Book Summary: “Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success” by Steve Harvey

“A person has to remember that the road to success is always under construction. You have to get that through your head. That it is not easy becoming successful.”

Steve Harvey

From feeling lost, disliking school, and not knowing how to pursue his passion, to laboring in a factory that was breaking his spirit before his body, Steve Harvey managed to rise above it all. He was generous enough to document his journey in inspiring words that are beautifully crafted in one of the best books I have read. Steve Harvey is not just a TV host or comedian, he is also an inspiring author and speaker.

In his book, “Act Like Success, Think Like Success”, he shows us that we too can make it. The central idea of his book is that everyone has a gift. If you identify this gift, work on it, and make your life about it, you will achieve success and financial freedom, but most importantly, you will live a life you are proud of.

But what is the gift that everyone has? Why is it important? How do you figure it out? How do you leverage it and build your life around it?

All these topics are discussed in detail in Harvey’s book. The book is your map to find your gift, use it, leverage it, and expand it. You can consider this book as your “Giftopedia”. In this blog post, we will go over these topics and provide a practical summary of the main concepts mentioned in the book, ready for you to use and apply in your life.

1-Minute Summary

Steve Harvey believes the key to success lies in discovering and using your unique “gift.” This isn’t something you learn, but something you’re born with and excel at effortlessly.

Key Points:

Identifying your gift: Ask yourself what you truly love doing naturally and effortlessly. It should be something you enjoy and excel at.

Perfecting your gift: Don’t just identify it, but hone it through practice, learning, and continuous improvement.

Connecting your gift to a “vehicle”: Find ways to use your gift to its full potential, like your career, hobbies, or community projects.

Using your gift for success: Apply your gift in various areas of your life to excel, create value, and achieve your goals.

Continuous learning: Regularly improve your skills and knowledge related to your gift to become the best you can be.

By identifying, perfecting, and utilizing your unique gift, you can unlock success and fulfillment in various aspects of life.

In this blog post, we will go over:

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Overview of the Book

The main idea of the book, “Act Like Success, Think Like Success” is quite unsurprisingly about success. Harvey strongly believes that the best path to a successful life lies in the hands of your unique gift. He says that everyone has a unique gift and using this gift gives you a competitive advantage in life, providing a shortcut to success. While the idea sounds simple, it’s not easy to find your gift, let alone use and expand it. Harvey himself had to define his own gift multiple times in his career, even though he was quite sure what he wanted to do in life since he was in sixth grade.

One of the most important days in Harvey’s life was when he was in school, a sixth-grade student. Their teacher asked them to write on a paper what they wanted to be when they grew up. While I didn’t know what I wanted to be even when I was in high school, Harvey had a dream, he knew what he wanted to be. He wanted to be on TV.

Their teacher started to read out what each student wrote, when she came to Harvey’s paper, she was shocked. She didn’t believe what he wrote. She didn’t read what was written. She asked him to come to the front of the class and read what he had written. Then she asked why he wrote that. He confusedly answered that because she asked them what they wanted to be and he wants to be on TV. She launched at him with questions like, “Who do you think you are? Do you know anybody on TV? Do you know what it takes to be on TV?” She was reflecting her limitations on his abilities.

He came home confused, like he had failed a course or so. When he told his mother about that, she said he should have written anything to please her. He should not have written an unrealistic goal, an unrealistic dream like his. Thankfully, he went to his father to seek his advice. Otherwise, we might have never seen the Harvey we know today after his sixth-grade teacher scattered his dream in front of his soul.

When he went to his father, his father said,

“Steve, take out that first paper you wrote, put it in your top drawer, and every morning before you go to school and every night before you go to sleep, you read that paper and you believe that one day you will be on TV.”

He told him if that’s what you want to be, then your teacher better start believing it.

Steve Harvey shows through this personal story that knowing your gift is enough to put you on the road to success. You need to figure out what your gift is, for him it was to make people laugh, and start believing in it even when others don’t. Through his gift, he achieved his dream.

Your Gift

This Book is built around the concept of a gift. According to Harvey, your gift is something you do exceptionally well and with ease. It could be anything you do in a relatively short amount of time but with exceptional quality, even if it’s as simple as baking a pie. This simple concept is incredibly powerful when utilized correctly. You need to focus on your gift to excel in life. Ask yourself what you are good at. Consider what people usually associate you with.

Your Gift It’s something that you can do better than anything else, and you can do it with ease and excellence. It comes naturally to you and doesn’t require much effort. Harvey emphasizes that this ‘gift’ is inherent in every individual. It’s not something that you acquire or learn, but something that you’re born with. It’s your unique contribution to the world, and recognizing and utilizing this ‘gift’ is the key to achieving success.

Steve Harvey shares his own story to explain the concept of a ‘gift’. He talks about his early days when he was working in a factory making car parts. Despite working hard, he felt unfulfilled and knew that it wasn’t what he was meant to do.

One day, he participated in an amateur comedy competition and won. He realized that making people laugh was something he could do effortlessly and it brought him immense joy. This was his ‘gift’. He decided to quit his job and pursue a career in comedy, despite the uncertainties and challenges.

Job vs Gift

Steve Harvey makes a clear distinction between a job and a gift. He states that your job is what you do for a living, but your gift is what you are born to do. This gift is a unique talent or ability that you possess. It’s not confined to your professional life; instead, it permeates every aspect of your life. Whether it’s your personal relationships, your community involvement, or your hobbies, your gift can be utilized in various ways. It’s this gift, according to Harvey, that can lead you to true success and fulfillment.

Harvey’s life took a turn when he discovered his gift – making people laugh. He realized this when he won an amateur comedy competition. Making people laugh was something he did effortlessly and it brought him immense joy. This was his gift, not his job at the factory.

He decided to quit his job and pursue a career in comedy. It was a risky move, but he was following his gift. He started performing at small clubs, often for little or no money. But he loved what he was doing and he was good at it. Over time, he became successful in various fields. Not only as a comedian, but also as a TV host, author, and motivational speaker. He acquired all of these roles or gigs by leveraging his gift.

Identifying Your Gift

The process of identifying your gift, as suggested by Steve Harvey, requires deep self-reflection and awareness. Start by asking yourself what you truly love to do. What are the activities that you are naturally drawn to? What tasks do you find easy and enjoyable? Your gift often resides in these areas. It’s something that you can do with ease, passion, and excellence. It doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy it so much. By identifying these activities and nurturing them, you can uncover your unique gift and use it as a vehicle to achieve success in life.

Steve Harvey shares his own experience to illustrate how one can identify their gift. He recounts his early days when he was working a number of jobs, none of which made him feel fulfilled or happy. He felt like he was just going through the motions without any real passion or joy. One day, he decided to participate in an amateur comedy competition on a whim. To his surprise, he won the competition. More importantly, he realized that making people laugh was something he loved doing and could do effortlessly. It was in this moment that he identified his ‘gift’.

Perfecting Your Gift

Steve stresses the importance of not just identifying your gift, but also perfecting it. He believes that recognizing your gift is the first step, but to truly succeed, you must hone and refine your gift. This involves practicing, learning, and continuously improving. By perfecting your gift, you can maximize your potential and increase your chances of success. It’s about making the most of what you have and striving to be the best you can be.

He spent years honing his craft, performing at small clubs, often for little or no money. Despite the hardships, he persisted because he loved what he was doing and he was passionate about his gift. He would observe the audience, learn from each performance, and continuously work on improving his craft. He would write new jokes, try different techniques, and learn from other comedians. This process of continuous learning and improvement was crucial in perfecting his gift.

Over time, his hard work paid off. He became successful, not just as a comedian, but also as a TV host, author, and motivational speaker. His story is a testament to the fact that identifying your gift is just the first step. To truly succeed, you must commit to honing and perfecting your gift. It’s about making the most of what you have and striving to be the best you can be. This is the essence of Steve Harvey’s message in the book. He encourages everyone to discover their unique gift, perfect it, and use it as a vehicle to achieve success.

Connecting Your Gift to a Vehicle

Steve Harvey talks about connecting your gift to a vehicle for success. This involves finding avenues or opportunities where your gift can be utilized to its fullest potential. It’s about aligning your gift with your goals and aspirations. The ‘vehicle’ could be your career, a hobby, a community project, or any other aspect of your life where your gift can shine. By connecting your gift to a suitable vehicle, you can drive towards success, fulfilling your potential and achieving your dreams.

After identifying comedy as his gift, Steve had to find a way to use it to achieve success. This is where the concept of a ‘vehicle’ comes in. For Harvey, stand-up comedy was the initial vehicle he used to showcase his gift. He started performing at small clubs, often for little or no money. Despite the challenges, he persisted because he was passionate about his gift and believed in his ability to make people laugh.

As he honed his craft and became better, more opportunities came his way. He got chances to perform on bigger stages, which led to television opportunities. Eventually, he became a successful TV host, despite his teacher’s believe, an author, and a motivational speaker. Each of these roles served as a vehicle that allowed him to use his gift of making people laugh and inspiring others.

Riding to Success

Identify your gift is not enough. Steve Harvey emphasizes that success comes from using your gift. This unique talent or ability that you possess can be applied in all areas of your life. Whether it’s your career, your personal relationships, or your community involvement, your gift can be the driving force behind your success. By using your gift, you can excel in what you do, create value, and ultimately achieve your goals and aspirations. It’s about making the most of your natural abilities and using them to navigate your path to success.

Practical Applications

But you might ask, ‘How can I start? First, spend some time to identify your unique gift. Think about what you love doing and what you do effortlessly. Once you’ve identified your gift, look for opportunities to use it in your daily life. It could be in your work where you can use your gift to excel in your tasks. It could be in your personal relationships where your gift can help you connect better with others. It could also be in your community where your gift can contribute to the betterment of others. Remember, your gift is not confined to your job. It’s something that you can use in all aspects of your life. Lastly, don’t forget to continuously hone and perfect your gift. Practice it, improve it, and strive to be the best you can be. This way, you’re not just using your gift, but you’re also riding it towards success.

Let’s take the example of a teacher who has a natural gift for communication. She has the ability to break down complex ideas and explain them in a way that’s easy to understand. This gift is not just useful in her job, but it also helps her in her personal life, in her interactions with friends and family. In her job, she uses this gift to teach her students, making difficult subjects easy and interesting. She’s known for her ability to engage students and inspire them to learn. To perfect her gift, she constantly seeks to improve. She attends workshops and seminars, reads books on effective communication, and even takes up courses to learn new teaching methods. She’s always looking for ways to improve her skills and be better at what she does. This is a great example of identifying one’s gift, perfecting it, and using it as a vehicle for success.

Final Thoughts

This blog post delved into the insights from Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success”. We discussed the main theme of the book, which revolves around the concept of a ‘gift’ that each individual possesses. We explored how to identify this gift, the importance of honing and perfecting it, and how to connect it to a vehicle for success. We also shared practical ways to apply these concepts in daily life and provided examples of how these concepts can be applied.

I strongly encourage you to read the book for a comprehensive understanding of these concepts and to embark on the journey of discovering your unique gift.

Actionable Summary

Here is a Step-by-Step Guide to Apply Steve Harvey’s “Act Like Success, Think Like Success” principles:

1. Identify Your Gift:

  • Self-reflection: Spend dedicated time reflecting on yourself.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What activities do you find naturally engaging and effortless?
    • What compliments do you frequently receive?
    • What tasks do you enjoy doing, even when faced with challenges?
  • Consider: These activities and strengths may hold clues to your unique gift.

2. Deepen Your Understanding:

  • Observe your emotions: Pay close attention to how you feel during different activities. You likely feel energized and joyful while using your gift.
  • Seek external feedback: Ask trusted friends, family, or colleagues what strengths they consistently observe in you.
  • Review past experiences: Reflect on past accomplishments and identify activities where you excelled effortlessly.

3. Hone and Perfect Your Gift:

  • Practice consistently: Regularly engage in activities related to your gift to develop your skills and gain experience.
  • Seek learning opportunities: Take courses, workshops, or read books to improve your knowledge and refine your technique.
  • Challenge yourself: Step outside your comfort zone and push yourself to learn new things related to your gift.
  • Seek feedback: Actively seek constructive criticism from mentors, coaches, or trusted individuals to identify areas for improvement.

4. Connect Your Gift to a Vehicle:

  • Identify your goals: What do you want to achieve in life?
  • Explore opportunities: Consider how your gift can be used as a tool to reach your goals.
  • Examples:
    • If your gift is writing, explore careers in journalism, content creation, or creative writing.
    • If your gift is teaching, consider becoming a teacher, trainer, or public speaker.
  • Start small: Begin by using your gift in smaller, manageable ways and gradually expand its application in your life.

5. Take Action and Ride to Success:

  • Integrate your gift: Actively incorporate your gift into various aspects of your life, like your career, relationships, and hobbies.
  • Embrace challenges: View obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow in your chosen field.
  • Celebrate progress: Acknowledge and celebrate your improvements and accomplishments, no matter how small.
  • Never stop learning: Maintain a growth mindset and continuously seek ways to improve your skills and knowledge related to your gift.

Remember: This is a journey, not a destination. Be patient, dedicated, and persistent in your efforts to identify, refine, and utilize your unique gift to achieve success and fulfillment in your life.

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