The Success Principles review (Including 10 Principles you NEED to start today!)
The Success Principles is a wildly popular book by author Jack Canfield. Jack is a motivational guy. He has built a career on inspiring others to get the most out of their lives.
In addition to his popular, The Success Principles book, Jack is also the author of the motivational “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.
Success Principles was released in 2005 and went on to become an international bestseller, selling over half a million copies over the next few years.
The version I review here, is even more up to date, than the 2005 original. In 2015 Jack rewrote his original masterpiece. He added a few new principles to his original list, updated the information and added over 100 pages of content.
What Makes The Success Principles Different from Most Self-Help Books?
Some people love Success Principles, and some people hate it. Often for the same reason.
Most self help books feature a single idea or make one specific point about how you can transform your life. In this version Jack offers 67 different ideas on how to transform your life.
Even though this book is thick enough to be a doorstop, with over 600 pages of material, there is not enough room to give many of these topics the time they deserve. It also means that Jack did not invent any of these ideas.
You must take responsibility for removing I can't from your vocabulary.
The Success Principles
Some people throw stones at this idea. Calling Jack’s work, “derivative” and/or “cursory”. While they have a valid point, Jack did not “invent” these ideas and he cannot spend 100s of pages discussing every idea, they also miss the point.
This book is not about creating some work of genius. It is about helping as many people as it can. In this area Jack does a great job. He throws the entire library of self help thinking our way. Making sure that ANYONE will find many pearls of wisdom in his book.
Success Principles a goldmine of information to someone "new" to self help books.
If you have read hundreds of self help books. Many of these ideas are likely to be familiar to you. Therefore you may find it boring to read many of the tropes from the self help world included in this book. However, even the "self-help junkie" may find this book to be a solid refresher for many of the most popular self help concepts.
For someone new to self help books, however, this book is a goldmine. To get the ideas in this book, the reader may have to read 100 different books, or simply get a basic overview by reading, The Success Principles.
I like to think of The Success Principles as the Reader’s Digest of self help books. The feeling it gives you for the concepts may not be as ood as reading the original source material, but as a time saver, it is freakin’ amazing.
10 Success Principles You Should Start Today
Normally, at this point in my self help book reviews I take the time to thoroughly break down the sections and any specific points they make. This helps to give the reader a good idea of what the book is about, without revealing so much that reading the book becomes pointless.
With the Success Principles, however, this is tough to do, since a list of 67 items and brief descriptions would make this (already long) blog post into a small book of its own. Instead, I will hit a few of the ideas and let you discover the rest for yourself after you read the book.
Rather than hitting you with a massive list of principles of success, let’s keep it simple and just give a nice “Top Ten” list. The following items on this list are some of my personal favorites.
I first heard many of these ideas elsewhere. Some ideas may even seem to be "common sense". However, they are all important pieces of the puzzle for getting from where you are to where you want to be.
1. Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life
This first success principle is one that is near and dear to my heart. I think far too often people go around with a sense of entitlement. They feel they should be happy. They should have an exciting career; a family that loves them, be paid well and have enough time to enjoy life to its fullest.
As goals I think all of the above are awesome. You should have all those things. But they do not just “appear”. They are not on the list of “inalienable rights” our forefathers talked about. If you want these things you have to work to get them.
The quality of your life comes from one person, and only one person: YOU! You need to work to get where you want to be both personally and professionally.
2. Believe in Yourself
The second success principle is another key one. If you don't believe in yourself, who will. You need to gain a degree of confidence and self esteem to make a success of yourself.
This is not to say that you need to become a back-slapping extrovert to get by. But you need to have a core of self-confidence, self esteem and belief in yourself and your ability to succeed.
You can build greater confidence by following some of these confidence building habits to slowly transform yourself into a more confident version of yourself.
If you are an introvert, this does not mean you need to change who you are at your core. I even wrote a book about how to succeed as an introvert without changing who you are: Confident You.
Aditionally, you can also use the power of small wins to build an unwavering faith in yourself – one success at a time.
3. Chunk Down Goals
Many people are scared of goals. Their goals either seem massive and overwhelming, or small and insignificant.
The secret to achieving goals and actually have the achievement mean something is chunking. The idea is simple, make your massive, hard to achieve goal, then work backwards, making smaller goals that will help you reach the larger goals. If you goals are really big you may have to have goals to help you reach the medium sized goals.
Best way to deal with these goals is to break down to the point where the tasks become so simple that it would be embarrassing to not be able to complete them. This is goal chunking.
4. Use Feedback to Your Advantage
You have probably heard positivity quotes telling you failure is a stepping stone to success (if not see some here).
This is true for two reasons. The first is that even failure gives you experience. The second is because of feedback.
Feedback comes in two forms. Positive and negative.
We all love positive feedback. Who doesn’t love to hear about the things they have done right? But negative feedback is just as important.
Far too many people hear negative feedback and either ignore it, get angry or want to quit. This feedback may be brutal. It may even be unfair. But it gives an unvarnished view of how someone views you and your actions and can be incredibly useful in implementing change for the better.
If you want to be a success you need to act on all sorts of feedback, both the good and the bad.
5. Exceed Expectations
Love the above quote by Tom Peters. This is the axiom that has made Amazon such a monster retailer. It is something I try to emulate as much as I can in life.
Personally I think this is one of the businesses “golden rules” but to be fair….there are some people who disagree with me.
Promising too much and not delivering is a sure way to have dissatisfied customers. But many notice when you deliver much more than you promise and you go from having a customer for a single transaction to a customer for life.
6. Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are the FALSE conceptions you have that hold you back.
For achieving success these could be many things:
- I am not smart enough
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t have the money
- I don’t have the education
- I am not a people person
- I don’t have connections
- I don’t know enough about _____
Let’s be brutally honest. All limiting beliefs are B.S. They are your minds way of giving you an “out” so you do not have to do the hard work to succeed.
A limiting belief may be an honest-to-god obstacle. It may make success more difficult, but it can always be overcome. You just have to be willing to make a plan, stick to it and overcome the obstacle. Check out the ink below to see a few examples of limiting beliefs (for the common task of email decluttering) and how to deal with them.
7. Learn More to Earn More
Constant learning is another topic I am quite passionate about. To succeed in our modern world (and stay a success) you need to keep learning new things.
The obvious way to show this is at work. Those that go the extra mile and get education above their peers are slowly but surely promoted past those people who are content with the status quo.
The need to keep learning is even true for those who are self employed. I haven’t worked a “real” job in over ten years, but I am constantly trying to learn new things about writing, psychology and blogging. Trying to stay ahead of my peers.
The need to keep learning actually transcends “work" though. It is equally important to “learn” about health, relationships, finances and emotional/spiritual matters. All of these will not only help to make you a better person, but will contribute to your bottom line over time.
8. Mastermind Your Way to Success
As far as I know, the first person to talk about the power of a mastermind group was Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, which was published almost a hundred years ago.
So the secret is out, Mastermind groups are a key to achieving success.
What is a mastermind group? Perhaps you have not heard of mastermind groups. The idea is simple. A mastermind group is a form of accountability. You form it with people who are on paths to success similar to yours. It is not necessary to have people in the same exact field, but you need people at roughly the same “level” of success and with the same degree of motivation.
These people meet (could be virtually) at set times and discuss their jobs. Your mastermind partners will hold you accountable to things you promised to do and help you work through your issues by giving some fresh sets of eyes. Then you do the same for them.
My book Accountability manifesto goes into details on how to find, form and keep Mastermind groups going. As well as many other forms of accountability that will help you stay on the path to success. Check it out below:
9. Stay Focused on Your Core Genius
Your core genius is something that you are specifically good at. Often this is described as the thing you do, that doesn’t feel like work.
There may always be tasks you hate, and you may have to do them to get ahead. But along the way you should be looking to get rid of as many of these “time filling” tasks as possible and replace them with the things you love and do so well.
This idea is the topic of Gary Keller’s wonderful book, The One Thing, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to find out more about their “core genius”, how it works and how to divest themselves of the things that ultimately don’t matter.
10. Find a Way to Serve
Finding a way to serve is the final principle. It might, at first, to be a bit altruistic. Finding time out of your busy schedule to help others when you are struggling to achieve your own goals? Seems crazy, right? Well, perhaps crazy like a fox.
The fact of the matter is that you cannot help others without it coming back to you many times.
As an example of this, let me talk about one of my favorite bloggers: Pat Flynn. Pat started his blog as a way to chronicle his journeys trying to make a living online. He made a decision to be as honest, above board and ethical as he could possibly be. He worked really hard with one goal in mind: to create a great resource to educate and help others in the same position he had ben in at the start of his career.
He did his job quite well. He has been justly rewarded with a significant income, the admiration of thousands of people who he has helped and a successful “machine” that just keeps rolling on, finding new ways to help and educate others.
All of this came from Pat trying to find a way to truly and honestly serve others.
The Success Principles Review Summary
These are just 10 of the (now 67) principles that Jack Canfield talks about in his book, The Success Principles.
The section titles above are all directly from the book. The spin on each topic is my own. Jack goes into far greater detail and gives a lot more “whys” and “hows” for each section than I can do in this (already long) blog post.
Someone who reads a lot of self help books, might find The Success Principles a bit repetitive. But I urge you to consider it as a resource for collecting many of the great ideas in a single place.
Those that have read few help books, or none at all should get a lot from this book. I STRONGLY urge you to try it. The amount of material he delivers means that you will surely find quite a few essential tips that will help you to gain huge breakthroughs on your path to success.