SUBTITLE: It’s Zig onstage, talking about hope and making change. There is an epic analogy of when we are in a valley – when, not if – it’s what we plant there that we then eat in our bid to climb out and reach the peak. We also dig into the pithy statements and Bible verses that leave out the crux. The “if” statement. This message comes from a paramount Ziglar product, Strategies for Success: Blueprint for Achievement, which you can find at, in the store, under MP3s.

Thanks to Earth Class Mail and Backblaze for sponsoring this show.

Today I bring show number 399 and our focus is exactly the same as always. True Performance. Your and my True Performance. The only reason you would listen to this podcast is because you believe in more. We’re here to give it to you. Today, we have a classic clip from Zig on hope. It’s eight and a half minutes, and from it we’re going to come to a screeching halt on about eight points he hits, and ask…why and how, and what you can do to apply the truths to your life.

Hello. I’m Kevin Miller, your host for this show. Who am I? A guy devoted to and intrigued by…change, and what actually causes us as humans…to make positive change. It’s the hardest thing we will ever, ever face. And the most powerful. I had a good friend one day say, “I would die for my wife. I really would. But the harder question is…would I change for her?” Today, our focus

is True Performance. What is it, and how do we do it? That is our quest. Thanks for joining me.

The clip today from Zig is an excerpt from Strategies for Success: Blueprint for Success. It’s very much the culmination of highlights from Zig’s best work.

If you listened to the shows when we interviewed the likes of Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Seth Godin, and so many more world leaders, you heard them testify to the power. Not of Zig, but of the pursuit of their True Performance.

So friends, let’s listen to eight and a half minutes of truth from Zig.

You cannot become what you need to be by remaining what you are.
Let’s listen to that again: “You cannot become what you need to be by remaining what you are.”

If you really think about that, well, of course, that’s like saying you cannot get to one place without leaving another. I can’t get to the grocery to buy food — which is one of my all-time favorite hobbies…buying food — without leaving my home.

So, if I want to become wealthier, I have to leave the current activities that are only adding up to the current income I have. If I want to become more compassionate and gracious, then I have to leave the current inattentiveness to my attitude and nature, and proactively work on changing my brain. If I want to lose weight or gain muscle, I will have to make deposits in my dietary intake and physical exertion every day, that I’m not making today.

It is basic math, but terrifically hard to walk out.

There is a line in Lord of the Rings that says, “Look for your friends, but do not trust a hope.”

Now, at Ziglar, we DO believe in hope. But we trust more in…an action.

Zig hits on:
“You can make radical changes in minute steps.”
“If you can’t take a huge step, take as big a step as you can, but take it now.”

I appreciated that, especially when it comes to comparison.

Next in the message:
Earthquakes and tornadoes get all the publicity, but termites do more damage.

Tom often cites this, but it hit home harder for me this time than usual. Why? Personal story, actually. I have a rental home and am a landlord by choice. Meaning, we built our house in 2007 when real estate tanked. I couldn’t sell my old house, so I became a landlord because I had no other choice.

Three years ago I let a family come in when I shouldn’t have. Their credit rating was poor; they had had inconsistent work. But I was impatient and they seemed well-meaning, and I wanted to trust. I always…want to trust.

It’s been a long journey and I’ve had to carry them far too much.

There are many crises happening that throw their world into chaos. Illnesses that knock them out of work. Car wrecks. Family trials. I get calls about the woes that manifest. But these are not the problem. The problem is the termites. The day-to-day bad habits, bad decisions, negative attitudes and lack of faith.

It’s the same in my life, but, admittedly…not as blatant as in their lives.

How often do you feel the emotion of…

  • ”Are you kidding me?”
  • “Well, that’s just great!”
  • “Shoulda figured.”
  • “Seriously, God?”

You feel waylaid by what feels like fairly frequent tornadoes and earthquakes in your life. But what are the termites? The daily habits and attitudes that you are not taking real action to change? That’s what I’m daily…asking myself.

Next question: Can you really do the work to have great habits, attitude, and faith…then all the problems go away?

Well, let me put it to you this way. I got a tax statement from the IRS years ago. It showed my taxable income since the beginning of time. One year…a year when I was married and had two or three kids, it showed that I’d made…$0. Zero. Now, I was working plenty, but I’d taken out personal loans to fund a business I knew would monetize fast. I lost my shirt. Actually all my shirts. I ended up partnering in a business that, solely from my efforts, succeeded. But, somehow, I managed to put $0 on the books. The point? When there was no money in the bank, a car breakdown was devastating. Heck, a bag of salad we paid $3 for that went bad was nearly devastating! I couldn’t afford the loss.

Today, does my car break down? Do hot water heaters die? Do family reunions come up where I need to fly 11 people cross-country? Yes, they do. But the problem isn’t that big of a deal when there is a reserve.

Daily good habits, proactively programming your mind for optimism, faith and joy…make the daily problems smaller. Sometimes even insignificant.

Zig hits on encouragement. He repeats it over and over. How vital it is for fueling hope.

When I think of encouragement, I think of someone personally…encouraging me! I get this from my wife, my kids, friends, and family. I get it from listeners and clients and customers.

But I know there are people listening right now who have zero personal encouragement in their lives. Zero.

What do you do? Zig mentions Automobile University, which is where you can listen…to inspiration and motivation. There are so many people, like my dad, Dan Miller…and Seth Godin, who shared in our show, how in hard times they relied on the words of Zig and other top inspirational leaders, to help bolster and guide them out.

It’s powerful, folks. But I’ve also gotta admit, it’s not personal. It’s left for YOU…to believe in you. To look yourself in the face and encourage yourself.

However, I also saw a quote poster recently that hits on the other side…and said you can have thousands who believe in you and it’s irrelevant if YOU don’t believe in you. And that DOES happen. Look at the celebrities and famous who commit suicide.

But I would offer…get involved with people and groups where you can give and receive real, personal encouragement.

“Start helping people get what they want.” Join a fitness group. A group of fellow hobbiests. Toastmasters. Volunteer for an event. Join a church and groups of interest. Go there to give and invest. Grow your own encouragement.

Zig talks about losing weight, one little bit at a time. He talks about writing See You at the Top over 10 months, just over a page a day.

I believe this is safest, as it’s a deposit a day.

But I will also admit that with big changes — I’m not a very moderate man — I do better to make a drastic change. In writing, I do better to ignore it for a week, then pull a day of writing for six hours. My wife is the same way. It’s riskier, and often more chaotic, but at the end of the day…it’s about results. Find what works for you, and be ok with it, even if it’s outside the norm of “conventional wisdom.”

But, overall, back to the termites. Overall, for overall success, the number one thing you can do is…have good daily habits that make consistent deposits toward the positive things you want for your life.

Study of 300 world leaders:

  • 75% raised in poverty or abused as children or had some serious, physical problem
  • “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do, with what happens to you.”

Those things can strengthen or weaken.

  • “Failure is an event, not a person”

It’s also the best teacher:
– if you don’t fail, you aren’t trying very hard
– working out to gain muscle only happens when you go to failure. Otherwise, you absolutely…will…not gain.

If you want to rise above where you are now, you’ll have to find margin to try things that don’t work out. That’s how you find what WILL work. This is the essence of entrepreneurialism.

“Valleys are necessary.”

Fred Smith: “The foods you grow in the valley are what you’ll eat on the mountain top.”

Wow. So during hardship, failure, tragedy, victimization, when in the valley, if you plant despair, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, addiction…then that’s the food you are eating as you try to climb out. No wonder so many just fall back to the valley, over and over again.

Like my renters.

But others plant hope, belief, learning, admission and acknowledgement, seeking true help, inspiration and motivation…they have those to eat on their way up, and they will…reach the peak!

“You can’t climb a smooth mountain.”

Interesting being in the Rockies. You need rocks for traction.

Problems produce patience
Patience produces persistence
Persistence produces character
Character produces hope
Hope produces power

I, of course, wrote that down…and studied it. So here is what was curious to me. I don’t, won’t, claim any religion or label, but I believe the Bible. The main thing that causes me to NOT claim any of the verbiage around it, is because of how it’s been abused. Specific verses, chapters, premises and perspectives have been taken out of context and used to harm others, including those who promoted them.
There are many, many statements and promises in the Bible that people state and claim, and leave out something very important. They are huge…IF statements.

Such as, “God will work all things for good!” But there is a comma after that statement folks, and it goes on to say, “for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.”

That’s an “if/then” statement, which so many of our pithy Christian phrases and theologies are full of.

A statement or claim or promise is given, based in a presupposition or assumption of something else. Like a promise that you will get wet! You can sit around with faith for that promise and never actually get wet, because there is a comma that says, IF you go find and engage with water.

All that to come back to Zig’s ending statement:
Problems produce patience
Patience produces persistence
Persistence produces character
Character produces hope
Hope produces power

It would more appropriately be
Problems can produce patience, then
Patience can produce persistence, then
Persistence can produce character, then
Character can produce hope, then
Hope can produce power!


If you take action with the daily habits that give you faith and belief and strength to overcome the problem instead of…being overcome by it.

Real truth, to inspire your…true performance.

Thanks for being with me, everyone, where I get to be with you in getting better.

I’ll be back with you on the next Ziglar Show.