The Success Principles Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Success Principles condenses 64 lessons Jack Canfield learned on his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, author, coach and speaker into 6 sections, which will help you transform your mindset and take responsibility and control of your own life, so you can get from where you are to where you want to be.

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The Success Principles Summary

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Jack Canfield is mostly known for co-authoring dozens of books throughout the 90’s for a series called “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. The books are a compilation of personal, inspirational stories from the authors’ clients, friends and customers, which are meant to show that no matter who you are, you can make big things happen.

The Success Principles is the result of Jack looking back on 40 years of motivating people, drawing lessons from his own life, and thus creating a legacy that people will be able to learn from long after he’s gone.

These are the 3 things that struck me the most:

  1. Stop complaining.
  2. Have a completion weekend to clear your slate of all unfinished business.
  3. You can die from negative thoughts, so think positively.

Ready to take the first step towards claiming the life that you deserve? Let’s do it!

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Lesson 1: Stop complaining.

Remember yesterday’s example with your dollars being passengers on a bus? This lesson is exactly what that’s about. You are the director of your own life.

There’s no way of denying that. But that’s exactly what complaints are. Every time you blame the government, your boss, or the economy, because you’re not where you want to be, there’s really only one person at fault.

For example, if you think you’re not being paid enough, because you can never save enough money to go on vacation, ask yourself how you spent the last $500 you got as a gift, raise, or end of year bonus. Did you get a new TV? What if you had instead invested it into an index fund – it just might’ve been the investment you needed to make to pay for that cruise 3 years later.

What are you doing, or NOT doing, to end up in the situations you’re in?

Every time you want to complain, ask yourself this question instead, and you’ll slowly start to take control and responsibility for your own choices.

Lesson 2: Make decisions about all unfinished projects in one weekend.

I’m so guilty of this. How many unfinished projects do you have? Think about work, your hobbies and side projects, and friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with for ages. Since Christmas I have a reminder in my phone to call an old friend. 4 months!

There’s an entire Trello board of potential would-be projects that I haven’t gotten around to. I bet you’re life’s not different.

Jack has a brilliant suggestion to solve this problem. He calls it a completion weekend.

Go through all of your lists, ideas, projects, relationships and to-dos and take one of the following 4 actions for each one of them:

  1. Do it.
  2. Delegate it.
  3. Delay it.
  4. Dump it.

Just making a decision for every single thing you’ve got on your list will massively lighten the mental load on your brain and free plenty of precious thinking space. Whether you decide to delay it until June, hand it off to someone else, or scrap the project altogether, as long as you’re consciously choosing, you’ll feel a lot better.

2 finished projects are better than 15 ones where you’ve done half and then stopped, so get on this and enjoy the relief that comes with it, which’ll allow you to focus on what really matters.

Lesson 3: Think positively, because your thoughts can mean life or death.

Here’s how much what you think of yourself actually matters:

Nick Sitzman was a railroad construction worker. One day all of his colleagues left work early, but Nick was accidentally locked inside a refrigerated freight wagon. Of course all screaming and making noises was useless, no one could hear him.

The thought that he might freeze to death would not leave his mind. Hopeless and scared, he started edging his last words into the wagon floor with a knife, leaving a parting message for the world. Sure enough, when his co-workers came back the next day and opened the wagon, they found Nick dead. The autopsy showed that he had indeed died from hypothermia.

But the wagon wasn’t even cooling. The cooling system wasn’t turned on. Temperature inside the wagon never dropped below 50˚F (or 13˚C).

Just by freaking out and thinking he was certainly going to die, he did.

As scary as this story may sound, there’s an upside to it: The same holds true in the opposite direction. If you unconditionally love yourself, see your misconceived notions about yourself (like thinking you’re fat or lazy) for what they really are – fears – you can then move past them and let positive thinking propel you towards your dreams.

So beware your thoughts – they matter more than you might think.

The Success Principles Review

The Success Principles is a very philosophical book, with a similar message to books from other authors of Jack’s generation. Some of the techniques reminded me of The Miracle Morning, Jack talks a lot about visualization and affirmations.

I really loved the completion weekend exercise, it spoke to me since it’s exactly what I need most myself right now, so I’ll get on it this weekend. In the meantime, I suggest you check out the summary of this book on Blinkist.

Who would I recommend The Success Principles summary to?

The 31 year old manager, who has more unfinished projects on his desk than he can count, the 47 year old single mum, who’s constantly worried she might never find a husband again, and anyone who keeps complaining about what’s reported in the news.

Last Updated on July 28, 2022

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Niklas Göke

Niklas Göke is an author and writer whose work has attracted tens of millions of readers to date. He is also the founder and CEO of Four Minute Books, a collection of over 1,000 free book summaries teaching readers 3 valuable lessons in just 4 minutes each. Born and raised in Germany, Nik also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Engineering from KIT Karlsruhe and a Master’s Degree in Management & Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He lives in Munich and enjoys a great slice of salami pizza almost as much as reading — or writing — the next book — or book summary, of course!