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Mackay: Regain control of your life at every level

  • Article by: HARVEY MACKAY
  • September 15, 2013 - 2:00 PM

No one ever accused Larry Winget of mincing words. Larry, who is often referred to as the Pitbull of Personal Development, wouldn’t take kindly to it anyway. His books, speeches and TV appearances leave no doubt about where he stands and why he feels the way he does.

I admire Larry’s courage to speak plainly and without concern for “political correctness,” particularly when writing about a topic that involves convictions.

His latest book is bound to pop a few eyeballs, probably starting with the title: “Grow a Pair: How to Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business, and Your Sanity.” Larry assures readers that the title refers to an attitude, not anatomy.

“Growing a pair is a state of mind, an attitude, and a way of thinking,” he writes. “It’s about giving up being a victim and taking control of your life at every level.

He adds: “It is the willingness to do the right thing even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. It has roots in personal responsibility. It’s about drawing lines in the sand. It’s about knowing yourself, knowing your values, and becoming uncompromising in your willingness to do whatever it takes to stand up for them … Don’t you agree that our society is in desperate need of developing that mind-set?”

I will happily answer: Yes.

Larry attributes the social shift in part to the entitlement mentality, attitudes developed during the hippie generation, and the idea that people will do whatever they can get away with. He says: “People will do anything and everything they can until someone stops them from doing it and sets limits and imposes consequences. Therefore, the solution to this problem is to let people get away with less.”

He writes: “Stop tolerating stupidity and poor performance. Stop letting people get away with bad behavior. Break this natural cycle with yourself, your family, and with your co-workers and employees. It won’t change the world, but it just might change your world.”

He offers a list of 16 questions to determine whether you have “a pair.” Among them: Do you allow people to take advantage of you? Do you find yourself picking up the slack for lazy co-workers? Do you often feel responsible for other people and their feelings? Do you find yourself compromising your opinions and beliefs in an effort to get along? Do people mistreat you emotionally, verbally, psychologically or physically?

Answer those questions with a “yes, but” and Larry will remind you that you need to work on yourself.

On the other hand, he wants readers to answer “yes” to questions such as: Do you stand up for yourself and your beliefs even in the face of conflict? Do you recognize your problems as problems but know that with some hard work and a little sweat you will get through it? Do you speak up when you see someone else being mistreated?

I was fascinated at the variety of inspirational sources Larry quotes in his book, ranging from Gandhi to Benjamin Franklin to Churchill. Those are role models of honesty and courage for any age.

Larry offers very practical advice for developing the gumption to change your life. In fact, he breaks it into two dozen categories and explains them very clearly.

The one that stands out for me is “Make big, bold, brash, ballsy plans.” He says: “No one ever wrote down a plan to be fat, broke, stupid, lazy, unhappy, and mediocre. These are the things that happen when you don’t have a plan.”

Larry also insists that setting clear priorities signals that you are in control of your own life: “Your time, energy, and money always go to what’s important to you.”

Now you see why Larry Winget is known as the Pitbull of Personal Development.

Mackay’s Moral: Control your life or it will control you.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.

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