How Earl Nightingale’s 12 Rules Can Help You Succeed In Life

It’s probably no big secret that I am a firm believer in personal development. That’s one way to explain it, I guess. It means that I listen to motivational speeches while I work, read everything from popular self-help books to psychology and NLP, and tried all sorts of stuff to get to be more focused, more energetic, and motivated to achieve my goals.

That being said, this list of twelve rules is something that I just have to share with you. 

1. It is our attitude in the beginning of a task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.

Attitude is everything. A bit of self-awareness helps one to recognize the moments in which their attitude did not match the desired outcome.

Way I see it, you can either adopt a positive attitude (you will get what you want, you will accomplish a certain task, you will reach your goal) or a negative one (you will fail, all you think about is your fear of failing and the negative consequences of that).

2. It is our attitude towards life which determines life’s attitude towards us.

Life acts like a mirror. It shows us who we are, what our deepest fears are, what we hate, what we desire, what we expect to happen. It’s not magic, but it could well be.

Ever been in a bad mood? Ever noticed how that affected the way people reacted to you? Ever been in a great mood and noticed the way people treated you then? The difference was determined by your own attitude.

3. We are interdependent. It is impossible to succeed without others. It’s our attitude towards others that will determine their attitude towards us.

No man is an island. Or so they say. And it’s not just the thing that you can accomplish anything, but not everything, but it’s also the fact that most people feel lonely inside themselves, as if others are not as human as they are and couldn’t possibly understand what they’re all about. It’s rather selfish, I think.

4. Before a person can achieve the kind of life he wants, he must become that kind of individual, he must think, act, talk, walk, and conduct himself in all of his affairs as would the person he wishes to become.

This is a tricky one. It sounds obvious, but it is difficult to pull off. In order to get something out of life, you need to pay your dues in advance. That’s how things work. And if you want to get more, you need to become more. Every challenge demands a new you, a better you, someone who has a different mindset and does things differently.

Fake it until you make it, they say. Disrupt the circle. Do something different. Visualize who you want to be and pretend to be that. Learn from those who already are what you aspire to become.

5. The higher you go in any organization of value, the better will be the attitude you’ll find.

There’s this myth that climbing up the social ladder involves being ruthless or knowing the right people or being just lucky. It’s a myth. And, yes, plenty of people find themselves in positions of power by chance, but they seldom stay there.

Jim Rohn put it brilliantly when he said that if someone offers you a million dollars, you’d better become a millionaire fast. That way you can get to keep the money.

Great leaders are trustworthy, honest, and they extend this circle of trust to the far reaches of their influence. That’s why they are loved by so many. They make the helpless feel save, the weak feel strong, and give hope to those who have lost it long ago.

6. Your mind can hold only one thought at a time. And since there’s nothing at all to be gained by being negative, be positive.

Negativity is addictive and contagious. You get to feel a bit better after complaining about your problems or circumstances, but then you need to do it again. A vicious circle.

Negativity is also poison. It inhibits your ability to be creative, to grow, to expand, to become a better you, to attract the right people into your life.

Everything you are first started as a thought. That’s how powerful thoughts are. There’s nothing in our world that didn’t first start out as a thought.

7. The deepest craving of human beings is to be needed, to feel important, to be appreciated. Give it to them, and they’ll return it to you.

Believe it or not, the way you treat people is the way they treat you. That’s true 99.99% of the time. Also, it is important to admire and appreciate others. People don’t do that enough.

If you do that, then you’ll also understand what needs to be done in order to be appreciated by others. What are the qualities that make people admire a fellow human being.

8. Look for the best in new ideas.

It’s easy to discard new ideas as being too risky, or too complicated. It’s easy to be a pessimist and say that it probably won’t work out. But the truth is that you are gutless.

9. Don’t waste valuable time broadcasting personal problems. It probably won’t help you, it cannot help others.

Don’t do it with your friends and family, don’t do it on your blog. People don’t care about your problems, because they are too busy trying to solve their own.

Living in what I like to call a therapy culture, we’ve grown used to tell everyone our problems, for which we receive something that falsely resembles compassion.

It’s okay to have problems, to feel burdened and overwhelmed by them. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to want to give up.

NO, it’s not. Every problem has a solution, but talking about it over and over again won’t make it go away.

10. Don’t talk about your health, unless it’s good.

Again, don’t complain. Don’t be the guy that never gets invited to parties. You know what I mean by that.

11. Radiate the attitude of well-being, of confidence, of a person who knows where he is going. This will inspire those around you, and you’ll find good things will begin to happen to you.

You want to know the secret of success that eludes most people? That others want to be around people who exude joy, who are confident, energetic, alive, passionate. That is it. It’s not about the money, it’s not about the looks, it’s not about being something you’re not, it’s all about your attitude towards yourself, others, and life itself.

12. Treat everyone you come in contact with as the most important person on earth.

How often do we forget others are human beings, just like ourselves? How often do we fight with others simply because we are in a bad mood? How often do we operate in this auto-pilot, egocentric mood that makes us feel as if everyone is in our way, everyone is dumb and slow and lazy, and we take everything personally?

I believe this is an amazing list. And I know what some of you are thinking: “It can’t be this simple?” It can. And how would you know, if you haven’t consistently tried all the things on this list?

36 thoughts on “How Earl Nightingale’s 12 Rules Can Help You Succeed In Life

  1. Wow, as a self-help enthusiast I must say that this list basically covers all of the important solutions to our everyday struggles in life. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    I’m not sure if you published a self-help book yet, but if you have or will in the future, please let me know, I will definitely check it out!



    • Hi Patrick,

      Thank you for your comment.

      No, I have yet to read a self-help book. I thought about it, but… well… let me be honest with you. The self-help community, at least in part, can be a very dangerous one. Sometimes it feels as if they form a cult or something. This makes me weary when it comes to writing. Somehow people expect magic, and there’s no magic unless the one we choose to make for ourselves.

      Also, there are some self-help books out there that are anything but helpful, and so far I have decided not to associate myself with this.

      Genuine self-help books, like different therapies (Gestalt, ACT, CBT) or NLP, self-hynosis, they work pretty well in terms of changing your beliefs patterns and the way you think, but you still have to act on those beliefs, instead of sitting on your couch, watching TV, and trying to attract a million dollars.

      My point is that I could write something that most people would believe it’s self-help, but it’s not. If I were to write a book, I’d want to make damn sure it actually helps people. Or it provides them with the proper tools for them to help themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That´s true, people nowadays expect to press a button or swallow a pill and get rid of their problems instantly, they usually forget that the most relevant part of the process is taking action.

        I totally respect that and admire your sincere desire to help other people, I will be checking out some of your books and let you know as soon as I read them!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure if that’s what people want: a fix to their problems. Maybe they just want an escape.

          And a lot of our problems are not as big as our minds make them to be. Take for instance happiness, which can even be defined as an escape from suffering. You have these big goals and ambitions and consumer culture keeps telling you that you need this or that in order to be happy and fulfilled, and yet here’s a 30 second thing that makes you happy – I suppose you own a cell phone. Throw it around a bit. Up in the air, catch it. It’s going to make you laugh. Go to a mirror and make silly faces. That’s how unimportant happiness truly is.

          And there are a lot of things just like that. Social conditioning makes us believe things are more important than they are.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Nightingale’s ideas were later incorporated into “The Secret.” True fact. He was also the voice of Sky King, the flying cowboy radio show on the 1950s. It became a TV show later. Another true fact. I had looked into his work for my novel “USA, Inc.” in which is ideas played a role. Still another true fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know who was it that said – some actor I’m sure – that every time he meets someone he says to them, in his mind, “I wish you happiness.” Something like that. It seemed so fantastic.

      I believe Nightingale meant something like that. To treat people with decency, to show them that we do care about them, but also enforce our own limits and principles.

      I do believe that one must be kind, but also strong. And never, ever take any bullshit from anyone, no matter who they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Number 7 is so true. If that person is wearing a name tag, I call them by their name. I feel you’re simply acknowledging them as something more than just a drone. Their name is part of who they are, and using it simply acknowledges that you think they’re important enough to at least acknowledge their existence..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am 68 and I absolutely agree with what you write. Much of it has been written by many people before you in various ways. I ran across this way of thinking and being in my 30’s. I started practicing it and found it to be true. But what I unexpectedly ran across were the negative people who are jealous of you for your success and happiness. You can just avoid them except at work. I had a couple of very nasty experiences. I learned that these people will go to any length to bring you down. Lie, cheat, stab you in the back. So one has to learn at work to beware and protect yourself. In other circumstances you can walk away and not become involved and get their toxic in your life. All these 12 are true. I live them all the time. They are 100% correct.

    Liked by 2 people

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