See You at the Top

See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar

I wanted to read this book again because I have fond memories of it. It was a book my dad had when I was young and it was captivating. I’m not sure I ever read the whole thing until now. I know that parts of it stuck with me through the past 30 years though.

Here are the thoughts I had during my re-read of this book over the last few weeks.

Always Take Notes When You Read

Zig Ziglar included a trigger page template in the book so that you can “stop reading, turn to a Trigger Page and carefully record each thought or idea as it occurs. This will keep you involved as an active reader, utilize more of your senses and able you to concentrate more completely.”

I don’t use a trigger page template, but I always mark key passages when I am reading. When I am done with a book, I then transcribe those notes into my computer. I love the collected wisdom that file holds. I call in my commonplace book and it is a great resource.

He breaks down the importance of note taking even further.

“You probably read at the rate of 200 to 400 words per minute, but your mind functions from 800 to 1800 words per minutes. The normal tendency is for your mind to fill this blank time or space with a thousand unrelated thoughts. Now, combine this with the fact that your reading-learning attitude varies as much as the kind of day you are having varies, and you can understand why your mind wanders. It’s actually possible to read several pages and not absorb anything.”

It’s important to take notes when you are reading because you as Ziglar notes, “a thought unrecorded is often a thought lost.”

Eliminate Garbage Thinking 

Ziglar reminds us that we all have had garbage dumped into our minds from time to time. This can inflict us with what he calls ‘stinking thinking.” However, he believes that we can “cover that ‘garbage’ with a veneer of positive thinking and right mental attitude.” Just as landfill sites have managed to build malls and other such developments over garbage dumps, we can do the same thing with our thinking.

Don’t Make Excuses

“You already have the ability necessary for success. The story of life repeatedly assures you that if you use what you have, you will be given more to use. Life also tells you if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

We were all “designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” Remember that “you can always find a capable hand at the end of your own sleeve. . . If you adopt this belief you will discover that there will be no need to blame anyone for any problem.”

Choose Your Circle Wisely

“Pick out those people who are optimistic and enthusiastic about life and I’ll guarantee you some of it will ‘rub off’ on you. Remember, you’ll acquire much of the thinking, mannerisms, and characteristics of the people you are around. This is true when the people around you are good or bad. Even your I.Q. could be affected by your environment and associates.”

Remember Your Accomplishments

“Make a victory list to remind you of your past successes. . .  This list should extend from childhood to the present time. It can cover everything from whipping the school bully to making an ‘A’” in a difficult course. As you periodically review your list, you will be reminded that you have succeeded in the past and that you can do it again. This builds confidence, which builds image, which builds success, happiness, etc.”

Don’t Give Up

If you stick with something it will often pay off. Remember . . .

“The big shot is just the little shot who kept on shooting.”

“You don’t drown by falling into water, you only drown if you stay there.”

“You are not beaten by being knocked down. You’re only beaten if you stay down.”

Help Others

I enjoyed reading this book a second time, thirty years after I was introduced to it. I believe that it has a lot to teach. Ziglar has a philosophy of life that he repeats many times throughout it. He writes, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

I try to live that way. I hope you get something out of my blog posts. They take a lot of time for me to compile and I’ve often wondered if that time might be better spent. But the truth is, I love to write and share ideas. I know my posts have helped out people before. I’ve heard from readers who appreciated my thoughts, resources, and teaching tips. It always makes me feel good to hear that.

A Note of Warning

I might have sold you on the value of this book by now. I just wanted to give you a bit of a warning. It is definitely a product of its time. It was published in 1975 by a religious man who doesn’t hold back about his belief system. As such, there are outdated thoughts and opinions in it which might make you cringe or want to throw the book across the room. But I still recommend reading it and just skipping over those passages or paying them little mind.

More to Come

I have a few more thoughts to share about this book. Some of them will be topics for my Teaching Tip Tuesday series. In fact, Ziglar mentions a school program that was in place based on this book. I am not sure that still exists, but many of his ideas are great for the classroom. Stay tuned!

My List of 2020 Reads – coming soon!