The Most Forgotten Element of Success

I have only been able to read a little information on this topic.  The reason why is, it seems most people don’t talk about it or at least they don’t package their writing around this subject.  There are 2 books that will help you, the Bible and a book by Deborah Norville.   The topic is respect.

The test had been announced in advance, which meant the students had the chance to study and come well prepared.  Test papers were handed out, and the college exam commenced.  The room was silent except for the scratching of pencils and the occasional tapping of a pencil as students tried to figure out an answer. Until the last question.  One by one, as students reached the end of the test, they read the final question with consternation.  Some grunted in disgust.  One student exclaimed, “Your kidding, right?”  Another asked,” Does the last question count toward our grade?” It had to be a joke.  “Yes it does,” replied the teacher, somewhat tersely.  When all the papers had been handed in, the professor finally explained.  The last question was,    ” What is the first name of the man who cleans our school?”  Virtually every student had been stumped.


The teacher’s point was as you go through life you will meet many people and all of them are important.  We go through life so hurried and in a rush that we fail to recognize people or even give them a nod, a glance, or dare I say a smile.  Every subtle acknowledgment of another human being puts a little deposit in their soul.  You have walked past someone at the gym or a store and if they give you  a head nod or a “hey,” for some reason it makes you feel better.  Every once in a while we go out to eat at these “fu-fu” restaurants.  The ones that have a water person, bread person, and then the waiter.  If we say hi to the water guy he almost doesn’t know what to say.    He will stutter a little…..”Hi”   back to us.                Dr Goldstein says,” You have to have a good self-image of yourself and if you don’t you disrespect yourself and others around you.”  So that means we need to work on ourselves the most and it will grow our respect for others automatically.


Some people are great with people they don’t interact with regularly but they aren’t so good with the people that they see on a regular basis.  I think this paragraph from Deborah Norville sums up how we should think about the people in our lives.

Respect requires empathy, the capacity to anticipate and understand the feelings of others.  It requires consideration.  It is letting the Golden Rule shape the way we interact.  It’s being mindful to see a situation from others perspective.  When respect is given it communicates to the recipient of the respect that he is valued and important.

If you go through your day and are so busy thinking about how someone treated you, what they said to you, what you thought they should have said to you, or they should have let you go first.  Then by default you are violating the point from Deborah’s paragraph.  If you are only thinking about yourself, it is impossible to anticipate or understand how someone else feels.  If you don’t understand that all humans are naturally selfish and sinful creatures, then you will have a hard time having empathy when some one does something stupid.

I have to admit that this is a pet peeve of mine.  Not that it makes it more important it just really annoys me when I see someone not even hold a door for the next person. Or cut their way in front of other people.  Every plane ride I take someone from 4 rows back tries to push their way to the front past all the other people standing in front of them.  AAAGGGGHHHHHH!  Those are the moments when my Saginaw side comes out and I just want to clock ’em in the head. But I believe that would violate everything I just wrote about 🙂

Let’s at least agree to try everyday to do the simple respectful things.  Hold doors, smile, say hi (they wont bite), let someone go in front of you,  shake hands,  pick up what that person dropped, help them lift that heavy bag, give your seat up for a woman, serve someone.  It’s not that hard.  I know we can do it.  Lets change the respect of our society one person at a time.

God Bless


46 thoughts on “The Most Forgotten Element of Success”

  1. Great post, and great book! This is stuff we should all know and do, but it’s easy to great caught up in our own lives and not think about others, especially those closest to us.

  2. Great post!
    “Some people are great with people they don’t interact with regularly but they aren’t so good with the people that they see on a regular basis. ” AHHHGH SO TRUE!! ;_; I’m working on treating my mother better.

  3. I love this post Bill. I believe we all could do more to be more repectful of others, to serve them! I thought the test story was awesome! It shows how little people can pay attention to everyone around them, myself included! I don’t think I would have gotten that question right either. Everyone has an important part in the role of life! Thanks for this post!

  4. Thank you for the post Bill, I have struggled with this in the past and today! I agree with Beth, I would not have been able to answer that question as a high school or college student. It is such a blessing to learn from leaders such as yourself, thank you!

  5. I was really inspired by this article Bill. The reason it resonated so well with me is because I have witnessed you living these principle’s every time I’ve interacted with you. I love the story about remembering the janitors name. It reminds me that you can judge how BIG a man is by how he treats the little people around him. Thanks for your example!

    Rob Robson

  6. Great post Bill! If i saw your saginaw side clock someone i would definitely respect that.. but it would probably violate the whole message of your article so maybe not hehe 😀 but i’m thankful to be following such a cool leader thats exposes my blindspots. I respect that.

  7. Great message Bill. How true we need to be aware of how we treat everyone we know and meet. Thank you for leading the charge with your character of putting others first and showing your respect with the live example you give.

  8. Awesome blog Bill!! It is amazing how impactful a little kindness can be!! I’ve seen so many examples of this truth. Thank you for the reminder.

  9. Yay again! This book was absolutely life changing….a true eye opener! Respect is underrated in our world today! The biggest thing that hit me was the part where parents do not show respect therefore the child does not know it or learn….it is a learned behavior. How many parents can truly say they put their cell phone, tv, music, friends aside for one full hour a day and spend uninterrupted playing a game or spending time with their family…..totally devoted to only them? Amazing book….thankful to be part of LIFE TEAM learning and sharing in lives of so many. Thanks for leading by example….you and your family a true walking example of respect! Brenda

  10. What an awesome way to put it. I loved the smiley face! I could visualize Bill Lewis throwing on a quick smile, but was surprised that he didn’t call the person a “knucklehead”.

    Respect, Love and Appreciate!

  11. Great stuff, Bill! Can you imagine how much better every situation would be if we all remembered that each and every person is created by God and deserves to be treated accordingly…whether we know them or not…whether our encounter with them is brief or extended?

    1. I want to spring board from your comment, Chris. Not only are we made by God, but we are made in His (the Son’s) image and likeness. The depth of such love and meaning should never be forgotten that, indeed, we should respect one another. If we all recognized such a living mystery as a reality, would life ever be the same? We would see God in each person truly as He is, and we would never allow others to put us down with deameaning methods and demoralization.
      I believe Bill touched on something that we often think about in passing, but don’t breathe enough life into it; so thank you Bill Lewis. We wish and want without putting forth the action to do. Master Yoda was right when he told Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
      Ps: Mr. Brady, I have a great deal of respect for you. Thank you for being a wonderful example and author. I aspire to be a best-selling author in the near future.

  12. Bill,
    I appreciate this article. Once I got through the intro and the first chapter of Resolved by Orrin Woodward I had to set the book down and finally start my own resolution list. I had to start with Philippians 4:8. It was tough to decide if this was a Private or a Public resolution but after reading this article I believe that it must go under the Public.
    Daniel Pinkelman

  13. Hey Bill,

    I completely agree with this information. I was always told to recieve respect you need to first give respect. There are many ways to give respect. Like you said, it could be as simple or as little as holding the door for someone or saying hi to someone.
    I know that when I walk into a store to shop for something and there are many employes working but, only one says hi to you and the others say nothing and continues on with whatever they are doing, I am going to do business with the employee that was friendly to me.
    Think what would happen if you make it a goal to make one person smile a day. What a difference that would make to that individual or even make their day and in the process makes you feel good. You dont know people they could be having a not so good day and you just made it 100% better because you said a simple word like “HI”. Everyone deserves respect.Go out there and bless someone today. Make someone smile!

    Dee and Kari

  14. Bill,
    You are so right. It really is easy to do the little things in life that make a difference. I also get very frustrated when I see people look down their noses at someone else. They don’t know their story!
    We are all equal in God’s eyes and should be in each other’s as well. I once read a quote by Mark Twain that went something like “If you want to be happy, first make someone else happy.” I’m not sure if I remember it exactly, but that had a huge impact on me. I try to remember that everyday and it really has made a difference in my life and I hope I have made a difference in someone else’s life.
    God bless!
    Christy and Robert

  15. Great post, Bill! The story about the question really got to me. By coincidence, this past Monday night I was working late and had the chance to meet the young man who cleans our office. He was a great guy with one young son and another child on the way. He told me he dropped out of college when his cleaning service franchise, which he essentially inherited, started to take off. Now he runs a crew of 7 that cleans 42 offices. He cleans our office personally because we are his newest customer and he likes to learn how new customers want things done before he hands the job off to one of his crew. Wow, now that’s a leader! Pretty impressive for someone only 22 years old. We exchanged cards and I plan to contact him about LIFE this weekend.

  16. Thanks for the leadership. As a Marine Veteran, my heart breaks with the lack of character and overall true leadership our current polititions project. And yet these are the “leaders” of this great country. Also, it saddens me to see the wimpification our learning institutions are installing into the future leaders, our kids. We need true leaders and it is my pleasure to follow one.

  17. The direction and the focus makes all the difference in helping people continually move forward! I love the MFC that Orrin, Chris, Bill and the rest of the policy council are offering to the world..WOW..what a difference it will make for those who grab ahold of it!

  18. Great article. The Mental Fitness Challenge provides a structure to help people develop and move them forward in what their true passion and purpose in life is. We are fortunate to have leaders like you Orrin, and Chris leading from the front and in the trenches as well.

  19. Great words Bill. I once belonged to a community of youth or youth group if you will. These very same principles were installed in us as young children open the door for others. Respect your elders be honest, kind ,cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent, and many other principles. Some of you may know this community as boy scouts. I was an eagle scout and live this way in pure habit. It would be wonderful to one day stop seeing this act of respect and character fall away from our youth. We are a nation of silver and spoil, we all stand around wondering,watching,hopeful for change. Maybe all we need to do is change ourselves.

  20. Another great product LIFE! The MFC helps you focus better. It takes the fear out of any situation because it helps you see your strong areas and your weak areas in life. Knowing those things help you overcome obstacles in your life! Bill Lewis is an awesome mentor and I am proud to serve him!

  21. We enjoyed reading your overview of the Mental Fitness Challenge. Since becoming involved with TEAM/LIFE, we have learned how important it is for us to improve ourselves. We’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world….and have finally found the vehicle that will help us be able to help others (by changing ourselves!!) We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but with the MFC Challenge groups and accountability partners, it helps maintain the motivation & positive energy to move forward. We can only say THANK-YOU for becoming the leaders that you are in order to inspire others to follow!

  22. Your overview of the Mental Fitness Challenge was great! We always wanted to help make the world a better place, but never really had a clue that we needed to change ourselves first – what a concept! Ha!! We knew it would be hard, but the Challenge Group and Accountability partners keep the motivation and positive attitude on the surface! It will help with our personal growth and our ability to help others!! We can’t wait to see the results during this 90-day time period. Thank you for becoming the leaders that you are in order for others to want to follow!! Together we can assist the world in becoming a better place!

  23. The MFC has started me on a quest to better myself in many areas of my life. Hard to believe all this material put into one package is available. Personally I’ve always thought I will succeed at whatever I choose to apply myself toward. But organizational skills aren’t my natural forte. I’m currently making that one of my many goals through the process of holding myself accountable to my future. Thanks so much for paving the way for people like myself to truely live the life I’ve always wanted. God bless!

  24. My Mom is doing the mental fitness challenge with me…its been great and has lead to some very interesting conversations !

  25. I agree with this article so much, In my daily life I always try to smile at those who walk by or say hello to the bagger at the grocery. Most people are surprised and I think it makes their day a little nicer. I believe the MFC will allow everyone to do the same.

  26. Great post Bill. We are so happy to be part of this LIFE / TEAM business. It has truly held our family together through some rough times! We look forward to growing within through the MFC so we can help change the world with the rest of you.

  27. So good Bill! A great reminder and a punch in the gut for the day! I know I miss opportunities everyday to do this for people. Time to step it up!

  28. Great post Bill. Deborah Norville’s story reminded me of one I’ve heard Colin Powell tell a couple of times where he snuck away from the assistants that were always around him and went to the State Department parking garage. So many people work in the building that they have valets who park cars 5 and 6 deep. In visiting with the valets, Powell was told those who wave, roll down their windows, and speak to the valets kindly get the best parking spots. Those who aren’t kind get parked as deep as the valets can park them, which means they have to wait a long while when they want to leave the building. He sums it up as, “you see, everyone wants to be treated like they matter.”

  29. Clock em, does that mean give them the time of day? Bill , you rock I love this post. Reminding us of the Golden rule, actually phrased by our Lord first. Respect is a powerful gift to give someone. It changes the whole dynamic of a relationship….keep it coming and please continue Saginaw lens analogy , it makes it real !!

  30. Another great article Bill. It’s funny how people look so startled when you make eye contact and say HI to them. Almost like we have forgotten how to interact with each other. Something I will work on each day and try to make someones day better.

  31. How interesting! I just told my husband that I have a way of earning respect of students I substitute teach for. I also texted him that I want to get better at respecting him. Well put, Bill! Thanks, God, for showing me a sign! Amazing!

Leave a Reply