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BLTs and Success

by David DeFord

I love bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. I could eat them every day. In fact, during the late summer and early fall, when the garden overflows with juicy tomatoes, I do feast on them nearly every day.

The ingredients of a good BLT include: sandwich bread (my wife likes the bread toasted, I don’t), dressing (I like Miracle Whip), fresh lettuce, bacon (turkey is leaner, but pork tastes better), and most importantly, thick tomato slices the same size as the bread. Every other BLT ingredient is subordinate to the tomato.

I enjoy sandwiches without the bacon, or sans the lettuce. A sandwich’s success depends on neither mayo nor Miracle Whip. The tomato makes the sandwich work for me. Without the tomato the sandwich is as dry and unappealing as a cowpie baked in the hot sun.

Success requires one special ingredient. Without this one ingredient, prosperity is as unlikely as a successful BLT without the tomato.

Attitude helps, but success can be attained without a positive attitude. Persistence pays, but does not insure success. Goal setting, visualization, affirmations, and other techniques will help lead us to success, but none of these makes up the must-have ingredient.

What trait must we develop to produce the most abundant and enduring success? To attain true success we must do what we say we will do.

This characteristic manifests itself in how we keep our promises, and honor our words and our commitments. Those who back up their words with action build trust. And trust results in improved success in our family life, in our work life, in our community life, and in our spiritual life.

To whom must we honor our promises? Who evaluates our character, and seeks steadiness in character—congruence between what we say and what we do? We do. And so do our spouses, our children, our employees, our staff, our customers and vendors.

First, we must honor our commitments to ourselves. If we determine to reach a goal, we must do it. We don’t abandon a promise to ourselves just because it proves more difficult than we thought. We find a way to match our performance to our commitment.

Our spouses count on us to do what we say we’ll do. So do our children. My biggest failure in this area springs immediately to mind. When my kids were smaller, I promised I would take them to a nearby amusement park for a day of fun if they stopped a bad habit. Each of my older kids successfully ended their habit, but I broke my commitment to them. My failure to honor my promise hurt my kids and cast doubt on my trustworthiness.

When we marry, we promise to stay faithful to our spouses and not intimately receive another emotionally or sexually. We promise to remain by their sides in good and bad times, to accept their strengths and bear with their weaknesses. When we begin to notice previously unexposed weaknesses, we don’t abandon our promises. In the absence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, we must keep our promises. Weathering the tough times together strengthens our marriages and our characters.

Our employers also expect us to do what we say we’ll do. By doing so, we develop into persons they can trust. When important assignments arise, employers seek out those in whom they have the greatest trust. When promotion opportunities develop, whom will our employers advance? The reward will always go to the most trusted and qualified staffer.

Our customers must trust us. One broken promise to a client may send her scurrying to find another vendor—one on whom she can count. But if she knows you will keep commitments faithfully she will remain your loyal customer forever.

Relationships with vendors, staff members, neighbors, parents and others deepen when we keep our promises to them.

We must give the same or greater priority to the spiritual commitments we make to ourselves and to God. I’m convinced that God will enhance our abilities if we keep our promises to Him. I’m certain of this principle. We need not bestow all of our property on the poor and live secluded lives in some dark chamber to show our dedication. We only need to make and keep our promises to God.

Just as our satisfaction with a BLT depends upon the tomato, our own success in every area of our lives depends on the value we place on our word.


Related Quotes

Principle--particularly moral principle--can never be a weather vane, spinning around this way and that with the shifting winds of expediency. Moral principle is a compass forever fixed and forever true--and that is as important in business as it is in the classroom. Edward R. Lyman

Confidence....thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them, it cannot live. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted. Alfred Adler

To be accounted trustworthy, a person must be predictable. When you manage your life and all the little decisions by one guideline--the Golden Rule--you create an ethical predictability in your life. People will have confidence in you, knowing that you consistently do the right thing. John C. Maxwell

Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. Zig Ziglar


Related Offerings

Descriptions of each of my books follow:

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Your encouraging words lift others.

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From slugger Henry Aaron to Carl Zuckermeyer, Anne Frank to George Burns, wise people have offered wonderful and useful advice on successful living.
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An excellent companion to his first book, Ordinary People Can Achieve the Extraordinary—A Practical Guide to Goal Achievement, these quotes will help you keep focused on reaching your dreams.


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