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  • Writer's pictureThomas G. Sowell

Ole Zig: The (Be, Do, Have) Formula

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

When I was a young man, I loved reading Zig Ziglar books and listening to his motivational tapes. In fact, I still do!

In my personal opinion, nobody can say it like Ole Zig.

Although, I am sad to say that Zig left us in 2012 at the age of eighty-six. Dying from pneumonia in a hospital near Dallas Texas. However, both he and his teachings are tucked away in the hearts and minds of many, including myself!

Zig's life and teachings had a huge influence on me in both my prior career in sales, and now in my writing career! I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person a couple times, and even had the privilege of meeting him once! And I must say, I was even more impressed with Zig after our brief visit, than I was before. His genuine kindness was the thing I remembered most of all, Zig Ziglar had a heart of gold!

If you have never had the opportunity to hear Zig Ziglar speak, it would be well worth your time to google him and listen to this great man teach on salesmanship, as well as life in general.

Zig was first and foremost a good Christian man, it's just who he was! And here are a few things he did in his earthly life. He was a father, a son, a husband, a salesperson, and a Sunday school teacher. He was also widely known as an author, teacher, and speaker.

If you will notice, I put who he was first (Be). And then described what he did (Do). The reason I did this is the same reason I am writing this story today!

It's because I thought Ole Zig summed up the key to success in just a few words.

And he said it like this…

“You have to (Be) before you can (Do), and you have to (Do) before you can (Have).”

So, Zig's success formula looks like this… (Be, Do, Have).

The reason I mention this is because most self-improvement programs focus on (doing) first, and (being) second. So, their formula looks more like this (Do, Be, Have).

I genuinely believe this is a huge problem! Because, our spiritual heart is the core of our being (Be). It is who we are at a foundational level. Therefore, our spiritual heart will only accept what it truly values or believes.

Meaning, we can build all the new habits we want through self-effort (Do). But unless our Heart (Be), either values or believes our new habits, they will just fade away shortly after our self-effort does.

An example of the (Do, Be, Have) formula would be a New Year’s Resolution, or a diet. It takes a lot of self-discipline in the beginning, while the results are usually short-lived. Producing only temporary change, if any at all!

An example of the (Be, Do, Have) formula would be spend enough time with someone we value. Just allowing their thoughts and ways to rub off on us.

This requires zero self-effort, and has a much better chance of producing permanent change (Be).

And once we become a certain way, will automatically (Do) what a person with our new thoughts and ways does.

This will then allow us to (Have) the things a person like us should have.

This is the way we all got to where we are today. And is the key to becoming who you want to be tomorrow!

I am not sure if Zig's understanding of his phrase was the same as I now interpret it, but it very well could have been.

Maybe, I just did not have a good enough understanding of it back then. But all and all, his teachings seemed to be more in line with many other self-improvement teachers of his day.

And is what I refer to as the (Do, Be, Have) formula.

Which means to consciously change our behavior and actions through repetition.

This is still the most common method used by self-help, and religious teachers today. While some may have success using this old formula, many more lose heart and give up altogether. Therefore, I am extremely grateful for the way I now understand it.

I am forever grateful to Zig Ziglar for sharing the (Be, Do, Have) formula with me, as well as many other things!

But I'm even more grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for showing me how to correctly apply this formula in my life.

Because, this is the same formula that Jesus used to teach His disciples. Only Jesus had a much simpler way of saying it...

"Follow Me"...

And that is exactly what I decided to do!

Because, although I have been a Christian for many years now, it has been a much shorter time since I left my net behind as Peter and Andrew did all those years ago, and just followed Him!

I now have a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding, and who wouldn't with Jesus' thoughts and ways rubbing off on them.

So today, I would like to invite anyone reading this, to do the same. If you would like to have a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding, and much, much, more. Make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, today!

And then just follow Him. By spending time in His Word, praying to Him, worshipping Him, loving Him, and trusting Him!

Once you do, your formula will look more like this...

If you will (Be) who God says you can be! Then you will automatically (Do) what He says you can do, and you will (Have) what He says you can have!

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed him."

Matthew 4:18-20 (KJV)

May God Bless you all...


Thomas G. Sowell

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