To Perform Best in Life, Remember These 6 Ziglar Truths

UPDATED: July 12, 2023
PUBLISHED: November 11, 2014

Beloved author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar taught timeless lessons of success before his passing two years ago this month. He encouraged people to live a life of no regrets in his last book, Born to Win!

Here, in an excerpt from the book, are Zig Ziglar’s six principles of performance—how you can improve yourself and accomplish valuable, holistic success in life and in business.

Related: 43 Ways to Improve Yourself in Just 10 Minutes

1. We generally get from ourselves and others what we expect.

It is a huge fact that you will either live up or down to your own expectations.

If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. And what is true for you is true for others. Your expectations for others will become what they deliver and achieve.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

2. The difference between good and excellent companies is training.

The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.

A football team would not be very successful if they did not train, practice and prepare for their opponents. When you think of training as practice and preparation, it makes you wonder how businesses survive that do not make significant training investments in their people.

3. Actually, companies that do not train their people and invest in their ability don’t last.

They operate from a competitive disadvantage and are eventually gobbled up and defeated in the marketplace.

If you want to improve and move from good to excellent, a good training strategy will be the key to success.

4. You find what you look for in life.

If you look for the good things in life, you will find them. If you look for opportunities to grow and prosper, you will find them. If you look for positive, enthusiastic friends and associates who will support you, you will find them.

On the other hand, if you look for ways to cheat, you will cheat. If you look for ways to justify leaving your spouse, you will find them. If you look for justifiable reasons to hold a grudge against another person, you will find those, too.

It is a natural tendency of us all to look for things that will justify what we think we need or want. If you are not living by the foundation stones of honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty, you will be drawn to seeking selfish gratification, and that leads to misery and unfulfilled dreams. Whatever you have will never be enough. Always look for the good and for ways to help others.

Related: 9 Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Integrity

5. Never make a promise without a plan.

Far too many people make promises they can never keep. They may have the best intentions in the world to keep their promise, but if they have not made a plan to keep it, they will not be able to do it.

Business leaders who make promises to their employees will not honor them if they do not create a plan on how the promises will be kept. If you make a future commitment, you must understand and be willing to do whatever it takes to complete that commitment.

One of the reasons marriage commitments fail so frequently is because the husband and wife do not understand what it takes to have a great marriage. They do not plan for or understand the sacrifices each must make for the other to enable a long-lasting relationship.

6. Happiness, joy and gratitude are universal if we know what to look for.

I believe you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

All people want happiness and joy in their life, but you have to know what produces real happiness and how to do the things that produce it. The moment you begin to worry about the things you want and the things you don’t have in life is the moment you will lose your gratitude for what you actually have. If you are ungrateful, you will never be satisfied or content or joyful about your life. The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.

Related: How to Exponentially Improve Your Performance


Zig Ziglar taught timeless lessons of success before his passing in 2012. An author, salesperson and motivational speaker, his books include the classic See You at the Top, as well asRaising Positive Kids in a Negative World, Top Performance, Courtship After Marriage, Over the Top and Secrets of Closing the Sale.