Paul J. Meyer was many things—personal-development pioneer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, father and grandfather.
he lived very large, and inspired others to do great things, too, Meyer’s life and work could be summarized by one simple
phrase: "Attitude is Everything!"
Meyer passed away Oct. 26. He was 81.
Founder of Success Motivation International, Meyer became a recognized authority in goal setting, personal success, sales
and management development. A leading author of personal-development content, he sold more than $3 billion in materials translated
into more than two dozen languages in more than 60 countries since founding SMI in 1960. He was the first to condense self-improvement
books and put them in audio format, making the content available to millions more people around the globe.
The Paul & Jane Meyer Foundation, which he launched in 1984, reportedly gave away at least $65 million to charities and
dedicated to making a difference for others. Through his Passport to Success program and other efforts, he helped send thousands
of economically disadvantaged youths to college.
A self-made millionaire while still in his 20s, Meyer and wife Jane had five children and 15 grandchildren. They passed along
entrepreneurial values to their family, ultimately building more than 40 successful businesses in industries ranging from
real estate to jet leasing.
“Success begins with an attitude,” Meyer said in a 2008 SUCCESS feature. “Winners habitually face the
work of the day
with the purpose of discovering what can be done instead of what cannot be done. When winners encounter roadblocks, they draw
instantly on their positive attitude and determine quickly how to react constructively.”
Everywhere, Meyer professed his belief: “Attitude is Everything!” On a sign in his office, a sign he held up
at the South
Pole on the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage, and even while scuba diving in the Cayman Islands where he and his family lived
seasonally. Diving near the ocean floor, he held up this sign: “When You’re Down at the Bottom, Attitude is
On his 70th birthday, days after being hospitalized with an asthma attack, he climbed Colorado’s Mt. Elbert, the second
highest peak in the continental United States, crawling up the last 500 feet because breathing was so difficult. “It
have taken me a while, but my attitude was such that I was not going to be denied,” Meyer said. “I was going
to the top—period.”
And you can guess what was on the sign he held up when he reached the summit: “Attitude is Everything!”