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Twelve Pillars : Lessons Learned

Mom life has easily made me pickup children books to read to my children rather than a book for myself. However, this year I have made it a priority to get back into reading. Truth be told, this is the first book I have read in quite some time.

Jairo (my husband) received this book as a gift over the holidays and I chose to read it because of its brevity. I wanted something that would not have me dragging my feet to read. Plus, I had heard about the "twelve pillars" before and was intrigued to find out what the hype was about. I was not disappointed one bit.

The novel is in the form of a fictional story with lots of gems broken down into "pillars". A guy who is in his forties and extremely unhappy with where he is in life has a "chance encounter" with an old man in his seventies. The old man is the "keeper" of an white plantation style home that had twelve two story pillars. Mr. Davis, the owner of the home designed for each pillar to signify a key to success. The two men develop a friendship of sorts and the old man teaches all about Mr. Davis's twelve pillars of success.

Pillar # 1

"The only way things are going to change for you is when you change."

This pillar is all about personal development. "Success comes when you develop yourself beyond where you currently are. So you have to work harder on yourself - improving yourself - than you do your job."

Pillar # 2

"You should make sure that the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you."

The second pillar is all about well-being and three dimensional health. The three parts consist of, the body, the soul and the spirit.

Pillar # 3

"Time, effort and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing."

Maintenance of a garden is easier than pulling its weeds. "You see relationships are the backbone of our existence. We need to cultivate them as best we can. When you are on your deathbed, you want your family there with you, sending you on your journey. That is the sign of an excellent life. You can gain every possession in the world, but if you lose your relationships, what good has your life been?"

Pillar # 4

"The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it."

Your first goal should be to write down your one hundred goals. They can be goals about family, career, income or even places you want to travel.

"Start by changing your direction. You are where you are, but you don't have to stay there. Choose where you want to go, and then build out your plan for getting there."

Pillar # 5

"Every day has many opportunities, but only one best opportunity."

Do not just live your day, make the best of your day. "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret."

Time management is definitely a hard one. Many people, including myself don't realize how expensive days are. Once you spend a day, you have one less day to spend. That is why it is so important to focus on what is important to you rather than live in an urgency. "Either you run the day or the day runs you."

Pillar # 6

"Don't join an easy crowd; you won't grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high."

Have you ever heard the saying "Tell me who you're with and I will tell you who you are." This pillar is similar to that. It is easy in this busy world to not pay much mind to who you spend your time with. It is difficult to question: What effect are they having on you? What do they have you thinking, reading and saying? Most importantly who are you becoming around them? After all, it is said that you become a combination of the top five people you spend the most time with.

"Surround yourself with winners, successful people exhibit and live consistent to values and sills you want to acquire and develop." There are three categories of people you meet: disassociation, limited association and expanded association. "Every relationship you have is an association, and each association has either a positive, neutral, or negative effect on you." After all, attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.

Pillar # 7

"Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune."

Continuous learning is not easy, but it is so rewarding. Learning is the beginning of health, wealth and even spirituality. "A successful person is always a lifelong learner."

Reading books is so important. Chances are whatever you are going through in life, someone before you has lived, learned and written about. Reading a book opens you to a vast new world that you can explore and understand.

Learning from successful people by observation is another important one. Lastly, "constantly reflect on your own experiences and learn what went right and what went wrong." Most of life is lived focusing on formal education, the rest becomes up to you.

Pillar # 8

"One key to having influence with others is to have others perceive you as a person of talent and virtue."

I never thought about this. However, the book really opens your mind to the fact that all of life is sales. Sales is the application of influence to get the things we want and desire out of life. "Talent and virtue becomes the foundation of successful influence and sales."

Skills to apply

- Know your stuff

- Talk to lots of people

- Never take no for an answer.

Pillar # 9

"What you become directly influences what you get."

"Income seldom exceeds personal development." Money can always go away. You can become a millionaire and lose it all. The skills you develop to become a millionaire will help you make it all back.

"Ninety nine percent of the wealthy became wealthy by working for themselves and capturing the profits." After all profits are better than wages.

A tip given is to "work full time on your job and part time on your fortune."

Pillar # 10

"Communication is two or more people working together to find the common ground of understanding. And when they find that common ground, they are positioned to have tremendous power together."

Success is often based on human relationships. "Communication isn't just what you say. It is also how you say it, when you say it, and the receptiveness of who you say it to" Tone and listening are also very important.

Pillar # 11

"To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs and actions for the better."

The world can always use another great leader. "Leaders help people see themselves better than they are." This in turn has a positive chain reaction. The challenge of leadership is to find a mid ground. "Be strong, but not rude; be kind but not weak; be bold but not a bully; be thoughtful but not lazy; be humble but not timid; be proud but not arrogant; have humor but without folly."

Create a positive vision for your future, develop a plan to get there and lead your way.

Pillar # 12

"Live a life that will help others spiritually, intellectually, physically, financially and relationally. Live a life that serves as an example of what an exceptional life can look like."

We say it but don't realize it... life is brief. LEAVE A LEGACY.

"We all have two choices as we live. We can make a living, or we can design a life." We cannot choose how long our life will be. However, we can choose how we lived that period.


The book was an easy, relatable and quick read. It has an entertaining story line with a great message.

Feel free to drop a comment with your thoughts and share the book summary with someone who could use it.



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