Friday, July 25, 2008

See You At The Top - Self-Image - Azara Feroz Sayed

'See You At The Top' is the name of the book by Zig Ziglar.

As part of the Wipro Leader's Program training sessions that I attended for six months - it seemed the Wipro Training faculty had an obsession with Zig Ziglar - everyone would use his quotations and yes I would say 30% of the videos presented to us were Ziglars. Being a fan of country music and reading books on the civil war etc developed love for the heavy southern accent due to which hearing Zig Ziglar was all the more exciting (we were provided audio cassettes as giveaways during the sessions) apart from the excellent content. Ziglar would end his videos by saying 'See You At The Top'. Since than it was a TODO to read the book. And I got an oppurtunity to read brand new copy of the 25th Anniversary Edition adding to the excitment!

'See You At The Top' is a P.L.A. (positive life attitude) book. The power of positive belief converting into positive action by focusing on tridimensional (physical, mental, spiritual i.e. health, wealth and happiness) aspect of success relying on the foundation stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity, love and loyalty. Ziglar mentions about taking the Stairway to the Top (refer picture) and each of the step is an aspect that Ziglar goes deeper into in the book. For being successful, Ziglar emphasis on using the characteristics that we all already possess - character, faith, integrity, honesty, love and loyalty and take the steps leading to success. That is all that is needed for success - the person (us) - by using the abilities we have. As most of us use only 2-5% of our abilities. Ziglar calls those individuals who do not believe in themselves (and hence don't use their abilities fully) as theives - robbing themselves, their loved ones, society because of reduced productivity. The tragedy of loss of human resources is that the average person goes to the grave with his music still in him. A dime and $100 gold piece has the same value if they are corroding at the bottom of the occean until we use them for their intended use. Our value becomes real and marketable when we reach within ourselves and utilize the enormous potential that is ther within us. We are where we are because that's exactly where we wanted to be. Their is a chance that we have been give wrong directions in form of negativity in environment, experience. Always believe that "Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness". Of all the gifts our creator gives us, surely the gift of choosing the way we wish to be is one of the greatest. The ability to visualize before we perform, provides the additional confidence to perform successfully.

The book is filled with references to numerous books, biblical verses, movies (all adding up in my TODO), quotations, examples and yes lots of humor. I have pasted below some of the interesting thoughts
* Why do the weathermen always say there is 20% chance of rain and not 80% sunshine?
* One can climb an oak tree in two ways, one can climb it or sit on an acorn!
* I've read women giving birth to boys and girls but never about giving birth to a salesman, doctor, lawyer etc However I do read salesmen, doctors, lawyers die. Since they are not born but do die - somewhere between birth and death - by choice - by training - they become what they wish to become! A woman never gives birth to a success or failure. People blame lack of education, parents, environment, skin, religious beliefs, too old, too young, fat, slim etc for their failures. Everytime the index finger is pointed at someone else the other three fingers are pointing at us. Everything starts with us including success and happiness.
* Darwin's theory of evolution, that man is not from god but is animalistic in origin - is a blow to our self esteem - thinking I came from a monkey doesn't makes anyone feel good!
* I don't go to church as there are so many hypocrites there is an excuse people provide for not going to church. They don't realize hypocrite is standing between them and God. The hypocrite in that case is more closer to God than they are. Hypocrites are everywhere so statying away from church for them doesn't helps.
* The Norwegian word for sell is selje which literally means "to serve"
* "You're always late", "You never do anything right" etc neither builds love nor confidence. Besides failure is an event - no a person - yesterday ended last night - today is a brand new day and it is ours!
* If we take what we have and use it - our talent will be increased - which brings more rewards etc
* Their is nothing like good or bad memory. Their is either trained or untrained
* Admire the skills of others but remember in most instances we could greatly improve our own skill by using the same amount of time and effort

The book begins with the "The End" - the end of life of Mediocrity! Today is the first day of the rest of our life! We are now engaged in the process of building a foundation for a greater future. Ziglar uses the "Count the Squares" in an empty square thought provoker. An in-depth look to the empty square helps us count the 30 squares in it i.e. an ind-depth look reveals considerably more than a casual glance. Ziglar says this is true about understanding ourselves, knowing our potential and our future. Ziglar promises to provide directions to help us achieve that.

When exposed to new material one time will remember only 2% of it two weeks later. If they are exposed to the same material on six consecutive days, they will remember 62% of it two weeks later. The more we are exposed to an idea - it is more likely that we will take action. So Ziglar encourages to review the important ideas in the book periodically.

The first page of the book has the quotation "I Believe - You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people what they want". I remember how thrilled I was with the simplicity with which this quotation was used to drive an important point by one of our business development manager - for all of us to be successful in the account, we have to help our client manager to be successful. Ziglar talks about this in terms of serving - if you serve more you earn more!

Self-Image is the First Step on the Stairway to the Top (refer picture)
The first step on the Stairway to the top is self-image. It is important to have love ourselves as if we cannot love ourselves where will we draw the love for anyone else - we can't give away something that we don't have. The Bible says "Love thy neighbour as thyself" . The most noticable manifestation of a poor self-image is the way a person reacts to criticism and the way he reacts to someone laughing at him/her.

The person with a healthy self-image moves into management very well. He exhibits a cautious confidence that shows he is qualified and will do the job. He is short on promises but long on fulfillement. He neither seeks nor avoids confrontations and meets decision making head-on. He understands that he was promoted because management has confidence in his ability to either handle the job or grow to the job. He knows where to draw the line between arrogance and confidence. He can be firm on principle but flexible on method. He understands that ideas don't ideas don't care who have them and is secure enough to give associates the credits for ideas. He draws a line between friendly and being familiar. He doesn't gets "all shook up" when he makes a wrong decision, because he knows in most cases the worst decision is no decision, so right or wrong he makes decisions. His self-image helps him to act decisively and yet not feel threatened when he is either mistaken, challenged or has to ask for help on specific matters.

I have used the "15 Steps to a Healthy Self-Image" that Ziglar talks about from the site below and have added other ideas that I found interesting in the book

1. Take inventory of our worth - If we had a friend who lost his legs in an accident, but got $10M for it in a court settlement, would we trade places with him? Probably not, so count that as part of our worth. We would certainly like to have more money but not at the cost of our one of our assets, our health.
Also we have the capacity between our ears to store more information than can be stored in dozens of man's most sphisticated computers. It would cost billions if scientist were to attempt to create a human brain, it would be bulky in size and it would require lots of power to operate. Still it would not have the creative capability that God has blessed us with.
We are as precious to God as any of his other creatures - the difference between Rembrandt and us is - Rembrandt lifted his brush every day! God doesn't sponsors flops! We are somebody as God wouldn't spend time on creating a nobody!
Remember: Self worth has nothing to do with how much money you have.
2. Make sure our appearance is good - Keep ourself well groomed, hygienically sound, and looking sharp. The quickest, cheapest way to increase our self image: dress sharper. Go out and invest in a couple of good quality dress shirts, polos (double mercerized cotton is great), dress pants/slacks and shoes. Looking good automatically boosts our self image because, hey, if you dress the part, how much harder is it to play it?
When women walk out of a beauty salon, they "walk proud". Women will smile little more braodly, have a tendency to laugh more at little incidents and funnies and just seem to enjoy life more after the trip to a beauty salon. The performance of students is considerably better on "picture taking day" when the students "dress up". Every husband says his wife is happier, friendlier and more productive after she has got "dolled up" in a new outfit. Employers note that employees do better work, all other things being equal, when they are neatly or sharply dressed. Both men and women feel more confident when they know their appearance is good. Our appearence has direct bearing on the way we feel about ourselves and has a bearing on many facets of our lives, as it carries over in the way we deal with other people.
3. Read biographies and autobiographies of successful people - Read life stories of Henry Ford, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison etc
4. Listen to speakers, preachers, and teachers who build mankind - Listening to these people is incredibly educational, uplifting and rewarding. Here’s an example: ever listen to Joel Osteen? Like his theology or not, you have to admit that he’s a great motivator and uplifter of people. Same for people like Tony Robins.
5. Begin any goal with small, easy steps, then increase the difficulty - Success begets success. When you see yourself succeeding in little things, it makes it easier to go to the next level and begin succeeding there. Build a healthy self-image with a series of short steps. One reason many people never attempt new things is their fear of failure. If possible, start any new venture with a phase or portion you are confident you can handle, then transfer that initial accomplishment from one area of success to another. Building a healthy self-image needs to start in an area where we know we can succeed. Once success is accomplished there, we can move another step and another and another. Each step gives us added confidence and hence self-image improves and hence performance improves
6. Smile and complement others - When we smile at people and they smile back, we automatically feel better. Ditto for compliment. When we sincerely compliment a person or extend him a courtsey, he is going to receive a direct benefit and like himself better. It is impossible for us to make someone feel better and not feel better ourselves. One of the best ways to make anyone else feel better is to spread optimism and cheer. If we are not feeling very much spirited but act that way, we will soon feel spirited. If we are optimistic and cheerful, the chances are much stronger that we will lift the other person's spirit.
7. Do something for someone else wholeheartedly - Expect nothing in return, ask for nothing in reward, and accept nothing in return. When we volunteer or help someone - we realize that we are truly fortunate and do have lot to be thankful for, that, we can make a contribution and that we are. in fact, somebody. In short, we will stand tall in our own eyes.
8. Deliberately associate with uplifters and good-finders - We acquire much of the thinking, mannerisms and characteristics of the people around us. Even our IQ No one can long be positive associating with people who drag them down, so make an effort to find people who are positive and uplifting, people who go out of their way to find good in people. Clubs like the Toastmasters are a good way for anyone to start finding uplifters and good-finders in their area.
9. Remember all your good qualities - Make a list of all our positive qualities in a card. Ask friends to list the things they like about us. Carry that card and read it few times a day. Bragging about ourself to ourself helps to be confident in who we are, without being arrogant.
10. Make a list of all the past victories in your life - Again, success begets success. A lot of times we minimize what we’ve accomplished while maximizing what others have done. We compare our worst to their best. This list should include those things from childhood to present that gave us most satisfaction and confidence - which do not appear on the educational charts. As we periodically review this list, we will be reminded that we have succeeded in the past and we can do it again. This builds confidence, which builds image, which builds success, happiness etc.
11. Avoid adult programs, soap operas, and horoscopes - We can’t continually see man at his worst and feel good about ourself by watching adult programs. Similarly, it is a enormous waste of time and the "drug-like ability" to hook into tuning in tomorrow to see what happens, and it spells bad news with a capital BAD. Tomorrow the start of soap opera, and at least one of his or her buddies, will either be in trouble, headed for trouble, or just getting out of trouble. When we view life in this negative perspective over a long period of time, we identify with the situations which mostly parallel with our own and it goes on. The horoscope "hooks" us in similar fashion. We think it as harmless to read as we don't believe in it - eventually we will become fatalistic as a result of it - will not make decisions or take trips if the horoscope is not in tune.
12. Learn from successful failures - See how often successful people failed before they succeeded. The only difference between us and someone who’s succeeded in the long term is that they’ve probably failed a lot more than us. Edison, Lincoln, Einstein, Henry Ford, Walt Disney were failures before they eventually succeeded due to their persistence.
13. Join an organization with worthwhile goals that encourages public speaking - One of the best, quickest, and most efficient ways to improve your self image and performance is to join an organization that has worthwhile goals and encourages public speaking.
14. Look at people in the eyes when you talk to them - This is surprisingly one of the hardest things to do. When we look at people in the eye, they can see how honest we are and how proud we are of doing whatever it is you’re doing. Some people with low self-image feel "unworthy" and "are not good enough" to look directly into the eyes of another. To overcome the feeling, we can practice - looking ourselves in the eye - in front of the mirror. Set aside a few moments each day for this exercise. Repeat some positive affirmations (Step#9 and #10) of what we have accomplished., positive things that other people have said to us. The second phase involves eye-contact with children. The third phase is peer group and associates, as well as those who might work at lesser positions. This will give us enough confidence to look in the eye of everybody we meet.
15. Earnestly and honestly work towards being physically fit - It’s no secret that people who are physically fit, or are working towards that goal, have more stamina, are happier, and exude more confidence than those who are not fit and are not working towards that kind of goal. We may not be fit and may not be working towards that type of goal, but still be positive. Imagine how much more so will we be when you combine your naturally good disposition with the psychological and biological advantages offered by good health?

Edit: In retrospect, I (the author of should have probably added a 16th step: Work. Whenever someone does something for us which we can do for ourself, our self esteem goes down a bit. Make a habit of having people do things for us which we can do for ourself and our self image will go down the drain. (Ever go to a welfare line and try to look at the eyes of people there? Most of the time, sadly, the thing we see the least of in their eyes is pride: most of them have attrociously low self images, and we will never earn more than our self image dictates we should.) Likewise, when someone gives us something which we can earn for ourself (gifts are an exception most of the time), they are inadvertantly denying us the chance to earn it. All of us, to a certain extent, tie the work we do and the things we accomplish to our self image, so a quick way to raise your self esteem is to work for what we want.

It is beyond a doubt that most problems, whether they are economic, social or martial are not really problems but rather symptoms of problems. Deugs, alcholism, pornography, homesexuality, obesity are symptoms of deeper difficulties. Many other fads are also symptoms of real problems, particularly when it's obvious the fads are related to people doing "their thing" in defiance of parents or the so-called "society". Once we accept ourselves for our true worth, then the symptoms of vulgarility, slopiness etc disappears.

The Swedish Government promises every individual that he will be "taken care of" from birth to death. To the casual observer, Swedes would be happiest people in existence because of such magnificient arrangement. On the contrary, Sweden has the fastest growing drug problem, high rate of divorce, highest rate of suicide among retired - which indicates the difference in self image - building our own security as opposed to having someone else take care of us.

80% of workers go reluctantly to work. This lose of pride in work brings performance down and quality of work declines. This explains the need for Foriegn imports and the domestic sales volumes goes down - this is price we pay for low self-esteem.

Think like a champion, Act like a champion, See ourselves as a champion and perform like a champion.

Some interesting ideas
* What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us - Ralph Waldo Emerson
* You are the only one who can use your ability. Its an awesome responsibility - Ralph Waldo Emerson
* I hear and forget. I see and hear and I remember. However when I see, hear and do, I understand and succeed - Anonymous
* The price of success is much lower than the price of failure
* The person who won't read is no better that the person who can't read
* Success is not a destination. It is a journey, it's the direction in which you are travelling
* Education and intelligence are not the same thing.
* No one on the face of the earth can make you feel inferior without your permission
* The most destitute person in the world is the one without a smile
* No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of anyone else
* It is not who's right that is important - its what's right
* The person who won't stand for something will fall for anything
* We don't drown by falling into water, we get drowned if we stay there
* We are not beaten by being knocked down. We are only beaten if we stay down.
* Work gives us more than our living - it gives us our life


Sam said...

Good stuff!

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