No Limits (book review)

I always get excited when I get to read a John Maxwell book because I know right upfront that I’m going to be getting life-changing insights. As usual, No Limits lived up to my expectations!

The premise of this book is simple: Most of our limitations are self-imposed, but if we could see a way to blow the cap off those limitations there is no limit to the level of success we can achieve.

The book is built around John Maxwell’s capacity challenge, which says, “If you grow in your awareness, develop your abilities, and make the right choices, you can reach your capacity. In other words: Awareness + Ability + Choices = Capacity.”

No Limits is built around the three components in this capacity equation. First, you will learn how to become aware of what may be limiting you; then, you will learn how you have the ability to develop the capacities that you already have; and finally, you will learn how to make the daily choices that will maximize your capacity.

The book contains a link to a “Capacity Quiz,” which is a great help to identify the areas in which you especially need growth. It’s a good idea to take this quiz before diving into the material in the book so that you can pay special attention to the weakest areas as you are reading.

John Maxwell continues to stretch and mentor me in leadership growth like few other people have. I believe he will do the same thing for you, too, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and go to work on blowing the cap off all your limits!

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Reconnecting the Disconnection

DisconnectThere is a disconnection problem in the United States of America. Consider this:

  • John Adams, one of our nation’s founding fathers said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”
  • Every president from George Washington to Barak Obama has invoked the name of God in his inaugural address.
  • 96% of Americans say they believe in God.
  • 80% of Americans call themselves Christians.

And yet:

  • Our grade schools make no mention of “God”, some even to the point of not reciting the pledge of allegiance.
  • Higher education is openly antagonistic toward God and Christians.
  • The entertainment industry normalizes lifestyles that are openly unbiblical.
  • Even our US government has done things like legalizing murder in the form of abortion, and sanctioning homosexuality by calling their unions “marriage.”

The Bible calls Christians “aliens and strangers in the world.” Perhaps the term “aliens” is not so much for what we say we believe, but how we live what we believe. 

So Peter opens his letter to “strangers in the world” by telling Christians how to live in a way that can reconnect this disconnection.

  • Humble—because we sinners have been chosen (v. 2a) to become citizens of Heaven.
  • Confident—because of the foreknowledge of God the Father (v. 2b) that can never be thwarted.
  • Teachable—because the process of the sanctifying work of the Spirit and obedience to Jesus Christ (v. 2c) requires us to be humbly-confident, teachable servants.
  • Graceful and peaceful (v. 2d)—because what we believe about God’s invitation to come to Him, Christ’s payment that makes that possible, and the Holy Spirit’s sanctification should be lived out in graceful and peaceful lives.

Would your Earthling family members say you are graceful and peaceful? 

Would your Earthling coworkers say you promote grace and peace on the job? 

Would your Earthling neighbors say you make the neighborhood graceful and peaceful? 

Would the Earthling business owners you frequent say your gracefulness and peacefulness is more evident than in the citizens of Earth?

Search me, God, and know my heart test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is ANY offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24).

We will be continuing our Aliens and Strangers series this Sunday. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, and don’t have a home church, please join us. If you cannot join us in person, you can tune in via Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

11 Quotes From John Maxwell In “Success 101”

Susscess 101John Maxwell’s 101-series of books are a great introduction to some of his other more in-depth books. As I like to explain it, the 101-level introduces you to the topic, and the 301- and 401-level classes/books take you deeper.

I am in the process of reading The Complete 101 Collection (I’ll post my review of this shortly). In the meantime, here are some quotes from Success 101 which I found thought-provoking.

“You cannot achieve what you have not defined. The problem for most people who want to be successful is not that they can’t achieve success. The main obstacle for them is that they misunderstand success.”

“What does it take to be a success? Two things are required: The right picture of success and the right principles for getting there.”

“Success is a journey rather than a destination. No matter how long you live or what you decide to do in your life, you will never exhaust your capacity to grow toward your potential or run out of opportunities to help others.” 

“Without a dream, we may struggle to see potential in ourselves because we don’t look beyond our current circumstances. But with a dream, we begin to see ourselves in a new light, as having greater potential and being capable of stretching and growing to reach it.”

“The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others—not yourself—first in how you handle and process them. Whether you delay or display your emotions should not be for your own gratification. You should ask yourself, What does the team need? not, What will make me feel better?”

“The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.”

“Successful people face the danger of contentment with the status quo. After all, if a successful person already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he keep growing? The answer is simple: your growth determines who you are; who you are determines who you attract; who you attract determines the success of your organization. If you want to grow your organization, you have to remain teachable.”

“Few things gain the appreciation of a top leader more quickly than an employee with a whatever-it-takes attitude. That is what successful people must have. They must be willing and able to think outside of their job description, to be willing to tackle the kinds of jobs that others are too proud or too frightened to take on. These things are what often elevate successful people above their peers.”

“Good leaders…find a way to succeed with people who are hard to work with.” 

“Successful people admit faults but never make excuses.”

“If you are successful where you are, I believe you will be given an opportunity to succeed at a higher level. … Leadership is a journey that starts where you are, not where you want to be.”

Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn (book review)

Sometimes You WinIf you’re like me, you grew up being able to quickly finish the phrase, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you… lose.” But John Maxwell gives us a far better way to finish this well-worn phrase in his latest book Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Learned From Our Losses.

As in his other books, Dr. Maxwell shares very candidly about his own missteps, and the lessons he learned from them. He also brings in the insight from other friends and authors who have also learned the value of making mistakes and learning the hard lessons from them.

What always amazes about John Maxwell’s writing is the depth of insight. On the surface you would think there wouldn’t be much to say about learning from our losses except another well-worn cliche, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But that try-again spirit is only one part of the learning process. John shows us the value of:

  • Humility
  • Reality
  • Responsibility
  • Improvement
  • Hope
  • Teachability
  • Adversity
  • Problems
  • Bad experiences
  • Change

Following through on all of these aspects leads to the most important step in the learning process: Maturity.

The insight, historical stories, personal anecdotes, and wisdom of other been-there-done-that people are woven together with John’s unique teaching style to give us a book that is highly beneficial. I’d especially recommend this book to parents, coaches and mentors.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

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