I was privileged to have this conversation with the legendary Brian Tracy, author of “Eat That Frog” and “No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline”.
Brian Tracy is the author of over 80 books that have been translated into dozens of languages. As a keynote speaker, he has addressed more than 5 million people in talks and seminars worldwide, on the subjects of personal and professional development, leadership, goals, self-esteem, and success psychology. His goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined.
* Self-discipline: the most important success principle
* The expediency factor and the path of least resistance
* Develop good habits and make them your masters!
* Eat That Frog and ways to stop procrastinating
* Written goals and plans, accompanied by self-discipline, all the time, will make you rich, and will make you happy and will make you successful.
“The idea of ‘Eat That Frog’ is first thing in the morning, start with your most important task, and discipline yourself to work on that task until it's complete.“
Books mentioned in the conversation, links to Amazon:
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𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗼𝘀𝘁:
I am Agi Keramidas, a zealous podcaster and a knowledge broker. I am on a mission to inspire others to grow, stand out, and take action toward the next level of their lives. Visit my website: agikeramidas.com
Please note that while an effort is made to provide an accurate transcription, errors and omissions may be present. No part of this transcription can be referenced or reproduced without permission.
Brian Tracy 0:00
Eat That Frog, which is do the worst first. If you start off every day, and you do in complete your most difficult task, then it will give you a powerful start on the day and your frog is your biggest and most difficult task. He said if you have two frogs to eat, eat the ugliest one first. In other words, if you have two important tasks, complete the most important of those tasks, the most difficult of those tasks, the tasks that you are most likely to, to delay on or to procrastinate.
Agi Keramidas 0:43
This was the legendary speaker and author Brian Tracy, talking about the concept of eating that frog. And you are listening to personal development mastery podcast, where you will find inspirational conversations and actionable takeaways to master yourself and improve your life. I am your host, Agi Keramidas. And my mission is to inspire you to grow, stand out and take action towards a purposeful and fulfilling life. I interview successful entrepreneurs, authors, spiritual teachers, thought leaders, people who share their journey aha moments, milestones and failures for you to be inspired to grow. In each episode Monday and Thursday, you will find actionable takeaways that you can implement right now. So make sure you follow the podcast to get them as soon as they are released.
Agi Keramidas 1:42
Today's episode is a conversation I was excited and privileged to have with Brian Tracy. Brian Tracy is the author of over 80 books that have been translated into dozens of languages. Two of the most well known ones being Eat That Frog and no excuses the power of self discipline. As a keynote speaker, Brian Tracy has addressed more than 5 million people in talks and seminars worldwide on the subjects of personal and professional development, leadership goals, self esteem and success psychology. His intention is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. Let's dive right in. Brian Tracy, welcome to Personal Development mastery Podcast. I'm grateful and honoured to have this conversation with you today.
Brian Tracy 2:41
Thank you. Well, it's a great pleasure to be with you.
Agi Keramidas 2:43
And Brian, I would like to focus our conversation today on self discipline, which is probably the most important principle for success. And I like very much the definition that you use, that it is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. So why is self discipline the most important success principle?
Brian Tracy 3:14
Well, it has been determined that self discipline is the most important for perhaps 2000 years. Because self discipline is what enables you to, to fulfil your goals to to do the things that you need to do to be successful. And unfortunately, most people are lazy. I call this the E Factor or the expediency factor. That means that most people do the easiest thing possible at any time. But success usually comes from doing things that are very difficult, doing hard things, getting up early in the morning, and working hard all day, and into the night and getting up again and again. And so success is not easy. It's very difficult. And you need to get into the habit of working harder than anyone else. And this is really the key to success. Well, Aristotle once said that, that excellence is a habit. And so therefore success comes from the habit of disciplining yourself to do excellent work all the time. And it's very difficult because of the natural tendency of people to be lazy to to seek the easiest way out. And if you you continually seek the easiest way out. Then you will develop the habit of laziness, rather than the habit But of self discipline.
Agi Keramidas 5:02
And you mentioned the expediency factor. And there is also another obstacle, I think that you describe about our enemy for success or our default mechanism which us as humans, which is the path of least resistance to do the the easy? Yes, there is a thing.
Brian Tracy 5:25
Yes. And I got a phone call from a publisher a few years ago. And the publisher called me up and said, we have been having a discussion. This is New York. And this is quite remarkable, by the way, that a publisher will call a writer and ask them to write a book. He said, we've been having a discussion, we feel that there is a big demand for a book on self discipline. And would you be interested in writing a book for us on this subject? Well, I love the subject of self discipline, I have practised it all my life, I started off poor, with no money, I did not graduate from high school, so I had no education. And I started off washing dishes, and then washing cars, and then washing floors. And then I worked in labouring jobs in factories. And so I didn't seem to have any future. And then I discovered this principle of self discipline, is you have to work harder than anyone else, for a long, long time, to be successful. And this changed my life. So I had studied self discipline, I have written out what I call a 21. And I've written 21 books that have 21 principles. And I wrote a book called 21 ways to achieve lasting happiness and success, the power of self discipline. And I guess they had read this book. So I wrote a book on self discipline. And this book has become one of my most popular books, all over the world, in many different languages. And they decided to call it no excuses. The power of self discipline. Today, it's in many, many languages. And people write to me again and again, saying that this book changed their life. This book made them rich. This book answered, the question is, what do I need to do to be really successful? And so when you called and you wanted to do a conversation on self discipline, that's a wonderful thing, because I am an expert on self discipline worldwide.
Agi Keramidas 8:01
I also have a big passion for self discipline. And some other words that come to my mind when describing self discipline is self mastery, self control. And because the name of my podcast is personal development, mastery, I understand the correlation between mastery and discipline, as I say,
Brian Tracy 8:26
yes, in a way. Yes, that's very true. And, you know, I did a study of millionaires and billionaires and, and how they got there. And one of the research studies that says that 87% of millionaires and billionaires started with nothing. And then they began to work. They started sometimes they came to America, or to some country in Europe, and they had nothing. And they started with nothing. And they began to work themselves up, like climbing up a long ladder, one step at a time. And the natural tendency is to do things the easy way, the easy way, and you have to fight against this tendency all the time. Because it's so much easier to do things, the easy way. You have to do things the hard way. You have to do things the correct way. One simple example is that wealthy people get up in the morning before 6am. Sometimes before 5am. Poor people get up at the very last minute, and then you rush off to work is you have to read and learn and study. So rich people read at least an hour or two hours each day in their field. When you think of Rich people you think of people like, Willie, let me see, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. And Warren Buffett reads five hours a day, five hours a day. And Bill Gates reads two business books a week. And then he writes down the key ideas. And then he puts them onto his website so that you can go to his website, and, and read what he is writing, and what he thinks is important. And Bill Gates, I think, was the first billionaire in America. Now you have the next big billionaires, Jeff Bezos of Amazon. And what did Jeff Bezos do is he made books available easier and easier at lower and lower prices. Just a very simple thing, he identified the fact that successful people like to read, and he made reading easier and easier and easier. So you'll find that successful people read all the time, they get up early, they work harder than other people. One of my good friends said the key to success is to start earlier, work harder, and then stay later. And I thought, that's a wonderful way of thinking. And I practised that all my life.
Agi Keramidas 11:38
Thank you. And I would like your thoughts about one more aspect of self discipline, which have has been already kind of mentioned, but not the not exactly this word is that it is an ongoing battle. It's a lifelong task. It's not something that you can attain, and then you're done with it. So I would like your comment on this.
Brian Tracy 12:05
Well, one of the things that I teach, and I have spoken now to more than 5 million people in 84 countries. And so I study and study, to find success principles that I can share with them. And they come to my seminars, because my success principles are simple and practical. And so with regard to self discipline, sometimes I asked this question to my audience, and I speak to large audiences, sometimes 1000s of people. And I'll say, if you do something over and over again, repeatedly, what do you develop? And everybody in the audience says, I have to compete. Yes, that's right. And you are the results of your habits, that your habits actually make you the person you are today. So one of the most important things you do is you develop good habits and make them your masters. Good. The German philosopher, one of the smartest men in history, has said that everything in life is habits, he said, and everything is hard. Before it is easy. Everything is hard, before it is easy. So what you do is you select a habit that you feel will be helpful to you. And then you practice this habit over and over. He said we have it is hard to develop, but easy to live with. What I did is I worked out and I wrote a book and as they said, I wrote a series of what I call 20 ones. I wrote an interesting book, I publisher asked me if I could write a book on personal management. So I had written a book and the book was 21 great ways to double your income and double your time off. So I sent him the the manuscript for this. And he said he likes it because it's 21 short chapters. And he said he likes it. He said he doesn't like the title. However, chapter 15 of this book was Eat That Frog which is do the worst first. If you start off every day, and you do in complete your most difficult task, then it will give you a powerful Start on the day. And, and one of the great writers Mark Twain said that, if the first thing you do in the morning is you eat a live frog, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that that's probably the worst thing that's going to happen to you all day long. And he said, if you have and your and your frog is your biggest and most difficult task, he said, if you have two frogs to eat, eat the ugliest one first. In other words, if you have two important tasks, complete the most important of those tasks, the most difficult of those tasks, the tasks that you are most likely to,
Brian Tracy 15:47
to delay on or to procrastinate. And, and then the second principle is if you have to eat a frog at all, it is not a good idea to sit and look at it for any period of time. Because it's too ugly. So So I, he said, If you could take this, this idea, Eat That Frog, and you could run it through the entire 21 chapters on time management, then I think it would be attractive because already, there's a book Who Moved My Cheese, there's a book called fish. So there's books on the news and animal themes. So I took it back, and I rewrote it and I called the book Eat That Frog 21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. Well, it turns out that most people feel bad about procrastinating, which of course, is the opposite of self discipline. And so they want to learn how to discipline themselves to start their most important task, and then complete that task before they do anything else. So I rewrote the book. And I sent it to the publisher. And the publisher said this, this is much better, it's more interesting, we will publish it, and we will probably sell a few 1000 copies well out to be the most popular book on time management. In history, we have now sold more than 3 million copies in 53 languages. It's the most amazing success in time management books. Because basically what it does, is it tells you how to stop procrastinating by using self discipline to start and complete your most important tasks. And I have had countless letters, I cannot even count the number of people who said this book made me rich. This book made me a millionaire. This book made me rich, this book changed my life. Many companies all over the world have bought 100 500 1000 copies of this book. Many companies have to develop training programmes. So everybody in the company 1000 people are trained on the idea of Eat That Frog is first thing in the morning, start with your most important task and discipline yourself to work on that task until it's complete. So this idea of self discipline, starting and completing your most important tasks, is changing the lives of people. I've written 91 books now. And these books have been fished all over the world in as I said 53 or 5455 languages. And I look at my royalty statements from my publishers all over the world. And I find that this is the second or third most popular book that I ever wrote is book on self discipline. My book on time management, my book on personal success are very successful. But the book on the book on self discipline, no excuses. The power of self discipline is one of the most popular books that I've ever written all over the world. So that's very good. That tells us that yeah, people are hungry for self discipline.
Agi Keramidas 19:50
Just wanted to take a short break from this episode and tell you about something you may find valuable. Do you ever find yourself trying to focus but you can't get your brain to concentrate on the work you have in front of you? I know I do. And so do 40% of people who say that they have to make a significant effort to concentrate. So if that sounds like you, I have a solution, a fantastic app called Brain FM. Brain FM uses functional music backed by scientific research designed to help you go into a focused state. So when I need to concentrate, I will put my earphones in, play brain fm and give my undivided attention to the task that I need to do. Right now, as my podcast listener, you can try the app for free and get a 20% discount if you decide to join, go to BRAIN.FM/AGI and start your free trial today. That's BRAIN.FM/AGI. Alright, let's jump back to the episode.
Agi Keramidas 21:00
And thank you. And it's actually the book that I have it here with me, I read it in preparation for this conversation. And it was indeed a very, a very important book with many things, many actionable items that one can take away and implement. And Brian, I'm very aware of our time together, I would like to ask you a few quick questions just to wrap things up. If that's all right, yes. So can you tell me your definition of what does personal development mean for you?
Brian Tracy 21:40
Well, personal development means taking control of your life, and steering your life like steering a car, so that you achieve success, happiness, and personal wealth. Everybody starts off poor and has to work hard for a long time to become successful. And so what I started doing, because I started poor, is, first of all, learning how to be successful. And that comes from developing skills that you can use to service other people and to earn money. And I was poor, I had no money right up into my 20s. And then I began to practice these principles. And it changed my life forever. And then I began to teach other people these principles. And I have developed a way of learning and teaching, learning and teaching. And it's a wonderful combination. And I have now studied and taught many, many different subjects. And it's really quite amazing because I take very good notes. So when I'm studying, I write down notes. And then somebody says, Will you can you do a seminar for us? For example, in 2020, I was on Sunday, I was on vacation at Christmas. And I'm now 77. I was 76 at that time, and I decided it was time to retire because of the car because it was difficult to travel all over the world. And it takes a lot of energy. And so we had Christmas vacation, and I discussed it with my wife and we said okay, we're going to retire. Because one of the things that I had done is I had saved my money, which is a very important part of self discipline. So we came home from Hawaii in January of 2020. And then they announced the pandemic. And the
Brian Tracy 24:06
you can tell me what is the word then locally? The lockdown Yeah, we can say the lockdown. And so I said, Well, that's wonderful. Because now I could not speak. Professional Speaker must have an audience. And no, I had no audience. Nowhere in the world. Before that I was travelling and speaking, I've travelled I've travelled in 126 countries. And I have spoken to large audiences in 84 countries. And now they're saying this business is closed, at least until the pandemic is over. So I said to my wife, isn't that wonderful that I decided to retire and the law eliminates my, my career, my profession. And the first week that I was back, the phone rang and It was a an executive of a large company. And he said, we see that you are an authority on crisis management. Well, we're going through a major crisis now, would you do a seminar for us on crisis management? What do we need to do to survive and to succeed? Well, as it happens, I began studying Peter Drucker, and many other business experts. And one of the things that I learned many years ago was that the number one thing that you can be assured of, if you're an executive, is that you are going to have to deal with crises all the time. So I did my research. And I wrote out a book called crisis management 21 things to do, when a you experience a major crisis. And so I wrote down 21 key ideas for managers, executives, business people to do. And I published the book with the American Management Association. And it became very popular. So as soon as they announced the pandemic, I guess they did some research. And they found that I had written a book that was now published and distributed worldwide on crisis management. So I gave a seminar. But the seminar that we gave was a one hour zoom seminar. And I gave the seminar, and we had several 100 people on the seminar. And everybody enjoyed it. And they learned a lot of valuable things that they could do. And so I hung up the phone, and the phone rang again. And someone said, I was on that phone call on crisis management. Could you do the same same seminar for my company? Well, assume I was doing crisis management seminar all over the world. And then someone says, Could you do a seminar for us on marketing? on business development? Could you do a seminar for us on recruiting and training top people? Could you do a seminar for us on time management and personal success? Well, what happened is I've been doing seminars now, I do three or four seminars each week, here in my office, and I do them on Zoom. And I speak to several 100, sometimes several 1000 people, and they project, I do it in my office at home, and they project it onto a big screen. And very often they're now taking movie theatres. You see, a movie theatre is not being used in the daytime during the week. So what they do is they go to a movie theatre and they say, We would like to book your theatre for a seminar this afternoon, and they pay a small amount. The Movie Theatre Owners are happy, they bring in a lot of people and the seat them far enough apart, so that they are separated if you like, so there's no problems, began to do seminars all over the world. Actually, I'm almost exhausted because I'm doing so many seminars, 95% of my friends in the speaking industry, have been put out of business, because no one is doing seminars, but I am doing seminars all the time on Zoom. So so people still want to learn. So this is what I what I have been doing. And I've been training 1000s of people all over the world on how to be better and more effective. And one of the things that we teach is self this.
Agi Keramidas 28:59
Thank you. And one last question I always ask it's a hypothetical one, if you could go back in time and meet your 18 year old self, what one piece of advice would you give him?
Brian Tracy 29:12
Well, my one piece of advice is I love learning. I love learning. So my one piece of advice is to dedicate yourself to completing your studies to complete in your schooling. For me, what I did is I did not finish high school, and I did not go to university. And so I had to make up later on. I had to study at nights and I had to study on the weekends. And I never went to university. I went to work in a sawmill stacking lumber. And so what I would do is I would say complete my education, complete my education so I have a foundation of a very Good education. Now, having said that, I have good friends who went to university and completed their education. But today, their lives, their careers are over. And they are not very successful. Because they did not apply their knowledge. They did not use their knowledge. They didn't earn and earn money, and then save the money and invest it carefully. So it's not enough just to get a good education, you have to apply that education to becoming successful, you have to have goals. And the last thing I would leave you with, and I tell everybody, this, the turning point in my life was when I discovered the miracle of goals, written goals with plans for their accomplishment, I discovered goals when I was 24 years old, I read a magazine and it said, if you want to be successful, you have to have goals, and they have to be in writing. So I took a piece of paper, and I wrote down 10 goals that I wanted to accomplish in the following year. And it changed my life forever. From then on, I studied goals, I studied and wrote them down. And then I studied the skills necessary to achieve the goals. And the combination of goals. Plus skills changed my life forever. And when I look, look at other successful people, I find that all successful people have written goals. Harvard University, did a study some years ago, and they interviewed the graduating class of the MBAs, the business faculty, and they asked them how many of you have written goals and plans for their accomplishment when you leave Harvard University at the end of the year, and they found that 3% of the students had written goals and plans 12% had goals, but they were not in writing. And 80% had no goals at all. So they went back 10 years later, and they interviewed them to find out how they had done life. Now, the Harvard Business degree is the best business degree in the world. In fact, I just read an article on this yesterday, that said that this is the most respected degree of all, if you graduate from Harvard with a an MBA degree, you will be hired for an average of about $150,000 in your first year. And then more and more afterwards. Most of they ask them how many of you have written goals and plans, they found that only 3% had written goals and plans 12% and goals, but they weren't in writing. 80% had no goals and plans at all. So they asked them how much are you earning today. And they found that people with written goals and plans were earning on average 10 times the average of everyone else. The other 12% The ones who had goals that were not in writing, were earning twice as much as the bottom 80% and the bottom 80% were earning considerably less. So just one simple study. And A Harvard study is considered to be very valuable. Imagine if you were earning today 10 times what you are earning now. Many years ago, when I read this study, and I I learned all these ideas, I wrote down a series of goals, and I work to achieve those goals. And I increased my income 10 times in two years. 10 times is I went from struggling and living in a small room to my own apartment, and you're earning more money than I'd ever thought possible. And to having a just literally a wonderful life, from written goals and plans. So that's what I would leave our friends with, who are listening to this discussion is written goals and plans, accompanied by self discipline, all the time, will make you rich and will make you happy and will make you successful.
Agi Keramidas 34:46
Great advice. Thank you very much, Brian. It's been fascinating. Listening to you share this knowledge with us. So thank you very much. It's been a privilege.
Brian Tracy 34:59
Thanks you very much and I wish you the very best of success in the months ahead
Agi Keramidas 35:10
I hope you enjoyed listening and that you got a huge amount of value from today's episode. If you have please share this episode with someone who you think will benefit from it. If you want to know more about me and what I do, visit my website AGIKERAMIDAS.COM
Agi Keramidas 35:34
And until next time, stand out don't fit in!