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Zig Ziglar: Secrets of Success

Updated on January 6, 2012
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Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog and has 30 years of experience in the tax field.

Zig Ziglar uses a different approach to teaching motivation than other speakers. Noted for his down to Earth delivery, generous use of humor, and religious undertones, Zig Ziglar has dominated the motivation circuit for the better part of a century. When other self-help guru’s are accused of delivering a scam or perpetrating a fraud, Zig Ziglar has kept his head above the crowd by using honorable, faith-based principles to guide his message.

There are three categories to Zig Ziglar’s message: Changing the Picture, Developing the Qualities of Success, and The Goals Program. We will review each category to determine if Zig Ziglar is a scam or a true and honorable man.

Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar

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Changing the Picture

Ziglar starts every presentation with a parable: a humorous story with an underlying message. He never uses foul language or vulgarity as many other motivational and self-help speakers do. He states that foul language comes from an unconfident and troubled mind. He stresses that the picture a person has of themselves will determine the outcome of their life and the picture Ziglar has of himself is of an honorable, God-fearing man that does not need dirty talk to encourage or entertain a crowd. Ziglar says, "With integrity you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide."

Several real-life examples are provided by Ziglar of people who changed the picture of themselves and radically improved the quality of their life in business, health, and family. He encourages all listeners that they can change the picture of themselves by focusing on what they want to become. He stresses throughout his programs the importance of the picture you have of yourself. Without a positive view of oneself, nothing else is possible.

The Qualities of Success

The Qualities of Success is the second major theme of Ziglar’s message. He includes an affirmation card meant to be read in front of the mirror and with enthusiasm first thing each morning and last thing each night. Some of the qualities he asks you to claim and reinforce in yourself are: honesty, self-control, fairness, creativity, flexibility, generosity, kindness, unselfishness, and more.

Ziglar outlines the kind of life you can have if you subscribe to these qualities. He is famous for saying, “You can have anything you want in life, if only you help enough other people get what they want.” Ziglar also says life is infinitely better when we live life as a ‘good-finder.’

The Goals Program

The Goals Program is the cornerstone of Ziglar’s message. He points out that you will end up nowhere if you don’t plan. He provides a detailed goals program that seeks to balance family, business, and personal life. He begins the program by saying he will convince you of setting goals so much that if you don’t start immediately, you will not sleep that night.

Ziglar’s goals program starts by having you list all the things you want and the timeframe to complete them. He helps you eliminate things that are not really goals. Then he has you list the reasons for wanting the goal. His Performance Planner provides space to handle each step. Each week is listed on two pages. Your four main goals are across the top. You are asked to record each event of your day, working to maintain balance in your schedule between family and business. You should plan on working each of your major goals each day if possible or at a minimum each week.


After reviewing Zig Ziglar and his program, the worst that can be said is that he expresses his religious views more than some people like, but presents these views in an inoffensive manner. He uses examples from the Bible and acknowledges some people will not agree with his religious views. In short, he is not a scary Christian.

Zig Ziglar is not a scam or fraud. He presents motivational information for your use without pressure selling, finger popping, or foul language. Ziglar shows a better way to live life without demanding everyone agree he is right. Most people will find Zig Ziglar and his products a good and wise investment, listened to again and again.


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