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Seeds of Greatness – A Remembrance 
By Jonathan Herrmann (LDS 331)

I was rummaging through some boxes a couple months back and came across a book that changed my work life and career over 35 years ago: Seeds of Greatness: The Ten Best-Kept Secrets of Total Success, by Denis Waitley. 

Why has this book been so important to me? I’d spent a stint in the private sector and found that it wasn’t for me. My career couldn’t just be about the money. I needed more. I re-joined the Federal Government as an environmental engineer in 1982. I came across Waitley’s book in 1983 and a light went off in my head. In 10 very specific chapters, he helped me understand what I needed to do to transform a job into a career.

I re-read the book over the past few weeks and found that although some of his examples may be a bit dated, the 10 seeds of greatness he speaks of are as relevant today as they were in 1983. They are the responses or attitudes we develop as a result of “seeing the world more clearly.”

  1. The Seed of Self Esteem: From Self-Esteem to Self-Worth — We must feel love inside ourselves before we can give it to others.
  2. The Seed of Creativity: Releasing Your Creative Energy — Our minds can’t tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly, repeatedly imagined.
  3. The Seed of Responsibility: We Become What We Do — Our rewards in life will depend on the quality and amount of the contribution we make. 
  4. The Seed of Wisdom: What It Means to Live “Without Wax” — A large vocabulary, which implies broad, general knowledge, characterizes the more successful people, regardless of their occupations. 
  5. The Seed of Purpose: The Gold Mine in Your Goals — The reason that so many individuals fail to achieve their goals in life is that they never really set them in the first place.
  6. The Seed of Communication: Reach Out and Touch Someone — Being in touch with others is worth a thousand words.
  7. The Seed of Faith: The Power of Positive Believing — Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy; you won’t necessarily get what you want in life, but in the long run you will usually get what you expect.
  8. The Seed of Adaptability: Turning Problems into Opportunities — The good old days are here and now.
  9. The Seed of Perseverance: The Will to Win Is Everything — Work at doing things that the majority of the population are not willing to do.
  10. The Seed of Perspective: To Be a Star Thrower — How we see life makes all the difference.

I am now retired, but these 10 seeds made all the difference in my work life and how I approached my career. They also were critical in how I conducted myself in both my personal and my family life. I invite you to consider what they might mean to you. 

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