I learn a lot from the book Success Built to Last. To give you the gems of what I learn, I have summarized the book into 37 lessons. If you apply these lessons consistently, I’m sure you will live a life that matters.

I suggest that you use these lessons as your personal checklist. Check them periodically to see the items you need to improve, and make personal commitment to apply them. Over time, you can measure your progress in applying these lessons and, consequently, in living a life that matters.

So here are the 37 lessons to help you live a life that matters:

  1. Discover what matters to you
    Success in the long run has less to do with finding the best idea, organizational structure, or business model, than with discovering what matters to you as individuals.
  2. Have the courage to do what matters
    You create enduring success not because you are perfect or lucky but because you have the courage to do what matters to you.
  3. Don’t rely on others’ approval
    Successful people don’t rely on the approval of others to pursue their cause or calling. They are more emotionally committed to doing what they love than being loved by others.
  4. Redefine success
    The real definition of success is a life and work that bring personal fulfillment and lasting relationships and makes a difference in the world in which they live.
  5. Don’t chase money and recognition
    Money and recognition are just outcomes of passionately working often on an entirely different objective that is often a personal cause or calling.
  6. Recognize signs of passion
    Builders (the term used by the authors to refer to “enduringly successful people”) become lovers of an idea they are passionate about for years and years. They lose track of the passage of time while doing it. In a real sense, it’s something that they’d be willing to do for free, for its own sake.
  7. Worry more about being what you love
    Most of us worry more about being loved than being what we love.
  8. Be sure you do what you love
    It’s dangerous not to do what you love. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll lose to someone who does. Passionate people try harder, try more things, and move faster than people who only do things for a living.
  9. Check whether you’re on the right track
    You know that you are on the right track when you naturally obsess over what you love. What you love attracts you even when you’re too tired to do anything else.
  10. Find your mission in life
    To find your mission in life is to discover the intersection between your heart’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger (Frederick Beekner).
  11. Find place for your multiple passions
    You do need to find a place for everything that is meaningful to you (your portfolio of passions). When you exclude all other things except a single focus for your life, there is a danger that you might find it impossible to locate the real treasure.
  12. Experiment with your other passions
    Carve out a little time each week to experiment in some way with one of your other passions.
  13. Never retire from what you love
    Builders’ passions create meaning in their lives that is nothing short of lifelong obsession from which they seek no escape.
  14. Have integrity to do what matters to you
    You should have integrity to do what matters to you. Do not waste your time if it doesn’t matter.
  15. Be yourself
    You shouldn’t hijack someone else’s value system. To do so would be a violation of integrity to what matters in your life.
  16. Listen to that little voice
    Happy endings come from listening to that little voice inside your head – some call it the whisper – about what matters to you.
  17. Plug into the cause and get the power
    Whatever Builders are doing has so much meaning to them that the cause itself provides charisma and they plug into it as if it was electrical current. They are lifted up by its power.
  18. Do what matters despite political correctness
    Doing things despite the political correctness of the path is the price of admission to almost every enduring life of lasting impact.
  19. Do what matters despite popularity
    Builders cling to a personal commitment that’s so compelling to them – something so important to them that they would actually do it for free – that they must do it despite popularity.
  20. Have passion, determination, and skill
    Life takes passion, determination, and skill. You can’t skip any of those three and expect to enjoy success built to last.
  21. Be greedy to acquire knowledge for your dream
    If you should be greedy about anything, it should be about acquiring “intellectual capital” for your dream. Being your best at what you do is essential to success built to last.
  22. Make a difference with your knowledge
    When you have “earned” knowledge, you have an ethical responsibility to “invest” that capital on making a difference.
  23. Earn opportunities through expertise
    Opportunity comes from expertise, not just luck, talent, and passion.
  24. Recognize when to move
    When Builders found that striving for excellence is unreachable or joyless, they saw it as a message to move onto something else.
  25. Have the right attitude toward difficulties
    Having many difficulties perfects the being; having no difficulties ruins the being (Lao Tzu).
  26. Make failure your friend
    Many highly accomplished people described themselves as so proficient at making mistakes that, if you didn’t know better, you might think they were losers.
  27. Harvest failure
    Enduringly successful people harvest failure. They become more resolute after losing a battle they believe in because they learn from the loss. Losers call it failure; winners call it learning.
  28. Always make new mistakes
    When you make mistakes, just be sure to make new ones.
  29. Manage your weaknesses
    Builders don’t deny their flaws, nor do they allow them to paralyze action. They manage it, include it, cope with it, and don’t let it stop them.
  30. Earn your luck through focus and knowledge
    Builders earn their luck, not simply getting lucky. They earn their luck by focusing on doing work that is meaningful to them and going deep to discover relevant clues along the way. It is focus and knowledge that allows them to observe the subtleties of their path and then take advantage of serendipitous events.
  31. Have a prepared mind
    Only a prepared mind and open heart prevails.
  32. Have clear goals
    Builders use planning and goals – often big goals – to put themselves into a serendipitous position.
  33. Have explorer mentality
    Builders have explorer mentality. They have clear direction, but not the roadmap. What they seek in the long term doesn’t always turn out as expected.
  34. Think about your relationships as long term
    If you want success that lasts, then you’re better off if you think about your relationships as being built to last.
  35. Surround yourself with “A” players
    Builders spent the largest percentage of their time tracking down, surrounding themselves with, and developing the people who are “A” players.
  36. Align your intentions, words, and actions
    Always watch whether your words and actions match your intentions, and are aligned with what you are trying to do.
  37. Get the inconsistent stuff out
    Alignment requires that you get out of your life all the stuff that is inconsistent with your passions and goal. That includes people. Choose wisely.
Categories: Attitude, Purpose

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

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  • http://hpshapy.blogspot.com HP van Duuren

    Thanks for the great post, recognise a lot of those points, bookmarked your blog.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for stopping by, HP! I think the big challenge now is putting these lessons into practice.

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  • http://www.visualizationexercise.com/rights Cheng Cheng

    Hi Donald,
    Thanks for the great article. You have actually summarised everything in the book “Success Built To Last”. I can get the full picture just by reading the article. I agree that success is not just about money and recognition. My life must be fulfilled in all aspects. These include my family, finance, friends and passion.

    A complete life is one in which you have the courage to do what matters. It is not easy simply because you will face opposition from different people. Many of us find it hard to accept this. In the end, we decide to do what is normal. Hence most of us do what we think we can do and not what we wanted to.

    This is sad because we end up compromising our dreams and what we want to do. We continue to do all what others think we should do.

    Therefore, I agree with you Donald that we do not need to rely on other people’s approval. Live your own life because this is your life and no one can live your life for you.

    Read this interview with Bob Proctor to further reinforce what I am trying to explain.


  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Great explanation, Cheng! I like the way you explain it, it precisely captures the essence of the matter. It’s not easy to live a life that matters, so many people simply live a normal life.

  • http://www.attractionlawprinciple.com Danny

    Hi donald,
    Thanks for your summarize. These all 37 lessons are really ingredient to bring success in life. I see some of those lesson are the lesson I got in the past to build my own business. Such as have clear goal, find mission in life, manage your weaknesses, etc.

  • http://www.attractionlawprinciple.com Danny Kang

    Yeap great tips.
    By the way, recently Bob Proctor was interviewed.
    Get the free report here.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Yes, I think at some points in life all of us will encounter these lessons of life, just like in your experience.

  • Tom

    While I liked this list conceptually, I think you could have gotten by with a much more concise list.

    For instance, you have several “lessons” that basically could be summed up by this single statement: “Never cease to spend your energy on only those pursuits for which you have great passion.”

    Distilling specific lists like this down to their core is not unlike how Jesus summed up the entire Old Testament code of law (including the 10 commandments) by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks, Tom. I agree with you, many items in the list can be summed up the way you said. I think many books can also be summed up that way.

    I think we sometimes need to parse an idea into several different forms to help us grasp the right meaning and context. That’s why many single ideas can be expanded into books. Later, when we already grasp the meaning and context of the idea, we can use the summed up statement to help us remember it.

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  • Babar rafiq

    I agree with most of them and i think if we can merge some of them and make it more readable for the people ,it will be more helpful for the people who are not the readers .
    what i mean to say is ; people who dont like to read lengthy articles will also read it and it can be a lot more helpful for the people,because i find this a very helpful steps in improving lives to some extend.

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  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    This post is the summary of a book, and I got quite a lot of ideas from the book which is why the article is lengthy. If you think that the article is too long, maybe you can just read the text in bold and read only the explanations of those which interest you.

  • http://hpshappy.blogspot.com HP van Duuren

    Recently I posted an article titled: ‘Happy Home Business’ that might especially appeal to people that want to live
    a life that matters.

    you can find it at: “HP’s Happy Blogspot” at the link here below:

    All the Best,

    P.S. I very much appriciate feedback, or perhaps even little stories of people that have taken the ‘Plunge’ to create their own Home Business. I really like to see stories with the positive (or negative) experiences, ideas or tips people have
    concerning having build their own Business.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for the info, HP!

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  • http://www.spreadingjoycorp.com Marie

    Just found your blog – and I can see that I’ll be enjoying more of your articles with my morning coffee in the days to come. I especially like this article – the fact that it was long did not even bother me because it is very encouraging and motivational!

    I’ve just started putting my passion into practice and while I do love it – it is a lot harder getting the word out, getting into the public and even getting feed back.

    Thanks for the summary of the book . I’ll be printing it out now.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Welcome to Life Optimizer! I hope you enjoy your time here :)

  • http://hpshappy.blogspot.com HP van Duuren

    Thanks for this great post,

    ‘You definitely have a point
    with your Nr. 2, having
    courage to do what matters’.

    Because – although to a certain extend I do like working in sales and think that it matters – when I first started with the desicion to work less hours in my sales job to have a little more time to be able to build on my ‘Online Business’, I was a little concerned about getting less income.

    Turns out that a totally unexpected positive side effect has been that because of my less hours, I became much more focussed and more productive in those hours resulting in actually earning me considerably more!

    Having me made thinking about redefining success, I do think that the little ebook I wrote has elements in it about redefining success, and thinking about success in an other way and how you can change chasing success into becoming somebody that attracts success.

    And although at first I was somewhat insecure about your Nr. 9
    asking myself the question if I was on the ‘right track’ with my Online Business and selling my own little ebook about attracting success in that way. Nowaday’s I keepon receiving more and more ‘Best Answers’ on Yahoo time and time again, also today again received a ‘Best Answer’.

    And although my ‘Online Business’ might still have a zillion thousand bigger or smaller ‘Flaws’, I do think that I possibly might have some online activities that really matter.

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – ‘Life Mattering’ – Inspiration,

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    It’s always difficult to make the decision to switch but I’m glad you made it. Congrats!

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  • http://www.icecreambear.com Helene

    Greetings from Norway!
    Just wanted to tell you that I simply LOVE your articles!
    Keep it up :)

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks, Helene! :)

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  • http://www.xind.ca Mike – xInd Business Guild

    Thanks for the excellent info, keep up the good work. Always good to find great sites online. I look forward to reading more.

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  • http://junkblossoms.com Ron Harris

    I always enjoy your posts!!!!

  • http://www.reverseyears.com Murray

    What a great and timely post. Thank you for giving me inspiration.