Self-Improvement 101 (John Maxwell)

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by BayouHuguenot, Apr 8, 2019.

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  1. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Maxwell, John C. Self-Improvement 101. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009.

    This might sound like a self-help book, but there is nothing feel-good about it. It requires work, discipline, and owning up to mistakes: basically the opposite of a Joel Osteen sermon.

    Patterns for Improvement

    Maxwell’s goal is leadership but this could probably work in any subject. It’s what I’ve been doing for years now.

    Monday: spend one hour with a devotional to develop your spiritual life.

    Tuesday: Spend one hour listening to a leadership podcast or audio lesson.

    Wednesday: Spend one hour filing quotes and reflecting on the content of Tuesday’s tape.

    Thursday: Spend one hour reading a book on leadership.

    Friday: Spend half the hour reading the book and the other half filing and reflecting.

    When you spend time reading, you should be asking:

    Where can I use it?
    When can I use it?
    Who else needs to know it (15)?

    We should aim for self-development, not self-fulfilment (10). This means attaining the purpose for which you were called.

    Understanding the Learning Process

    Step 1: Act

    Step 2: Look for your mistakes

    Step 3: Search for a way to do it better.

    Step 4: Go back to step 1 (36).

    When you go to a lecture or a seminar, how will you evaluate your growth? (While I personally dislike journals, find some filing system to….)

    T: indicates you need to spend some time thinking on that point.

    C: indicates something you need to change.

    J: A smiley face means you are doing something well.

    A: indicates something you need to apply.

    S: means you need to share that information with someone else (38).

    The mentoring part is tricky. You need to find a mentor whose success is obtainable for you, yet not too easy.

    “To reach your potential, get in your strength zone.”

    Defining success

    Know your purpose

    Growing to your maximum potential

    Sowing the seeds that benefit others (59).

    We focus on strengths because one’s calling is connected to his giftedness.

    Ten Trade Offs worth making

    (1) Trade Affirmation for Accomplishment

    (2) Trade Security for Significance

    (3) Trade Financial Gain for Future Potential

    (4) Trade Immediate Pleasure for Personal Growth

    (5) Trade Exploration for Focus

    (6) Trade Quantity of Life for Quality of Life

    (7) Trade Acceptable for Excellent

    (8) Trade Addition for Multiplication. Leaders who gather followers add to what they are doing. Leaders who develop leaders multiply what they are doing.

    (9) Trade the first half for the second half.

    (10) Trade your work for God for a walk with God.
  2. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    OK admins, he's reviewing self-help books, and one by a former Wesleyan pastor at that. Time to drop the ban hammer? :lol:
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  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    The title indicates that it is literally a self-help book, although I think the preferred terminology now may be "personal development" given the negatives around the self-help genre.

    Emphasizing hard work and discipline was more typical of some older types of self-help books. This is even with their promotion of self-esteem and a positive mental attitude, and considering the influence of "New Thought" on the genre, (perhaps especially in the early-mid 20th Century) perhaps more rank heresy than you'll find in a year of Osteen sermons. I'm thinking of the likes of Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, maybe even Dale Carnegie. Self-esteem and PMA wasn't necessarily antithetical to hard work although I guess that's sort of what it degenerated into since people like something for nothing.

    I've got a bunch of Maxwell books although I really can't say why. (I've got way too many business books, just as I have way too many Christian books.) I've never found him to be particularly deep or profound, although he may avoid some of the pitfalls of the genre as noted in the previous paragraph, although I think he has also endorsed some of those authors. At best it seems to be sort of basic stuff. But sometimes we need to get back to the basics.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He's good at creating systems that will help you work harder and smarter. That's why I am reading him.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Some folks on the PB need self-help books; especially Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends.... :duh:
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I think I've picked up all of those books at library and similar sales. I've got some of his 101 books, but not this one.
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I've been on a number of ministry search committees and whenever we get to leadership questions: "How would you do x?" almost every answer is the same. Maxwell helps flesh that out into a workable project.
  8. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Interestingly enough, I took a leadership class as part of my DMin program and we were specifically forbidden from using Maxwell in our research.
  9. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Number five is one I’ve been thinking about a lot the past couple of years. I’m not sure if this is Maxwell’s intent but this dichotomy is often framed as the generalist vs. the specialist. These days it seems specialists are in, generalists are out. The generalists counter to that they are the ones that can keep everyone communicating. If that is the case then what does a generalist focus on.
  10. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Generalism can be defined within certain parameters. It just needs to be framed within "what kinds of problems am I as a generalist uniquely gifted at solving" - I think that is the way you can market yourself. Otherwise, it can be very difficult for others to understand your value.

    I speak as more of a generalist myself and also have thought about this quite a bit as I try to determine my unique value.

    One area I have honed in on is creating and evaluating systems. If you as a generalist can understand how the various parts work together in the system, and understand where you can plug holes and improve the system, that has great value.
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I think what he is saying is that you can't master everything. This year, for example, I chose not to learn Classical Syriac. I could have done it, but the payoff wasn't worth the time I could have spent going deeper in Hebrew.
  12. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Sounds like if your filing skills aren't up to snuff, you've got even more work to do. Heh.
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Google Drive.
  14. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Yes. I think generalists in general :) are better at soft skills.
  15. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Yes. I’ve begrudgingly came to that conclusion except with modern languages. I had this bucket list of six languages I was going to learn. If I nail Spanish and French to the level I want I’ll call it good. I’m just interested in too many things along with the need to stay updated in my career. One has to make a choice to eliminate some choices.
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