Jan Dobr says he never set a goal in his life.
That is until he first came across SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge—the cornerstone of the SUCCESS for Teens personal-development curriculum by the SUCCESS Foundation. After reading the book, Dobr, who emigrated from the Czech Republic to the U.S. in 1998, decided to read 10 pages of self-improvement literature every day for 10 years.
“My ultimate goal is to have joy and happiness in all aspects of my life—emotional, physical, mental, financial, social and spiritual,” says Dobr, 41.
Now a U.S. citizen and six years into his goal, Dobr’s life has grown in ways he never thought possible, including marriage, running his first marathon, graduating from college, and becoming the general manager of a restaurant, Martin’s, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“I always go back to [SUCCESS for Teens] because it presents valuable information in great simplicity,” says the Myrtle Beach resident. “It’s the building stones of anyone’s success.”
When SUCCESS first talked with Dobr in 2013, he had read the book five or six times. Now it’s at least 20.
He’s also spreading the lessons with others, including those at the Waccamaw Youth Center in Conway, South Carolina, which houses young men and boys from troubled families. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs; SUCCESSFoundation.org offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.)
As a Grand Strand Optimist Club member, Dobr meets with eight to 10 teenage boys at the center for about two hours a month to read the book, discuss the lessons and complete the exercises.
“Their lives are in disarray, and their attention spans are very difficult at times,” Dobr says. So he shares examples from his own life and how the book helped him achieve his goals.
“I feel like, as we’re reading, anytime I can add something from my life experience, it gives them extra reason to believe and remember,” he says.
One young man told Dobr he experienced one of Chapter 1’s points, “The Ripple Effect” firsthand: “He started helping out in church and by the time he knew it, other people were helping him, and he knew his life was on the right track,” Dobr says. “He also became more determined to study at school, which fulfills his goal of getting better grades.”
Dobr also shares the book with other adults, such as leaders of local church groups and children’s nonprofits.
The restaurant recently hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser benefiting the Waccamaw Youth Center and area children’s charities. Dobr helped serve nearly 250 dinners and a 2-by-4-foot sheet cake. “It was awesome,” he says with a smile.
To request books, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit SUCCESSFoundation.org. Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing [email protected]
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.