The Templeton Plan: 21 steps to personal success and happiness: Book Notes

This post has my personal notes from the book, “The Templeton Plan” by Sir John Templeton.

I have culled the key points for the 21 steps below:

Step 1: Learning the laws of life

The following twelve laws of life are the basic building blocks for a successful and happy life.

  1. Truthfulness
  2. Reliability
  3. Faithfulness
  4. Perseverance
  5. Enthusiasm
  6. Energy
  7. Humility
  8. Pleasing others
  9. Giving
  10. Learning from others
  11. Joy
  12. Altruism

Step 2: Use what you have

  1. Discover your strengths and then use them to your best advantage
  2. Listen to others and learn from them.
  3. Observe the actions of others so that you can profit from both their strengths and mistakes.
  4. Do not wait for goals to materialize but go out and actively seek goals.
  5. Money can be inherited but never success. It must be earned by each individual.
  6. The surest way to achieve success is to emulate sound role models, whether they be your parents, your teachers, your friends, or your business associates.

Step 3: Helping yourself by helping others

  1. Explore your talents carefully; choose your career with care; make certain you love what you do.
  2. Share your talents in ways that truly benefit others, particularly the less fortunate
  3. Everybody has a talent. Do the best you can to develop that talent.
  4. Share the fruits of developing your talent with others, so that they also feel happy.
  5. Ask yourself these two key questions: Am I doing the best thing I am qualified to do? Is my work helping me by helping at least one other human being?

Step 4: Putting first things first

  1. List all the virtues that have special meaning for you( responsibility, energy, hard work, enthusiasm, perseverance, modesty are some to consider).
  2. Rank them in order of importance in your life.
  3. Think of examples where you have been able to put various virtues into practice.
  4. Discuss virtues with family members, business associates and friends. They may provide you with insights into the virtues you need to practice to lead a happy and successful life.

Step 5: Achieving happiness by what you do

  1. Be happier when you give a present than when you receive one
  2. Derive the most pleasure from activities that are geared to helping others or that add to their knowledge or pleasure.
  3. Realise that  more differences are settled amicably through gentle persuasion than through angry confrontation
  4. Continually set new goals for yourself
  5. Try to remain active throughout the day by pursuing a worthwhile activity

Step 6: Finding the positive in every negative

  1. When you start to analyze the character of person B when talking to person A, stop yourself. Resist the impulse. It is gossip, and gossip is a negative force that leads away from success and happiness.
  2. Avoid comparisons. They have a way of making negatives out of positives.
  3. Be sure that your life is a seminar in living. You can achieve this by learning something new each day, no matter how small; by reaching out to others; by never passing up an opportunity for a new experience that will enlarge your knowledge; and by travelling as much as possible so that you can see new places and meet new people from different backgrounds.
  4. Read literature that inspires you. Inspiration is a core characteristic of the positive personality.

Step 7:  Investing yourself in your work

  1. An idea is only an idea until you subject it to hard work.
  2. Search for ways to turn problems into opportunities.
  3. Work as if your life were in peril.
  4. Carry your own library with you.
  5. Think two thoughts at once.
  6. Always go for the brass ring.
  7. Defer pleasure until the job is done.
  8. Build a reputation for delivering what you promised and, if possible, even more.

Step 8: Creating your own luck

  • Do you believe in luck, and if you do, how will you define it?
  • Are you a lucky person, luckier than most, unluckier than most?
  • Would you agree that the person who works hard, intelligently and creatively is bound to have more luck than the lazy and unimaginative person?

As you ponder the answers to these questions, keep the following principles in mind. Luck will come to those who

  • Work hard and plan carefully.
  • Are alert to opportunities.
  • Use common sense and their creative imagination.
  • Are willing to take calculated risks.

Step 9:  Utilising two principles of success

  1. Successful people finish what they begin. be sure to think carefully before you take on a task, but, once you start it, complete it with thoroughness, energy and resolve.
  2. Handle all of your business relationships-and particularly other people’s money- as a sacred trust.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • When you are hired to do a job, do you give it your all?
  • Do you avoid cutting corners and give as much as promised or even more?
  • Do you accept each assignment as a fresh challenge and a chance to  grow in your profession and as a person?

Step 10: Making time your servant

  • Are you the master of time and not its slave?
  • Do you manage your schedule so that you don’t have to rush- and risk carelessness- to be on time?
  • Are you equally prompt with your superiors, your peers and those who work under you?
  • Do you set your watch ahead in order to be prompt for appointments?
  • When you are given an assignment, do you complete it when requested or even ahead of time?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, then see if you can change. Be sure to set your watch ahead.keep a chart of appointments and activities hour by hour, and write out a list of tomorrow’s engagement today. before long you will be begin to master the all-important art of promptness.

Step  11: Giving the extra ounce

  • To be outstandingly successful you must work just a little harder than those who are moderately successful. Learn to give one extra ounce and your rewards will be all out of proportion to that ounce.
  • The extra ounce results in producing higher quality in all lines of work.
  • If you give the extra ounce, your morale will be high and the teamwork you can achieve with fellow workers is bound to be extraordinary.
  • However remember that when you promise a result, make sure it is realistic and that you can deliver.

Step 12: Conserving your resources to best advantage

  • Save something of every paycheck. Templeton used to save 50% of his paycheck.
  • Make a budget for spending.
  • Live within your budget.
  • Invest wisely by buying assets that protect you against inflation.
  • Search for bargains in small items, such as toothpaste and soap, as well as big ones like furniture and automobiles.
  • Weigh each purchase carefully rather than buy on impulse.

Step 13: Progressing onwards and upwards

  • Develop the ability to handle change.
  • Have the willingness to pit yourself against your past performance.
  • Welcome the entrepreneurial spirit within yourself.
  • Focus on productive and useful goals.
  • Always strive to become the most knowledgeable person in your field.

Step 14: Controlling your thoughts for effective action

  • Do not think of “thought control” as a repressive tool. Rather, think of it as a positive force that will leave your mind clearer, more directed, and more effective.
  • Remember that you are what you think. If you think well of yourself, others will think well of you. Your mind creates the environment in which you live and function.
  • Practice the “crowding-out” method by filling your mind with good and productive thoughts. Soon there will be no room left for the bad ones.
  • The moment you wake up in the morning set your thought pattern for the day. Think of five things for which you are deeply grateful and keep them in your mind.

Step 15: Loving as the essential ingredient

  • It is easy to love our friends. The hard job is to love our enemies, and yet that is the goal we must pursue if we are to make loving the essential ingredient in our lives.
  • We must allow ourselves to love ourselves. All love for others radiates outward from within.
  • We must practice kindness and patience with others to begin to glimpse our common humanity.
  • It is the successful and happy person who is willing to risk reaching out to others.

Step 16: Maximize the power of your faith

  • Rejoice in the good fortune of others.
  • Remain silent if you can’t find something good to say about someone.
  • Be quick to express empathy.
  • Be careful about expressing criticism.
  • Make an effort to expunge all envy from your heart.
  • Work at being a humble person.

Step 17: Receiving strength through prayer

  • Pray frequently.
  • Pray that God will use you as a channel for his love and wisdom.
  • Pray that you will be in harmony with God’s purposes.
  • Pray that what you say and do will be for the benefit of everyone.
  • Put yourself in God’s hands.
  • Be overwhelmingly grateful for all your blessings.
  • Pray simply, “Thy will be done.”

Step 18: Giving as a way of life

  • Give money each year to charities
  • Tithe to a church or a temple
  • Believe that life without giving is a hollow existence
  • Have a philosophy that what I am given—in terms of my abilities, my intelligence, and my material success—should be returned to the world in some form that will help others.

Step 19: Winning through humility

  • Try to appreciate some positive quality in all the people you meet.
  • Try to be humble in all your actions.
  • Try to face even the most difficult situations with equanimity and patience.
  • Learn to feel joy over the good fortune of others.
  • Never forget that the only reality is the Creator; he and his works are the only permanent things on this earth.

Step 20: Discovering new frontiers

  • Be open to change.
  • Be eager to travel to new places.
  • Be eager to meet new people.
  • Be receptive to new ways to do things that will improve your performance
  • Be a flexible person with an open mind
  • Make an attempt to bring your professional and spiritual lives into harmony
  • Be prepared to deal with adversity

Remember: Reaching out takes many forms, all of them important. You reach out by giving to others. You reach out by understanding and appreciating others. And you reach out in your search for new frontiers. They are all important ways to grow into a more successful and happy human being, and they are connected, one to the other.

Step 21: Seeking solutions

  • Be a problem solver, not a problem maker.
  • Choose a career where you have a chance to become an expert.
  • Never remain in a position that is no longer useful, but quickly begin the search for possible career solutions.
  • If you are faced with a difficult problem to solve, pray to God for guidance.
  • Beware of the Midas example: Money is never an end in itself but only the means to an end.
  • Use your material gains in ways that will benefit others.

Here is what John Templeton has to say about this plan, The Templeton Plan, which consists of the above 21 steps:

21 steps is an arbitrary number. There are most likely hundreds of steps to success and happiness, just as there are hundreds of laws of life. But these are the steps that have worked for me. They are the ones I have tested and know that are sound. I can pass them on to readers with the sound knowledge, that if they helped me in my life, they can help others too. Trying to follow these 21 steps has been useful in my life. We are all fallible and we all make mistakes. Some help to walk along the path of life is always useful. I hope these 21 principles may help you in achieving success, usefulness and happiness.

God Bless.