Item printed from The Restored Church of God (rcg.org)
Most booklets do not require a formal introduction. This one is an exception. It is different than all of the other booklets that The Restored Church of God produces. Here is why.
In 1966, at the age of seventeen, I read Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet The Seven Laws of Success. It had a profound impact on my young life. I had never read anything so clear and easy to understand—or that made so much sense. I determined to strive to practice these laws for the rest of my life.
Mr. Armstrong came to understand them during his career in the business world, before God called him in the fall of 1926. He spent time observing the rich, famous and powerful for approximately 15 years prior to his calling. He also established several business enterprises in this same period. It was through the combination of personal experience, and knowing and witnessing the examples of numerous famous men, that Mr. Armstrong learned the laws that guide people to true success.
Though I first met Mr. Armstrong in 1967, a personal relationship began in 1971, when I married his secretary. I came to know him very well over the next fifteen years, until his death in early 1986. I was able to personally observe that, like all great servants of God, he practiced the laws of success in his own life throughout the 59 1/2 years of his conversion. This included his entire 52-year ministry, during which he taught them to others.
Mr. Armstrong was one of the few people I have met who truly “practiced what he preached.” Also, as with all God’s greatest servants, his legacy, and the truth of what he taught, did not end with his death. Neither did the laws of success. Of course, these laws are timeless. They have always been applicable. They still are!
But Mr. Armstrong’s booklet is no longer available. It has been discarded, taken out of print and locked under copyright protection by those who no longer believe what he taught. Yet Mr. Armstrong said in the introduction to his booklet: “The only WAY to success is not a copyrighted formula being sold for a price. You can’t buy it! The price is your own application to the seven existing laws.”
I am eternally grateful for the knowledge that his booklet revealed—leaving me with only the choice of whether to apply it. Just as Mr. Armstrong taught this vital knowledge to me, I can now pass it on to you. You will soon face the same choice I did—whether to apply the seven laws to success.
I recognize that this booklet could never completely reflect the clarity, eloquence and depth of examples that Mr. Armstrong’s booklet contained, in part because of the unique age in which he lived. But, as these laws were once freely given, we can now freely give them again!
I have never met anyone who truly wanted to fail. Everyone wants to be considered successful, and to be successful. Yet most have no idea how to achieve success. And they are not sure how to recognize it if they see it—either in themselves or in others. Supposed “higher” education has never taught it. Nor have most understood that there are basic, specific laws that must be employed to reach success.
Just what is success? So many seek it, having never defined it. As a result, very few people ever really achieve true success. And most never actually sit down and try to analyze the reasons for their failure. Most are certainly capable of recognizing that they have failed—but they cannot explain why !
Though some might feel they are destined to fail, this is not true. Men and women of all ages can achieve success. But they must understand and practice the right formula—and only after they understand exactly what they are trying to achieve!
Many believe that success involves achieving a certain amount of wealth. Their only purpose for being is to accumulate money and material goods. As one man said, “The goal is to see who can die with the most toys.” They seem to believe that only by having a significant “net worth” (and many possessions) can they say that they have “arrived.” Yet these same people never find true happiness at the end of the “money rainbow.”
Others come to believe that success is a reflection of how much power they have. It is as though the measure of their life is counted by their influence over people, events or even economic, governmental or world affairs. Such people usually have “controlling” personalities. To them, success is how much—or how many—they control. Generally speaking, these people are more miserable than those who seek wealth. And they often make others around them even more miserable than themselves. They usually live in fear of losing their power.
Still others hope to achieve fame. These people are often driven by a need to be known. The more who are aware of their name, the better. They seek to possess “name recognition.” Of course, everyone would love to enjoy at least their “15 minutes of fame.”
But not everyone believes that fame equals success. And those who are famous represent probably the most miserable “success” category.
In every case, the people who appear to have achieved success have gained a certain level of status. Whether that success involves wealth, power and influence, or fame, a certain status in comparison to others has been reached. In other words, success involved elevating oneself above others.
Very few are ever considered to be a success without having obtained one or more of these commonly described elements of status.
Think for a moment! And be honest. How many people can you think of who you consider truly successful, but who do not fit into one of these categories? I doubt you can think of many, if any.
What about people generally thought to have achieved success in their fields? Let’s briefly consider some examples.
Some time ago, a great baseball player died. Whenever famous athletes die, sports writers delve into their accomplishments by examining their statistics in comparison to other “greats” in the same sport. Most sports writers and fellow baseball players considered this “hall of famer” to be the greatest hitter of all time. At age 19, he had openly declared, “I want to be the greatest hitter who ever played the game.”
He achieved his goal. Yet he was married three times and generally considered to be a very unhappy person. He maintained a love-hate relationship with fans in his team’s city for over twenty years. He despised the press until the day that he died because of a single item they wrote about him at the beginning of his career. His children went on to fight over his remains—with one son seeking to freeze and clone him into more identical great hitters. Before his own untimely death, this son hoped to “bring him back to life.”
Is this success? Did this man’s life reflect success?
Many great athletes achieved the records and resulting recognition that they did because they set out to accomplish them. But usually by their thirties, they could no longer compete and perform at the world-class level that they once did. Eventually, their records were always broken by someone who was a little bigger, better, faster or stronger. Before long, most of their feats on the field of competition were forgotten.
Did recognition by their peers, fans and sports writers of their era mean that they were a success?
What about movie stars or popular musicians? Some achieve a level of worldwide fame practically unparalleled in any other endeavor. They are virtually viewed as gods and goddesses. They are pampered, continually written about and photographed, and often become extremely wealthy, having as many as five or six homes in various parts of the world. Yet, when many cannot find happiness within several marriages, they turn to alcohol, drugs, sex and, in many cases, suicide.
Do these people’s lives reflect true success?
Consider the great captains of industry. Many command enormous salaries and wealth, and wield great power within multi-billion dollar corporations. They live their lives as the “rich and famous.” And yet, an almost endless string of unfolding daily scandals reveals that many of these “captains” wanted even more money and more power—and were willing to break laws and practice corruption in order to accumulate what they sought. In the end, they had no principles—and seemingly little or no character.
Were these really a success?
And what of the more respectable great business tycoons of just 100 years ago? After being gone so long, who remembers what they accomplished—assuming anyone even remembers their names? How many people today concern themselves with the net worth of J.P. Morgan? And how many even know who he was? How many remember Carnegie, Guggenheim or Mellon?
Were such men truly successful? What did their wealth and fame gain them? If they couldn’t “take it with them,” and they have been largely or entirely forgotten, what good did it do them—what permanent success did it bring? Whatever “success” they achieved was temporary—at best a fleeting illusion.
I read recently of one multi-millionaire who proclaimed, “Ever since I was three years old, the only thing I wanted was to make money. I wanted to own more university properties than anyone in the world.” This man went on to receive a long prison sentence for drug-related charges and the government seized everything that he had. Ultimately, where did his goals take him? What did they achieve for him?
Many years ago, my father sold one of his businesses to a man who had been one of my childhood friends. He told my father, “My goal is to be a million dollars in debt.” He explained that his reasoning was “if I am that far in debt, it means that I have so many irons in the fire that something has to pop.” Because the nature of my father’s business had peaked, he sold it at the right time. My father enjoyed reminding me that he had certainly “helped your (my) friend toward his goal.”
This is an unusual example. But it shows how some people’s values and goals can become terribly mixed up.
Ask another question: Did famous authors or inventors truly achieve success, simply because their works outlived them? If you answer yes, are you sure? On what basis were they a success?
Are you absolutely certain your definition of success is the correct one? If most people’s view of success is correct, then why is there so much misery in the lives of people who have achieved human wealth, power and fame? Why do they often change mates like they were changing shoes? Why are so many of these “success stories” quietly delving into drugs, alcohol, overwork, free sex, materialism, escapism and pleasure-seeking? Why are their lives empty—devoid of meaning?
Why are their children often shameful examples that evidence miserable home lives? Why, when asked, do so many say that wealth, power and fame was not satisfying? Why are so many unable to handle “accomplishment”?
My childhood best friend was born to wealthy parents. He and I were practically inseparable until I went to college. His mother was considered a successful nightclub singer before marriage. His father was a gifted doctor. They belonged to the best country club and were the only family in our town, of approximately 100,000 people, who owned a Rolls Royce. I rode in it hundreds of times. Even as a child, I felt like royalty. Very nice people, they also lived in a beautiful home, and in a neighborhood that matched. I spent time in his home several days a week, as he did in mine. His family traveled extensively and played golf at the best resorts and clubs. They treated me wonderfully and I remember them fondly.
Some years ago, I had occasion to look up my friend after not seeing him for about 30 years. Our long “catch up” discussion eventually came to what happened to his parents. His father committed suicide with a gun in the backyard of their home out of depression. Soon after, his mother did the same with sleeping pills. This was a stunning end to people who had once been a big part of my life. They left grieving children (and one grandchild) to wonder how their accomplished—and generous—lives could end this way.
I had another friend, also from a modestly well-to-do family, whose mother was an alcoholic. I only recall seeing her sober a few times. Whenever I went to my friends home, she usually stayed in another room. Her family naturally “covered for her” as best they could. But we all understood her condition. I only recall seeing her leave the house about twice during my childhood. Eventually, she wasted away to a stick-thin condition and died of cirrhosis of the liver. It was a sad day for her children, already largely deprived of their mother for most of their lives.
We had all been told that she knew exactly what she was doing, and was basically determined to keep drinking, regardless of the consequences. It became a kind of morbid “death watch.” Her family, her wealth and her country club lifestyle could not bring her happiness. Having made the choice to commit slow-motion suicide, her life ended in absolute failure!
The third example is somewhat similar to the second. I had another friend whose mother was my mother’s best friend. Many people told this friend and me that we looked like brothers. His father was also a prominent doctor and they were also members of the best country club in town. Our mothers were so close that we once vacationed together in Florida.
This doctor was also a severe alcoholic. I recall him often entering our home and going straight to the liquor cabinet without even first greeting my parents. My father continually wrestled with how to help his friend overcome his drinking problem. He was never able to succeed. In his last years, this man virtually lived on alcohol. Though my friend was tall, his father was very short—and I remember watching this little man shrivel up to nothing, as he died of cancer in his early forties. He left two daughters, and my friend, devastated. Though this man was an exceptional doctor, he died an abject failure surrounded by grieving friends and family.
One final case in point is worth examination. In about 1963, a strikingly handsome lifeguard I knew quite well was drafted and sent to Vietnam as a pilot. Soon we heard that his fighter jet disappeared—that he was “missing in action.” We were all shocked that this man was gone. He left behind a beautiful wife in her mid-twenties. Not long after, she entered an affair with the very wealthy father of another one of my friends. His father was twice her age.
This man’s wife was another one of my mother’s dear friends. She was a wonderful person, with sparkling eyes and a zest for life. I will never forget her telling me how she used to date the famous comedian, Jonathan Winters, when they attended college together. He had always been my favorite comedian.
My friend, his siblings and his mother, were completely devastated when the father abruptly “ran off” with this young woman and divorced their mother. Because he was so prominent in the community, it became quite a story.
Was this “successful” man truly a success? In the end, what did his wealth and prominence do for him or his family? Though this happened many years ago, the effects on his children, grandchildren and possibly now great-grandchildren, are still very real. He had money, but lacked integrity and character. He obviously never figured out what was important in life. He is probably now deceased, having never understood what he chose—or why.
In the midst of all that I described in the above four cases, I must note that I had a very different set of parents. They were two of the most principled people I have ever known. Though they came from entirely different backgrounds, they were able to merge their differences and build a happy marriage and several successful businesses. They were married for over 48 years until my mother’s death.
My father grew up in extreme poverty. Though naturally gifted in several ways, including a knack for business and selling, he had to work very hard for everything that he achieved. He was never handed anything. Though my mother came from a very well-to-do family, she also had an exceptionally strong work ethic. She supported his leadership through many years when he was gone several nights a week. She still always found time to do things for people.
My parents were beloved by virtually all of these other parents I have described—and by so many who knew them—because they were so genuine in their concern for others. Though they were not religious at that time, they actively practiced trying to never say anything bad about anyone. They were an extraordinary example to many—and to me.
Yet, it was not until after they learned the truths of God’s Word—became converted and truly learned to practice Christianity—that I can say they developed a true lasting happiness that transcended anything they had previously known. Of course, their final destiny, which is the ultimate definition of success, was firmly established. More of that definition later.
For the most part, my parents followed many of the seven laws of success. They did this while largely unaware of what these laws were. In principle, they taught their three children to do the same. I still feel honored to have been their son—though they are both now gone and I can no longer express this appreciation to them.
Now let’s look at success in a different light.
Think of the world at large. So many elderly people depend on government programs and various kinds of aid to survive. Vast numbers are dependent when they should be independent. As they reach old age, they feel uncertain and worried, because they never plotted the course of their life toward a clear and definite end. They had never set out to achieve true success.
Here is why this happens to so many! The general assumption is that success is largely a by-product of one’s natural ability. It is as though “you have it or you don’t.” Most think they have little control over their own success or failure. They have been programmed by common assumptions to believe that they cannot do much to change their level of achievement in life.
Is this true? Is success or failure entirely connected to talents one is born with?
I have hired many people, and fired a few. For five years, I owned a successful company, which I inherited from my parents. (Some years ago, I sold it to one of my sons.) Because it was a small chain of retail stores, we continually sought “hired help.” We generally found that only a certain few worked hard, while others did not. Past a point, their success or failure seemed to have very little to do with ability or talent. I learned that people’s success was far more connected to the desire to produce, learn, grow and achieve than to any other reason.
Yet, I found that virtually all those who did not succeed, could have—if they had known and applied the laws to success. I came to realize that people fail by choice, not by inherited traits—their “genetics.” I learned that people have far more control over the direction of their lives than they realize, or are willing to admit.
So, most languish throughout their lives believing there is little or nothing they can do to achieve the success they long for.
Once again, most do not understand that there are absolute, definite rules that must be applied on the path to a specific, carefully established goal. Neither do most even try to figure out the one great goal toward which they should point their lives to achieve. Yet these same people would be only too eager to be handed great sums of money, if it involved expending only minimal effort.
Let me prove this!
How many people buy lottery tickets? It must be many millions. For just the effort of purchasing a fifty-cent or one-dollar ticket, these many millions hope to “hit it big.” They want something for nothing. How many of these same people, or others like them, enter every conceivable kind of sweepstakes in hopes of “winning big”? Television ads continually depict the winners being surprised at their front door.
Then there are game shows. Invariably, these programs all come back to the hope of someone taking home winnings for simply giving better answers in a half-hour contest.
Until recently, the American Stock Markets enjoyed an historic run-up in value, year after year. People grew to assume big profits simply because they handed their money to investors. Like all market “booms,” eventually a rapidly declining market began to diminish or wipe out the savings of a great many investors. Large numbers of people became angry and felt cheated. Why? Because they had become accustomed to believing they should receive large annual dividends automatically, with almost no effort, except to cash the checks or read reports and watch the value of their investment continually grow!
There are also numerous kinds of “pyramid schemes” where people can make “big money” fast. Telemarketers continually advertise on television, mass-mail faxes and phone messages in hopes of finding “takers.” While I was at the office a few days ago, my answering machine took a call that I have transcribed here as an example of how I could “easily make money.” It is one of many that I receive:
“Hi, this is [name]. Sorry that I missed you. Normally I would mail you an invitation, but, due to the time frame, I decided it would be better to call to personally invite you to a free hands-on demonstration for the most exciting new product launch ever. We’re going to be presenting this new product for the first time in your area for those who want to enhance their family’s lifestyle. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, multi-level marketing or vending. It is a real business. In fact, there is nothing you can purchase in this show and no sales pressure to do anything. So leave your checkbook and credit cards at home. By simply attending you will, however, receive a two-night, three-day vacation certificate to one of twenty popular destinations. So, if you’re serious about generating a six-figure income, we can show you how in our two and a half-hour presentation. If you want to be a part of an eight-billion-dollar industry that consumers use every day, we can show you how to start this business with no out-of-pocket expense. The only question is, are you committed enough to attend the presentation? Seating is limited but call to reserve a seat for you and a guest, toll free at [phone number]. Again, sorry I missed you and sorry for the length of the call.”
This very deceptive ad was exactly what the caller said it was not—a get-rich-quick scheme. It attempted to “hook” people into inquiring about it without telling them in advance what they were inquiring about. There was no explanation of what the “product launch” was about. Psychological bait was offered by implying that people “committed enough” would be there, if they did not move too slowly because “seating is limited.” The “don’t bring any money” pitch was intended to disarm the customer. These tactics often work.
Sadly, it has been my experience that many pursue these kinds of “opportunities” to their own hurt and suffering. All too often I have had to counsel people who got into a financial mess because they thought they could get a “free lunch”—something for nothing.
Finally, there are those who pursue what could be called the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme—they rob banks or steal in other ways. In other words, through crime, they simply take what is not theirs—to get rich.
In one sense, thieves are not much different than those who try “regular” get-rich-quick schemes. In every case, these people all lust after—covet—money. But their lack of character has not crossed the threshold of criminal behavior. They pursue the same immediate riches, but choose means society defines as lawful.
Get this point straight! Those who “win” at these various schemes never find real happiness—or achieve true success. Their money could not even buy them success. It is not a commodity that can be purchased, any more than it can be won by chance or luck. No, the easy way will never bring true success or happiness!
I have known many millionaires and multi-millionaires in my life. This includes several either living or deceased relatives. I can report that not one of them achieved their financial success through schemes. They all seemed to understand that these schemes rarely work and, when they did, they brought riches that were usually fleeting at best.
Invariably, the wealthy people that I have known practiced at least four of the first six laws to success. In theory, a lottery winner could become a multi-millionaire after practicing none of them. But I have never known such a person. Again, those I knew always practiced several, or even as many as six, of the laws to success.
Yet not a single millionaire I have known ever practiced the seventh law!
Every millionaire eventually dies. There are no exceptions to the rule that all die (Heb. 9:27)! In every case, the wealth, power and fame—and even the recognition of the most famous of people—dies with them. Nor was enjoying these things sufficient to keep them alive. Although some very few may be remembered for some period beyond their lifetime, none have knowledge of this from the grave. And even the remembrance of the accomplishments of their lives is fleeting.
There are also many other aspects of character that are generally considered to be virtuous qualities. It is no doubt true that one must be courteous, loyal, hard working, honest, always on time, dependable, patient, and probably much more, to have any hope of being successful in this world. Almost everyone understands most of these qualities, but few—and fewer every day—exhibit them.
But these are all completely outside the enormous importance of the seven laws of success that this booklet will carefully describe. This will be clear.
Now for the first law: set the right goal!
Many different kinds of goals can be set throughout life. Everyone understands this. Some goals can be small—others medium—and still others could be considered large or very large goals. While defining the size of a goal is arbitrary, all would certainly agree that there are many different kinds and sizes of goals that human beings set.
I have known many who regularly establish goals for themselves. You probably have, and do. I know that I do. One could have a goal to “get the garden in” (a small goal) or obtain a college degree (a large goal). Painting the house, taking a vacation, seeking and achieving a pay raise, getting married, having three children, losing weight, buying a house, learning to play an instrument, excelling in a sport, learning to give a speech in public, breaking or building a habit, reading a book—and a thousand other things—are all goals of one size or another.
There is nothing wrong with any of these goals. Many of them, or others like them, are very important to having a productive and full life. But none are anything close to establishing the overall right goal.
Most drift along aimlessly, having no purpose to their lives. They have no idea what success is—or that it is directly connected to the first law. As a matter of fact, understanding the correct definition of success is the first law. While many regularly do define and set lesser, short-term goals, virtually everyone is ignorant of this vital first law of success!
Almost invariably, people allow circumstances to dictate the course of their lives. Few actually sit down and plan in advance what they hope or want to achieve over a long period of time. Certainly, even fewer determine in advance what they want their life to have achieved when it comes to an end. And even if one did set many short, medium and long-term goals, including goals that spanned many, many years, or even an entire lifetime, this is of no value unless they have established the right goal. For only the goal based on the correct understanding of true success can be considered the right goal.
Few actually even take time to analyze whether or not there should even be a great, over-arching purpose to human life. A few philosophers and “thinkers” have spent much time and thought on such a goal—but all have failed to deduce the right answer. But again, most make no such effort to do what only a few seem interested in learning or “figuring out.”
While many rich and prominent men, including those whose wealth and status led to great fame and recognition, achieved such prominence by seeking it, it still died with them because it was the wrong goal.
So then, one absolutely must set the right goal to achieve true success!
We are now ready to reveal the second law: education!
Virtually everything that anyone does involves having some basic education—some know-how—in order to do it. This is not hard to understand.
Consider for a moment. If the tire on your car goes flat, it takes at least a little knowledge to be able to fix it. The same is true of painting a house. Something more than a little knowledge is required to do this correctly. During college, I painted houses for part of one summer. Even having had some little experience with painting during my teenage years, I had to recognize that there was still much to learn in order to master house painting. I am glad that I did, because it meant a good income and sufficient experience that I could paint my own house later in life, and teach our children to help us when we did.
Concert pianists practice for many years, and perhaps tens of thousands of hours, to become so accomplished. They must learn to play the piano. Many private lessons, and advanced education and knowledge are necessary to achieve such a high level of competence with the keys and pedals of a piano.
Becoming a rocket scientist requires extensive education in physics, chemistry, astronomy and certain other aspects of science and aerodynamics. A vast amount of complex knowledge is absolutely necessary to achieve success in this field. Nearly everyone understands this.
Try to think of a single thing—tying a shoelace, flying a kite, driving a car, building a house, cooking a meal, writing a college textbook—that does not require at least a certain know-how, and possibly a great amount of knowledge.
What animal has to learn to do what it does? Animals function on instinct from the moment they leave the womb. God has merely programmed into animals, through instinct, everything they need to function effectively within their environment.
When a kitten is born, it knows instinctively where to find mother’s milk and what to do after it does. It need not be taught this basic knowledge. The same is true of every other kind of mammal. They are born with certain instinctive knowledge sufficient for them to survive within their environment.
I am not saying that animals cannot be taught to do certain tricks. With patient training, elephants, dogs, horses and various other animals can perform on command. But this is far different than being able to design, imagine, plan, reason and think in a directed way toward a goal or anything else.
On the other hand, humans are capable of acquiring knowledge, making decisions, exercising will and developing moral and spiritual character. People do not instinctively know everything necessary to function successfully in life. They must continually acquire more knowledge throughout their lives to address new challenges and demands made upon them. This is the single biggest difference between men and animals.
Human beings must educate themselves—gain knowledge—in order to do or achieve anything of worth in life. They must learn throughout life, continually acquiring more knowledge. This is itself fundamental knowledge.
The amount of knowledge in many fields of study has sufficiently advanced so that people must now acquire much specialized education in order to achieve their goals. They must learn to do—and be good at—their chosen profession. Many never seem to comprehend this most basic understanding.
The advanced fields of chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, engineering, history, medicine and many more are now available for study, because men have searched out and acquired vast amounts of information in these fields. Colleges and universities around the world teach them, requiring students to study, which allows them to educate themselves in their chosen profession.
But understand. In order to achieve a true education in right morals and principles, one must learn how to live—not just how to earn a living. There is a big difference! Learning morals, spiritual principles and laws—and the great law of cause and effect—are all extremely important in receiving a well-rounded education sufficient to prepare one to achieve true success.
If basic knowledge and education are necessary to understand how to succeed with any physical task or chosen profession, how much more important is it to receive an education in the great spiritual values of life?
No one would consider their education complete without some knowledge of literature, music, art and history. Why then do so many think their education is complete without learning much or any of the most important knowledge of how to live? Why do so many believe they must simply earn a living? Why do so many neglect the importance of recapturing true values? Why do so few seek to know if there is a purpose for human life?
If the answers to these questions were better understood, this sick, troubled, confused, miserable, war-torn, poverty-stricken, disease-plagued world would have more happy people than it does. (Read our booklet What Science Will Never Discover About Your Mind.)
Ignorance of the true values of life has taken man to his current decadent, degenerate state. Modern false education has set aside right knowledge. The education of this world is shot full of false values, principles and the doctrines of “no absolutes” and “situation ethics.” Colleges and universities are pumping out millions of young people who have no moral compass to direct them in making the many decisions they must face. They are ships without rudders!
Right education is the great second step in achieving true success!
We are now ready for the vitally necessary third law: good health!
Your body is composed of physical matter. You consist of chemicals arranged in certain proportion to one another. The biblical book of Genesis states, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (2:7).
You are made out of dust. Dust is made of physical matter. There is no escaping the fact that you must eat food, drink water, and breathe air for continued existence. Without any of these physical substances, for even a short time, you will die! You are utterly dependant on them for your survival.
My parents owned a natural food store for many years. It eventually grew into a chain of several stores. The largest store carried 8,000 different products. We grew up with a basic understanding of right nutrition and diet. I am most grateful for this. It is one reason I am blessed with such extraordinary energy. So many lack even the most rudimentary knowledge of how to achieve and maintain good health. They seem to believe that “food is food,” and “what’s the difference if one eats in any particular way?”
Most people have no concept that diets can be either right or WRONG! The majority load themselves with fatty, greasy foods. Or many other types of foods that could only be described as “sugar bombs,” or vast amounts of carbonated “soda pop” accompanied by insufficient water intake. Most have no idea that, like oil to an engine, water cools, cleans, lubricates and generally improves the condition of the body. They have no idea that they should drink significant amounts of water, well beyond simply sipping when they are thirsty.
It is a well known fact that fruits cleanse the body, vegetables build it, grains sustain it, and herbs help to heal the human body. Many doctors know this. So do pharmaceutical companies, who derive many medicines from plants.
Yet few parents actually teach their children—and this is an important part of right education—that to achieve success in life they must be HEALTHY!
No one likes to be sick. No one enjoys a feeling of lack of energy. Ill health and disease do not enrich the life. On the contrary, they rob a person of (and potentially can block altogether) the ability to go on to real success. If one has set the right goal and achieved a proper education, and yet suffers from poor health and has insufficient knowledge to correct it, reaching true success is almost an impossible dream.
The world is ignorant of the fact that God has outlined in His Word (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14) many kinds of land animals, sea creatures and birds of prey that are scavengers—and are not good for food. This is revealed knowledge and is most critical to understand if one is to enjoy good health. Only the Bible reveals these unclean creatures for what they are.
Most people eat devitalized foods that have been stripped of most of the important minerals necessary for good health. I recall a certain kind of bread as a child that had been stripped of over 20 separate minerals, in order to make it white and pure in appearance, with eight “added back” so that they could call it “enriched.” Later, this same bread manufacturer reported that four more nutrients were “added back,” making it “enriched” in 12 ways. Then they announced a final jump to 16 ways. Most people were fooled and did not recognize that the original grains going into the bread had been harmed in two separate ways: (1) Some elements never made it back into the bread and (2) those that did were not returned with the precision, balance and construction that the Creator had originally intended when He designed grains in the first place.
Millions eat daily what could only be described as “foodless food.” They eat breakfast cereals that are loaded with sugar and filler materials that provide little more than empty, unmeritorious calories.
With the invention of television and many other labor-saving devices, most who live in the modern age no longer exercise as they should. Many are sedentary—“couch potatoes” sitting in front of their television or computer screen, eating potato chips, candy, snacks and various other kinds of junk food. This deadly mix has left the majority of people in western “civilization” overweight and undernourished—and devitalized of energy.
I have spent most of my life training and participating in vigorous sports. Beginning at age five, I began a career in competitive swimming that spanned 14 years and included 7,000 miles of rigorous training in the water. There were times that I thought I spent all my time in a swimming pool. Though I reached the goals I had set for myself, I overdid it, and had to pull back to a more moderate approach to exercise. I had to learn balance with respect to physical activity.
Human beings are given to extreme. They either exercise too much or too little—or not at all. I now walk over two miles everyday with my wife, who walks over three miles a day. I want to be vigorously healthy, and I am. I know why I was born—I understand life’s great purpose. And this inspires and spurs me on to take care of my health so that I may fulfill it.
I have suffered from ill health and injuries that were sometimes caused by carelessness. It is frustrating to lie in a bed or use a cane or crutches to walk. It reduces one’s effectiveness—it limits one’s capability and productivity. I have never enjoyed being sick. Neither do you.
While lessons can be learned from illness and disease, this is not a natural state of being. God did not intend that people get sick. But when they violate the law of cause and effect, invariably, this is the result. For the most part, people choose to get sick. Illness and disease are not random predators that knock on some people’s doors and pass by others. Generally, they are a byproduct of ignoring the principles of good health.
Let me mention that one principle of good health is to avoid accidents as much as possible. Be reasonably careful and circumspect about what you do and how you do things. Carefully thinking through how to avoid injury, in certain circumstances, can eliminate a lot of unnecessary pain and anguish.
Even a cursory study of the rich and “successful” of this world reveals that most of them enjoy somewhat better than average health. They are generally more aware of nutrition, exercise and proper rest. They generally seem to understand that their body is a resource. Like any non-renewable resource, they can use it up! (Read our booklet God’s Principles of Healthful Living to learn much more about good health.)
This need not be you, if you obey the third law of success—good health!
Good health is a springboard to applying the fourth law: drive!
I have known many who kept the first three laws of success, but never progressed to the vitally important fourth law. They seemed to understand real success, and that they needed a good education, and the importance of enjoying good health. But they never actively drove themselves toward their goal. They never used their education, health and understanding of success with the critical ingredient of drive to achieve what they sought.
Most people expend energy as though they want to see how little they can use to get by. It is as though they want to slip by doing the bare minimum, and still hope to succeed. Only the most gifted and lucky ever achieve any kind of lasting success if they neglect to employ drive. This cannot be overstated.
I am not naturally a morning person. I have had to learn—train myself— to get up in the morning. Through most of my senior year in high school, I swam a mile every morning. This was only one of three daily practices that I had, before and after also attending class. I had a goal and I drove myself to achieve it. I knew I did not have as much natural ability as a great athlete, but I determined, by training myself to think this way, to drive myself to work harder than any of my opponents. As a result, I beat many better athletes.
Developing this practice early in life taught me that I could physically accomplish far more than I ever thought possible, if I started with good health—and then drove myself. I even learned a kind of addiction to pain and fatigue when I was training as a swimmer and in various other sports. I have never forgotten the lesson that I can do far more than I initially thought possible, if I were just willing to push myself to go “the extra mile.”
The rewards were thrilling—even exhilarating—and I did not want to give up that feeling of accomplishment!
Wise King Solomon once said, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul” (Prov. 13:19). Everyone enjoys completing important tasks. This is truly satisfying—“sweet to the soul.” But this cannot be done without recognizing and utilizing the extremely important fourth law—drive!
We are now ready to understand the fifth law: resourcefulness!
Understanding the laws of success would be incomplete if one did not recognize that things can go wrong, or can be harder and more complex than initially anticipated. In fact, few things are as easy as they seem.
Often, one has to sit down and think through how to best tackle unexpected obstacles and hurdles that appear on the path to success. Invariably, there are so many of these in life that the wise person trains himself to “expect the unexpected.”
While it is important to anticipate unexpected roadblocks in your quest to achieve, it is not nearly as important as demonstrating the resourcefulness to surmount them. Whatever obstacles fall across your path must be addressed and resolved. This takes determination and the willingness to think through the different alternatives—the various possible solutions—that can be applied so that you can progress toward your goal.
If life were always easy, and if the path were always smooth sailing, anyone could succeed by employing only the first four laws of success. But life is not like this. Unanticipated problems, difficulties, pitfalls, and resistance require constant resourcefulness for one to succeed.
You must carefully train yourself to remain calm in crisis. Panic accomplishes nothing, except to panic others around you and waste time. I learned long ago that fretting, worrying and panicking never removed the obstacle that I was facing. It did not change or even diminish it. This reaction merely delayed me, often causing loss of precious time that could have been spent traveling toward the next obstacle, had I employed resourcefulness immediately after spotting whatever problem confronted me.
My Uncle Frank, my mother’s younger brother, is one of the most astute men I have ever met. During his thirty-year tenure with Encyclopedia Britannica, he wrote or guided all of their best ads, and his leadership multiplied sales several times over, by a great many millions of dollars. He is also an accomplished Lincoln, Custer and Civil War historian, and strategist. He is a very successful man who possesses a great imagination. I have sought to copy him since I was a small child.
It was a combination of all of the above qualities that enabled him to once tell me: “David, you must always out-think your opponents.” The first time he said this to me, I did not really grasp how important this principle was. In time, I began to realize it was virtually all-important. I came to realize that most people do not do this—and have never been taught to do it.
Opponents are not always people. Every problem, difficulty, resistance, hurdle and roadblock that you face is, in a sense, an opponent. Determine to out-think them! Look each one in the eye and say, “It’s you or me, friend—and it’s not going to be me!” Practice this and you will get better at it. It will become more natural. Eventually, you will even find yourself thriving on it, enjoying the challenge of defeating enemies that want to defeat you. The “thrill of victory” will begin to regularly replace the “agony of defeat” that consumes so many people who do not know that they must apply calm, careful reason to problems in order to defeat them.
Never forget: To achieve true success, practice resourcefulness!
Even practicing the fifth law will be insufficient to ensure victory—true success—if you do not continually employ the sixth law: perseverance!
To habitually practice the fifth law, one will almost automatically find himself on the edge of practicing the sixth law of success.
Once again, life is not easy. Christ taught, “Enter you in at the strait [difficult] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
Christ understood that only a few would pay the price to become a Christian. He knew that most would view the true Christian path as too difficult, too contrary to the easy path that nearly everyone chooses in life. They would not focus on the reward, but instead would draw back from the price, believing it to be too great for what they could “get” out of real Christianity.
Enjoying the sweet taste of success comes at a price. Unfortunately, most are not willing to pay it. Like one choosing to buy a particular watch, and then finding that it is too expensive—while it is the one carefully chosen and desired—most will simply settle for a cheaper watch. They are unwilling to save for the purchase, because they do not want to “pay the price.” They accept something less when they did not need to.
Achieving success requires sticking to the goal. It requires perseverance, often called stick-to-it-iveness. Winston Churchill admonished World War II Great Britain to “never, never, never give up.” With the help of other allied forces, they went on to victory against Hitler and the Axis powers—the entire course of world history was changed. I have often thought that this great statesman’s inspiring stir to action, explaining that the British would (I am paraphrasing) “fight them in the air, fight them in the fields, fight them in the cities, and fight them on the beaches,” was one of the most remarkable examples of perseverance and continuous, undying courage that I have ever seen. An entire generation may have turned and survived on this single man’s words!
As a child, I was never allowed to be a “quitter.” While my father usually allowed me to choose certain sports, hobbies or school coursework, he never allowed me to quit after I made my choice. That was out of the question—unthinkable to him.
As a result, the thought of quitting or giving up is one of the most repugnant things I can think of. I am enormously grateful for having been forced (for I would not have naturally chosen this way) by my father, and additional circumstances later in life, to practice perseverance in the face of resistance.
If, upon facing a trial or opposition, one is resourceful one, two or three times, and then gives up—quits—resourcefulness was not enough to ensure success. Stick-to-it-iveness became necessary, but was lacking.
So few seem to understand that they must press on—and on—AND ON! If you can train yourself to paint a house, ride a bike or play a piano, you can train yourself to think—and live—this way. Do not let yourself believe or settle for less!
After the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, the leaders who replaced him took the Church of God away from the truth, essentially destroying the visible church. Everyone who believed most or all of the truth fled that church. Upon establishing The Restored Church of God, we faced many hurdles, roadblocks, intense persecution—and much opposition no matter which way we turned. As is always the case in such circumstances, some became naysayers and doomsayers, and quit. They gave up—and threw in the towel!
Continuing on, under Christ’s constant supervision, has never been easy. But, because it is the Church of God—and because we have never given up—we are not only surviving, but we are thriving and taking the gospel of the kingdom of God around the world. Despite the enormous opposition we suffered in the early days of our existence, this Work of Christ is succeeding in a way that none would have believed possible. If it is Christ’s Work, and is to remain His Work, we must follow His words, “but he that endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13; 10:22). This we are determined to do. And in every goal in life, you must do the same.
Train yourself to be repulsed at the very idea of quitting. Train yourself to be ashamed and embarrassed at just the thought of it. Tell yourself that whatever options may be at your disposal, quitting is not one of them, as long as you have established the right goal. By the time you have employed the first five laws of success, the last thing you must ever allow to creep into your mind is neglect of the vital sixth law, which requires patient continuance toward your objective.
Incessantly, relentlessly, persistently and continually stick to your goal! Never give up! Never become a quitter! Never throw in the towel! Practice perseverance to the end!
We have reached the seventh and greatest of the seven laws of success: contact with, guidance from and continuous help of God!
Having learned and determined to practice the first six laws, you are still one very long step from any hope of achieving true, lasting success. Yet, while most, with much effort, and the application of human reason, could discern the first six laws of success, they could never discover the overlooked seventh law.
Some few men, counted as great by the “great” of this world, have been able to learn and practice the first six laws. They have become successes in the eyes of their peers and society. But this has not made them a true success! They have fallen one giant step short of the final goal. If they had held this important key, this would not have happened. The sum of their lives would have been entirely different!
At this point, important explanation must be given to establish in your thinking the enormous capstone seventh law. In reality, though I have chosen to address it last, it is actually the first law of success, in order of importance. Let’s understand.
Nothing in life of any real value can occur apart from God. All spiritual growth, development and progress are blocked without this law firmly in place in one’s mind. Therefore, it is really the starting point to real growth on the way to true success. But, I have included it last, because it is the one over-arching, all-encompassing law that mankind cannot figure out for itself. God must reveal it.
As explained, men can practice the other laws, after first systematically discerning each one for themselves. While this is so difficult that few have done it, it is possible. None of the first six laws is spiritually revealed knowledge. The seventh law—contact with God—is revealed knowledge. None can discern it without God’s help!
This great seventh law is the one that people are least interested in. Why? Because most people want to live on their own terms. They certainly desire success, fame, wealth—and all the “good things” of life—but not if it means obeying God. Yet, it is an all-wise, all-powerful Creator who has made the human mind and body. He knows best how it functions. Only God is able to reveal the many principles, values, laws, keys of knowledge and understanding that flow from constant daily contact with Him.
Many millions claim to seek God. But in reality, they do not. They claim to have God in their lives—to be religious. But in reality, they are not!
It is a fact of life that most people never truly seek God—never truly cry out to Him for real help—unless they are in extreme trouble. At these moments, God suddenly becomes very important. Then people really need His help. When things are going well, they do not want Him “sticking His nose in their business.” They want Him to stay out of the way so they can direct their own paths, seek their own goals and definition of success.
However, when in terrible health, grave financial difficulty, when their marriage appears shattered, or after the death of a child or other loved one, God becomes more important. The problem is that God is the last option—instead of the first, which He should be. People live as though “when all else fails, try God.” Sadly, this occurs after people have rejected, dishonored, and generally disobeyed Him for all or much of their lives. While this is better than never, it is not good enough. This is why the seventh law of success is really the first law to be applied.
You now understand why I said this earlier.
Life involves many choices, some of them great. Through Moses, God presented the nation of ancient Israel with life’s ultimate choice. Notice: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).
This was written nearly 3,500 years ago. Yet nothing has changed. You and I are presented with the same choice. With Jesus Christ having paid the death penalty for sins (Rom. 6:23), today God offers people eternal life—if they seek and obey Him.
It is beyond the scope and purpose of this booklet to explain the many scriptures that describe the path to the true salvation of the Bible. It has never been to “go to heaven.” This belief is nothing more than pagan superstition—a fiction created by deceived men cut off from God. To those who “choose life,” God has promised something far greater than a slothful existence akin to “rolling around heaven all day.”
But people must want to seek God. You were born with free moral agency. You have the right—and power—to choose death. You also have the right to choose life. Consider carefully what you do—the direction you choose. For no one can achieve true success if he violates either the first law, which is correctly defining success, or the seventh law, which is seeking God on the way to true success!
God inspired Jeremiah to write, “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (2:13).
Take a moment to reflect on this verse. Determine not to “forsake” God, because you are also determined never to drink from a glass that “will not hold water.” The false pagan beliefs, taught by the churches of this world, are “leaky glasses”—“broken cisterns.” They do not work—and lead to failure!
Studies have shown, as of several years ago, that as many as 20% of the CEOs of major companies study the book of Proverbs. Solomon, whom God describes as the wisest man who has ever lived, recorded this book of the Bible, along with the book of Ecclesiastes. In the latter, he described his many physical activities in pursuit of the ultimate happiness and fulfillment.
Here is a long passage describing what he did. This comes from the Moffatt translation: “Come, try pleasure and enjoy yourself…I searched my mind how to pamper my body with wine (keeping control of myself wisely all the time), how to come by folly, till I could see how best the sons of men might fair…I built mansions, planted vineyards, laid out gardens and parks in which I planted all manner of fruit-trees, making pools to water the trees in my plantations; I bought slaves, both men and women, and had slaves born within my household; I had large herds and flocks, larger than any before me in Jerusalem; I amassed silver and gold, right royal treasures; I secured singers, both men and women, and many a mistress, man’s delight. Richer and richer I grew, more than any before me in Jerusalem…Nothing I coveted did I refuse myself; I denied my heart no joy—for my heart did feel joy in all this toil; so much I did get from all my efforts…But when I turned to look at all I had achieved and at my toil and trouble, then it was all vain and futile…Nothing in this world is worthwhile” (Ecc. 2:1, 3-11).
Very few have experienced as many things, in the ultimate pursuit of pleasure, as did Solomon. Take a moment to think about the expanse of what he said that he did. Yet Solomon found none of these things, or even all of them put together, permanently satisfying. They left him unfulfilled—and empty. Over time, he stopped practicing the seventh law of success (I Kgs. 11:4).
Virtually no one learns or practices the seventh law of success. This is why most people never experience the wonderful happiness, contentment and peace that they should. So many unwittingly deny themselves fulfillment of these things, because they never “choose life.” They never choose to seek the God who can lead them to eternal life. They never learn the reason for their existence.
No wonder so many people give up on life and commit suicide. I have known several who did this, and it was always because they had lost hope that they could have a meaningful future. They gave up and lost out on what could have been true success, had they just been willing to learn and continue on the right path.
Isaiah explained how to fill the empty human existence of those cut off from God: “Everyone that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfies not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (55:1-2).
Most people have absolutely no idea why they were born. They do not even know if there is a purpose for human life. Yet the Bible is literally filled with scriptures describing and emphasizing the importance of building spiritual character. I have written many booklets explaining how vital it is that true Christians build character throughout their lives. You may read them.
You were born to fulfill a great purpose. No college or university can teach it to you. It is revealed knowledge, understood by only a few. God may be revealing this knowledge to you, so that you can become one of those few. Ask God for wisdom and He will give it: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him” (Jms. 1:5).
Believe this verse. YOU can ask the same God to give you some of the same wisdom that He gave Solomon. He will answer you if you truly seek him!
This booklet could explain the importance of developing love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc. (Gal. 5:22-23). It could also explain about humility, mercy, compassion and more. But this would deviate from its stated purpose.
It is not the purpose here to explain in detail why God’s Word teaches as much as it does on the subject of building character. But it is critical to recognize that none can actually be a true spiritual success in life without developing the many qualities of character described throughout the Bible.
Again, most people have not a hint, inkling or clue why they were born. They do not even know if there is a reason—a purpose—for their existence. Only the Bible reveals it. (Read our book The Awesome Potential of Man.)
God intended that every human being become a success. He states through the apostle Paul that He “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). And through the apostle Peter, He adds that He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9).
In the greatest overall sense, achieving salvation is reaching a level of true and final success vastly beyond anything possible in this life. While most professing Christians would probably agree with this statement, it has not occurred to almost any of them that the greatest Author of success—GOD!—would reveal how to achieve such true success!
This is what the wealthy, the famous, the powerful, the great—the supposedly “successful”—of this world never recognized!
It is a great irony that most people ignore and reject the instructions of the very God they profess to serve—and from whom they hope to be given eternal success—salvation! Yet, in an additional ironic twist, these same people would probably line up by the millions if they could buy a copyrighted formula guaranteed to bring them success with no effort.
Now that you know the formula—the laws to success—what will you DO with them?
Before Mr. Armstrong concluded his booklet The Seven Laws of Success, he returned to briefly summarize the seven laws that he had just explained. At the following point near his conclusion, he was discussing the fifth law under the subhead “It PAYS Off!” Here is what he wrote:
“People trying to live without the living CHRIST in their lives are missing the most practical and valuable asset they could have. In the language of our day, ‘it pays off!’ Of course, we have to expend our own effort. We have to really think. We use all our own resources and natural resourcefulness. But we have that added security of divine guidance. Often God simply works out circumstances. He literally gives us ‘the breaks’! IT PAYS!
“Finally, now, look at Success Law Number SIX. Perseverance—Stick-to-it-iveness—Enduring—Never quitting or giving up.
“The Maker’s Instruction Book seems full of this. Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed showed the four classes. All heard God’s Message. All were given the opportunity. Three classes gave up. One never really got started. Two started out with joy and a great flourish, but let former friends, the cares of this material life, pleasures, choke them off, and discourage them. The other class of quitters simply did not have the depth of strength of character within themselves to stay with anything. They were just naturally quitters. Even of those who went on, and endured, some were more diligent, more resourceful, better prepared, more careful of health, and consequently developed farther in accomplishment than others. Theirs will be the greater reward!
“Jesus Christ said, plainly, ‘He that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved’ (Matt. 24:13).
“Yes, these Seven Laws are the way, not only to business and economic success—they are the laws that lead to rich, rewarding, interest-filled, abundant living and, in the end, to eternal life and glory in the Kingdom of God.
“It teaches you to choose the right goal. It teaches you to study, to show yourself approved to your Maker. It teaches you to acquire knowledge, right and true education—preparation for success. It teaches you to watch your health. It teaches diligence—drive—dedication, persistent application. It teaches resourcefulness, and offers you divine help in applying it—and it teaches staying with it to the end!
“What a happy life God has made available! What blessedness—what joy! What security, this life of implicit living faith—reliance on the Creator—God!
“I know! I’ve been enjoying this life for more than fifty-seven years! It’s a busy life—but it’s interesting, thrilling, happy, abundantly rewarding! And to constantly look forward to the overall goal—an eternity in the Kingdom of God!
“I want to share that life with you! You may enjoy it too!”