The Best Quotes From Robert Ringer’s “Looking Out for #1”

Robert Ringer is probably the most underrated guy in the whole self-help industry. Tony
Robbins has this 500 million dollar empire, Tim Ferriss has incredible numbers of people reading his website and listening to his podcast, but Robert Ringer is doing….I don’t know. Granted, he”s a bit older, so he may have missed out on the Internet revolution, but it’s a shame because he’s genuinely in that same class of talent and “Looking Out for #1” is a great book that I would highly recommend that you read. To give you a taste of what it’s like, here are the best quotes from the book.

“Given that the term looking out for number one has been so distorted by an army of media people who never took the trouble to read the book, I would like to clearly define it at the outset: Looking out for number one is the conscious effort to make rational decisions that lead to the greatest amount of happiness over the long term, so long as the actions stemming from those decisions do not involve the use of force or fraud against anyone else. In simpler terms, looking out for number one begins with the belief that you have a moral right to take actions aimed at giving you the greatest amount of pleasure and least amount of pain, provided your actions do not violate the rights of others.”

“While the high point on your mental awareness meter is taking action based only on your own rational choices, the low point is taking action based on what others choose for you.”

“Looking out for number one is actually a benefit to others, because when you’re content and happy, you aren’t a potential burden to the rest of society. Which, in my opinion, is more than enough reason to view looking out for number one as a noble pursuit.”

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“This phenomenon is underscored by the Changing-Circumstances Theory, which states: The one thing in life you can absolutely count on is that circumstances will continually change. The great unknown is when they will change.”

“Enjoy life, but be flexible in your planning. It’s dangerous to base your decisions on the assumption that everything is going to continue as it now is. It won’t. Worse, because circumstances have a habit of changing with little warning, you are often caught off guard.”

“I wish I could be the bearer of good tidings and tell you that you have unlimited time to stare at the ball and decide what you’re going to do with it, but that’s not reality. Like all games, the game of life must end—and the clock is ticking as you read this.”

“For example, everything in this book is based on my perception of reality. You are, of course, free to accept or reject any or all of my interpretations of reality. And where we have differences of opinion, one of us will suffer negative consequences to the degree to which his perceptions are incorrect.”

“The more your perspective is restricted to your own sheltered environment, the more likely you are to perceive minor difficulties as major problems. And when that occurs, it results in an unwarranted loss of finite time and energy.”

“The greatest problem shrinker I’ve ever run across is the late exobiologist Carl Sagan’s ‘cosmic calendar.’ As Sagan explained it, ‘If the eons that comprise the lifetime of Earth were compressed into the span of a single year … recorded history would occupy the last thirty seconds of the last day of such a year.'”

“Unfortunately, most people live in a totally unreal world. As discussed earlier, they create a world in their own minds based on the way they would like the world to be rather than the way it actually is. They would much rather delude themselves by ignoring the facts, even if their self-delusion only prolongs the inevitable.”

“When it comes to custom and tradition, people tend to spend a great deal of time and energy doing things for which they hope to be appreciated. It’s nice when it happens, but it’s a big mistake to base your actions on the desire to gain the gratitude of others, as spelled out in the You-Won’t-Get-Credit-for-It”

“Never do anything with the expectation of being appreciated. The most valid reason for taking an action is that you sincerely want to do it.”

“There is so much bitterness in our world due to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and failure—not to mention perceived self-sacrifice—that the neurotic individual often feels that he can vent his frustration only through hatred.”

“What your ancestors accomplished is no feather in your cap, nor should you feel responsible for their failures.”

“One of the most disturbing things about crusades is that they tend to become ends in themselves. The official objective of the group somehow gets lost in the rearranging of the facts, the endless bureaucracy of its corporate structure, and the never-ending bashing of its foes. With all this going on, the crusade never quite seems to get around to its stated purpose. That’s why the all-or-nothing approach is usually favored; i.e., you must accept all tenets of the group, no questions asked.”

“Not only are the motivations for becoming involved in most causes questionable, but causes rarely achieve their stated goals. In fact, if causes had to rely on their track records alone, they would find it much more difficult to attract supporters. The most obvious examples of this are crusades to end war and poverty.”

“Most mass movements find it necessary to create a devil.”

“Relying on persuasion to take something from others or to force people to do something they don’t want to do is a difficult proposition. A well-organized crusade makes it much easier and safer to violate the rights of others via the threat of government force. Hiding behind the strong arm of government blurs the reality that such interference is being perpetrated by one’s neighbors.”

“As a general rule, the less a slogan actually says (think ‘hope and change’), the greater its appeal. Slogans are employed because to the unthinking individual they appear on the surface to be interchangeable with fact.”

“The prototype of a crusade leader may not seem very different from that of other neurotics who have stumbled into your life over the years, but the one characteristic you can always count on is an insatiable ego. The crusade leader believes he can save the world by imposing his will on others.”

“Rest assured, however, that if his own life were more meaningful, his burning conviction for his cause would be radically diminished. As Eric Hoffer pointed out, ‘A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.'”

“It is essential that a crusade leader understand the would-be follower’s motives for joining, which can range from companionship … to a desire to conform … to ego satisfaction … to escape from personal responsibility for his own success and happiness … to a genuine belief in the worthiness of the crusade (or at least the belief that he believes).”

“Buddha explained it insightfully when he said, ‘Excessive desire makes us slaves of whatever we crave.'”

“If you’ve never experienced the misery of failure, the chances are pretty good that you haven’t tried very hard to succeed. I’ve never met anyone who has made it to the top—and managed to stay there—who didn’t first taste the bitterness of defeat, usually many defeats.”

“Every now and then, Legalman (commonly referred to by laymen as ‘attorney’ or ‘lawyer’) succeeded in serving me with papers, which usually led to a default judgment. But that was only a dead end for him. Whether a deposition was being taken or a default judgment being entered, Legalman, much to his dismay, was forced to face the frustrating reality that the bare bones of a financial corpse could not be converted into dollars at his command.”

“To give you an idea of Legalman’s frustration, I quote verbatim from the transcript of one such deposition: Legalman: ‘Where do you now live?’ The Tortoise: ‘Right now, I’m living on a truck.’ Legalman: ‘Could you be a little more specific about that?’ The Tortoise: ‘It’s a Ryder truck—R-y-d-e-r.’ Legalman: ‘Who owns the truck?’ The Tortoise: ‘The Ryder Company, I guess. I leased it from them.’ Legalman: ‘When did you do that?’ The Tortoise: ‘When the sheriff put me out of my house.'”

“I find it psychologically healthy to look at financial success as a game. Games are fun to win, but no matter how many chips you accumulate, the reality is that all you’ll be taking with you when the game ends is a quart of embalming fluid.”

“But if you don’t feel good about where you are financially, it’s up to you to make a commitment to change things—whether it’s your job, your profession, or your business. The one thing you do not want to do is spend the rest of your life drowning in regret.”

“People who use bad breaks as excuses are often victims of the World-Owes-Me-a-Living Theory, which states: Anyone who believes that others—or, worse, ‘the world’—owes them something are destined for failure and disappointment. Until a person cleanses this poisonous notion from his mind, he is unlikely to leave the starting gate, much less win the race.”

“Labeling oneself is among the most popular ways to avoid personal responsibility in our modern-day culture of whiners and complainers.”

“I’ve known many wealthy people over the years—including a couple of real billionaires—and there’s one thing they all seem to have in common: Not only do they not toss money around carelessly, they speak about it in reverent tones. A term like billion is not to be uttered cavalierly.”

“Over the years, I have observed a peculiar human trait, succinctly summed up in the Life-Complication Theory, which states: Human beings, by nature, tend to seek ways to complicate their lives. Given a choice between a simple and complicated method to accomplish an objective, most people will opt for the more complicated course of action.”

“People who see themselves as victims of bad luck have a difficult time understanding that the surest road to success is to create one’s own breaks. Sadly, most of them are victims of the Waiting-to-Be-Discovered Theory, which states: If you’re waiting for something to happen, you’re not in control of your destiny. Don’t wait for something to happen; make it happen!”

“Remember, no matter how well you perform, your efforts are only a means to an end—getting paid. Your main focus should always be on the precise method by which funds will be transferred from someone else’s bank account into yours. This seemingly simple proposition almost never happens by accident, and almost never without resistance on the part of the party who is supposed to pay you.”

“All your competitors combined are not as formidable a foe as government, simply because they are not allowed to use force against you. One time, loud and clear: When it comes to your financial well-being, the government is not your friend; it is your worst enemy.”

“You don’t have to have a very high level of awareness to realize that one doesn’t prove that a law is right or moral merely by stating that it is a law. The only relevant consideration with regard to government laws is whether or not they are in violation of Natural Law and natural rights. Academicians have used various terms to define Natural Law and natural rights, but I believe they can be summed up rather simply: Every man possesses a natural right to pursue his own happiness in any way he so chooses, and retain ownership over all the fruits of his labor, so long as he does not forcibly interfere with the same rights in others.”

“All government does to you is: Steal a large portion of your personal income; Close the doors to your business if you don’t fork over a specified percentage of your profits; Make the money you do retain worth less every day by printing currency with no backing behind it; Charge you rent for living in the home you thought you owned (euphemistically referred to as ‘property taxes’); Tell you what minimums you have to pay your employees and whom you must hire; Dictate what you can charge for your products and services (through price controls handed down by the FTC); Pass judgment on what products you can sell (through the FDA); And, the real coup de grace, make it illegal for you to compete against its own poorly run monopolies (such as the United States Postal Service).”

“Just as important, money also can control you by making you overly fearful of losing it. Almost as bad as living beyond your means is living beneath your means. When you do so, money becomes an end in itself. Money can buy possessions and labor that not only make your life more comfortable, but can directly and indirectly give you the ultimate reward for crossing the Financial—freedom.”

“Rational self-interest is not a problem; i.e., self-interest that does not involve forcible interference in the lives of others harms no one. The problem is the irrational self-interest of those who do not want you to act in your own best interest, who want to interfere in your life by pressuring you into doing what makes them happy.”

“Human Reality No. 3: The Definition Game. Good is what I do; bad is what you do. Right is what I do; wrong is what you do. Honest is what I do; dishonest is what you do. Fair is what I do; unfair is what you do. Moral is what I do; immoral is what you do. Ethical is what I do; unethical is what you do.”

“The Line-Drawing-Game Theory states: Every individual subjectively draws his own lines with regard to right and wrong, based either on his moral standards, the moral standards of some person or group, or moral standards that are convenient for him at any given time.”

“Every individual arbitrarily draws his lines between right and wrong, carefully placing those lines in such a way as to be certain that his actions will always lie on the side of right.”

“Property rights constitute an area where real, physical lines are drawn. How far back should we go to determine who originally occupied an area of land? Every government in control of an area of land today draws a line that assures that its ownership is valid. It is not about to lend credence to the reality that the land it now occupies was taken from some other group of people decades, hundreds, or even thousands of years earlier. When it comes to matters of land ownership, current possession is, indeed, nine-tenths of the law.”

“The illogical person tips his hand in many other ways, but you have to be alert to pick up on the signs. Irrational people stray from the main point; they dwell on the irrelevant; they rely on nonfactual slogans; they generalize; they use invalid analogies; and they are masters at ‘proving’ a point by simply restating it as a fact, a technique commonly referred to as an a priori argument. Regardless of the tactic employed, the objective is similar to that of a magician, politician, or criminal-defense attorney: Distract the person’s attention from the real issue.”

“The professional debater can dangle an irresistible carrot under your nose. He is accomplished at saying things that are so illogical that it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to prove him wrong. If you take his bait and answer a question based on a false premise, it becomes a kind of implied consent in his mind, which only encourages him to raise the verbal stakes. Since he has no intention of using logic in his argument, he can easily escape your reasoning trap by jumping from one ill-founded premise to another.”

“Being involved with a neurotic person puts you in danger of becoming a victim of the I’m-Crazy, You’re-Sane Theory, which states: If you allow a neurotic individual to remain in your life, you run the risk of his convincing you that he is perfectly sane and that you’re the one who’s crazy.”

“Remember: People will bother you until you no longer allow them to.”

“Remember, everything worthwhile has a price. The price of friendship varies in amount and form, but, make no mistake about it, there is always a payment involved. The payment may require your investing a certain number of hours per week in conversation, it may mean that you are counted on for continual inspiration, or it may translate into your having to forego a facet of your life that is important to you. Whatever it may be, just be aware that there is a payment.”

“Another excellent way to reduce the quality and quantity of your friendships is to cultivate a reputation as the perpetual bearer of bad tidings. It’s one thing to occasionally discuss problems with friends; it’s another to overwhelm them with your troubles. The reality is that people, by and large, have an aversion to other people’s problems because they have enough of their own. So it’s quite natural for them to avoid the company of those who are continual bearers of negative messages.”

“When there’s nothing else for someone to discover about you, you lose your luster in that person’s eyes.”

“There is probably much truth to the old adage that opposites attract, but an even more important reality is that they usually don’t stay together very long. And even if they do, it’s not likely to be a happy relationship.”

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John Hawkins
John Hawkins created in 2001; built it up to a top 10,000 in the world website; created a corporation with more than 20 employees to support it; created a 3.5 million person Facebook page; became one of the most popular conservative columnists in America; was published everywhere from National Review to Human Events, to Townhall, to PJ Media, to the Daily Wire, to The Hill; wrote a book 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know that was at one point top 50 in the self-help section on Amazon; did hundreds of hours as a guest on radio shows, raised $611,000 in a GoFundMe for Brett Kavanaugh’s family and has been talked about everywhere from The New York Times to Buzzfeed, to the Washington Post, to Yahoo News, to the Rush Limbaugh Show, to USA Today. After seeing the unjust way that Brett Kavanaugh was treated during his hearings and how a lifetime worth of good work was put at risk by unprovable allegations, John Hawkins decided to create a men’s website. Welcome to Brass Pills!


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