17 Success Principles from Jack Canfield

Note: This post is written by Matt Karamazov

If we did all the things that we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison

You may know Jack Canfield as a co-author of the phenomenal “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, but he has written many other worthwhile books as well.

The Chicken Soup for the Soul series has more than 500,000,000 copies in print in over 40 languages, and Canfield’s timeless wisdom shines through in these pages too, from his book entitled “The Success Principles”.

Here are just a few:

#1 – Provide more service than that for which you are paid: Instead of saying, “Of course I would do more work if they paid me more!”, instead ask, “What could I start doing that would lead to an increase in pay?”. You put the work in first, and then you reap the benefits.

#2 – You create everything that happens to you: Shifting responsibility will never get you ahead. Even when something isn’t your fault, accept that these are your new conditions, and work diligently towards a solution. Wasting energy pointing fingers isn’t helping anybody.

#3 – Work on your core genius: There are things that you hate to do, that other people would pay to do. Just like there are things that you’re not good at, which other people are excellent at. So what should you do? Double down on what you are best at, and concentrate your efforts there.

#4 – All you can control are your thoughts, images, and actions: It’s time to give up your control over your results. That control was illusory anyway. What you CAN control includes your thoughts, the images you have of where you want to go, and the individual actions you can take to get there.

#5 – It’s better to know the truth than be comforted by a lie: You need as much of the correct information that you can get, if you want to make real progress in your life. Don’t settle for illusions. Take a hard look at where you are, where you’re going, and what you’ll need to change if you want to get there.

#6 – Make a decision: This is one of the most powerful things that you can do in life. Make a decision, and then stick to it. In fact, it’ll now be easier BECAUSE you’ve made that decision. It’s much easier to do something 100% than it is to always make little decisions about whether or not you’re going to break your resolution.

#7 – You will achieve what you anticipate: If you anticipate failure, your mind is going to find a whole array of reasons why failure is inevitable for you. A better option is to anticipate success. Walk over people and obstacles. Act as if it is impossible to fail, and you won’t be stopped.

#8 – Pursue a breakthrough goal that will change everything: What is one thing that will make everything easier for you? Also, is there something that you can do that will make a whole lot of other things unnecessary? Get some leverage and go after the high-value tasks and activities that will bring faster and more meaningful results.

#9 – Plan your day the night before: A mad scramble in the morning does NOT set you up for success. Even though plans change, and especially in high-pressure jobs, having a tentative plan written out the night before will help like you wouldn’t believe. It takes 5 minutes, and saves you hours.

#10 – Model your successful peers: Almost no matter what you want to set out to achieve, there are people out there who have already done it successfully, or have done something similar. Instead of trying to figure everything out from scratch, learn from their mistakes, adopt their successful attitudes, and set yourself up to accomplish more in less time. Mentors are everywhere.

#11 – Stop thinking the same thoughts: The thoughts you’ve been having up until this moment have defined what you have become, and what you have accomplished. If you want something different, then you need to start thinking different thoughts. For example, instead of thinking “I’m not qualified for that position”, ask, “What would I have to do/learn to become qualified?”

#12 – Take the first step in faith: You don’t have to have everything mapped out, but you do need to take the first step. Act. As soon as you’re moving down the hallway of opportunity, new doors will begin to open for you.

#13 – Ask for what you want: A HUGE part of success is just showing up. It’s not a certainty that someone else is going to pick you. Instead, you have to choose yourself. So make sure that you ask for what you want, if you want to have a realistic chance of getting it. Otherwise, it’s very uncertain.

#14 – Measure what you want more of: Tracking is something that you MUST do with respect to whatever it is that you care about. If you want to drink more water, track how much you’re drinking now. If you want to write more, track how much time you currently spend writing. Watch those numbers increase.

#15 – Tie up incompletes: Having a whole list of incomplete things in your life takes up a huge amount of mental firepower. It’s much better to make sure you’re putting all your focus into a much smaller number of pursuits. Don’t try to start four businesses or write three books. Don’t try to learn three languages at once, and don’t try to manage eight email accounts. Consolidate!

#16 – Acknowledge past successes: You have had success in the past. Celebrate them! This will keep you optimistic about the future, but it will also give you a reference point to what you are truly capable of.

#17 – You are already successful: You are alive right now, on this beautiful planet, surrounded by wonders. You have reasons all around you to be happy, and you don’t need to chase some future happiness that may or may not satisfy you if it ever materializes. You are successful in this very moment, and this needs to be celebrated every day as well.


The book itself actually outlines 64 success principles, but these are the ones that I selected today that I think can be of immediate benefit to anyone who earnestly applies them. I support you and wish you all the best.

Matt Karamazov is a mentor, human rights activist, and boxer who reads hundreds of books per year. His website, Godlike Discipline, is dedicated to raising money for causes like Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch, among others. It’s also dedicated to helping people tackle their biggest willpower challenges.


  1. Awesome post, I’m a big fan of Jack Canfield. I have a lot of his books. ‘Key to living the law of attraction’ is one of my favourites along with success principles. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Kamal!

      You know, I think that’s the only one of his that I’ve read. I was such a big fan of “The Success Principles” though that I’ll have to go back and read more by him.

      Alan Watts and Erich Fromm are two authors I’m reading a lot from now. Both are excellent.

      • It’s pretty good for a L.O.A book. I’ve come across one of Alan Watts’s books in a book store that interested me. I think it was called ‘Liberation’ or maybe the way of liberation. I didn’t buy it though as I had already purchased a few others at the time. I will defiantly go back and look them up now. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Love this! Thanks for sharing. I struggle with sticking to my decisions sometimes so I love that principle in particular.

    • Thanks for the kind words! It’s an excellent book through and through. I always discounted him because I never got into the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, but he knows his stuff!

  3. Hello Matt Karama, I’m so glad I found your handbook “The Godlike Discipline” I’m one of those in great need of your mentor-ship with your helpful step-by-step assistance.
    Thanks for your devotion along with more blessings unto you.


  4. Since reading the Success Principles, I have lived my life living the principles as well as becoming a Jack Canfield Success Principles trainer. Since then I have created two successful companies. Jack Canfield is a blessing. Thank you Jack.

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