By John Wood
When Zig Ziglar first submitted his book Over the Top to his publisher, his publisher sent it back to him.
He asked Ziglar how he could tell people how to live “over the top” when he hadn’t identified what living over the top means.
So Ziglar sat down to remedy the problem.
He’d write something … rip it up … write something else … rip it up … go for a walk … write something … rip it up … and so on.
It went on for a full two months.
Then one day, he and his wife went to visit his wife’s sister in a Shreveport, Louisiana, nursing home. His wife’s sister has multiple sclerosis.
Now Ziglar, being a solutions-oriented person, likes to tackle a problem by breaking it down into steps. But because many people in the nursing home were beyond human help, it was out of his realm in terms of providing a solution. He found it rather difficult to deal with.
However, he says his wife was not burdened with the belief that everyone she meets she has to cure.
She quickly started hugging people, telling them how pretty they were, telling them that she loved them and how glad she was to see them.
Ziglar says people were gathered around her like bees around the hive.
He couldn’t handle it, though – so he excused himself and walked outside.
There, he said the following prayer to himself …
“Lord, please give me that kind of heart. Make me have that kind of compassion for my fellow human being. Touch me, so that I will have that kind of spirit.”
He went back inside and sat down, and suddenly inspiration came to him.
On the back of a motel bill that he’d just paid, he wrote down the “over the top” words that had been eluding him for so long. It only took him a few minutes. 90% of what follows consists of what Ziglar wrote out that day:
Once finished, Ziglar realized he hadn’t identified what it means to be at or over the top at all.
He’d identified the bottom.
Because anyone who adheres to the things on his list has a firm foundation to build a life doing anything they want to do – whether it’s being a writer or studying to be an astronaut.
Powerful stuff, wouldn’t you say?
And a worthy set of criteria to aspire to as one moves forward in life.
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Writer’s Life, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on how to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life/.