It was the 1970s, when people realized they could help themselves achieve successand step out of the bounds of societal expectations and repression. Dr. Wayne Dyer spearheaded the era, inspiring and encouraging people to step into their own personal power. Dyer’s incredible book sales helped launch the self-help movement that has yet to slow.
Dyer’s death Saturday night at 75 years of age surprised and shocked many, reminding us what a force of nature he had created of himself. He did his part in changing the world for the better. His first book, Your Erroneous Zones, sold over 35 million copies, and he published 30 books in a career that lasted over four decades. His genuine care for others is evident in his body of work, and in his philanthropy.
Everything Dr. Dyer taught was from his direct experience in creating a life for himself of incredible success. He may be gone, but his teachings will benefit you long into the future. Here are 11 actionable lessons from Dyer’s life and work that will help you live your most successful life.
1. Create your own opportunity.
Dyer was an incredibly ambitious and hard-working man who made a bestseller out of his first book–selling copies out of the back of his station wagon.
I shoveled snow, or delivered papers because I wanted some spending money but nobody would give it to me. A lot of people have a sense-of-entitlement mentality that somebody else ought to do these things for them.
From his early days in foster care to a pioneer of the self-help movement, Dyer showed the world that hard work and perseverance are key to success.
2. Service is real success.
Throughout Dyer’s life, he donated generously to his alma mater, Wayne State University, and helped raise millions of dollars for public broadcasting in addition to devoting his life to helping others reach their potential.
I don’t have a vision board with a new Mercedes or a new watch. I wake up each day and ask, “What can I give?” The first thing I do every single morning is I say, “Thank you,” and I pick a letter up, or sometimes I call somebody. And I try to give back. I ask, “How may I serve somebody?”
Service creates positivity and abundance with your success. Without service, your success is just hollow and selfish.
3. Your outlook determines your world.
One of my favorite Dyer quotes has always been
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.
Choosing to see the best in everything isn’t just new-agey fluff, it’s actually science. Dyer said,
It turns out that at the tiniest subatomic level, the actual act of observing a particle changes the particle. The way we observe these infinitely small building blocks of life is a determining factor in what they ultimately become. If we extend this metaphor to larger and larger particles and begin to see ourselves as particles in a larger body called humanity or even larger–life itself–then it’s not such a huge stretch to imagine that the way we observe the world we live in affects that world.
4. Remember that you have a choice.
Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice,
said Dyer. Though you may tend to make it more difficult than that, it’s quite simple. Whatever you are experiencing, you have a choice to make it different … for better or for worse.
5. You are not what you do.
It’s very easy in the age of ever-increasing productivity to align yourself with your success. Dyer said,
Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t … you aren’t.
Know that you are more than what you do, so that when failure comes — and it will — you’re resilient enough to pick yourself up and try again.
6. You don’t have to fear death.
According to Dyer’s family, “He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying.” Everything comes to an end, whether a project, a relationship, or a life. Dyer reminded us with his last days that having a sense of curiosity and adventure when these small and large deaths arrive will help you remember that each death, while sad and difficult, can also be a new, exciting beginning.
7. Have the courage to do what you love.
Never forget that doing what you love is the cornerstone of having success in your life. There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.
The passion and excitement in Dyer’s work was evident in every book he wrote, his talks, his appearances, and his life. Don’t wake up dreading your workday and wishing you were doing anything else. Creating a life that you love gives you more energy, passion, and happiness, which is a success of its own — monetary success is sure to follow.
8. Drop the ego.
Dyer believed that we are all connected, and so how we treat others is no different from how we treat ourselves.
The ego makes us think we are separate from each other and therefore special. But we are not. So if you go through your day thinking you are better than someone else, or more worthy of success, you completely disconnect from source. You are competing and thinking you are special. And this prevents you from bringing in your greatest gifts.
Healthy competition can be motivating, but remember to celebrate everyone’s successes as you would celebrate your own.
9. Success is who you are.
Instead of thinking that money will make you successful, begin with an attitude of successfulness. Dyer believed that success begins with who you believe you are:
Successful people make money. It’s not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do.
When you project an attitude of successfulness, you attract people, situations, projects, and opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily be given to someone who doubts herself.
10. You are your only competitor.
My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be.
When you make others into your barometer of success, it’s easy to forget that someone else has very different goals, dreams, and obstacles to overcome. Stay awake to your own life, setting goals that are personally fulfilling and satisfying.
11. Stop blaming others for your failures.
Playing the victim does not serve you. Dyer had this to say about blaming your circumstances:
Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make.
Taking responsibility for your choices empowers you to see that you are in charge of your life, which can only lead to success.
Originally published here