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Location: Carthage, North Carolina, United States

John held the positions of Global Vice President of Quality at Allied Signal Corporation and, more recently, Staff Vice President of Reliability and Quality at Navistar International Truck & Engine Corporation. He began his career at General Motors Corporation as a College Graduate In Training quickly rising to the position of General Supervisor of Vehicle Assembly. He holds Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Management degrees from Oakland University. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and a Certified ISO Lead Assessor. John and Renee, his wife, have been married for 30 years and have a daughter and son. They reside near Raleigh, North Carolina.

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The 24 Powerful Practices of
Successful People
Master Change
Mastered by Change

John Oltesvig

To my wife
Behind every successful man is a successful woman….and....
To you ---
The person wanting to become a success
Everything worthwhile in life is built upon success


Foreword xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xix

1. The Secret of Navigation 1
The Ability to Navigate Determines Lifetime Success Potential

In 1807 Rivaz of Switzerland invented the automobile but in 1913 Ford turned it into a practical success and became the world’s biggest car manufacturer. In 1991 Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet Web Browser but in 1999 Bill Gates made it a practical success and his company the world’s premier software manufacturer. What Ford was to the automobile, Gates was to information technology by the Secret of Navigation.

2. The Secret of Mobility 11
Location, Location, Location!
Success Requires Finding the Right Place

The founder of Starbucks instinctively knew the right location to launch what became a high profile global billion-dollar business. Could he have been as successful starting elsewhere? The parable of the swamp, a boat and two sidelined women.

3. The Secret of Half-Life 21
Success Demands Guarding Against the Half-Life of Knowledge
Successful People Don’t Earn a Living, They Learn a Living

Albert Einstein demonstrated that knowledge is a relative term through the theory of relativity and even in preparing tests for his students. How did the greatest science and math genius of all time succeed from his humble beginnings as a Swiss patent clerk? He personified The Secret of Half-Life.

4. The Secret of Charity 33
Giving is the Miraculous Secret---
The More Successful People Give Away, the More They Have to Give

How a small, humble woman became an icon in a third-world country. Mother Teresa mastered The Secret of Charity by spreading abroad the riches from within. The greatest philanthropist the world has ever known, Andrew Carnegie, gave 90% back while living the modest life.

5. The Secret of the Pardon 43
Holding No Grudges, the Successful Have
No Baggage toWeigh them Down or Hold them Back

George Wallace blocked Vivian Malone from entering the door to admission at the University of Alabama in 1963. How could she forgive the governor of Alabama for the hate and prejudice he symbolized to the black community? This courageous event foreshadowed her long and successful career built on the Secret of the Pardon.

6. The Secret of Time 55
Successful People Make the Most of Their Time

He sold newspapers as a boy on the train out of Port Huron, Michigan. Between stops he experimented in his makeshift chemistry lab in a boxcar. Thomas Edison had discovered the Secret of Time.

7. The Secret of Upbeat 67
The Successful Take Charge of Their Attitude

He found himself in such poor circumstances there was every reason to develop a poor attitude. Abraham Lincoln triumphed over depression knowing the Secret of the Upbeat.

8. The Secret of The Indebted 77
A Heart of Gratitude is the Hallmark of the Successful

William Bradford organized one hundred Separatists in 1620. Half of his Pilgrims died aboard the Mayflower. Triumphant with the harvest, he established America’s first Thanksgiving in 1621.

9. The Secret of Peril 89
The Successful Always Take the Risk of Failure

William Durant made and lost several fortunes. He was successful in founding General Motors by repeatedly exposing himself to ridicule and well acquainted with The Secret of Peril.

10. The Secret of Scratch 99
Success Means Knowing When and How Much to Give, Save, Spend or Invest

A new icon the world of personal money management speaks wisdom to all that would listen. Suze Orman’s success has been established by mastering and sharing The Secret of Scratch.

11. The Secret of the Compass 109
How Consistent You Are Determines Your Long-Term Success

Eldrick Woods made a mark on the face of professional golf through an uncanny determination to succeed without wavering. Tiger’s incredible stability through childhood, adolescence and adulthood clearly demonstrate The Secret of the Compass.

12. The Secret of Strength 121
Master Success by Mastering the Lost Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks---
"A Health Body and a Healthy Mind Go Hand In Hand"

Lance Armstrong’s healthy mind drove him to a miracle in the world of cycling and defeat over cancer, "If you ever get a second chance in life, you've got to go all the way." We are all made from the same flesh and blood but only a few know The Secret of Strength.

13. The Secret of the Guide 133
Help is More than Pulling Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps –
Success is Determined by Your Sources of Help

What a source of help Plato found in Socrates! Socrates was Plato’s teacher and mentor. The mind of Plato was brilliant. But without seeking the help of Socrates, The Republic and the famous Dialogues of Plato would never have been written.

14. The Secret of Perception 143
The Successful Clearly Understand that "Perception is Everything"

JFK and Carlos Ponzi both knew The Secret of Perception. JFK to win the 1956 Presidential Election over the odds-on favorite Adele Stevenson. Ponzi to bilked thousands of people including most of Boston’s policemen out of ten million dollars. Looks matter. First Impressions matter.

15. The Secret of the Mark 153
Goals are the Breakfast of Champions

What do Larry Bird and Bret Farb know bringing long-term Hall of Fame Performance? And what do they have in common with all successful people? The common denominator is The Secret of the Mark.

16. The Secret of the Vigilant 165
Success Means Awareness of Positioning in the Big Picture

Douglas McArthur built military success upon the awareness of his position within the balance of power in the military and political world.

17. The Secret of Certitude 175
The Successful Believe in Themselves

How could the daughter of a financially disadvantaged family in Poland become the first woman to earn a doctorate at the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris, essentially living on a diet of bread, butter and tea? She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. How could this mother of two also become the mother of high-energy physics? Marie Curie knew The Secret of Certitude.

18. The Secret of Investment 183
The Successful Invest their way to a Better Future

How many times have you heard the statement, "I invested everything I had." Twenty-seven year old Aron Ralston started out on a 14 hour exploration of Utah’s backcountry. Five days later on the verge of death, Aron sawed off his right arm with a jackknife. It was a horrific way to learn The Secret of Investment.

19. The Secret of the Polestar 193
It has been said that Genius is the Ability to Focus on the Work at Hand—
The Successful have this Element of Genius

How did a New Zealand beekeeper become the first to climb the world’s tallest mountain? As a youth he had no idea of what to do with his life. However, the young Hillary was drawn to high adventure like a magnet. The critical success factor for Sir Edmund Hillary was The Secret of the Polestar.

20. The Secret of Sequence 205
Priorities Matter – Get Them Right and You Can’t Fail
Get Them Wrong and You Won’t Stand a Chance of Sustained Success

O.J. was so near complete success. He had come so far beginning life as a cripple. His priorities got mixed-up resulting in loosing it all. A little-known businessman named J.B. Hunt knew and practiced The Secret of Sequence creating America’s premier transportation services company from scratch.

21. The Secret of Poise 215
Balance is the Key to a Successful Life

A successful businessman, inventor, politician and revolutionary, Benjamin Franklin put all else ahead of his family life. Franklin clearly demonstrated most of The Secrets of Success. But Ben did not fully demonstrate The Secret of Poise bringing failure in his family life.

Conclusions 226

Notes 230


I have been a student of success for my entire life as far back as I can remember. I have had the privilege of observing successful people and learning success principles around the world.

As I travel, work with business people and observe people in action, I have had the opportunity to develop close relationships with many successful managers and leaders. Often, in informal settings, when we have time to discuss personal matters, my associates and I talk about what makes people successful.

At a business conference in Tokyo several years ago, one of these success discussions ensued spontaneously over luncheon. In concluding our discussion, we all agreed that we wished we had known more about what it takes to be successful earlier in our careers. An auto-maker from Sweden commented, "Had I known some of these things fifteen years ago, I wouldn’t have make so many blunders in my career. I could have become the president of Volvo by now!"

The purpose of the book is to share these twenty-one time-proven Secrets of Success with you. Call them principles, keys, secrets or even laws if you wish. It is my desire to share them with others through the pages of this modest book. I know they will be of high value to young and old alike to achieve sustained and simultaneous health, wealth and happiness.

Everything worthwhile in the history of man has been the direct result of someone being successful. You can be successful as an individual contributor or as part of a team. You can be successful in your family setting, in the community, as a part of volunteer organization, at your place of work or faith or in the political arena.

The good news is that anyone can become successful. Now matter where your are in your life’s journey, you can be successful. No matter what your situation, whether you are handicapped in some way, poor or otherwise disadvantaged, whether you have suffered many minor setbacks in life or some major ones, you can become successful.

Keep these four points in mind as you read this book:

1. You can learn these Secrets of Success. Some may come naturally for you while others may require some effort on your part but every single one of these secrets can be adopted by you to increase your success with life.

2 You do not have to master all of the Secrets of Success. Even learning and applying one of the secrets in your life will result in success. One secret is not a prerequisite of another. Each secret can stand alone on its own merit.

3. These secrets will get results. You will achieve success as you learn and apply these secrets. If you forget, slight, or disregard them, you cannot be successful in all areas of your life.

4. These secrets are the bedrock of success. Once you have discovered them you must execute, fulfill, perform, follow, pursue, iterate and repeat them with regularity in your life.

Do you consider yourself less than successful or marginally successful? Let the pages of this book reveal the Secrets of Success which will put you on the bright path to fulfillment. Are you someone who has had a small taste of success and wishes to know more? Do you consider yourself pretty successful in your own right? If so, you can gain the benefits of increased success and avoid the pitfalls in blind spots you may have. The more secrets you learn, the more successful you will become. Read this book and increase you success to benefit yourself, your loved ones, your business, your church and your community and, potentially, future generations. If you master all of them, you will become healthy, wealthy and happy.

Chapter 1

The Secret of Navigation
The Ability to Navigate Determines Lifetime Success Potential

Every person has ability but not everyone is effective in turning that ability into success. If you can get a handle on The Secret of Navigation, you will be well on your way to maximizing your success effectiveness.

It is not so important where you end your life, it is where you begin life and how well you navigate that determines your level of success. Who was more successful, Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln? Both became successful presidents. Abe started life in a humble rural Illinois cabin learning his school lessons on the hearth by flickering firelight. Teddy was born into a life of privilege. Abe had a lot further to navigate to reach the White House. It is not so important where you start life but how well you navigate that determines your level of success.

Before explaining The Secret of Navigation, let me explain how it can work against your success outcome. Not understanding The Secret of Navigation limits your success effectiveness. The lower a person’s ability to use this secret, the lower will be his or her success effectiveness. For example, if someone rates a six on their effectiveness in using the Secret of Navigation, their overall level of success potential in life can never be more than a six. The Secret of Navigation is the limiting factor for all of the 21 Secrets of Success.
The Secret of Navigation can limit your success in life. Lets understand how this secret works. Reaching a successful outcome in life is similar to navigating a ship:

Modern navigation, in short, has to do with the whole of a preconceived passage, from start to finish. It is concerned with four basic objectives: selecting the course (and staying on it); avoiding collision with other moving ships and crashing into fixed obstacles; minimizing fuel consumption; and conforming to an established timetable.1

The Secret of Navigation is your passage to success from start to finish because it:

  1. Assures you have a plan and stay on it
  2. Avoids disasters on your passage
  3. Increases the efficiency of your journey
  4. Assures timely goal attainment

Chapter 1 … to be continued …

Chapter 12

The Secret of Strength
Master Success by Mastering the Lost Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks---
"A Health Body and a Healthy Mind Go Hand In Hand"

I have always loved the Olympics and they stimulated my interest in physical fitness. My best friend, Jim, from Owen Elementary School introduced the Olympics. Jim was interested in all types of sporting events. His interest was mainly due to the fact that his father was an avid sports fan. In addition to his father’s interest, Jim’s friends who lived around the corner from him were involved in sports. They participated in basketball and baseball and when I visited Jim’s house you could be certain that he and I would play ball with his neighborhood friends. Jim’s neighbors were also interested in track and field. They were the ones who influenced me to join the track team at Lincoln Junior High School.

I remember watching TV at Jim’s house in the summer of 1960. It sticks in my mind because that was the year that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Rome. As I look back on it, it was fortuitous for me since that was the first time that the summer Olympics were televised. For the first time I learned the ancient maxim that "A healthy body and a health mind go hand in hand." That Olympiad was auspicious for an eighteen-year-old boxer named Cassius Clay. Sprinter Wilma Rudolph became a household name. Rafer Johnson won the decathlon, my personal favorite event to watch. The Games for me epitomized what athletics and physical fitness were all about.

A couple of Jim’s neighborhood friends encouraged me to join the track team at Lincoln Jr. High. I liked the hurdles but was too small for my age to do the high hurdles so I tried the low hurdles but was too slow a runner to be competitive. I liked high jumping and tried that too. I also tried pole vaulting which was very exciting to me.

Another source driving a lifelong interest in physical fitness was Boy Scouting. My brother in law brought me into scouting when I was twelve. The hiking, camping and advancement test requirements for each rank instilled interests in fitness not received from other places.

Chapter 12 … to be continued …