Remembering Zig Ziglar

"We are designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness."
Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was 86-years-old when he recently died. I never met him. I never heard him speak. He wrote over 30 books and I never read one of them. But this amazing man made a significant impact on me.

He was born in Coffee County, Alabama as the tenth of twelve children. At five years of age, his family moved to Yazoo, Mississippi where his father took a management position at a Mississippi farm. One year later his father died of a stroke, and his youngest sister died two days earlier. Obviously, he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Yet, he went on to become one of the greatest motivational speakers of his day. A World War II veteran and top sales person in several organizations, he hit his stride when he went out on his own to share his insights to leaders everywhere.

In 1974 he self-published Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles in which he referred to three of his parable-like human interest stories which he used in his talks on attitude and personal success. Later published as See You at the Top, and it sold over two million copies. "His seminar on this topic," as one writer said, "broke new ground, and forever cemented his reputation as one of the most exciting, inspirational and authentic motivational speakers to take the stage."

Those who knew Zig Ziglar described him as a deeply committed Christian. His pastor and friend, Rev. Jack Graham, said Ziglar "truly was filled with faith. He was positive. He was hopeful. You just never heard negativity from Zig Ziglar. It wasn't just something he did on the platform. This was who he was. This was how he lived his life. And he helped so many people."

Whether he was speaking or writing, Aydin Stone described Ziglar's life message as a person who embodied the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12)

You may wonder how a person I never met nor ever heard or whose books I never read could have a significant impact on me. I guess it is because I heard so much about him by those who did meet him or hear him or did read his books. And, over the years, his classic quotes and their timeless wisdom which I have often heard have always connected somewhere deep within me.
Here are a few:

  • It's your attitude not your aptitude that will determine your altitude.
  • People say motivation doesn't last. Neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily.
  • You can get everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want.
  • There has never been a statue to honor a critic.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you're going to find them scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere.
  • You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
  • The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.
  • A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.
  • Some people find fault like there is a reward for it.
  • Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.
  • Some of us learn from other people's mistakes and the rest of us have to be other people.

I could go on and on. These and other Zig Ziglar nuggets have inspired me over the years. On the corner of my desk I always have quotes that inspire or challenge me. And, every so often I take one away and then add a new one. I think it is time I place another Zig Ziglar quote there.

Think about it.