Og Mandino’s Classic — The Greatest Salesman In The World

The content of this book is solid gold in value. There isn’t anything new here for the veteran self-improvement reader as you immediately recognize the key foundational principles it delivers, but it’s wrapped in an interesting and entertaining story.

The story itself gives off the same vibe as “The Richest Man In Babylon,” which I loved very much even with the mild religious undertone.

This book is a must-read for three simple reasons.

  • It’s a 100-page fast read.
  • It’s on point with minimal fluff.
  • It promotes easy to grasp timeless principles.

Despite the name, it’s not just a book for wannabe salespeople. You actually can employ these guiding principles, as a winning personal life philosophy, toward building a life of meaning, purpose, and earned happiness.

One of the essential applications of salesmanship is your ability to sell yourself to… yourself.

Self-belief is your launchpad.

In contrast to common misconceptions, your self-worth is the main influence over your net worth, not the other way around. You succeed, make money, and elevate your position in the world simply by having the proper appreciation for your value in life.

Before you embark on your quest in life to promote yourself, advocate for yourself, and work on advancing your own cause in life, you must have solid faith in your own value as a precious individual worthy of love, health, healing, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, courage, success, and wealth.

You must realize that even though you might not identify as a salesperson, every single one of us is a salesperson in one capacity or another. We’re constantly trying to get people to buy things from us, whether it’s selling our personality, morals, qualifications, expertise, friendship, or companionship. Our success in life is largely dependent on how good we sell in each of these departments.

In his autobiographical book “Total Recall,” Arnold Schwarzenegger stipulates that no matter what you are doing in life sales is definitely going to be a part of your formula for success.

And here we have Og Mandino telling us that failure is a person’s inability to reach their goals in life and he’s offering this affirmation mantra as a means to dispel any negative emotions getting in the way of success:

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”


Rule #1: Form Good Habits

It’s an easily disregarded and underrated foundational concept.

As human beings, we have to navigate a vast world with unlimited exposure to infinite data. We learn to deal with the overwhelming input that floods our senses through our habits.

Habits are the life hacks or shortcuts our brain uses to automate and fast-track decision-making.

The problem is that we do not have a choice over the earliest set of habits handed down to us from our parents and the environment in which we grow up.

Some people give in to their circumstances, relegating their power and responsibility to change their lives. That’s why the knowledge of the science of forming habits is empowering and it gives us all the freedom to make a better life for ourselves.

If we’re actively working on advancing and getting ahead in life we must learn better ways of doing things through better habits.

Forming good habits is your responsibility and it holds the main keys to your success or can lead you astray.

Hence, the first law in the book says:

“I will form good habits and become their slave.”

We all know what’s good for us and what is not. Your unuseful and unhealthy habits are holding you back.

Just know that it’s going to require patience and persistence. Whether you’re struggling to quit a bad habit or to start a good one, it pays to understand the science of habit formation. I suggest you check out the book Atomic Habits by James Clear because it is one of the greatest books on the subject.


Experience and Expertise are Overrated

There’s a special note in the book on the value of experience, or lack thereof, and how people feel at a disadvantage for not having enough experience or a proven track record.

Basically, Og Mandino says, experience is overrated. Worrying about how much experience you have in your chosen field is pointless.

What really matters the most—forever and always—is simply to start and get moving, to put one foot in front of the other, and charge forward.

He makes a great point that experience is comparable to fashion, as in the tools and knowledge that might have been working successfully yesterday, do not necessarily have to keep working efficiently today, and there is absolutely no guarantee that they will keep on working and being useful tomorrow.

As important as it is to gather wisdom, experience, and knowledge at the beginning of your journey it is always less important than taking action and actively starting the journey no matter what you perceive as weaknesses and shortcomings.

People who will keep studying and gathering facts and knowledge will almost always find themselves getting stuck in that position because of two things.

First, they can’t shake off the feeling that they’re inadequate, that they’re not enough, that they’re not ready. And second, because they have developed the habit of “getting ready” not the habit of “taking action on limited information.”

Uncertainty is a major part of every adventure you experience in life. People cannot work with perfect knowledge, because that is impossible, and because if you already know where everything is going, there is absolutely no point in going there. As human beings, we get our passion for life from exploring the unknown.

So shed away the fear of your perceived lack of preparation and get a move on, otherwise, you will never do anything worthwhile.

Learn, study, and make preparations, but don’t let it hold you back. Know that you will never know 100% of anything before you begin and that every single successful person started out not knowing exactly what to expect and how to get ahead based on knowledge alone.

The thing that gets people ahead and the actual skill that you need for success is creative problem-solving. Your best tool is your creativity in working out a solution and a way around every obstacle on your path based on the limited information and resources you will always have.

Sharpen your creativity and problem-solving skills by learning first principles, big ideas, and mental models, but most importantly, by practicing solving problems.




Start With Love

This is one big chapter about love as a mindset. Simply put, if you start out from a place of love it shows on your face, it is heard in your words, it manifests in your choices, and it spreads through your work.

The absolute most important thing is to start by loving yourself, and then you will find a way to love everyone else.

I suggest you read the amazingly great book on the subject “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant.



Make This Your Mantra: “I Will Persist Until I Succeed.”

This section is just a torrent of nonstop motivation energy. The following are the best quotes I highlighted from the book.

“If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed. I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep, with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed.”

“I will persist until I succeed. I will never consider defeat and I will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless, and retreat; for they are the words of fools, I will avoid despair but if this disease of the mind should infect me then I will work on in despair. I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep my eyes on the goals above my head, for I know that where dry desert ends, green grass grows. I will persist until I succeed.”

“Each misfortune I encounter will carry in it the seed of tomorrow’s good luck. I must have the night to appreciate the day. I must fail often to succeed only once.”

“Nor will I allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure. I will forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this will be the best day of my life. So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win. I will persist. I will win.”

Very well said.




Live Every Day As If It’s Your Last

These pearls of wisdom that permeate all the philosophies, religions, and cultures that had ever existed. To make the best of every single day and live your days to the fullest extent as if each is your final day on earth. It’s a call to excellence and virtue.

I have a portrait on my wall that says: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

And that’s basically it. The past is gone and done with. The future hasn’t happened yet and it’s hidden from you. All you really have is the present, the right here, and the right now present moment.

If you do your absolute best right now, today, you don’t have to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow is in god’s hands. What’s in yours is your present moment actions. Shedding your fears, anxieties, expectations, and stress about the future is your first step. Your second step is to start doing things with courage and let tomorrow take care of itself


Master Your Emotions

Easier said than done, right?

We can’t escape the fact that the primitive part of our brain is wired for basic survival. The highs are high and the lows are low and we ride that emotional roller coaster every single day without respite.

Stoic philosophy offers good advice on how to deal with emotions and that is to never worry about the things that are beyond your control and to focus only on whatever you can control, which is basically your reaction to events.

Nothing lasts forever, both, the good and the bad.

Bad things will happen, but soon after they pass and good things start happening, and vice versa.

The problem is that our human brain is designed to notice and build patterns, and then it adapts to these patterns. So when we have a streak of good luck, we adapt to the situation and expect only good things to happen from there on out and we get emotionally destroyed when things turn sour. The same happens when we go through a streak of bad luck and our brain makes us think that things will always and forever stay this bad and that gets us to fall into depression and despair.

The antidote is to persevere through thick and thin with self-belief and persistence.

Oh yeah, and laugh as often as possible.

If you delve into the mind-body connection and how our conscious mind can and often does, influence the subconscious mind and the body, what you might know as the “Placebo Effect,” you will understand that changing your emotional state is within your power.

When you understand the mechanism you will find a way to overcome anger, frustration, and depression.

I suggest you read the brilliant book “You Are The Placebo” by Dr. Joe Dispenza.



Multiply Your Value A Hundred Fold

The highest return on investment comes from investing in yourself. Your wealth and status are entirely dependent on your reputation, especially regarding the value you provide to the world.

The ultimate way to multiply your value in the world is through persistently educating yourself and incessantly learning new skills. Upgrading your mind will afford you the means to upgrade the value you can provide to the world and subsequently, it will open up more opportunities for you.

Your goal in life is to ‘appreciate‘ in value.


Decide On Your Destination Before You Set Sail

Setting goal is a major part of achievement in life. If you don’t know where the target is, how can you even begin to know when you’ve hit it?

The thing about goals is that you need to compartmentalize them in terms of long-term and short-term.

Your long-term goals should be unrealistic and so far out, so much high, so out of reach to you that cannot—in your current position—fathom how you are ever going to reach these goals.

The rationale here is that our minds play tricks on us and we seem to find enough energy to always fall a little short of our high goal no matter what it is.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re to the gym with the decision to do 10 sets on the bench press with heavyweights. You will find then that you can push yourself to do maybe 7 or 8 sets before you feel completely destroyed. Perhaps the next day you will want to do the leg press, also with heavyweights, but only for just 7 sets, what you would end up with is just 5, maybe.

This is another application of Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available to its completion.” You can just as well replace ‘Time’ with ‘Effort.’

It’s just human nature. If you aim to climb 100 stairs, perhaps you will end up making it to 80. But you adjust your goal to just 80, you won’t make it past 60. It’s not related to your energy, your strength, or your stamina. It’s completely psychological. So it serves you well to aim high and miss because then you will reach a higher mark than what you can hit with “realistic goals.”

Your short-term goals on the other hand MUST be extremely easy to achieve and to accomplish. You also need the psychological boost you get out of small wins. Small wins boost your courage, your will to take more action, your confidence, and your perseverance.



“Never will I be of concern that my goals are too high for is it not better to aim my spear at the moon and strike only an eagle than to aim my spear at the eagle and strike only a rock? […] I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low. I will do the work that a failure will not do. I will always let my reach exceed my grasp. I will never be content with my performance in the market. I will always raise my goals as soon as they are attained. I will always announce my goals to the world. Yet, never will I proclaim my accomplishments. Let the world, instead, approach me with praise and may I have the wisdom to receive it in humility.”



Act Now Because Tomorrow never comes

This might be the most inspiring chapter in any book that talks about the dire need to destroy procrastination and to act immediately.

Again, I will just put these direct quotes from the book without commentary. They are this good.

“My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action. I will act now. My procrastination which has held me back was born of fear and now I recognize this secret mined from the depths of all courageous hearts. Now I know that to conquer fear I must always act without hesitation and the flutters in my heart will vanish. Now I know that action reduces the lion of terror to an ant of equanimity. I will act now.”

“I will act now. I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow for I know that tomorrow never comes.”

“Let me act now even though my actions may not bring happiness or success for it is better to act and fail than not to act and flounder.”

“I will repeat these words again and  again and again. When I awake I will say them and leap from my cot while the failure sleeps yet another hour, I will act now.”

“When I face a closed door I will say them and knock while the failure waits outside with fear and trepidation. I will act now.”

“For now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the evil become good. I am not evil. Tomorrow is the day when the weak become strong. I am not weak. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now.”

“When the lion is hungry he eats. When the eagle has thirst he drinks. Lest they act, both will perish. I hunger for success. I thirst for happiness and peace of mind. Lest I act I will perish in a life of failure, misery, and sleepless nights. I will command, and I will obey mine own command. I will act now.”

“Success will not wait If I delay, she will become betrothed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the man. I will act now.”


And Last Pray For Guidance.

“I will pray for guidance, and I will pray as a salesman.”

No one has it all figured out.

No one knows how anything will unfold in life.

All we have are these strategies that other people figured out before us and wrote down in books for us to find and use as our guide. But the main thing that you will always see in such timeless advice is that no one has perfect knowledge, no one can tell you exactly what you need to do in your life right now. You take this advice and apply it to your situation to the best of your ability and then pray to a higher power, to God, the universe, to the omnipotent reason that binds this world together, and ask for guidance, ask for courage, ask for strength, and ask for peace.

May you all have peace.



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