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Posted November 4, 2009 by johnspence

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I read a very interesting book last night called, “Letters From Leaders: Personal Advice for Tomorrow’s Leaders from the World’s Most Influential People.” The book includes nearly eighty letters from those who have done so much to shape our world today-from Muhammad Ali to four U.S. Presidents, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the Dalai Lama; from Cathie Black to T. Boone Pickens, Donald Trump and a number of Nobel Laureates. As someone who has studied leadership and life success for nearly 20 years I really enjoyed reading what these amazing people had to share.

As is typical with me, I could not help but look for a “pattern” in their thoughts and advice. Though they came from every corner of the globe, with immensely diverse backgrounds and experiences, it was amazing to see a VERY clear pattern emerge on what all of these highly accomplished people focused on. Here is my interpretation of the key themes that were present in nearly every letter:

  • Attitude is everything. Be positive, optimistic, engaging, spirited and happy. People like to be around happy people.
  • Build your house on a solid rock of education. Be a dedicated lifelong learner. Be curious. Ask lots of questions. Be an absolutely superb listener.
  • Take a risk, try something new. Life is a bold adventure or nothing at all.
  • Your integrity and your reputation are all you have, guard them carefully.
  • Surround yourself with smart, values-driven and caring friends, and then don’t be afraid to ask for, and give them, lots of help.
  • To be truly successful in life, find something you are passionate about and follow it with gusto.
  • Take good care of yourself. Health, vibrancy and vitality are essential for a long, happy and successful life.
  • There is more opportunity than you could possibly imagine, but you have to go look for it.
  • Lasting success does not come from chance, fate or good luck. Be well prepared, have a plan, set clear goals and remain focused on them regardless of circumstances or difficulties.
  • No success is ever achieved without diligence, hard work and unrelenting persistence in the face of inevitable challenges and failures.
  • Be kind and fair. Stay humble. Treat everyone with respect. Give back, help others, help your community.

That eighty of the most successful, accomplished and respected leaders in the world all say the same basic things are essential for life success is amazing to me, but they have lived incredible lives and have a unique perspective. We are lucky to have access to such wisdom.

I have read literally hundreds of books on business and life success and I can say with confidence that the list above is one of the best I have ever seen, not because I wrote it, but because it is the truth. I believe strongly that if you printed out that list and tried to follow it every single day, you would see tremendous positive results in your life.

I’ll close with my favorite quote in the book, it was from Walter Cronkite, “ There are no shortcuts to perfection .”

I look forward to your feedback and hope that you will pass this post on to anyone you feel would find value in reading it. Take good care – John

PS – Have you read John’s new book? Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning ideas into Action. It is on sale at Amazon at 42% off the cover price!

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