Lyndon Johnson’s 10 keys to success

25 thoughts on “Lyndon Johnson’s 10 keys to success”

  1. I suck at most of these as well. I think of all of them I am probably best at #9 since I have to cheer lead at work a lot to get my team moving in the right direction. But for the most part I have a ton of improvement that I need to do in all these areas. But if we were all perfect that wouldn’t make us as interesting, right? 🙂

  2. That’s really interesting. It looks like most of Johnson’s points are about establishing charisma and making people like you, while yours are about establishing a sort of self-sustaining happiness so you don’t need people to like you. His make sense for a politician (especially one that built his reputation on being able to work with everyone in the Senate). Yours make more sense for the average person. I think all 20 are useful things to remember and to work on.

    1. Yup, I agree – key point is about charisma, or connecting with those around you. But yeah, whether geared towards politics or just everyday life, success can be built out of almost anything.

  3. After reading a few biographys about Johnson back in high school AP History class his 10 keys make a lot of sense. Spoiler alert, he was a somewhat ruthless user of that charisma. I lack a lot of those qualities in his list as well. If I were a politician that might mean the kiss of death. As a regular person, like you, Charisma is less my end goal. I like your list better. Even there I see opportunities for improvement in myself, but it’s closer to my end goals.

    1. Thanks FTF. I agree, my list is probably a bit more approachable, but Johnson’s list ain’t too shabby, either. If only I were a little better at many of those things… 😉

  4. Being proactive is a key to success for sure. I know more then a few people who are stagnant because they won’t make opportunities for themselves. I mean, look at this piece of real estate (Albeit virtual!) you have created and all from being proactive. As for me, I am too relaxed sometimes and say inappropriate things when people are just getting to know me. Probably not the best quality to have.

  5. I really love the idea of acknowledging other people’s accomplishments. It’s so easy to fall into a “me, me, me” mentality these days; it’s better to focus on other people instead of yourself all the time.

    Here are my rules for success:

    Dress the part. I used to think I could function in holey yoga pants and an old t-shirt. Turns out, I do better work when I dress up.
    Bring donuts. Bringing baked goods has been the single best conversation-starter in my professional career. A homemade cookie is sure to make that bitch Linda in accounting is nicer to you. I’ve even gotten extra favors just for the tasty baked goods I’ve given people.
    Be honest. If you don’t like the presentation or idea, say so.
    Don’t be lazy. It’s tempting to coast for a day, but put in the hard work, especially when others aren’t.
    Be early. It’s never failed me yet. 🙂

    1. Nice, Mrs. Picky Pincher! It’s true that people draw instant judgments based on what you’re wearing. Nice touch on the baked goods…and I agree, sugar does wonders. And, it’s nice to know someone who’s always early! I’m notoriously early…have been my whole life. In fact, incessant tardiness is definitely a pet peeve of mine!

    2. This is super weird and random but my coworkers and I cannot for the life of us remember where the “Linda in accounting” reference comes from. Can you help me out? lol

  6. I find it interesting that all 10 of LBJ’s “Keys” focus on interpersonal skills. Nothing about $$, nothing about becoming an expert in your field, etc. I’m taking your challenge, Steve, and just started a draft on my site. Will give you credit for the idea, will be interesting if others jump on the bandwagon.

    1. Really liked that part as well. Their all elements that people often neglect or forget about, in my opinion. It’s easy not to see your scratchy side or just thinking forgetting peoples names is something you can’t do anything about. (i’m terrible at that by the way).

      I’ve would also list the following: be a giving person, continue to learn always, and don’t let fear hold you back.

    2. Beautiful! And yup, I noticed the same thing, Fritz. Nothing about money or being “the best”. It’s about connecting with others and generally not being an asshole while getting what you want. Go figure!

  7. I’m best at your numbers 4 and 8 and I’m practicing Johnson’s #8 (yes, I’m practicing practicing). Throughout our marriage I’ve said Mr. G is the nice guy and I’m the bi*ch.

    Johnson’s #1 about eye contact and your follow up about your in-laws reminds me of what people have said about Bill Clinton in his heyday – “When he talks to you, you feel as if you’re the only person in the room”. I’ve known a few people with that kind of personal charisma. Can it be learned?

  8. I think I do fairly well at most of the things on LBJ’s list, and need to work on #3 & #4 from your list. Interesting challenge! I’ve been writing about some of my in my current blog series, i just haven’t called them out as that. Perhaps the last post in the series should be just that. Thanks for sharing and prompting us, Steve! 🙂

  9. I try and try to teach our 3 kids not to use the word “hate”. Something may not “be your favorite” or “not your first or second choice”.

    I laughed at your “I hate IPAs” comment. Oops. Failed at #5. You don’t “hate” IPAs, they are “not your favorite” or “not your first, second or thirteenth favorite”. 🙂

    I am “not a fan” of lists generally, but both are very interesting. Lyndon Johnson’s are quite interesting. Thanks!

    1. That sounds like an excellent lesson to teach your youngsters, Wade. I wish more parents would do that with their kids. Besides, “hate” takes way too much energy anyway. 🙂

  10. Yeah, that is a tough list to follow! Here is a list of ideas that I can’t take any original credit for, but they are ideas that stick with me all the time. This would be my list. I’m going off memory, so I might be mis-quoting and some phrases, I can’t even remember where I first heard them.

    Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.
    Live simply, so others can simply live. – Gandhi
    Use your ears, not your ego.
    Act like a human being, not a human doing.
    No one is free until everyone is free. – Fannie Lou Hamer
    Be for something, not against something. – Peace Pilgrim
    Money can fund your purpose, but it can’t find your purpose.
    Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.- Carl Jung
    You don’t have to think outside the box, it you refuse to let anyone put you in a box. – Sir Richard Branson
    Don’t focus on what can be measured, focus on what can provide meaning. – Warren Buffett

    1. Ooo, I like it! And especially your first point – don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Very well said, and definitely a wise point to understand. Listen more than you speak (your third) is another good one I’ve come to learn over the years (the hard way!).

  11. My favorite is your #7: Have confidence in yourself. People underestimate what they can do and it has a lot to do with confidence. We live in a world where anything is possible.

    1. Thanks Matt! Confidence is so very important. If we think we can, we generally can. Life is so much about what we think. It’s a mind game. Those of us who figure out how to win at that game have a distinct advantage over the rest. Every time!

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