Introduction – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

This book was written by Newt Gingrich and his daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, with the help of prominent people they know and admire, to show you how to live life to the fullest. Of course, Newt Gingrich is one of America’s leading conservative figures, but the book offers words of wisdom and guidelines for leading a successful and fulfilling life. If you feel life is complicated, ask any happy and successful person this question and they will most likely tell you that life is quite simple. By following five basic principles to dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life and be true to yourself you can live life to the fullest.

One of the most important documents in our nation’s history, the Declaration of Independence refers to the right of pursuit of happiness. But it doesn’t guarantee happiness, just the pursuit thereof. Pursue your happiness and only you can see and live your dream. Learn five principles and live by them. Many people strive for material success – expensive cars, designer wardrobes, and having a big ass roof over your head. Others look to recognition – celebrity or societal impact as a marker. Some view success on a more personal perspective – being a good father, mother, sister, brother or daughter. The long-term effect on your actions, are you making the world a better place for your family? Success means adding value to people’s lives and making a difference to those around you. Determine for yourself how to define success in life. We tend to focus on achieving success and often forget to focus on what creates success. Success does not happen overnight and it doesn’t happen easily. Everyone can find a way to be successful and the outcome is simply the result of an ongoing process of learning to live successfully.

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Enjoy Life – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

Pleasure in your job puts perfection in the work. Many of us neglect our earliest passions and pursue our goals of making it to the weekend. Regardless of your particular job or background, use your own talents and strengths to make a difference in the lives of others. Helping those around us is vital for truly enjoying life. Using whatever means possible to help others is really living. Develop habits and patterns that allow you to be gratified by your work every day. Your happiness depends on you. Learn to look forward to certain tasks in your work and find pleasure during the workday. Take regular breaks from the business of everyday life. There should be aspects of your work that are truly gratifying to you. The faster you can teach yourself to appreciate the task the more likely you are to achieve your dream. As your skills develop in an area, gratification comes when you are able to stretch those skills.

Positive emotions such as joy and contentment have the potential to broaden people’s habitual modes of thinking and build their intellectual and social resources. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and stress tend to narrow thought, action, and tendencies and make it harder for someone to think of potential options. Seek pleasures that allow you to escape the everyday activities and relax. Create patterns of activities that experience gratification, joy, and contentment thereby making the process of working hard enjoyable throughout your life. We only get one life and God intended for each of us to get the most out of it that we can. There will be suffering but the self-induced variety unusually brought on by a future we don’t know is needless and destructive. There should be no guilt in the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of life.

Being grateful and pleasant. The best way to enjoy life is being grateful. Be thankful for what you have and who you are with. All you have to do is slow down and look around for what you have. Be aware of what you have and express gratitude. A simple shift in your mindset can make a difference in how you view your life, which can change your thinking. Count blessings versus burdens. If you want a better life, be grateful for the life you currently have and the blessings around you. At the end of the day, reflect on your day. Try to be pleasant when you feel satisfied. Few people want to be around someone who is unpleasant. Being pleasant when faced with obstacles, stress or turmoil will provide the biggest payback. Make a point to be pleasant and welcoming to everyone you meet. Respect is important. Continue reading Enjoy Life – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

Learn Every Day – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

Learn every day. Learning is not obtained by chance. You can learn from anyone and anywhere if you are dedicated to being a willing and constant learner. You are missing one of the great joys of life if you aren’t learning every day.

Why learn. It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. Some people act with fear and others with excitement. No matter how much knowledge you absorb, someone will always know more. Everyone has something valuable to teach you if you are willing to listen and learn. As we age, your goals will change and because of this the skills, habits and knowledge you need to achieve them will change. The skills that helped you get through one area of life are only a building block for the next phase. There is always something to learn in your daily life. Slow down, pay attention and learn.

Learning from anywhere, from anyone. We love the idea of formal learning, from elementary to high school to college or grad school. There is great value in formal education but learning entails much more than attending class and passing an exam. True learning is about acquiring new information and applying it to your life. We learn by applying information from one area to a new situation. If you are considering a new career, look to others who have been successful in that area. Find someone who is willing and able to help. Not everyone knows the value of questioning those around us.

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Work Hard – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

You can do anything you put your mind to but you have to be willing to work for it. Patience and perseverance will lead you to your dream. A big dream is in the forefront of your mind. It’s a goal you want to achieve for its own sake. Desiring your dream helps you put in that extra time more than others. When you imagine your dream being realized it is easier to work longer. Success keeps you at the top of your game. It is important to work hard and never give up on a worthwhile cause.

Daily action. At the core of every true talent, there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement. The confidence by persistence and patience, something will be realized. Nothing is out of reach if you work on it daily. The divide between what we can achieve and what we can actually accomplish is enormous. We can create habits that will carry us through. This approach is most effective when a goal can be broken down into a series of short and easy tasks. We train children to complete certain tasks like brush their teeth or pick up their clothes. The more these chores become habits that happen automatically without forethought, the more likely they are to get done. This strategy will also help to accomplish larger goals over time. One of the biggest fears that many people have is speaking in public. An effective speaker is the best way to communicate and inspire people and the best way to become an inspired speaker is to speak every day. Newt is an accomplished speaker and he practices every day and has done so for more than forty years. Daily activity produces great results over time. Becoming successful requires deciding where to focus your efforts. We have to set goals which determine what we think, plan and do and will ultimately determine who we become. This process isn’t accomplished overnight as it takes time, practice and patience to achieve. We are what we repeatedly do and our habits carry us far. Good work ethic involves doing little things right over and over and a key to success. Being decent, showing integrity and working hard over and over will make it work for you. And hard work allows you to develop confidence.

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Dream Big – 5 Principles for a Successful Life

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it you can do it.” In 1958 when Newt was just a teenager, he learned a powerful lesson that sparked his dream of entering public office and becoming a leader of our nation. His family was living in France and his father was a career soldier, an infantryman. At that time, Newt understood freedom is not free and he became immersed in stories of the human sacrifices paid for in blood. The lesson from history is that it is possible for bad leadership to result in the collapse in vulnerable societies. Newt’s father taught him they needed leaders who look beyond the present and understand the threats we face and are willing to commit themselves to finding solutions. Newt decided this was his mission and his dream to run for office and he never gave up to serve the public. He succeeded in his dream to become a leader for America.

Most of us dream when we are young about being a firefighter, teacher, astronaut, police officer or doctor when we grow up. We don’t even consider whether these dreams are probable or even possible. At some point, most of us are taught to give up our dreams and become realistic. We are told that dreamers rarely amount to anything and we need to learn to be practical. Limits and guidelines become more important than dreams and visions. We begin to focus on obstacles and probabilities rather than on goals and possibilities. We abandon our childhood dreams and quit creating new ones. Many of us work for the weekends to entertain ourselves by watching television or shopping. The truth is dreams are essential no matter what age we are. To make a personal dream come true you must set interim goals that bridge your current reality to that dream. Dreaming alone won’t make it happen but dreaming and finding that picture and allowing that pursuit to motivate you is key and the first step.

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What’s this all about?

As I mentioned in my About Me page, I am using this blog to take notes and effectively communicate what I am learning on my path to achieving a successful life.

I have decided to read the book 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours by Newt Gingrich and Jackie Gingrich Cushman.

Well, time for me to get reading! In my next post, I’ll do a thorough introduction and we’ll get on this path to a more successful life together.