes! Not only is that hope unrealistic, it's also unwise. Mistakes are often the springboard for major accomplishments. Here's a good example:

Remember The Little Things In Life

Think about it. If your watch is slow by just four minutes, that's not much--unless you've been warned that if you're even one minute late ever again you will be fired. Then four minutes is a lot.


Think about it. Develop your own dream, your own vision, and I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

The Top

You are at the top when . . .

Success: What Does It Mean To You?

You were designed for success. You were endowed with the seeds of greatness. But would you know success if it tapped you on the shoulder and gave you its business card? Sounds odd, but many people who come up to me and say they want to be successful can't answer one key question: What is success?

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About the Author: Zig Ziglar

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A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations, affecting lives in a profound way.
Click here to visit Zig's website.
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More from Zig Ziglar
Using Your Talents
Doing Poorly Until You Learn To Do Better
Talent You Already Possess
Truth Is Stranger And More Exciting Than Fiction
Where You Stand Is Important

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