Books that inspire
Books that Inspire Me: #3 The Confidence Course
September 21, 2021
Books that Inspire Me: #5 Billy Summers: A Novel
September 23, 2021

Books that Inspire Me: #4 The Difference Maker

This is the fourth in a series of posts in which I share thoughts on a book that has inspired me over the years. 

Full disclosure: I initially read The Difference Maker because John Maxwell had included a passage from my first book Never Fear, Never Quit (included below). 

The “difference maker” that Maxwell describes in this book is attitude. As he puts it, attitude is not everything (a great attitude will not make you a great brain surgeon if you haven’t gone to medical school), but it is the one thing that makes a difference (a great attitude will make a brain surgeon better, and a lousy attitude will make a brain surgeon worse). 

As Maxwell puts it, “Your attitude colors every aspect of your life. It is like the mind’s paintbrush.” 
After describing the benefits of a positive attitude and the importance of changing your thinking and self-talk, the bulk of the book covers strategies for dealing with what Maxwell describes as the five obstacles to a positive attitude: discouragement, change, problems, fear, and failure. 

Reading this book again in the shadow of the covid pandemic, the fourth surge of which is now wreaking havoc on our healthcare system, makes me think of what I consider to be the ultimate paradox of life:

Whatever you most need in life will be hardest for you to find at precisely the time you need it most.

It’s easy to have courage when your fears are small; easy to persevere when the obstacles are just speedbumps in the road; and, as Maxwell points out, easy to have a positive attitude when everything is going your way.

If you wait until your fears have taken on nightmare proportions to work on cultivating your courage, wait until the speedbumps have become brick walls to develop perseverance, waited until your problems are overwhelming to commit to a more positive attitude, changes are that you will have waited too long. 

For many people, over the past 18 months the fears have become nightmares, the speedbumps have become brick walls, and the problems do feel overwhelming. 

The bad news: the fears are not going to go away, the brick walls are not going to dissolve, and the problems are going to become even more challenging. Given that reality, this is a good time for you to do a personal attitude check – what the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar called “a checkup from the neck up.”

How can a more positive attitude help you confront your fears with greater courage, plow into brick walls with greater determination, and be more effective at dealing with your problems (including asking for help when you need it)? 

Here’s the passage that Maxwell quoted from Never Fear, Never Quit. I think he included this to emphasize the point that wishful thinking will never replace a positive attitude as the difference maker in your life.

“Wishful thinking is the lock that fear puts on the prison gate. Fear lets you indulge yourself for a while in flights of wishful thinking. Somehow, you think, something will happen to make the problems go away. By the time you wake up, it’s too late. What you feared has happened, and fear has defeated you. The only way to escape from the prison of fear is action. You cannot wish your way out, you cannot wait your way out. You can only work your way out. Every time you escape the prison of fear, you grow stronger.”  

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Everyday Courage

Courage, Perseverance, Resilience, Hop

Everyday Courage for Extraordinary Times features 21 short videos, 12 eBooks, Leader’s Guide and Participant Study Guide. The course is incredibly affordable, easy to implement, tailored to your organization, and absolutely guaranteed to be effective. 
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