Have you heard of Andy Andrews? I have read or listened to six of his books. The first was “The Traveler’s Gift“. (affiliate link)
“The Traveler’s Gift” is a story about an executive, David Ponder, who loses his job due to a hostile takeover of his company. For the first time in his life he finds himself out of money and unable to care for his wife, Ellen and daughter, Jenny. A proud man, Ponder is now forced to take a job at a hardware store working for a grumpy old man. Meanwhile his wife, a former stay at home mom, must start cleaning houses to help make ends meet.
One day while at the store Ponder gets a phone call from his wife. Their daughter is sick and will need to have her tonsils removed. With no money and no way of borrowing Ponder finds himself in a seemingly hopeless position. He hangs up the phone and turns to see the agitated owner of the hardware store. The owner scolds David Ponder for taking a personal call at work and fires him on the spot.
Hopeless, broke and out of ideas. Ponder is left to wonder, “Why me?
The helpless man leaves the store and goes for a drive before heading home to give his family the bad news. It’s Winter. Ponder steps on the gas peddle of his old beat up Dodge Colt that he bought for $900 from a high school kid. He starts to contemplate how his family would be if he was not around. He still had the life insurance policy. Maybe everyone would be better without him.
Thoughts raced through his head as he started to go faster and faster in the old Colt. Why me? Why me? Ponder approached an icy bridge and did not see the black ice. As the car careened off the road and headed right towards a giant oak tree, Ponder screamed,
Please God! Why Me?
The Seven Decisions
Andy Andrews believes that he has discovered Seven Decisions that lead to Personal Success. He uses the life of David Ponder to disclose these principles to us.
Andrews uses historical figures to show how the principles need to be used in order to find great success in life. Some are very well known, some are not. The book is not only a great inspirational book for personal development but also a fine lesson in history.
At each visit he is given a paper or a scroll or letter, something that contains the decisions for Ponder to take with him throughout his journey.
The First Decision For Success
After Ponder screams his last words, “Why Me?” he finds himself laying on the floor of an old building in Potsdam, Germany sitting face to face with an older man.
It’s July 24, 1945. The day the decision was made to drop the Atomic bomb. The man is Harry Truman.
The Buck Stops Here
“I accept Responsibility for past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible for my success. The Buck stops here”
Are you in control of your life? Are you leading your ship or are you a passenger, allowing others to determine where you go. Do you blame moments of the past for your current situation? Do you allow the weather to determine how you feel? STOP!
Take control over everything that matters. Today. You and only you should be in control over your success.
The Second Decision For Success
After reading the last sentence from the paper, Ponder began his travel to another part of the world at another time. He came to and found himself in a time when King Solomon was the ruler. The setting is a large room filled with people all paying attention to a commotion between two women. You have most likely heard this story before.
The Judgement of Solomon. King Solomon was known to be extremely wise. This is why Andrews used him to explain the Second Decision.
I Will Seek Wisdom.
“I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care. I will seek wisdom.”
Do you read? Remember, rich people have big libraries and poor people have big TVs. Do you ask the advice of those you find to be wiser than you? Do you hang out with people that can help you grow and not tear you down? Do you help others or hinder them. Never stop growing.
The Third Decision For Success
Next on Ponder’s trip was a visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During the American Civil War. Ponder gains consciousness to the sound of gun shots and cannons. He is in the middle of the battle. Suddenly he is lifted up and out of harms way by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Do yourself a favor and read up on Chamberlain. You may want thank him for what he did for us when you’re through.
In a nutshell, Chamberlain’s group of men was the extreme left for the Union Army that was protecting Gettysburg. Most of his men were dead or severely injured and they were out of ammunition. They could not retreat as that would mean the South would advance and take Gettysburg. They couldn’t sit there and wait for the rebel troups as that would mean sure defeat. Chamberlain had no choice but to charge.
I am a Person of Action
“I do not fear failure, for in my life, failure is a myth. Failure exists only for the person who quits. I do not quit. I am courageous . I am a leader . I seize this moment. I choose now. I am a person of action.”
Act. Do not hesitate. Do not fill your mind with possibilities of negative outcomes. Take action.
The Fourth Decision For Success
David Ponder’s next voyage was just that, a voyage. He found himself on a ship in the dark in the middle of the ocean on the Santa Maria. Andrews uses Christopher Columbus to explain his next decision.
I have a Decided Heart
Say what you like about Columbus. He arrived in the America’s and was ruthless to the locals. He kidnapped some into slavery and brought with him disease that would wipe out entire cultures. But he was not the only one. It was the Age of Discovery and Exploration. And the worst was yet to come to the group of people that would become known as the Indians.
But Columbus is a perfect representation for this Decision. He was certain he would find all the riches and gold of the world when he set sail. Despite being turned down several times by several countries, it’s Spain that finally agrees to sponsor the explorer. Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492, stopped at the Canary Islands to stock up on supplies and then left. It would take five weeks to get across the ocean and “discover” what is now known as The Bahamas.
He wouldn’t find gold but what he did find would change the world forever. The shipmates on the Santa Maria pleaded with Columbus to turn around. The conditions were awful. But Columbus would not relent. He knew in his heart that land was on the horizon.
“I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured. I have a decided heart.”
What could you discover if you were so passionate about your future?
The Fifth Decision for Success
After Ponder’s experience with Columbus he is taken to another part of the world in another time. It’s October 28th, 1943 and he is sitting with a little girl in the annex. He is with Anne Frank and her family as they are in hiding during the Nazi Occupation of Holland.
Today I Will Choose to be Happy
What could Anne Frank, a little girl in hiding, teach us about being happy? A lot as it turns out. David Ponder sits with the little girl and shares a conversation that would change his life.
Is being happy a choice? Can you decide what kind of mood you are in? I absolutely believe so. Good things and bad things will come your way. You can decide how these things effect you. Be grateful and express gratitude. Smile often, laugh with you friends and family.
“I will be grateful for the miracle of abundance. I will greet each day with laughter. I will smile at every person I meet. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit. Today I will choose to be happy.”
The Sixth Decision for Success
Ponder’s next experience is in a familiar place. He’s back in Gettysburg. It’s November 19th, 1863 and David Ponder has found himself in the presence of the Sixteenth President of the United States. President Abraham Lincoln was there to dedicate the cemetery in Gettysburg. David Ponder was there to learn about the next important decision.
I Will Greet This Day with a Forgiving Spirit.
How many hours have you lost due to resentment and anger? How many relationships have been ruined as a result of your ability to say “I forgive you”? How many opportunities went by the wayside because you couldn’t forgive the one person that matters most, you?
Holding on to anger of another person is an incredible waste of time and energy. Often times the other party has no idea of your feelings anyway! Through Lincoln, Andrews suggests that you forgive everyone even though mostly everyone will never ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is not something to be hoarded inside but rather should be given away whenever possible. It has no value unless it is given away.
If and when you make a mistake, do not keep yourself down. Own the errors of your ways and forgive yourself so that you can move forward and continue to grow.
“From this day forward, my history will cease to control my destiny. I have forgiven myself. My life has just begun. I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. I will forgive myself. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.”
The Seventh Decision for Success
Ponder leaves Lincoln in Gettysburg and finds himself transported to a place unlike one he has ever seen before. A building with no walls or structural support of any kind. He’s not even sure it is a building. As he walks around he sees stacks of papers and photos. He see aisles of beds and cures for diseases along with every other thing you could imagine.
David sat there in complete confusion, unable to put together exactly where he was. There was no smell. There was a soft, even glow of light but there were no light fixtures of any kind.
After a short time of wonder, a figure who appears to be a man finally appeared. Soon enough David Ponder realized he was in the presence of an angel, an archangel to be exact. Gabriel.
Gabriel walks Ponder through this mysterious place. It is his final and most important stop before he is to return to his family. It proves to be the most difficult stop. As David wonders around he comes across a photo of two children that is very familiar to him. He can’t seem to get it out his mind that the children mean something to him.
The archangel tells David the names of the children, Julia and Jason. David comments that they always wanted more children but did not think they could afford it. Just then he realizes that he is looking at a picture of the children he never had. Gabriel confirms the realization and explains to David that where they are in a warehouse filled the dreams and goals of the less courageous.
It’s a very somber moment. There are no second chances. Once an opportunity is missed, it is gone forever. You will miss some, plenty actually. But there will be many many more. Be ready.
I Will Persist Without Exception
“I will believe in the future that I do not see. That is faith. And the reward of this faith is to see the future that I believed. I will continue despite exhaustion. I focus on results. I am a person of great faith. I will persist without exception.”
See the things you desire, feel them, crave them, go after them. Do not stop until everything you desire has been attained. The journey will not always be easy but you will find you can have everything in life that you want as long as you go after it and persist without exception.
I will leave it in your hands to discover the conclusion for yourself. The first time I read “The Travelers Gift” (affiliate link) was actually via audio. I recall sitting in traffic as the story came to an end with tears streaming down my face. Tears of joy, hope and wonder. Tears of fear as the realization came to me that my success is up to me. Not my manager at the time. Not my parents or friends or who I have in my network. It’s up to me.
Your success is up to you. Go get it!
The Seven Decisions
- The Buck Stops Here
- I Will Seek Wisdom
- I am a Person of Action
- I have a Decided Heart
- Today I Will Choose to Be Happy
- I Will Greet this Day With a Forgiving Spirit.
- I Will Persist Without Exception
Please share your thoughts on this review and please feel free to share this post with anyone that you think could use some help as they attempt to achieve success.