Jack Canfield: "Chicken Soup For Your Soul"

Jack Canfield (b. 1944) is a lecturer and writer on personal development. He is the author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, a title that gave rise to a series of spin-off books that have sold more than 112 million copies in 40 countries. In 2004 he created The Transformational Leadership Council, which brings together different leaders and thinkers to disseminate successful ideas on leadership and management. He is the author, alone or in collaboration, of other works, including The Success Principles and The Power of Focus.

Here are some of his 10 most powerful pieces of advice: 

1. Don't worry about the failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try. 

The fact of trying something, regardless of the final result, gives us experience and puts us in a more privileged position for further challenges, and, in any case, always one step ahead of those who did not try anything, and therefore, who remain in the same starting position. You can avoid failing by not taking risks, but at the cost of the most important thing: to evolve and grow. There are people who have not made a mistake, but their whole life is a mistake.

2. Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask for it. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to act to get it. 

There is no other alternative. If you want something, you have to act. Go for it. Don't delay because nothing takes as long as what you don't start. As Karen Lamb once said, "A year from now you'll regret not starting today." Maybe what you achieved in the first month doesn't seem like much. Wait six months and see what it has become. Wait a year and see how far you've come. The only important thing in the pursuit of your dreams is that they are yours because if they are not, it is easy for weakness along the way to take its toll. Decide what you want in life, start acting and give yourself time, things will work out.

3. We defend our bad habits like drinking or smoking with indefensible logic, ignore helpful advice, fail to learn new skills, waste time on the trivial aspects of life, dwell on useless conversations, eat unhealthy foods, do not practice any exercise, spend more money than we earn, fail to invest in our future, avoid necessary conflicts, refrain from speaking the truth, fail to ask for what we want, and then wonder why our lives don't work.

Our life is a reflection of our habits. And if your life is not the way you would like it to be, you probably have to modify some of those habits. And that takes effort. A habit is nothing more than a behavior that we do naturally, therefore, changing a habit implies doing something unnatural, which means fighting against our essence, against what we are, against our nature, and that requires will and hard work, until, by dint of repeating the desired behavior over and over again, it becomes internalized and becomes part of us. Changing habits requires a plan, concrete actions to materialize it and iron discipline to fulfill it without skipping it.

4. Life is too short to remain stuck in a job you do not enjoy. 

Jack Canfield himself points out: "I think there is an inner genius in us, something we love to do, and we do it so well that we don't think we should be paid for doing it. It's something that doesn't cost us any work and we have fun doing it. If we could make money from that activity, we would make it our way of life." If your job is a job then it's not your job. Don't waste your talent. If you're good at something, what it's all about is putting it to good use, professionalizing your passion. Success is about filling your fridge doing what you love.

5. In order to be successful, it is necessary to learn to handle rejection. Rejection is a normal part of life. People who do not accept rejection never achieve anything. 

What is the main fear when it comes to selling? Fear of rejection. What is the main fear of asking for help? The fear of rejection. And there is so much fear because a "no" is often identified with: you don't like me, I'm not good, I'm not capable, etc. You should know that a "no" is nothing personal, it has nothing to do with you, simply that people may have other priorities or may not have time to attend to you. There will always be times when they will say "no." Don't give it another thought, and knock on another door. It's good to get used to getting the crap kicked out of you early on, because, after each time it happens, the next time it hurts less, and then there comes a time when it doesn't affect you at all. You get to a higher level where you're going to shoot a lot of times, which increases your chances of being told "yes"; the more "shots" you take, the more likely you are to hit the target. Besides, what is the risk of being told "no"? Staying as you were, i.e., no risk at all.

6. Persistence is probably the most common quality of high achievers. 

Everyone who has achieved something great has encountered, in their climb to the top, discouraging obstacles that invited them to give up. They are people who, when everything encouraged throwing in the towel, never lost hope and continued the march, making Robert Frost's following phrase their own: "Everything I have learned in this life can be summed up in two words: keep going." Perseverance is nothing more than a firm commitment we make to achieve our goals.

7. Whenever you set out to improve your skills, change your behavior, or improve your life, start with small increments. Wanting to do too much in too little time will only discourage you. 

Avoid negative experiences at all costs. If you push yourself too hard from day one, you will fail and become frustrated, which will lead you to give up. If you set small goals and achieve them, you will feel good about yourself, which will encourage you to keep going. That unimportant bit plus another little bit plus another little bit that seems insignificant will end up becoming a lot one day. Don't be hasty. The dawn only comes after the night has passed.

8. Self-esteem is a feeling based on feeling loved and feeling capable. 

Self-esteem, the opinion we have of ourselves, is very important for success. Healthy self-esteem does not mean believing oneself to be invincible, but rather that one feels that one has the capabilities and internal resources to move forward regardless of the circumstances. First, feeling loved, which has to do with the quality of the relationships we have; and second, feeling capable, which has to do with the preparation and accomplishments we achieve. Success reinforces self-esteem and serves as a stimulus for new challenges.

9. The 18/40/60 rule: at 18, you worry about what others think of you; at 40, you don't care what others think of you; at 60, you realize that no one has ever thought of you. 

If you're the type who worries about what others think of you, don't worry so much. Most people are too focused on their own affairs to spend time thinking about others, and if they do think about someone it's simply to find out what they think of them. So, relax, do what you feel like doing, and enjoy yourself. You will feel freer and be happier.

10. There are essentially two things that will make you wise: the books you read and the people you meet. 

Many people have left their wisdom printed on paper. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of others and shorten learning periods. Reading is nothing more than increasing the resources we have to achieve our goals. Reading is, in short, increasing our chances of success. And two, take care of increasing your network of contacts. Cultivate it and take care of it. In this life everything is relationships, and the quality of your relationships will determine the quality of your success. If you don't like people, if you don't have a positive attitude towards people, if you don't cooperate with them, if you are not cordial in your dealings, if you don't keep in touch, you won't get very far.

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