In this article, I’m going to focus on three of those laws. But just so you have the list, here are all 10:
- Always make your future bigger than your past
- Always make your learning greater than your experience
- Always make your contribution bigger than your reward
- Always make your performance greater than your applause
- Always make your gratitude greater than your success
- Always make your enjoyment greater than your effort
- Always make your cooperation greater than your status
- Always make your confidence greater than your comfort
- Always make your purpose greater than your money
- Always make your questions bigger than your answers
All of these laws are powerful and important. However, in this article, I’m going to specific highlight three of them.
1. Always make your learning greater than your experience
“Continual learning is essential for lifetime growth. You can have a great deal of experience and be no smarter for all the things you’ve done, seen, and heard. Experience alone is no guarantee of lifetime growth. But if you regularly transform your experiences into new lessons, you will make each day of your life a source of growth. The smartest people are those who can transform even the smallest events or situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action. Look at all of life as a school and every experience as a lesson, and your learning will always be greater than your experience.”–Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura
There is a key concept in psychology known as “openness to experience.” In fact, it is one of the “BIG 5” factors of personality. Sadly, as most people age, they become increasingly less open to having new experiences. Most people progressively stop seeking friendships with new types of people and avoid taking on new challenges and risks. They stop seeking new information that conflicts with their current perspectives and way of life. Hence, it is common for people to becoming increasingly “set in their ways” as they age.
However, becoming “set in your ways” is a societal norm, not a required avenue. It’s what’s comfortable, not what builds confidence. In order to change, a person must be open to and even seek out new experiences. Without seeking new experiences, life will become an echo-chamber and your environment will keep you stuck in various roles and identities. Essentially, you’ll be living in your past.
Conversely, people with high openness to experience often have an appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. People like this are also more likely to pursue careers that involve risk, such as being a creative or an entrepreneur. Additionally, people with high openness to experience are said to pursue self-actualization, transformation, and transcendence.
Experiences can and should change you. Yet, many people go through life experiences completely shut-off to what their experiences could teach them. As Dan Sullivan has explained, “True learning means you are enabled to create desired outcomes.”
If you learn from the experiences life is giving you, you will change. You’ll be able to produce better outcomes. You’ll be able to stop doing the things that are keeping you in unhealthy patterns. Your personality will change, and it should. Personality is largely based on memory, which should be continuously changing and expanding with new connections and associations.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who had a very transformational experience serving a 2-year humanitarian and service mission for his church. A self-proclaimed introvert, he said that every day of his mission was hard because he had to be an extrovert during those 2 years. Once he got home, he went right back to being an introvert.
He said that he actually believed he could have made permanent changes in his personality based on his experiences. However, he said that he preferred being an introvert. As such, he didn’t really want to let his experiences sink-in. He didn’t want to change who he was. There’s too much “unknown” in that. And as research shows, the fear of the unknown is the foundation of all fears.
“Why go against my preference?” he asked me.
“I guess you don’t need to if you’re FULLY satisfied with the results you’re currently getting and the trajectory you’re on,” I replied.
Without question, a person can upgrade their preferences. They can learn to love something they didn’t love before which actually builds on core strengths. This isn’t about going against yourself. It’s about taking what life is generously giving you and continually learning and expanding as a result.
Children don’t prefer knowing math, reading, or music. But if they’d learn it, they could do a lot with it.
When you truly learn something knew, you re-associate your memory with new emotions. Positive, confident, and helpful emotions. For example, you may not enjoy reading, but you can learn to love it. You can learn to integrate it into other areas of your identity and make it a pivotal part of your future.
You must be willing to change if you want your future to be bigger than your past.
2. Always make your contribution bigger than your reward
“Increased contribution to others is essential for lifetime growth. As you become more successful, numerous rewards will come your way: greater income, praise, recognition, reputation, status, capabilities, resources, and opportunities. These are all desirable things, but they can be growth stoppers. They may tempt you to become fixated on just the rewards, rather than focus on making still greater contributions. The one way to guarantee that rewards will continually increase is to not think too much about them. Instead, continue making an even more significant contribution–by helping others to eliminate their dangers, capture their opportunities, and maximize their strengths. Greater rewards will automatically result from this, and your future will continue to be filled with increasingly rewarding ways to contribute. Always focus on creating new kinds of value for larger numbers of people, and you ensure that your contribution is always greater than your reward.”–Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura
Recently, I hired someone to help me on a big project. It was a very expensive and famous consultant. They have no hard time getting “gigs” because of their fame and reputation.
However, I’d heard by a few other people who had worked with this person that they weren’t doing a very good job. They weren’t proactive about making their client’s lives easier and better.
It was interesting during this process how little this person helped me. They didn’t offer to help. It was like they were clueless or totally indifferent.
I got 10X more help from other people for free. It dawned on me that this person is way more focused on rewards than contribution at this point, at least when it comes to this specific part of their career. It’s also possibly that they are only motivated to help people they perceive to be above them, and to give little attention to those they perceive to be beneath.
What blew me away is that this person still felt the need to charge me for their services, even after months of doing zero work on the project.
As someone who has hundreds of clients myself, I always try to provide at least 10X the value of what I’m charging. If I ever feel that my work is not providing value to my clients, I do all that I can to make it right or return their money.
Success can be poisonous for most people. They get “fat and lazy” about it, and develop an entitlement mentality. They also start looking at other people as objects, not people. As means, not ends. This is no way to maintain a positive reputation for long.
3. Always make your gratitude greater than your success
“Increased gratitude is essential for lifetime growth. Only a small percentage of people are continually successful over the long run. These outstanding few recognize that every success comes through the assistance of many people– and they are continually grateful for this support. Conversely, many people whose success stops at some point are in that position because they have cut themselves off from everyone who helped them. They view themselves as the sole source of their achievements. As they become more self-centered and isolated, they lose their creativity and ability to succeed. Continually acknowledge others’ contributions, and you will automatically create room in your mind and in the world for much greater success. You will be motivated to achieve even more for those who have helped you. Focus on appreciating and thanking others, and the conditions will always grow to support your increasing success.”–Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura
There is a great deal of science on the subject of gratitude. It is without question one of the most powerful behaviors and experiences a person can have. Gratitude multiplies everything positive.
Research from Dr. Nate Lambert, one of the leading experts on gratitude, has found that gratitude transforms mindsets and relationships.
When you express gratitude, it changes how you see what or who you’re expressing gratitude toward. And as Dr. Wayne Dyer has said, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”
To adapt a quote from Goethe, “The way you see [a person] is the way you treat them and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become.”
Motivation doesn’t drive behavior. Rather, behavior drives motivation. When you express gratitude, you’ll feel more love for the person you expressed gratitude to. You’re be more motivated to provide service and contribution to them. You’ll more fully recognize the gifts they’ve given to your life.
Similarly, confidence doesn’t create success. Rather, confidence is a byproduct of past success. Thus, when you treat others with love and respect, you’ll have far more confidence in your life and relationships. Do what is right, let the consequence follow.
How are you doing on these three laws of lifetime growth?
Is there room for improvement?
Give these a shot and your life will change.