Five Precepts For Explosive Growth

Pre·cept /ˈprēˌsept/ — A general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.

In the mid-1970s, we witnessed a very unusual economic trend in the United States —“stagflation.” Stagflation creates persistent high inflation combined with high unemployment and stagnant demand in the economy.

At the time, I was a 31-year-old entrepreneur full of passion and on the move up the proverbial ladder, when all of a sudden I found interest rates at 20%and employment rates at 11%. In a matter of just a few short months, I went from owning a vibrant business to having to liquidate all my assets in order not to claim bankruptcy. The fall was dramatic; we lost our home, cars, and credit —overnight. As we began to recover, I established five precepts that moved us out of our demise and have kept us on a successful track. I am confident that many of you can agree that we often learn more from our failures than from our successes in life.

But if you follow these five precepts, I believe you will stay on that successful track as well.

Become brilliant on the basics. Often we can grow so fast that we feel we need to step outside of our major focus and find new opportunities. We leave the basics that put us in a strong positive position, and we diversify in areas that can not only pull our financial resources but also our mental resources away from our initial growth.

Know what you can control and what you can’t control. Larry Don was a stock car driver in South Carolina. Every Friday night he would go to the old dirt track south of Charlotte and race, normally winning 9 out of 10 races each and every week. When ESPN heard about Larry Don, they went down to interview him, knowing that he would soon be moved up to the big track at Daytona. The question from the reporter was, “Larry, how do you do it? You are winning 90% of your races week after week. What is your secret?” Without hesitation, Larry responded with “I ain’t got no brakes. I either win or I crash.” We often waste multiple hours in a week focused on activities we have no control over. We worry about people or projects that we cannot help. Clear that calendar and drop those pursuits you have no control over.

Your life must follow your vision! Often when things begin to fly apart, we lose our positive vision of where we see ourselves in the future. We tend to focus on our immediate negative circumstances and ignore what could come. When our life began to spiral out of control, I never stopped dreaming about what was possible. I EXPECTED everything to get better, which opened my mind to innumerable options. Never lose the power of the dream; thank goodness Dr. Martin Luther King did not say “I have a strategic plan.” – He said, “I have a DREAM!”

Kill negative influences. It is amazing how so many people who were for you when you were winning begin to abandon you when you have a setback. There were people who began sharing stories about how I failed and suggesting that if I had done this thing or another, I would have succeeded. It didn’t take long for us to recognize how many negative influences around us needed to be eliminated—from music to movies, even the negative dialog most people used. We quickly tightened our immediate circle and only allowed those into that circle who would speak positively and feed our dreams—others we just loved at a distance. This is a major precept to winning.

Lighten up. Don’t take life so seriously; don’t get caught up in the news or what may be fake news. Remember precept number two: know what you can control and what you can’t control. Two major things you can control are your attitude and your response to negative challenges. Laugh, enjoy your family and friends, watch comedies, listen to uplifting music, and just have fun. Before his death, I had the opportunity to visit with my friend and mentor, Mr. Zig Ziglar. What a giant of a man! Zig had asked me to come to his headquarters in Dallas on a Monday morning and speak to his team. After the session, he and I were sitting in the boardroom when Zig says, “Bobby, I’ve got this whole thing figured out.” Now when Zig Ziglar said he had something figured out, it was time to grab a pen and paper and get ready. He waited about 30 seconds, looked me in the eye, and said, “Bobby, we are not getting out of here alive.” We both just looked at each other and laughed, but down deep he was saying lighten up, enjoy the trip, and have some fun.

Even today, my wife and I live by these five precepts, and we have had the opportunity to stand on stages around the world to share each one of them in depth. I am confident that when you find that person who has real success, not just financial—but total success, you will find these precepts in their DNA.

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