Let me tell you what. The future you need to be worried about is not the next 20 years, but the next 20 minutes. What are you going to be doing? What are you going to be doing to be effective?
I mean, you’ll never be perfect. Good Lord, we’re all human basket cases. I mean, that’s how we’re all wired.
John Addison’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: He’s the former co-CEO of Primerica.
He’s a sought-after speaker, motivator, and business author.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Primerica and LegalShield.
He’s John Addison, and here’s my take on his Top 10 Rules for Success.
Rule number one is my personal favorite, and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best.
And as always, guys, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it down in the comments below, put quotes around it, as well so other people can be inspired.
Also, when you write it down, you’re much more likely to lock it in for yourself, as well. Enjoy.
1. Develop successful habits
2. Find your passion
3. Relentlessly pursue perfection
5. Think positively
6. Be the best authentic YOU
7. Control your fears
8. Prove all the doubters wrong
9. Make it happen
10. Be a great leader
* Take control of your life
* Enjoy the journey
* Focus on the right things
Rule #1: Develop Successful Habits
Your habits determine what direction you’re going. Your success in life, your results in life, are in direct proportion to your habits. Not what you say you’re going to do, but what are you going to do. You’ve got to develop successful habits.
And I believe that starts with being a daily goal setter and a daily goal hitter. Too many people spend their whole life, they say they’re dreaming, but they’re really just pipe dreams. They’re thinking about what they want to be doing in 20 years and what their plans are way out in the future.
Let me tell you what, the future you need to be worried about is not the next 20 years but the next 20 minutes. What are you going to be doing? What are you going to be doing to be effective? When you get up every day, know your priorities.
Go change your life.
Life will overwhelm you. Stuff will overwhelm you. With all the information we have now, whether it’s your phone, or sometimes I think we have smart phones and stupid people. I mean, it is so easy to get consumed by a bunch of stuff that is not going to get you where you want to get to.
“Your success in life, your results in life, are in direct proportion to your habits.” – John Addison
Say every day, “I will do today what others don’t, “so I will have tomorrow what others won’t.” You’ve got to choose to be effective. Know what your priorities are. Know what your must do’s are. Don’t let your phone, don’t let your, you know, your tablet, don’t let the TV, don’t let your friends knock you off what are the most important things to get done today.
Sir Winston Churchill didn’t have an inbox, he had an Action This Day box. And so things didn’t get into that box that he wasn’t going to deal with that day. So as John Wooten said, “Make today your masterpiece.” Get up today and get it done. Finish the day, attack the day, and go change your life.
Rule #2: Find Your Passion
Life is too short. You know, we’re already well into the first month of 2017. Now I’m reaching an age where I go, “Oh my God, I remember when I was I launching (my business) in the year 2000. It seems like yesterday. Well you know, that’s 17 years ago.
Time flies. It moves on all of us. The one thing that is constant is change. The world moves on. Time moves. Now we can choose whether or not we move with it, but time moves and you’re not going to get a do-over. This isn’t a dress rehearsal for the second time you live on this earth.
“Find what you’re passionate about, find something you enjoy, find something that makes you to get up every day, excited and then pursue that.” – John Addison
I mean, I’m not one of the people that’s big in reincarnation. I guess if you’re one of those, maybe you think there’s a do-over. But I don’t eve we’ve got a do-over in this earth. It’s our shot here—it’s our time, and it moves by on you quickly.
Even if there was no money attached to it.
You need to find what you are truly passionate about in life. Most people spend their whole life just enduring their work. They hate it. They can’t stand it. They live for Friday and then they dread Monday. Well you know, I’m here to tell you that’s no way to go through life, find what you’re passionate about, find something you enjoy, find something that makes you to get up every day, excited and then pursue that.
You know, you’ve got to go through a lot of process to get to where you want to. but start by volunteering with something you love and then meet the right people, ask the right questions and try to get yourself to a place where how you earn your income is something you would do even if there was no money attached to it.
I’m telling you, living a life where you’re passionate, where you’re excited and you get after it, that’s a great way to go through life, most of us chase money until time runs out. Well find a way to get paid, maybe even if it’s not as much as you were making doing something else, but it’s something you love. It’s something you believe in and something you want to do.
Rule #3: Relentlessly Pursue Perfection
You know, I believe with everything in me it honestly is your ability to drive yourself and your team to a level of excellence that is what’s going to determine your future. I was watching the other day, right after we got back from the RVP meetings, and I was sitting in my study and there was on HBO a special about Vince Lombardi that’s been on a number of times.
And you know, in that it was Bart Starr talking about the first, you got to remember, this was a guy that had been locked out of jobs, locked out of jobs. I mean, he was like in his late 40s by the time he got his first head coaching job. And you know, it was in Green Bay, okay.
They beat themselves up every day when they’re not perfect.
I mean, it was like in the middle of, it was like my God it wasn’t with the New York Giants, it was in Green Bay, and they’d been terrible. In his first meeting with the team, Bart Starr said he always remembered the exact words he said. He said, “We will relentlessly pursue perfection. “We won’t catch it, but in our quest, “we will catch excellence.”
And see, in life I believe that’s what separates the people that go do something great is that they relentlessly pursue perfection. They beat themselves up every day when they’re not perfect. When they don’t do the right thing and stuff.
“”When you relentlessly pursue perfection, you’ll catch excellence.” – John Addison”
But by being relentless at that, I mean, you’ll never be perfect. Good Lord, we’re all human basket cases. I mean, that’s how we’re all wired. I mean, we all got more snakes in the attic than, I mean trust me, I know I do. But at the end of the day, when you relentlessly pursue perfection, you’ll catch excellence.
Rule #4: Adapt
The one thing that is absolutely certain is change happens. Things change. Look, you can either embrace change or you can get run over by change. You can either shape change, or stand there screaming, kicking, and complaining about things changing. The world changes.
Time moves on. And you have to adapt and be a person, you know, like I said, you can either you can either be a force for change, or you can be a victim of change. You’ve got to embrace change and get after it.
“Work on yourself, get better, and go be a force for change, not a victim of change.” – John Addison
You know, everybody wants to change the world. But nobody wants to change themselves. And you’ve got to look at yourself every day and say, “Am I adpating? “Am I moving forward? “Am I a part of the future or am I just sitting “and telling stories about the past?” Look, the world will be, I don’t know what the world’s going to look like in 10 years.
I wish I did. I’d make some investments and make a lot of money. But the reality is I know one thing for sure, it’ll look different than it does today. So every day, work on yourself, get better. You’re a human becoming, not a human being. Work on yourself, get better, and go be a force for change, not a victim of change.
Rule #5: Think Positively
Let me tell you, I’m going to tell you a key. It’s not easy to win. If it sounds easy, it’s sleazy. In life, you got to pay a price. You got to fight. Every day, you got to get up and make a decision that you’re going to play wide open, all out, leave it all on the field. Every day is a battle.
You know, Napoleon Hill said, “If think could grow rich, “thoughts are things.” Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secrets said, “You become what you think.” That is the truth. That’s the why life is. So my question for you is who controls your thoughts?
Who controls your thinking?
Who do you give the keys to your brain to?
Turn on the news. We have mastered, you know, technology and information is great, but I believe with every great thing, there’s an equal bad thing to it. Now you can put garbage into your brain 24/7. You turn on the news, there’s a person talking, telling you bad crap.
Be careful what you allow to get here.
Bad crap’s going across the bottom. Bad crap scrolls down the sides. Now I’m not saying don’t watch the news and just be an ignoramus, or anything. But what I’m telling to you is you’ve got to be careful what you allow to get here.
You know, in data processing there’s a saying, garbage in, garbage out. With the brain, it’s garbage in, garbage stays. You got to be careful. You know, I’m a huge gardener. I love to garden. My wife and I have a home in North Georgia, got 50 acres.
“It’s not easy to win. If it sounds easy, it’s sleazy. In life, you got to pay a price. You got to fight. Every day, you got to get up and make a decision that you’re going to play wide open, all out, leave it all on the field. Every day is a battle.” – John Addison
When I get home next week, you know, I’m planting all my tomatoes and all this stuff. I have a huge, huge garden. I love to garden. But one of the things you learn about gardening is it is easier to grow weeds than it is to grow vegetables.
Negative people share much more frequently than positive people.
Weeds just show up. It’s amazing. And it’s very much like the brain. You’ve got a life. If you want to grow positive things in your life, you got to weed your brain all the time. And if you let a weed, you need to weed early and often. If you let it get tall, you know, pull the weed out and the root’ll snap off and then it’s right back.
With your brain, it’s the same way. You have to fight to be positive. That’s what you read, who you talk to, who you hang out with. See in life, there’s a power of association. But I tell you an important thing many of you need to learn is the power of disassociation.
Every one of you has people in your life that if you ask them how they’re doing, you wish you could stuff the words back in your mouth, because they will tell you. Negative people share much more frequently than positive people.
Number of people that come up to me and go
They will spend two hours just putting their garbage, and they just crush you down. You got to be around positive people, positive thinking, positive things in your brain. But that’s not a bunch of rah-rah-rah hype. That is a fact.
You’re in the people attraction business. And so I tell people all the time, “John, give me a key, what can I do?” Smile! Walk fast. Be going somewhere. I live in airports. I’m a three million miler on Delta. I live in an airport. And I am amazed at the number of people that come up to me and go, “John!” They don’t know my name, they’ll just go, “You seem so happy, something good must’ve happened.” Yeah, I woke up.
Rule #6: Be The Best Authentic You
You know, one of the things I’ve learned over time is that the best you’ll ever be, if you’re trying to be someone else, is a pale imitation. You know, most people spend their whole life saying, “I want to be like this person, I want to be like that person.”
One of the things that I can’t stand is all these celebrities and people that want to be like them. The truth is you have to be the best you, you can be. There’s only one you. I mean, there’s not another one on the face of the planet.
Now, you need to learn from other people. From some people, you need to learn what not to do. From a lot of people, you need to learn what to do. But as you look at people, as you study successful people, study their traits.
Learn things that you can put to work in your life
Study their behavior, study what they do, and then take the best and leave the rest. You have to create an authentic you. Now, does that mean you don’t need to learn from other people? No. But you’ve got to step back and go, “Well OK, this person is super outgoing and full of personality, and I’m not wired that way.
“Be the best authentic you can be. Work on yourself, focus on yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses and find ways to put yourself in a place where your strengths are magnified.” – John Addison
Maybe I’m quieter.” Well you’re never going to be like them, but learn from them. Take the best. And then when you look at some other person that’s got a great skill set that maybe doesn’t line up with your skill set, but take and learn things that you can put to work in your life.
Factor all of that together by understanding who you authentically are. Find what you’re good at. All of us have a list of things that we’re good at. But the truth is we spend way much more time working on what we’re bad at, trying to get better at it.
You’re going to be the best you can be.
Well I’m telling you—the you’re naturally bad at, and you could work all day long seven days a week at it, and the best you’ll ever be at that is mediocre. Somebody is naturally good at what you’re bad at, but I guarantee you, you have natural skills that were just born in you, a part of your DNA, that you’re good at without even trying.
And then other people are terrible at it. I’ve always been able to speak in front of people; it never bothered me. For a lot of other people, it mortifies them. It’s never been a real problem, and so what I was able to do was find a way that there something I was good at, that I could show up without any notes and do better than most people—and then work like crazy at it, spend my time focused on what I’m good at.
See, I believe each us, if we found our natural inclinations and then we focused on what we’re good at, you’re going to be the best you can be.
I believe great teams are made up of a bunch of individuals who find a way to mesh together in a way that accentuates each person’s positive for the good of the group. So be the best authentic you can be. Work on yourself, focus on yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses and find ways to put yourself in a place where your strengths are magnified.
Rule #7: Control Your Fears
Most of us that come from just normal backgrounds, we don’t see ourselves doing abnormal things. The world is full people, who were born on third and think they hit a triple, and they got all this confidence, all this stuff. For most of us, it’s not that way.
We don’t think we’re wired or programmed to do something great. Well I’m telling you, that thought is nothing but a fear, nothing but a doubt. It’s what holds you in place. You got to work hard on understanding you have within you the power to change, the power to do something great.
“They are things in your head that have been programmed into you by your past life. Wrestle with those fears. You’ll never conquer them, but control them. And go out and live the life you deserve. Choose to win, control your thinking, and go win big.” – John Addison
And those fears are going to crop up, particularly in the middle of the night when you wake up and you’re scared to death about what to do. They’re going to crop up and they’re going to hold you in place. Quite often if you’re trying something different, they crop up in the middle of your dreams.
When you’re asleep at night, those fears and doubts creep in. Understand they’re not real. They are things in your head that have been programmed into you by your past life. Wrestle with those fears. You’ll never conquer them, but control them. And go out and live the life you deserve. Choose to win, control your thinking, and go win big.
Rule #8: Prove All The Doubters Wrong
I did not want to go to college, but with my mom it was not an option. I was going to college. But I wanted to quit. I was looking for a reason to quit. And so the first class, I’m sitting there, Dr. Miller, Political Science 101, and get there the first day.
Now where do you, if you really don’t think you belong, where do you sit? Back row, far back as you can get, I was almost out the door, sitting in the back of the room. And at the end of the, you got to understand, I was from the country, okay?
You get to UGA then and most of the students in your class came from Buckhead, which is the very nice area of Atlanta, and went to the right schools, and they had all this college prep stuff, and I didn’t have any of that. And so, this is in the ’70s when the preppy look was in, the girls with the big bouffy hair and bows in it and everything. And so this girl with this big bouffy hair, a bow in it and stuff was sitting in front of me.
“I hate it, hate it, hate it.”
And at the end of class she goes, “Dr. Miller, will we receive a syllabus today?” And I’m like, hell I had no idea what a syllabus was. If she’d have said “A schedule when we’re taking the test,” I’d have gone, “Yeah, I need one of those.”
So I leave class and go back to my dorm, Milledge Hall, and go down the end to the pay phone, you know, no cell phones and stuff then, and I call my dad and I go, “Dad, I hate this place. “I hate these people, I hate everything about it. “I hate it, hate it, hate it. ”
“You’ve got to make a decision that you’re going to prove all the doubters wrong. That you’re going to stay tough. Key forward.” – John Addison
I want to come home.” And he said, “Son, we’ve already paid your tuition “for this quarter. “Just go through Christmas and then come home “and we’ll talk about it.” And so I went, “Okay, Dad, that’s fair enough.” So we go back.
I get my test back and I made a 98
A few weeks later we have our first exam. Now, don’t let the accent throw you, I’m pretty good in school, and I was always good in school. That’s why Mom made me go to, and if I had like a history class, political science class, if I read something, I remember things.
And so, first exam, I get my test back and I made a 98. And I looked down in front of me, and that little smart butt girl that knew what a syllabus was made a 46. I bet she didn’t wind up CEO of a multi-billion financial services company.
But now, but the reason I tell the story is what if my dad had said, “Son, get your butt home, “I’m sick of hearing from you.” And I went back to Mobile Chemical Company and was the funny guy working on the assembly line.
It moves on small decisions.
Where would my life have gone? What would, I wouldn’t be speaking in front of a big group. I wouldn’t be wealthy. None of those things would’ve happened in my life, if I’d have let her make me quit. See that’s life. It moves on small decisions.
When you keep going when your friend quits. When you keep moving. Here’s reality. New people, I’m going to tell you the reality. Your friends don’t want you to succeed. They want to tell you that you’re doing some crazy crap that you’ll get over.
If you succeed, you put pressure on them. If you win, it makes them uncomfortable. They want to be able to say, “Told ya so.” You’ve got to make a decision that you’re going to prove all the doubters wrong. That you’re going to stay tough. Key forward.
Rule #9: Make It Happen
I know now I’m reaching an age, I just turned 59 the other day and I’m reaching an age where you do look back on things a little bit. And you know, as I look at the world today, I’m going to be completely honest with you. Sometimes I’m afraid we’re losing our toughness.
The ability to demand results. I believe there are two things in business, in sports, or whatever it is, there’s results and there’s bull. I mean, most people spend all their time making excuses, talking about why they didn’t get it done. Winners get results.
“Whatever challenge or problem or where you’re at in your career, go out, get tough, and get results.” – John Addison
There is a scoreboard in life. There is a thing called making it happen. I’ve been at business points in my career, you know in 2008 when the economy collapsed, my partner Williams and I knew we had to get our business separated from Citigroup.
It requires discipline.
We knew we had to make it happen. Not getting it done was not an option. We had to make it happen. And it was hard and we didn’t know what to do every day. But when a door would close, we’d find a window. You’ve got to win.
You got to take responsibility for where you’re at. Sometimes even if it’s not your fault. And then you got to go get after. When you play in golf, I used to play golf a lot, you hit the ball off the tee into the rough, you can’t just go, “You know, I meant it to be out there “in the middle of the fairway.”
You got to play the ball where it lies and go get results. So that requires toughness. It requires discipline. And it requires getting after it on a daily basis. So that’s my challenge to you. Whatever challenge or problem or where you’re at in your career, go out, get tough, and get results.
Rule #10: Be A Great Leader
Weather vanes typically are politicians, where whatever way the winds blowing, whatever the mood of the moment is, whatever the polls say, they spin that direction. Leaders are lighthouses. There’s a consistency to them, there’s a strength to them.
You know, lighthouses are only needed when the weather’s stormy. When it’s beautiful, they’re just a beautiful building. But when the seas are stormy and it’s dark and rainy and foggy, that’s when you need a lighthouse.
“Great leaders are people that when maybe everything is hectic and chaotic, but when people see them, hear from them, they’re calmer. I believe a peaceful mind generates power.” – John Addison
A leader has to be a rock, someone of consistency, that when the storms, whether it’s a business or the economy, whatever’s happening to the organization that you’re over, that you’re a human Alka Seltzer, you calm the organization.
I’ve worked for people that were quote-unquote leaders who would bring a bucket of gas to a fire and make it just turn into a blaze by how they reacted to it. Great leaders are calmers. Great leaders are people that when maybe everything is hectic and chaotic, but when people see them, hear from them, they’re calmer. I believe a peaceful mind generates power.
Thank you guys so much for watching I made this video because Pablo Bernal asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know what did you love most about this video? Which clip resonated the most with you, and what lesson are you going to immediately apply somehow to your life or your business? Please leave it down in the comments below and I’m super curious to figure it out.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to Joesph DeVito. Joseph, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book Your One Word. I really, really, really appreciate it, and I hope you’re enjoying the read. So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself. And whatever Your One Word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
Take control of your life
You’ve got to take control of your life. Not waiting for the government. Not waiting for a corporation. You taking charge of your economy. You know, a lot of people call it the gig economy, the share economy, all of those kind of things.
What I really think it is is you controlling the means to your income, instead of letting the means to your income control you. It’s you taking control of your life. It’s you becoming the captain of your ship and charting your course and deciding when you want to work, how you want to work.
But see, that takes education. That takes working on yourself. The key to you is you. And that means you’ve got to improve. You’ve got to learn, you’ve got to get better. You’ve got to hone your skills and your craft every day. And that’s where I believe success comes in.
Enjoy the journey
A lot of people adapt to pressure differently. You know, Peyton Manning, who just retired, I heard him speak one time and a great quote he had was, “Pressure is a privilege.” I mean, you know, I’m sure he’s going to miss it now. Pressure is a privilege. Lighten up, enjoy it, enjoy the journey. It goes by very fast.
Focus on the right things
What you focus on grows. What you focus on grows. If you focus on problems, problems will multiply. If you focus on opportunities, opportunities will multiply. You have to choose what you’re going to spend your time on. See every day, you’re either getting better or worse.
You don’t stay the same in life. People don’t stay the same. They’re either getting better or they’re worse. You’re not a human being, you’re a human becoming. Every day, you are changing your life. And you are every day becoming your current most dominant thought.
Not what you say you’re thinking about, not what you tell other people you’re doing. You are becoming what you’re thinking. Napoleon Hill said, “Thoughts are things.” Thoughts aren’t random electro, you know, synapses between nerve endings.
Thoughts are things. What are you wanting to be in your brain? What are you focusing on? What are you spending your time on? Who influences you?
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