These are my personal book notes of The Success Principles by the author Jack Canfield.

The principles always work if you work the principles. Anyone can consistently produce […] results on a regular basis. All you have to do is decide what it is you want, believe you deserve it, and practice the success principles.
- Jack Canfield


  • Author: Jack Canfield
  • Title: The Success Principles
  • Subtitle: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
  • First published: 2004
  • Type: non-fiction
  • Genre: self-help / mindset
  • Author’s website:
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Recommended: Yes (Hell, Yeah!)

Key Concepts and Ideas

This book represents a classical self-help book.

The principles are timeless, tested and true.

If you’re at a (low-) point in your life and you haven’t taken 100% responsibility for it yet, this book can be a game-changer for you.

Learn the principles.

Apply them to your life daily.

See what happens.

And see for yourself why 95% don’t get what they want in life.

Jack Canfield says William Clement Stone was his first mentor.

William Clement Stone was the person who taught him the success principles.

You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.
- Jim Rohn

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Title Page
  • Dedication
  • Epigraph
  • Introduction
  • I. The Fundamentals of Success
    • Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life
    • Be Clear Why You’re Here
    • Decide What You Want
    • Believe It’s Possible
    • Believe in Yourself
    • Become an Inverse Paranoid
    • Unleash the Power of Goal-Setting
    • Chunk It Down
    • Success Leaves Clues
    • Release the Brakes
    • See What You Want, Get What You See
    • Act as If
    • Take Action
    • Just Lean into It
    • Experience Your Fear and Take Action Anyway
    • Be Willing to Pay the Price
    • Ask! Ask! Ask!
    • Reject Rejection
    • Use Feedback to Your Advantage
    • Commit to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement
    • Keep Score for Success
    • Practice Persistence
    • Practice the Rule of 5
    • Exceed Expectations
  • II. Transform Yourself for Success
    • Drop Out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club…and Surround Yourself with Successful People
    • Acknowledge Your Positive Past
    • Keep Your Eye on the Prize
    • Clean Up Your Messes and Your Incompletes
    • Complete the Past to Embrace the Future
    • Face What Isn’t Working
    • Embrace Change
    • Transform Your Inner Critic into an Inner Coach
    • Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs
    • Develop Four New Success Habits a Year
    • 99% Is a Bitch; 100% Is a Breeze
    • Learn More to Earn More
    • Stay Motivated with the Masters
    • Fuel Your Success with Passion and Enthusiasm
  • III. Build Your Success Team
    • Stay Focused on Your Core Genius
    • Redefine Time
    • Build a Powerful Support Team and Delegate to Them
    • Just Say No!
    • Say No to the Good So That You Can Say Yes to the Great
    • Find a Wing to Climb Under
    • Hire a Personal Coach
    • Mastermind Your Way to Success
    • Inquire Within
  • IV. Create Successful Relationships
    • Be Hear Now
    • Have a Heart Talk
    • Tell the Truth Faster
    • Speak with Impeccability
    • When in Doubt, Check It Out
    • Practice Uncommon Appreciation
    • Keep Your Agreements
    • Be a Class Act
  • V. Success and Money
    • Develop a Positive Money Consciousness
    • You Get What You Focus On
    • Pay Yourself First
    • Master the Spending Game
    • To Spend More, First Make More
    • Give More to Get More
    • Find a Way to Serve
  • VI. Success Starts Now
    • Start Now!…Just Do It!
    • Empower Yourself by Empowering Others
  • Suggested Reading and Additional Resources for Success
  • About the Authors

Learn the fundamentals of the game and stick to them.
- Jack Nicklaus

The first part of the book begins with “The Fundamentals of Success” and everything that follows is practically based around the first principle:

Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life

It is time to stop looking outside yourself for the answers to why you haven’t created the life and results you want, for it is you who creates the quality of the life you lead and the results you produce.

The responsibility for your life is 100% yours, no limits, no excuses.

You’ve got to take one hundred percent responsibility for everything.

You have to give up all your excuses and all your victim stories.

Life will happen, with it’s ups and downs.

There are a lot of things that we can not control.

But you can always be aware of the situation, pause for a moment, and concisely respond to what is happening.

You can and must take 100% control of your responses to events.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.
- Jim Rohn

Event + Response = Outcome

The simple idea and most important point of this equation is that every outcome you experience in life, whether positive or negative, whether good or bad, is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event in your life.

Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses. - George Washington Carver

Blame is a waste of time.

No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.

You only have control over three things in your life:

  1. the thoughts you think,
  2. the images you visualize, and
  3. the actions you take.

Jack suggests to change your responses (R) to the events (E) until you get the outcomes (O) you want.

If You Don’t Like Your Outcomes, Change Your Responses

It was thinking negative thoughts or thinking positive thoughts, leaving the house prepared or leaving the house unprepared that made the difference.

It was all a matter of attitude and behavior that created their completely different experiences.

Everything You Experience Today Is The Result Of Choices You Have Made In The Past

Everything you experience in life - both internally and externally - is the result of how you have responded to a previous event.

You only have control over three things in your life - the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior).

How you use these three things determines everything you experience.

If you don’t like what you are producing and experiencing, you have to change your responses.

Change your negative thoughts to positive ones.

Change what you daydream about.

Change your habits.

Change what you read.

Change your friends.

Change how you talk.

You Have To Give Up Blaming

All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.
- Wayne Dyer

You will never become successful as long as you continue to blame someone or something else for your lack of success.

If you are going to be a winner, you have to acknowledge the truth - it is you who took the actions, thought the thoughts, created the feelings, and made the choices that got you to where you now are.

It was you!

  • You are the one who ate the junk food.
  • You are the one who didn’t say no!
  • You are the one who took the job.
  • You are the one who stayed in the job.
  • You are the one who chose to believe them.
  • You are the one who ignored your intuition.
  • You are the one who abandoned your dream.
  • You are the one who bought it.
  • You are the one who didn’t take care of it.
  • You are the one who decided you had to do it alone.
  • You are the one who trusted him.
  • You are the one who said yes to the dogs.

In short, you thought the thoughts, you created the feelings, you made the choice, you said the words, and that’s why you are where you are now.

You Have To Give Up Complaining

If you didn’t believe there was something better possible - more money, a bigger house, a more fulfilling job, more fun, a more loving spouse - you couldn’t complain.

So you have this image of something better and you know you would prefer it, but you are unwilling to take the risks that would be required to create it.

The circumstances you complain about are, by their very nature, situations you can change - but you have chosen not to.

You can get a better job, find a more loving partner, make more money, live in a nicer house, live in a better neighborhood, and eat healthier food.

But all of these things would require you to change.

  • Learn to cook healthier food.
  • Say no in the face of peer pressure.
  • Quit and find a better job.
  • Take the time to conduct due diligence.
  • Trust your own gut feelings.
  • Go back to school to pursue your dream.
  • Take better care of your possessions.
  • Reach out for help.
  • Ask others to assist you.
  • Take a self-development class.
  • Sell or give away the dogs.

But why don’t you simply do those things?

It’s because they involve risks.

You run the risk of being unemployed, left alone, or ridiculed and judged by others.

You run the risk of failure, confrontation, or being wrong.

You run the risk of your mother, your neighbors, or your spouse disapproving of you.

Making a change might take effort, money, and time.

It might be uncomfortable, difficult, or confusing.

And so, to avoid risking any of those uncomfortable feelings and experiences, you stay put and complain about it.

If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, of course you’re going to have to take that risk.

So make the decision to stop complaining, to stop spending time with complainers, and get on with creating the life of your dreams.

You Either Create Or Allow Everything That Happens To You

  • You didn’t follow through on your threat to take away privileges if the kids didn’t clean up after themselves, and now the house looks like a war zone.
  • You didn’t demand he join you in counseling or leave the first time he hit you, so now you’re still getting hit.
  • You didn’t attend any sales and motivational seminars because you were too busy, and now the new kid just won the top sales award.
  • You didn’t take the time to take the dogs to obedience training, and now they’re out of control.
  • You didn’t take time to maintain your car, and now you’re sitting by the side of the road with your car broken down.
  • You didn’t go back to school, and now you are being passed over for a promotion.

Realize that you are not the victim here.

You stood passively by and let it happen.

You didn’t say anything, make a demand, make a request, say no, try something new, or leave.

It’s Simple

The bottom line is that you are the one who is creating your life the way it is.

The life you currently live is the result of all of your past thoughts and actions.

You are in charge of your current thoughts and your present feelings.

You are in charge of what you say and what you do.

You are also in charge of what goes into your mind - the books and magazines you read, the movies and television shows you watch, and the people you hang out with.

Every action is under your control.

To be more successful, all you have to do is act in ways that produce more of what you want.

That’s it.

It’s that simple!

Simple Isn’t Necessarily Easy

Though this principle is simple, it is not necessarily easy to implement.

It requires concentrated awareness, dedicated discipline, and a willingness to experiment and take risks.

You have to be willing to pay attention to what you are doing and to the results you are producing.

You have to ask yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your managers, your teachers, your coaches, and your clients for feedback.

“Is what I’m doing working? Could I be doing it better? Is there something more I should be doing that I am not? Is there something I am doing that I should stop doing? How do you see me limiting myself?”

Ask yourself:

  • How am I creating or allowing this to happen?
  • What am I doing that’s working that I need to be doing more of?
  • Should I do more practicing, meditating, delegating, trusting, listening, asking questions, keeping my eye on the ball, advertising, saying “I love you,” controlling my carbohydrate intake?

Pay Attention… Your Results Don’t Lie

The easiest, fastest, and best way to find out what is or isn’t working is to pay attention to the results you are currently producing.

You are either rich or you are not.

You either command respect or you don’t.

You are either golfing par or you are not.

You are either maintaining your ideal body weight or you are not.

You are either happy or you are not.

You either have what you want or you don’t.

It’s that simple. Results don’t lie!

You have to give up the excuses and justifications and come to terms with the results you are producing.

If you are under quota or overweight, all the great reasons in the world won’t change that.

The only thing that will change your results is to change your behavior.

Prospect more, get some sales training, change your sales presentation, change your diet, consume fewer calories, and exercise more frequently - these are things that will make a difference.

But you have to first be willing to look at the results you are producing.

The only starting point that works is reality.

Look around at your life and the people in it.

Are you and they happy?

Is there balance, beauty, comfort, and ease?

Do your systems work?

Are you getting what you want?

Is your net worth increasing?

Are your grades satisfactory?

Are you healthy, fit, and pain free?

Are you getting better in all areas of your life?

If not, then something needs to happen, and only you can make it happen.

Don’t kid yourself. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Take your own inventory.

What others think about you is none of your business.
- Jack Canfield

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover very small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

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