I opened an email from a friend. Inside it read, “Jerry, three ancient laws to follow if you want to be successful.” That’s all there was, plus a link beneath it that read, “Click to reveal the ancient laws.”

My talent for critical thinking immediately kicked into gear. The U.S. Constitution has 27 amendments, the Bill of Rights being the first 10. The Organic Act of Guam has sections, chapters, subchapters, and it goes on and on. The Bible has 66 books. Being children of God, plus citizens of Guam as part of the United States, we’re responsible for knowing, following, and obeying all of it. So, just three ancient laws. Bring ‘em on, I can handle that.

I breathlessly clicked it in hopes of learning those laws and achieving greater success. The page opened and I read…

The 'ancient laws' are fundamental

They have more to do with philosophy and handling the basics of life; such as relationships, performance, success and our health. Ancient laws are about observing truths that have stood the test of time. If we follow them we’ll benefit, and if we break them we’ll likely suffer for it.

This is what my mom had always told me. If I got the basics right, I’d always be okay. She said never to seek shortcuts in following the fundamentals or to try to beat the process altogether. To do that was inviting trouble.

This was reaffirmed recently when I examined "The Laws of Human Nature" by Robert Greene. Greene was clear: When we go against human nature in our dealings – whether in personal relationships or business – there’s usually a price to pay. And today, fewer people are interested in doing the basics and taking the slow and steady path to success. They want it all and they want it now.

Ancient law No. 1: Admit faults

This is pretty simple but so many of us refuse to do it. In the case of politics, not admitting faults is how you get the word “gate” added onto what you messed up. It wasn’t the break-in at the Democratic headquarters that got Richard Nixon in the 1970s, it was the coverup. This law applies to not just politics, but also to football and some team that is rumored to play up in New England. But I digress. When you make a mistake or do wrong, admit it and apologize.

Don’t hide from the truth. Be accountable and ask for forgiveness. People love to give second chances. It’s that human nature thing.

Ancient law No. 2: Help people

Most of us want to influence others to accomplish whatever our objective is. We want them to help us get where we want to go. Well, what do you think they want? The same thing, maybe?

When I train sales teams I tell them to stop pitching how great their product or company is, and to only focus on how the prospect benefits. We need to put their needs before ours and when the other person feels that, it’s the moment we really begin to build influence.

Ancient law No. 3: Change your circumstances by changing your attitude

If you look for the bad things in business, in your career, or relationships, guess what? You’ll find them. There’s a bunch of negative things swirling around you and me, all the time. The only question is, will we focus on those or take the positives and do what we can to make something out of them?

These days, it's a popular pastime for many people to ridicule those who profess the need and benefits of a positive mindset.

I’ve met people with 10 times any misery and sadness I’ve ever experienced, and you wouldn’t have known it because of their honestly cheery attitude. No matter what life had taken from them they remained grateful, had a forward-thinking point of view, and life got better. When I'm feeling down, I think about them.

If your head is screwed on straight, ancient law No. 3 really hits home: Admit your faults; put others first; and change your attitude. We win by upholding the ancient laws, the laws of human nature, the laws that have always been and will always be.

Jerry Roberts comments on business and the workplace daily at 7:20 a.m. on The Ray Gibson Show on The Point, 93.3 FM. He can be reached at guamtraining.com, or email jroberts@guamtraining.com

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