Lead The Field - Earl Nightingale

Lead The Field - Earl Nightingale

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes  

Lead The Field

“This is Earl Nightingale with the new edition of Lead the Field." 

"This program is about 12 ideas that will bring order and success into our lives. These ideas will work wonders regardless of what we choose as the main thrust of our lives, for these are the great ideas that have evolved over the centuries, and together they form a constellation by which you and I can safely and successfully navigate

"Success or failure as a human being is not a matter of luck, or circumstance, or fate, or of breaks, or ‘who-you-know,’ or any of the other tiresome, old myths and cliches by which the ignorant tend to excuse themselves. It’s a matter of following a common sense paradigm of rules; guidelines anyone can follow.”

What leads to success?   

It's not what we often think!

  • Luck
  • Circumstance
  • Fate
  • Who we know

Those of course are contributors..

But they are also not entirely in our control!

This book is all about how to "Lead the Field" and to do that we're going to need to focus on what is in our control..

The 12 ideas in this book, focus in on what we can control and how we can optimize ourselves.

This book is full of wisdom..

Earl is an amazing sythnesizer of information, putting it into actionable rules for us to follow in everyday life!

Whatever field you're trying to lead; this book is for you!  

I've taken my favorite ideas from the book, we're going to explore them more in depth and work through action items and exercises together.


“Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine, turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent." 

"The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds; but had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere."

"Well, the moral is clear: If the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state, and since he had already owned a piece of the African continent, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true."

"Now the thing about this story that so profoundly affected Dr. Conwell and subsequently millions of others, was the idea that each of us of us is at this moment, standing in the middle of his or her own acres of diamonds." 

"If we’ll only have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore the work in which we’re now engaged, to explore ourselves, we’ll usually find the richest receipt, whether they be financial or intangible, or both! Before we go running off to what we think are greener pastures, let’s make sure that our own is not just as green or perhaps even greener.”

Heard it before?  It bears repeating.

This is of course a very popular story in personal development books and courses..

  • TLDR: An old farmer sells land in order to buy another plot looking for diamonds, little did he know he was standing on Acres of Diamonds and sold it for pennies.
  • Moral of the story?  Don't look elsewhere for diamonds before searching your own back yard.

Why is this such a popular story?

  • I believe it's because this is such a common part of human experience..
  • Everyone has the feeling of hindsight where if we just stuck with something a little longer we would have been successful!
  • That's a tough thing to reconcile, it's a painful experience!  But a useful one.
  • Knowing Hindsight is 20/20 and that you may be standing on a field of diamonds right now..  How should we act?

Forethought and understanding.. That's what I believe this story is teaching us!

Some great questioning exercises:

1. What diamonds might I currently be sitting on?

2. What investments have I made that are yet to pay off but might, if I shifted my perspective?

3. What opportunities do I have that others don't?

4. What skills, abilities or insider knowledge have I gained?  How can I leverage that in a way I'm currently not?


“If you should visit a ship in port and ask the captain for his next port-of-call, he’ll tell you in a single sentence."

"Even though the captain cannot see his port, his destination, for full 99% of the voyage, he knows it’s there, and barring an unforeseen and highly unlikely catastrophe, he’ll reach it. All he has to do is keep doing certain things every day."

"If someone asked you for your next port-of-call, your goal, could you tell him? Is your goal clear and concise in your mind? Do you have it written down? It’s a good idea." 

"We need reminding, reinforcement. If you can get a picture of your goal and stick it to your bathroom mirror, it’s an excellent idea to do so. Thousands of successful people carry their goals written on a card in their wallets or purses.”

A good Captain always knows his destination..

Imagine if you were going on a cruise and you didn't know where it would end!

  • How would you know if you were lost?
  • How would you know how much fuel you needed?

Charting the course!

  • Another benefit of knowing your destination is that you can chart a course..
  • If you know you're going to a port, likely you're not going to go through the Bermuda Triangle..
  • Likely you're not going to go through Pirate infested waters..

Successful people have specific destinations!

  • Not only that but they remind themselves of it often..  They don't set it and forget it!
  • How about you; do you have a specific destination?
  • If not, let's set one!

What is your #1 most important goal right now?

Write it down in one sentence, carry it around in your wallet and remind yourself often.


“I like to think of this law in the form of a giant apothecary scale, the kind with a cross on it from which hang two bowls on chains." 

"Now one of the bowls is marked ‘rewards’: the other is marked, ‘service.’ Whatever we put into the bowl marked ‘service,’ the world will match in the bowl marked ‘rewards.’ How we think, work, talk and conduct ourselves is what we have to put in the bowl marked ‘service.’"

"And the extent and nature of our service will determine our rewards. If any person alive is discontented with his rewards, he needs to examine his service. Action- reaction; as you sow, so shall you reap; what you put out will determine what you must get back in return. So simple, so basic, so true — and so misunderstood!”

Rewards come in direct proportion to service.

The more service/value you're able to put out into the world, the more you will be rewarded!

  • This is a pretty simple concept, and the scale is a great way to think about it..
  • However, there is sometimes a delay!  
  • Some entrepreneurs spend years or decades piling into the service side of the scale..  Without much reward!
  • But eventually it all balances out; given enough time.
  • “If any person alive is discontented with his rewards, he needs to examine his service.”

We often focus too much on rewards..

  • This is outcome based thinking; something that we talk a lot about on the channel. 
  • It's not "bad" to focus on some degree of outcome (after all we need a destination) but if that's all you focus on it's easy to get lost!
  • I think, set a destination and then focus on piling as much service into the scale as possible is a good 2 step process.

What are rewards?

This is an interesting question, for sure most people will think of gold coins or money..

But rewards (just like service) looks like many different things.  Often it relates to the type of service you're outputting.


  • Relationships
  • Social Captial
  • Money
  • Knowledge
  • Trust
  • Peace

How can you be of service?

Look at all areas of your life, how can you be of service in them?


“Never before in the history of the world have human beings been so interdependent."  

"It’s as impossible to live without serving others, as it would be to live if others were not constantly serving us. And this is good; the more closely-knit this interdependence becomes, the greater will be human achievement."

"We need each other, and we literally cannot live without one another! Every time we strike a match, drink a glass of water, turn on the lights, pick up the phone, drive our car, put on our clothes, take a bath, mow the lawn, go fishing — we’re being served by a great industry and by efforts of thousands of human beings.”

Gratitude for others..

Often we don't stop to think just how much we rely on our fellow human beings!

  • Especially in the days of the internet, it can often feel like we're wholly disconnected from others and we're in this alone.. 
  • But it's simply not the case!  Think about the room you're in right now.

Just the chair your sitting on probably was touched by dozens of humans before getting to you..

  • 1. Someone planted the tree to make the chair 100 years ago.
  • 2. Someone cut down the tree, put it on a truck and took it to a processing plant.
  • 3. Someone chose the exact right piece of wood, and from the slab created a chair.
  • 4. Someone marketed and sold the chair to you or whoever bought it.
  • 5. Someone figured out how to deliver the chair to where you are now.

Take the smallest possible thing in your life..

  • Let's say a pencil!  No one person knows how to make a pencil.
  • Too much goes into it!  Everyone needs to have a speciality and cooperate..

Everything we own is a culmination of not only an amazing amount of human intelligence, but also cooperation.

  • First, let's have some deep gratitude for that!  Thank you other humans.
  • Second, what are you trying to do on your own right now; would some cooperation help?


“What are your powers?"  

"There’s something, probably several things, that you can do especially well, that you most enjoy doing, and which will automatically provide the greatest service to others.

"Are you ready to discover through experimentation and reflection what course of life will fulfill those powers most completely? Now, that’s being true to yourself; that’s integrity; that’s reasonableness.”

What can you do especially well?

Everyone has something, even if it's yet to be discovered..

  • Often these are illusive to use!
  • We can't even see what we're really good at, or what our unique gift could be..

Ask others!

  • This is a great exercise..  Ask the people around you what they think you're uniquely good at!
  • 5 years ago, I asked a friend what they thought I was uniquely good at.  They said they thought I could be a great motivational speaker..
  • Now they don't know this, but it struck a cord in me.. It's something I couldn't get out of my head!
  • I have always loved helping people, but a speaker?  No way..  
  • Here I am, 5 years later spending all my free time basically speaking to you! 

Keep a journal!

  • What are the successes you've had recently?
  • What lead to those successes?
  • These can lead to deep insights into what you're truly good at..  


“A goal sometimes seems so far off, and our progress often appears to be so painfully slow that we have a tendency to lose heart."  

"It sometimes seems we’ll never make the grade, and we come close to falling back into old habits, which—while they may be comfortable now—lead to nowhere."

"Well, there’s a way to beat this. It’s been used successfully by many of the world’s most successful people, and it’s been advocated by many of our greatest thinkers. It’s to live successfully, one day at a time."

"A lifetime is comprised of days strung together into weeks, months and years. Let’s reduce it to the lowest common denominator: a single day, and then still further into each task of that day. A successful life is nothing more than a lot of successful days put together. It’s going to take so many days to reach your goal; if this goal is to be reached in a minimum of time, every day must count."

"Now think of a single day as a building block with which you’re building the tower of your life. Just as a stonemason can put only one stone in place at a time, you can live only one day at a time. And it’s the way in which these stones are placed which will determine the beauty, the strength of your tower. If each stone is successfully placed, the tower will be a success. If, on the other hand, you put down in a hit-or-miss fashion, the whole tower is in danger. Now this may seem a rather elementary way of looking at it, but I want to make it clear, and it’s a good and logical way of looking at a human life.”

Want to know what your life is going to look like?

Look at your day!

  • The habits you have are eventually your life..
  • If you're unhappy, bored or unsatisfied with your days..  Eventually you'll feel the same about your life!

That's terrifying right?

  • Especially because most of us feel like we're living a groundhog day..
  • Wakeup, work, eat and repeat..  A pretty boring and unfulfilling life!

But it's also empowering!

Why?  Because if you make one small 1% change to your day it has a huge compounded return in your life.

Try this:

1. What are you unhappy with in your day right now?

2. What is a 1% improvement you could implement and put into a habit?

3. Watch my book review on habit books and implement the principles into your life.

  • Atomic Habits
  • Tiny Habits
  • The Power of Habit
  • Mini Habits
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