John Maxwell: 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

UPDATED: October 4, 2012
PUBLISHED: October 4, 2012

John Maxwell’s new book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth begins with these words, “Potential is one of the most wonderful words in any language. It looks forward with optimism. It is filled with hope. It promises success. It implies fulfillment. It hints at greatness. Potential is a word based on possibilities. Think about your potential as a human being and you get excited—at least, I hope you do. What a positive thought.”

This is the third “laws” book the leadership expert has written. The first, The 17 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, was developed to help leaders understand how leadership works so they could become better leaders. The second, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, was to help people understand teamwork and develop stronger teams. Maxwell explains this book is dedicated to helping you understand how personal growth works and to help you become a more effective and fulfilled individual. “While it’s true that I may include a few leadership insights along the way, you don’t need to be a leader for this book to help you,” Maxwell says.

Maxwell on Potential

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” Those words encouraged me to try things that I believed were beyond my capabilities. They also inspired me to write the book Failing Forward. When I received the first copy of that book from the publisher, I immediately wrote a thank-you in it to Dr. Schuller and signed it to him. And I made a trip to Garden Grove so I could present it to him and thank him for the positive influence he had on my life. A photograph that was taken of us on that day sits on the desk in my office as a reminder of his investment in me.”

“You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are.”

“Bruce Springsteen commented, “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” No one improves by accident. Personal growth doesn’t just happen on its own. And once you’re done with your formal education, you must take complete ownership of the growth process, because nobody else will do it for you… If you want your life to improve, you must improve yourself.”

Maxwell on Purpose

“One of the main keys to being successful and fulfilling your purpose is to understand your unique talents and to find the right arena to use them. Some people have an inherent ability to know who they are and who they’re not. Others have to work hard to make those discoveries.  One of the main keys to being successful and fulfilling your purpose is to understand your unique talents and to find the right arena to use them.” 

Maxwell on Action

“When I wanted to learn how to lead better, I looked to Melvin Maxwell, Bill Hybels, John Wooden, Oswald Sanders, Jesus Christ, and hundreds of others to show me the way. If I’ve learned how to communicate more effectively, it is because I’ve learned from Andy Stanley, Johnny Carson, Howard Hendricks, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, and hundreds of others. If I create and write in a way that helps people, it is because Les Stobbe, Max Lucado, Charlie Wetzel, Les Parrott, Bob Buford, and others have spent time with me. If you have discovered what you want to do, start finding people who do what you want to do with excellence. Then do what you must to learn from them. Get committed. Pay people for their time if necessary. Be consistent. Meet purposefully every month with someone who can teach you. Be creative. Start with their books if you can’t meet them in person. Be purposeful. Spend two hours in preparation for every hour of interaction. Be reflective. Spend two hours in reflection for every hour of interaction. Be grateful. These people are gifts to your personal growth; be sure to let them know.”

“Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation and then guess what. After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it. Motivation is like love and happiness. It’s a by-product. When you’re actively engaged in doing something, it sneaks up and zaps you when you least expect it. As Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner says, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.” So act! Whatever it is you know you should do, do it.”

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