BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Zig Ziglar, the author of "Zig," where'd you get that name?
ZIG ZIGLAR, AUTHOR, "ZIG: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ZIG ZIGLAR": THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ZIG ZIGLAR": Well, when your mama starts out in life as Hilary, gives you a middle name Hinton, your last name is Ziglar, and you're from Yazoo City, Mississippi, you become Zig. So that's where I got the name. It's kind of like Johnny Johnson, you know, or Tommy Thompson. It's a natural for my last name going like that. And it's easy to remember, too. I like that.
LAMB:: In your book, you have this picture here, of a recognizable figure, former president of the United States. Why is it in the book?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I just happen to be, number one, a fan. Number two, they're on a number of the conventions I've been on or speaking engagements, several of them. Number three, I had the privilege of having a private lunch with him, and Ms. Bush insists that I call her Barbara. So we feel like we're friends of the family, and I have a great admiration for her. She's a neat lady. And the president also, obviously, is a friend.
LAMB:: Also in the book, right above it, is a picture of Colin Powell and you. Where was that taken?
ZIGLAR:: That was also taken at one of the success seminars, where he was one of the speakers. This was, oh, probably four years ago, three years ago, something like that. I was teasing him then by calling him Mr. President. He kept saying, "Now, Zig. Now, don't call me that." I said, "Well, you know, a lot of us would like to see you there." And he said -- just shook his head, you know. But he is really a neat guy. I've written him three or four letters, and he's responded every time.
LAMB:: You got a famous cousin in this town.
ZIGLAR:: Yes, I have. Well, actually, he's a nephew.
LAMB:: Oh, I'm sorry. A nephew.
LAMB:: But a relative.
ZIGLAR:: Yes. Sure, he is.
LAMB:: How's he related?
ZIGLAR:: He's my nephew, my older brother's son, is who he is.
LAMB:: And who is he?
ZIGLAR:: He's James Ziglar. You know, he was the director of the International Immigration -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service. And things are kind of in limbo now, as you know, with the new structure, and there's a lot of things up and down. He doesn't, I don't believe, know exactly where he's going to fit in that sort of thing. But he tackled a very difficult job, and I thought was doing remarkably well, considering the history of that service and how far behind they were in getting things done. But he has great organizational skills. As you probably remember, he was unanimously approved by both Democrats and Republicans, which is kind of a first.
LAMB:: He also was sergeant-at-arms...
ZIGLAR:: Oh, yes. He sure was. Of the Senate there.
LAMB:: On the back of your book, it's endorsed by a man named Jack Kemp.
ZIGLAR:: "Zig Ziglar is one of my heroes. His message of opportunity through optimism, preparation and hard work has been a constant principle throughout my career, from the gridirons of pro football to the halls of Congress and beyond."
LAMB:: What do you do for a living?
ZIGLAR:: I speak and write books, primarily, and do a lot of training for a lot of America's larger companies, as well as the military, and also for small companies. That primarily is what I do. And to tell you the truth, I'm having more fun doing it than I ever have.
LAMB:: Where do you do it?
ZIGLAR:: All over America, and well, all over the world, for that matter. We just got back from Korea here a couple or three weeks ago, and that was a delightful experience.
LAMB:: So when you're doing your thing, what would we see?
ZIGLAR:: Well, you would see a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm, with specific plans of action. And I think that's critically important. I never make a promise unless I give a plan to fulfill the promise. And people leave with a feeling of hope and encouragement because it has been specific. I give a certain amount of data, but I also use a lot of humor, and I tell a lot of stories in the process. I tell folks I'm kind of like a cross-eyed discus thrower. I don't set any records, but I do keep the crowd alert.
LAMB:: Where's your headquarters?
ZIGLAR:: Out of Plano, Texas, which is a suburb of Dallas. We moved there in 1968 and absolutely love it.
LAMB:: So if we went to Plano, Texas, what would be the name of the company?
ZIGLAR:: The name of the company is Ziglar Training Systems. Now, that's in Carrollton, Texas, which is adjoining to Plano. But my home is in Plano. Ziglar Training Systems is the name of our company, under the umbrella of the Zig Ziglar Corporation.
LAMB:: Who runs it?
ZIGLAR:: My son is our president and chief executive officer. I'm seldom involved in the day-to-day activities. I'm doing the research, the writing, the planning, the preparation for the programs that take place.
LAMB:: Which one is your son?
ZIGLAR:: He's the one you've got your finger on there, the one on the left of the picture there. That's right. The one on the right is my son-in-law. We have a lot of family. My youngest daughter is the editor of my books and newspaper column.
LAMB:: So how many people would we find at Ziglar headquarters?
ZIGLAR:: There are 22 there, counting our support people, our sales people and the lady who's been my administrative assistant for the last 25 years.
LAMB:: How long have you been speaking and motivating?
ZIGLAR:: Actually, I got started when I was in sales. And in the sales manager's position, I started speaking and training. In 1952, my dream was born to do what I'm doing today, but it took me 18 years in order to be able to do it full-time. My family had the weird idea that their eating was more important than my speaking, and corporate America was studiously avoiding inviting me to speak to their organizations. Now, in those days, though, things were a lot different. I mention that only because General Motors, the Chamber of Commerce and the sales and marketing executives were really the only people who were inviting outside speakers. So it was a little more difficult in those days to get started.
LAMB:: On the back of your book, it is endorsed by Mike Huckabee.
LAMB:: The governor of Arkansas. "Zig Ziglar inspires his listeners to reach for their highest and enjoy life to the fullest. He has made the world a better place one person at a time."
I get the feeling when reading about your life that the politics of all this came in late in your life, the people involved in politics and you.
ZIGLAR:: You know, fairly late in my life. Eisenhower was the first Republican I ever voted for, and from that point on, as I watched the -- what I felt was the decline of some of the values in America, I recognized that if we kept our mouth shut and did not get involved in that, we would deserve exactly who we elected.
LAMB:: You ever thought of running for office?
ZIGLAR:: I thought about it a number of times, but with my luck, I would have been elected. And then what would I have done? No, seriously, I never really thought about it because I wanted have a voice that I could address regardless of who was in office and regardless of whether they were Democrat, Republican or independent. If I honestly felt, in my own conscience, that their record proved that they were not to be trusted, that I would have a voice that I could say, "Here's what needs to be done." And that was one of the prime reasons that I did not get involved in politics.
And then I had no real name identification in the early years of my life, so it would have been a long shot, at best.
LAMB:: Did you ever think of becoming a minister?
ZIGLAR:: No. I'm a Sunday school teacher, but not once has God ever prodded me into being a minister. We got lots and lots of preachers, but I have the privilege in what I do in corporate America and in these public seminars of teaching biblical values to people who otherwise never really go to church. Now, I do teach a large Sunday school class 45 times a year, and obviously -- I say "obviously" -- we do have a lot of visitors. And again, I have a chance to share values with them that we've found make a difference in people's lives.
LAMB:: When you talk to the political people -- and you say you've spent some time with Barbara Bush -- have you ever -- have you met the current president?
ZIGLAR:: As a matter of fact, I introduced him during the -- his first run for governor in the state of Texas. I do not know him well, but we were very much attracted to him. My wife, whom I always refer to as "the redhead," -- she's a decided redhead -- I mean, one day she just decided -- yes, that's her. Absolutely! When I'm talking to her, that's what -- to her, I call her "Sugar baby," and her name is Jeane. But she was attracted to him, felt he was really genuine, sincere, and that sort of thing. And her instincts are pretty close to being infallible.
LAMB:: What do you think of the leaders in politics in this country today?
ZIGLAR:: Well, one of the little examples, to give you an indirect answer, then I'll be direct -- in 1776, three million Americans had produced the fathers of our country -- Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Monroe, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Today 270 million Americans have done considerably less, as far as the quality of the leadership is concerned. According to the Thomas Jefferson Research Institute, during those years and for 200 years they taught this, nearly 300 years, the New England Primer -- according to them, 90 percent of the educational thrust was of an ethical, moral, religious bent. By 1950, the percentage was so low that you could not even measure it.
In those days, we invited God in. He was welcome in the Constitution, and everything else says that we were founded there as a Christian nation. Now we've kicked God out of school and out of government and out of politics. But thank goodness, more and more, because of 9/11 and because of the corporate scandals that are taking place now, more people are recognizing that we do need a governing authority to run our lives and our country.
Can you imagine a baseball game without a governing authority, an umpire? Every ball the pitcher threw would be a strike, in his mind. The batter would say every ball was a ball. First basemen would say every runner was out. The runner would always say "I was safe." It'd be chaos. We've got to have a dependable resource, a governing authority to look over the affairs of men. Otherwise, chaos.
LAMB:: What about politicians?
ZIGLAR:: Politicians, by all means...
LAMB:: But what do you think of them?
ZIGLAR:: Today? I think there's an awful lot of hypocrisy. I think their primary objective too many times is to get reelected. They really do not look at what needs to be done to make things right. And one of the things that excites me about the current scandals in the business community, as well as in the political community, is the fact that it has aroused the American people to realize that something must be done. We've got to go back to this integrity issue. Emerson put it well: "Ability without honor has no value." And if you would lift me up, you must be on higher ground. We need to lift the standards of our government officials and our business leaders. They go together.
LAMB:: You make no bones about it in your book, and even I can see you've got crosses for your cufflinks.
ZIGLAR:: Yes, those are arrows going that way.
LAMB:: I'm sorry. They look like crosses. You have the fish...
LAMB:: ... in your lapel. You make no bones about your religion.
ZIGLAR:: That's correct.
LAMB:: When did you start being so public about it?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I was born again on July the 4th, 1972. And I'd been struggling in my career. I was broke and in debt. It was going absolutely nowhere. And when I started studying and teaching biblical principles, that's when my career actually exploded.
See, one of the fallacies in our society -- we have been conditioned to keep our faith and our politics out of public life. I'd have trouble finding any two things more important than our faith and our government. Those are very important things. What I discovered is this: 94 percent of the people in America believe there is a God. Why would I risk offending 94 percent of my audience by not talking about something they believe in?
Now, I emphasize I don't preach. I do teach. And I try to teach it with a little humor thrown in because I've discovered that if you can get people laughing, you open their minds and they're more receptive to what you have to say.
LAMB:: There's a picture in here of a woman named Sister Jessie.
ZIGLAR:: That's correct.
LAMB:: Who is she?
ZIGLAR:: Sister Jessie is the instrument God used to lead me to Christ. She spent the weekend in our home on July 4th, 1972. That's when I made my commitment. Here's something very important. I'd been baptized when I was 12. I'd been to church about 1,500 times. But I was not a Christian. I was not saved. When Sister Jessie got through with me -- she walked in talking about Christ. She walked out talking about Christ. And for three days, that's all she talked about. From that moment on, my commitment was solid.
And as an expression of gratitude, let me point this out. When I started teaching biblical principles, I have not had to solicit a speaking engagement in 30 years. Now, it's important to understand that I do teach, and that's important. The effectiveness of the teaching -- biblical principles have been working thousands of years, and when people started following those principles, they became infinitely more successful.
Our whole philosophy's built around the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. That works in your personal life, your physical life. It works in corporate America. It works in government. It works everywhere.
LAMB:: How far, in your opinion, should we go in public places to display any kind of symbolism of God, of Jesus? How far should the politicians go? How far should this town go? You know what I'm talking about, the 10 Commandments and the -- all the symbols of religion in this country.
ZIGLAR:: Well, the symbols of religion -- many people don't realize this, but in the early days, they were everywhere. Many of the statues in Washington have been cleaned up to remove some of the symbolism and some of the sayings of our presidents and of our chief court -- our Justices of the Supreme Court. John Jay, our first Chief Justice, had some very strong say -- things to say, that we were a Christian and we needed to follow biblical principles. That obviously is not the direct quote, but that's what he believed.
How far should we go is another question. But one thing I do know is if a person wears a symbol and says "I'm a Christian," he or she should be living that life. He should be consistent. Otherwise, that's hypocritical. And that's the reason a lot of people say unkind things about Christians, is because they've seen people who claimed to be but who actually were not. Our Lord himself said "They went out from us because they were never of us." In other words, they'd been part of his crowd but not part of his faith.
And when people claim -- like, I wear this symbol here with a 7 on it, which I wear it because that's a reminder that there are 7 days in every week, and they all belong to the Lord. I don't worship a part-time Lord, so I don't serve him part-time. There really is no such things as a Sunday Christian. You either are or you are not. And the day of the week has got nothing to do with it.
If we would go back to our Christian heritage -- and all you got to do is read the Mayflower Compact -- Contract -- all you -- Compact -- all you got to do is read the Constitution and the Bill or Rights and it will verify exactly what I'm saying.
LAMB:: What does it mean to be a Christian?
ZIGLAR:: Let me give you a specific example. Our oldest daughter died in 1995 at age 46.
LAMB:: That's Suzanne (ph)?
ZIGLAR:: Her name was Suzanne (ph). That's correct. Now, she had pulmonary fibrosis. We found great comfort in our faith. Psalms 139:16 clearly says that our death date is determined long before our birth date. Now, what that meant to us simply was this. We had prayed for her as much as a child can be prayed for. We provided the best medical care that was available. She was loved and repeatedly told how much she was loved.
We asked God to spare her. But her death date had been determined. We never have said "I wish we hadda," or "You know, we coulda," or "Maybe we shoulda." We had done everything. There was no guilt attached. And then Isaiah 57:1 and 2 says "The godly die young, and we know not why. But God sees the trouble that lies ahead of them. The godly rest in peace."
Our daughter was 46 years old three days after her death, but we understood a loving heavenly Father is never going to do anything that is not in the long-range best interests of his child. So though we were grief-stricken and though we still weep on occasion at the memories and on special occasion, we also experienced joy, joy because she'd have no more pain, joy because she would spend eternity with her Lord, joy because we knew where she was and that we would see her again. That was so important to us. That's where our faith was really significant.
LAMB:: But let me just ask you, though -- but what is it -- how do you define what a Christian is, though? What is -- does a Christian -- is a Christian better than a Jew? Is a Christian better than a Muslim? Can -- and is this a Christian country, not a Muslim country, a Christian country, not a Jewish country?
ZIGLAR:: One of the beauties about our Constitution and about our America is that they're completely free to choose whatever religion that they choose. Now, Christianity, of course, is not a religion, it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
And the way you become a Christian is what -- is the simplest of all. Simply, according to the Bible, Romans 10:9 -- and one reasons I put so much faith in the Bible -- there are over 5,000 prophecies in it, and over 4,000 of them have already come to pass exactly as prophesied. There's not been a single error. The others are being fulfilled on a regular basis. But you become a Christian, according to Romans 10:9, by saying this. The Bible says if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from death, you will be saved.
There's nothing I can do that's good enough to get me into heaven. There's nothing I can do that's bad enough to keep me out of heaven because it's not what I do, it's what he did on the cross that gets me to heaven.
Now, when I accept him as my Lord and as my Savior, that means I am to follow what he teaches: Love thy neighbor, be honest, obey the 10 Commandments, serve and love your fellow man. That really -- what we've done is we've taken the Golden Rule, which says, you know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you -- our statement of "You can have everything in life you want if you'll just help enough other people to get what they want," is just a paraphrase, a rewording of the Golden Rule.
LAMB:: What'd you think of Ronald Reagan?
ZIGLAR:: I loved Ronald Reagan. I thought he was a masterful man who brought our spirit and attitude and optimism and enthusiasm back to America. His approach to government and the free enterprise system enabled us to do some remarkable things. He brought down the Iron Curtain. It cost a lot of money to do so, but think of what the benefits were for billions of people all over the world because of it, in addition to America.
LAMB:: What'd you think of Bill Clinton?
ZIGLAR:: Bill Clinton and I disagree on an awful lot of things. I believe he's one of the tragedies of life. Mr. Clinton was arguably the brightest man to serve in our presidency since Thomas Jefferson. He had the opportunity to do more good than any president in our memory because of that brilliance that he had. But he didn't have that moral compass. And without that moral compass, we saw what happened to the respect that people had for the office. What he did was unpardonable.
And one of my great disappointments was the number of senators that stood up and condemned what he did and then voted to keep him in office. They gave him credit for the economy. All you got to do is check the records. You'll discover that the first two years of his presidency, nothing changed. The deficit was still the same. Welfare rolls were still the same. Crime still the same. Then they brought in the Republican-controlled Congress. That's when the economy started to boom. That's when things started to change. But they were giving him all the credit. I give him credit for doing this. He left it alone and let it continue.
LAMB:: Reason why I ask you about Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton is that you almost never saw Ronald Reagan in a church. I don't know that I ever saw him carrying a Bible anywhere. He swore at the Bible when he was sworn in. Bill Clinton went to church almost every Sunday that we saw, and we would see him walk out with, you know, his wife in one hand and his Bible in the other.
Now, what would you prefer? Which one of those would you prefer?
ZIGLAR:: I prefer an honest man, regardless of his beliefs. And I thought that Reagan was infinitely more honest. I don't know the motive of Bill Clinton. I'm not in position to judge. But a lot of people are mistaken about judgments, and that simply is this. I have no right to judge any man who is not a Christian, but my Bible tells me that we're to hold fellow Christians accountable. Mr. Clinton betrayed us in that light. He did not stick to the biblical edicts and did some things that would be an embarrassment to anyone, or should be.
LAMB:: This is your autobiography.
ZIGLAR:: That's correct.
LAMB:: What book is it for you? What number book?
ZIGLAR:: This is number 21.
LAMB:: Why do you write books?
ZIGLAR:: First of all, I love to write books. Number two, my writing helps my speaking. Your writing has got to be more precise. And I try things in my speeches, and if they work well and get results, then I put them in writing. Then we've got a record of what is there, and people can go back over it and over it and over it. I'm very gratified.
Every once in a while -- not every once in awhile -- periodically, people ask me, "Well, when are you going to retire?" I always kind of smile and say, "Well, you know, number one, retirement's not mentioned in the Bible. Number two, I got to tell you I'm not going to ease up, let up, shut up or give up until I'm taken up. As a matter of fact, I'm just getting warmed up."
LAMB:: You say that you're 75?
ZIGLAR:: That's right.
LAMB:: Still 75?
ZIGLAR:: I'm 75, yes.
LAMB:: And you've come close to death already.
ZIGLAR:: On two different occasions, yes.
ZIGLAR:: Well, my first one was when I was 9 days old. The doctor himself shook his head, and my parents were just, you know, heart-broken. But my grandmother was there. She took me -- I was what they called a "blue baby" -- started blowing in my face and praying, and God restored my life.
Second was about 20 years ago. This one was not real close, but fairly close. The doctor said my good physical condition was really a benefit there. My gall bladder ruptured, and for four days, they didn't know what was the problem. The X-rays didn't show it. And when they did open me up, my body was so filled with poison, they could not continue the operation. They used the antibiotics. And I went back later for the completion of it.
Now, on February 22 of this year, I had my third attack of diverticulitis. And the first two -- now, diverticulitis affects different people different ways. Some have excruciating pain. I never had a single pain. I lost a lot of blood, particularly in the first one, a fair amount in the second. And on the third one, when I awakened that morning, I felt as good as I've ever felt. Two minutes later, I had the first dramatic loss of blood. I called to my wife and said, "Sweetheart, get dressed quickly. We've got to go to the hospital." I knew exactly what it was. Before we left, I had another huge loss. Got to the hospital and had to make another fast trip to the rest room. Had that loss.
Then they put us in the smaller unit. We got in immediately. And I fainted three consecutive times, lost six pints of blood. They literally sent out the code blue. My wife and daughter were there, and they -- when they saw the flurry of activity, my daughter jumped up screaming and said, "Are we losing him? Are we losing him?" And then she -- they opened the door where I was, and she shouted out, "Hang on, Daddy! Hang on, Daddy! Angels are everywhere, and Jesus is here!" Well, then she shouted to my wife, "Pray, Mama! Pray!" And all they could say was "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus."
I had flat-lined almost. My pulse was almost nonexistent. And immediately, it started to rise. I saw an angel in this process. Nobody else saw him, but he was in the room where I was. He was about 55 years old, had on a straw hat and a tan suit. He looked at me and kind of gave a half smile. And then he just kind of nodded, gave me that little sign and said, "Everything's going to be fine."
Now, I had prayed and asked God to extend my life, that I wanted to do some things for my family and for him and for my fellow man. And God gave me the assurance that he would extend it. He did not tell me how long. Might be tomorrow. But I'm so grateful that I was given even these few months, if that's all it amounts to. But I really believe God has some plans for me, and I'm working hard to fulfill them.
This I do know. I have a sense of urgency today, and a deeper sense of gratitude, more than I've ever had. People that know me best say they can see it in my presentations, whether I'm teaching my Sunday school class or whether I'm in a public seminar. But they say there is a difference. I believe there is.
LAMB:: What's the average size crowd that you speak to?
ZIGLAR:: It would probably average in the neighborhood of 2,500, something like that.
LAMB:: Where would it be, and what would the reason be for them being in the room?
ZIGLAR:: I'm part of a large group of speakers that were speaking. That's where I met Mr. Powell and Mr. Bush and so many of the others. It would be in Toronto, where we had 6,000 people there a couple of weeks ago, or it would be in Dallas, Texas, or it could be anywhere. Sometimes they're as small as 1,500. Sometimes, well I've spoken to one of those public seminars where they had 32,000, so it varies a lot.
LAMB:: Let me ask you a question you may not want to answer, and I understand if you don't. What's the most you've ever been paid for a speech?
ZIGLAR:: My fee is $50,000.
LAMB:: In other words, you don't speak unless somebody pays you $50,000?
ZIGLAR:: Yes, unless it's a charitable event. Now, for example, I spoke for the Harvard Forum and that was free. I've spoken for the homeless. That was free. I do charity seminars periodically. That's free. But 99 percent of my Christian work is done in my own church where I'm very active.
LAMB:: What's the most you've ever been paid? Does anybody pay you more than $50,000 sometimes?
ZIGLAR:: No. Oh, wait a minute, my foreign talks are higher than that because there's more time involved.
LAMB:: What do you give people for $50,000?
ZIGLAR:: Well, number one I give them hope.
LAMB:: I'm talking about actually time -
ZIGLAR:: Oh. Oh.
LAMB:: I'm sorry. You know, I mean in other words you walk on the stage and the clock is ticking. How much time do you give them?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I will give them anything up to four hours, whether I speak five minutes or four hours though, the fee is the same because I've still got to go there. That day is invested completely in that and so that's what I do; most of the time it's an hour and a half.
LAMB:: And do most people have to pay all of your expenses and all that on top of it?
ZIGLAR:: That's part of the package, yes.
LAMB:: And how often do you speak a week?
ZIGLAR:: I'm speaking now about 60 times a year. I used to speak as many as 150 times a year but I'm doing more writing now and we're developing more training programs which are facilitator oriented because when I leave, we want to be sure to leave all of the messages that we can, which can be taught by the people we've trained as trainers.
LAMB:: I mean something is going right here. I mean Zig Ziglar appeals to people for some reason. What is it do you think? I mean, you know, can anybody in your family do what you do?
ZIGLAR:: No, not really. My son is an excellent trainer but he has no interest in being a speaker. Speakers have had such a huge impact on my own life. That's the reason I got started in it.
LAMB:: Name somebody.
ZIGLAR:: Well, for example, the first speaker was a man named P.C. Merrell. Minorities have had a huge impact on my life and he's an American Indian. He spoke to me and I was struggling as a salesperson. When he got through with me, I ended up being the number two salesperson in America out of over 7,000 sales people.
I was still in heavy duty waterless cookware on the demonstration plan. The year before, I wasn't in the top 3,000 or 5,000 even. Now all of a sudden he says the right words. But here's something important. In the two and a half years I'd been in the business, I'd learned how to get prospects, make appointments, conduct demonstrations, handle objections and close sales. The salesman was trained but the man wasn't ready.
The picture I had of myself was of a little guy from a little town. Mr. Merrell said you can be the champion, and because of his integrity and here's why in every seminar I do today, I talk about integrity and character. This absurd idea that everything is relative is nothing but crazy. You know, no business person would ever hire an accountant or a treasurer who admitted that he or she was just relatively honest.
When I get home, that beautiful redheaded wife of mine, who has been mine for 55 years, I'll guarantee you she's not going to ask me if I've been relatively faithful when I get home. Some things are right. Some things are wrong. Mr. Merrell was the first speaker that had that huge impact on my life.
On the same page there in the autobiography is Mr. Bob Bale. Now, Mr. Merrell worked for the same company I had that I worked with. He had set all of the records that Mr. Merrell had. His integrity was absolutely total, so I believed him. Mr. Bale was an independent, as I am today. When I heard him speak, this was in 1952, I had never seen anybody have so much fun and do so much good and that night I decided that's what I wanted to do.
LAMB:: So what kind of techniques do you use? Do you mean you go up on that - first of all, do you vary your presentation at all?
ZIGLAR:: Depending on the audience. Now, for example, if I'm doing a corporation presentation, I will spend roughly an hour before I go finding out what they expect from me, what they want me to do, what some of their problems are they'd like for me to address, so I tailor make it to that. But there are certain things that I always do.
For example, I have an audience laughing within the first 20 seconds of my talk. I found out a long time ago that if I can get them laughing, their minds spring open. Then they're liable to accept, they're more likely to accept what I've got to say. I sprinkle humor throughout.
Every seven to nine minutes, I'll have them laughing because thanks to television, you know, our attention span is kind of limited and I'm very intense as a speaker. I burn a lot of energy and when you get intense people begin after a period of time to tense up, and if I don't relax them and let them breathe, I will lose their attention and they will lose much of the content. So that's number one is I try to get them laughing.
Number two, I make certain that every five minutes I'm giving them a concept, an idea, a process, a hope building, or something like that that they can immediately grab onto and immediately put it to work in their life.
LAMB:: How soon can you tell that you've got an audience that doesn't like you?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I'm grateful to be able to say that it's been a long time since I had one that didn't like me. Some of them obviously respond more than others. My favorite type of audience to speak to is kind of an even mixture of men and women. I found that both are more responsive if the other is there, and so I prefer that. If I had to make a choice of just one or the other, I'd always take the ladies because they relate more to the emotion we bring into what we have to say.
And what I do is I talk a great deal about balance in their life and in this day where they keep talking about, you know, climb the corporate ladder, make all the money and this sort of thing, my experience has been that if standard of living is your number one objective, quality of life almost never improves. But if quality of life is your number one objective, standard of living invariably goes up.
Dave Jensen of UCLA did a study on the people, and this is reported in academia and in one of my books, "Over the Top", they did this study of the people who attended those big public seminars, and we have everybody from psychiatrists to truck drivers, students, civil service workers, college professors, hassled executives, salespeople. I mean every level. Those with a Balanced Goals Program earned an average of $7,411 a month. Those without a Balanced Goals Program earned an average of $3,397 a month.
Now, let me emphasize a point. Everybody has goals. Bank robbers have goals. So do alcoholics and drug addicts. But those who balance their program not only earn over twice as much money but they're happier and healthier and they get along better with the folks at home.
LAMB:: Which politicians in your opinion in your lifetime have been the best presenters, the best speakers, the best orders and why?
ZIGLAR:: You know, for whatever reason I've never really judged politicians too much on their speaking ability. Reagan, of course, was great. Clinton is an outstanding speaker. I happen to like George Bush's style of speaking. I feel the sincerity and he's open about where he's coming from. But I've never really spent a lot of time analyzing their speeches.
LAMB:: What would you tell them to do? What would you - a young man comes to you, a young woman comes to you and says I want to be a politician and I want to be a great orator. What would you tell them to do?
ZIGLAR:: I'd say number one, never speak on anything that you don't feel deeply about. Number two, always carefully prepare what you're going to say. Number three, you do a lot of studying and preparation.
As an example on my own life, if I make the same talk tomorrow that I made yesterday and even if I made it three or 400 times, I will still spend from three to five hours getting ready again. I'll rewrite my notes. I'll run over that speech in my mind. I think it's arrogance to stand up and think just because I've done it before, I can do it again. That's when Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson.
So, I get carefully prepared and then I plan on leaving everything I've got laying on the table. I don't walk out with anything. I make every talk like it's going to be the last one I'll ever make because one day I will make my last one.
I'd say to the politician, prepare. You need to make certain that you're giving it everything you got, that you believe in what you're saying. You carefully think through what the message is you're trying to get across, and then as you analyze your talk before you make it, break it down in five-minute segments. Ask yourself, what am I saying here? What am I doing here? And, if you can't pinpoint what you're trying to accomplish, you need to rewrite your talk.
LAMB:: You said the biggest disappointment in your life was the Zig Ziglar Network.
ZIGLAR:: That's correct.
LAMB:: What was it?
ZIGLAR:: After 30 years, I've been training in the network marketing industry. It has some unique qualities that I've always really liked and enjoyed. We planned for three years. We spent an enormous amount of money. We got the best legal advice, the best network marketing advice that was available.
We launched it with care and it took off like a house afire and then it just went nowhere. That was huge, huge disappointment. Why? I do not know because we had prayed every step of the way. God, if this is not in your will, stop it. Don't let it happen.
But the biggest disappointment came when I had to close it and then the huge mistake I made in the closure. I'd been speaking for a company. I had spoken for them three or four times. I had spoken for a number of companies, have many friends in that industry and they had a special appeal to me because of the fact that we were on the same page emotionally.
They sold products that I fervently believed in because I'd seen what they would do. I trusted the management. They had a huge cash reserve that had enormous success. So we decided to affiliate with them. Now the huge mistake and my big disappointment in myself was this.
We had been preparing two or three months. We knew we had to close down. We were losing huge amounts of money. I did not prepare the people in my own organization properly. I tried to let them know in a well publicized conference call that we're having to close it down and here's another opportunity. That was a foolish mistake, a careless mistake.
I should have prepared them. I should have talked to them at length, should have let them know in a dozen different ways. Much to my regret, after all of these years of planning and preparation, it's not working. I'm going to have to close it down.
Then, after that was over and they'd absorbed that, then I said but here's an opportunity that I believe will work. That was the thing that I regretted the most. I disappointed people and I disappointed myself.
LAMB:: How many jobs have you had in your life?
ZIGLAR:: Actually, there was a four-month period that I worked for somebody else and was on a salary. The rest of the time I've been an entrepreneur since childhood. I've always sold. I've always done this or that to create my own income. I love the freedom that that offers.
LAMB:: Maybe a better way to ask it is how many different entrepreneurial efforts have you had? I mean you detailed tons of them in the book.
ZIGLAR:: Yes, I did. In one five-year stretch, I was in 17 different deals. That's all they were. They were just deals. I kept chasing the rainbow. I kept looking for the easy thing and it just simply was not there.
LAMB:: What did you sell?
ZIGLAR:: Well, in addition to the cookware, I sold three or four different kinds of insurance. I sold hospitalization insurance, disaster insurance, cancer insurance. I sold cosmetics. I sold China. I sold crystal. I sold just any number of things that you know that was - I just jumped from pillar to post is what it really boiled down to.
LAMB:: You stated that for 27 years during your marriage that you had financial difficulties.
ZIGLAR:: That's correct.
LAMB:: Were you ever really in debt?
ZIGLAR:: Yes. I faced bankruptcy two or three times, never declared it. Something always happened. I've always been excited and enthusiastic and optimistic and very hardworking. I've been self supporting. As a matter of fact by the time I was 12 years old, I was contributing to the family. Understand eight of us were still too young to work when dad died when I was five years. I was the tenth of 12.
LAMB:: Your dad died at what age?
ZIGLAR:: He was 45.
LAMB:: How many different towns in America have you lived in?
ZIGLAR:: Well, let me see. I lived in Florence, Greenville, Knoxville, Nashville; Massapequa, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; Lancaster, South Carolina. I believe it was about seven or eight towns that I've lived in, been in Dallas, in the Dallas area since 1968 though.
LAMB:: When was the first time that the motivational talent that you have, you realized you had something unusual? Do you remember the first moment?
ZIGLAR:: That would be kind of hard to say. I don't really remember that moment.
LAMB:: What year?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I started trying in 1952 but it wasn't until about 1965. Remember, I didn't have many speeches in the interim period there. About 1965, I started to believe that I had something to say and that I knew how to say it. In 1970, I was able to go full time into speaking and in 1972 is when my career exploded big time.
LAMB:: Now when you speak, do you speak as a group like a speaker's association or you know at an event in Toronto where you have several speakers or is it just you?
ZIGLAR:: Most of the time it's an association with several others. Somebody else does the marketing in most of the cases, though my company does the smaller ones. Two of the men on my staff are superb speakers and trainers and the three of us combine for doing the seminars.
LAMB:: Where does all the money come from to pay someone like you $50,000 and others at the same time? How does that work?
ZIGLAR:: Well, of course corporate America does have the money; and number one is that when we do the public seminars, they sell the tickets and the fees that they charge to the people coming there, they're the ones then who really pay the fees.
LAMB:: And how much are people willing to pay to be motivated?
ZIGLAR:: Well, apparently they are willing to pay a lot because there's a lot of money in the industry. But let me point something out because I've been privileged to be part of a breakthrough in the industry.
So many times, people used to say well you know you get motivated today and tomorrow you hit the traffic jams of life and the motivation is all gone. It's temporary they would say. Well, my response for years was well, you know eating and bathing are also temporary, but if you'll do both of them on a regular basis, you'll smell good and live longer.
Now what we discovered several years ago, Dr. Forest Tennant, formerly of UCLA and in my opinion the number one drug authority in America, did a study involving me. He took blood samples from the audience before I started to speak, took blood samples from the audience when I finished. The Dopamine, neuro Epinephrine, Seratonin, Endorphins, neuro transmitters, were up to 300 percent higher when I got through than they were when I started.
In other words, as he said in the magazine, meetings, and conventions, he said hearing about success enthusiastically delivered actually reenergizes a person physiologically because the release of those endorphins and all really energizes a person, and if they listen repeatedly, he said even though that doesn't last very long, if you listen repeatedly, it has an impact on your health, your attitude, the energy level which you attain.
Now, Dr. Leland Heller from Okeechobee, Florida uses our material in a very significant way. There's a disorder and I didn't know about this until after I read it in his book what he was saying. He treats people with borderline personality disorder.
Now that's a malfunction of the limbic system, whatever that is. I'm not a physician. He treats them with the standard medical treatment of Prozac, but he says I have found that if they listen to Zig Ziglar tapes, that those are the ones who do the best.
These people have been so beaten down. They've been so abused through no fault of their own, and they've been belittled and everything else. It's so bad that most psychiatrists will only handle one or two of them, two at max. Dr. Heller has dealt with them from 18 countries and many, many different states, hundreds, even thousands of them and he flat out says that the inspiration and encouragement and the flooding of the system with those energizers really does help them a lot.
LAMB:: In your book, you say you don't smoke and don't drink.
LAMB:: How important is that in your life and how important do you think it is in others?
ZIGLAR:: Oh, I think it's extremely important. In my own family, for example, the non-smokers have lived an average already of 22 years longer than the smokers did. So, smoking apparently is not real good for your health, and recent studies now show that even the secondhand smoke is more deadly than they had thought.
Drinking means simply that you lose control too many times. Dr. Tennant says that roughly one person out of ten who's a social drinker will end up with a drinking problem. Now there are lots of people who, you know, drink socially for life and never have any problems. But about one in ten will have that problem.
The medical community said, you know, if you take a drink, wine particularly on a regular basis it's good for your heart. I saw the first article about two months ago that said but one of the problems with that is that also it damages the liver and has a direct bearing on the number of sclerosis cases that are there. So you got the good and you got the bad. I prefer to stay sober. We do know that alcohol destroys brain cells and I don't have any to spare.
LAMB:: What's a day like for you?
ZIGLAR:: It depends on where I am. If I'm at home, I generally wake up at 5:00 in the morning. I get up and for the next hour I do my serious planning and my Bible study. I get ready for the day. My wife generally gets up an hour to an hour and a half after I do. Then we have breakfast together and we have a leisurely breakfast. We generally spend about an hour there. We read the paper. We have no agenda. We just talk and you know.
LAMB:: What paper do you read?
ZIGLAR:: The Dallas Morning News is what comes there. I generally read one national paper every day.
LAMB:: Which one?
ZIGLAR:: Well, I either read The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or USA Today so I can keep a flavor you know of what's going on in the country there and Dallas what I'm hearing locally and reading locally. Then, I go back to my office and I generally work until about noon. We have lunch. Then, I come back to my office and I do the same thing, and I do my exercises there in the afternoon. I exercise virtually every day.
LAMB:: What kind?
ZIGLAR:: Most of the time it's walking. I've been doing a little weightlifting and stretching. I had to give up on the weightlifting. I was bulking up and a lot of folks thought I was on steroids, and you know, when you've celebrated the 50th anniversary of your 25th birthday you can get by with things like that. Young folks that said that, they'd be considered egotistical.
But, the doctor said the reason I recovered so quickly from my near death experience on February 22nd was because I was in good shape physically. Four weeks after the surgery and after that I'd lost 75 percent of my colon, four weeks later I was walking four miles a day.
LAMB:: Where do you think this country's going?
ZIGLAR:: I think it' going to turn around. I think it's in the process of being turned around. People are more sensitive today to doing the right thing. They've recognized that greed is not good, that we've got to play it straight, and I believe there is a turning point and the turning is taking place right now. 9/11 had a lot to do with it, but this new corporate greed has made all of us realize responsibilities and the government is trying to legislate a lot of that.
You know for years I've heard people say you can't legislate morality, which is not a real bright statement because every law we have has to do with morality. Otherwise, we'd have murder, rape, and thievery and everything. If you think it's bad now without that governing authority it would be horrible.
LAMB:: So of all, beside yourself, all the motivational speakers, all the speakers you heard in your life, who would be up there near the top?
ZIGLAR:: You know in the National Speakers Association, we have such a wide range of speakers covering so many different subjects. You'd have a dozen different speakers that would be at the top in their area of expertise. My favorite, I've got my current mentor is a man named Fred Smith. Fred is 86 and he's getting to the point where his health will not let him do that anymore, but what he has to say, he can say so much in the fewest words, more than anybody I've ever known. I love to listen to Fred Smith.
Also, I have a friend, John Maxwell, who's doing a lot of leadership work that I enjoy listening to but in the association itself, for example, Lou Holtz is one of my favorite speakers. He just, he says an awful lot in a very few words.
LAMB:: And he endorses your book and there's a picture of him in here.
ZIGLAR:: He is. He and I have been friends since his Arkansas days and he bought that idea of you can have everything in life you want if you'll just help enough other people get what they want, and he said it changed his coaching and his life literally. And a lot of people say, well does that work? Everywhere; fast example, he was at Notre Dame 11 years.
During those 11 years, he promoted or ten of his assistant coaches were promoted. They were his best ones. Now where does that leave Lou? The other assistant coaches around the nation saw what was happening and the assistant coaches network started saying you know if I were to work with Lou Holtz maybe he'd teach me how to be a head coach.
He was able to get wonderful replacement coaches who also brought their high school contacts with them. So, he was ahead of the game because he did what he could to do the right thing. Some leaders develop followers. Other leaders develop other leaders.
LAMB:: Do you have a college degree?
ZIGLAR:: No, I do not.
LAMB:: Did you go to college?
ZIGLAR:: I did go to college. I was in World War II. I was in the school boy navy. I got in there. I wanted to fly and fight in World War II. Fortunately, the war ended. I was 17 on Saturday, tried to get in on Monday, but it was too late. They put us in college to begin with, then they discontinued the program.
LAMB:: You say in the book you study some history.
ZIGLAR:: Yes, I do.
LAMB:: Do you have a favorite historical character?
ZIGLAR:: Well, of course George Washington and Abraham Lincoln I guess are everybody's greats. You know Washington never won but two battles, but he won the ones that counted. A man of complete integrity, great character, great faith, he was right there with his troops. He led by example. Lincoln, though, was a man before his time and he did so much to keep this country together. They are two of my favorite historical.
My favorite book is "The Light and the Glory" by David Manuel and Peter Marshall. You read that book and you'll never question again whether or not we were founded as a Christian nation.
LAMB:: Twenty-two books you've written.
LAMB:: Excuse me, 21 books. How many books have you sold?
ZIGLAR:: As near as we can tell, it's a little over six million.
LAMB:: And how do you sell them?
ZIGLAR:: Well, we sell them through bookstores and through our seminars. My first book no publisher would touch it, so we self published. After the third printing, a little publisher said you know I believe this thing is going to sell, and so they started putting them in bookstores.
Now, Doubleday is publishing our books and they've been so kind and so wonderful to work with. We're getting more exposure in places like airports and major displays in the bookstores. The book is taking off, incidentally, beautifully and we're excited about it.
LAMB:: What's the secret of your marriage success and how many years have you been married to the redhead?
ZIGLAR:: Fifty-five years and we're more in love than we've ever been. We talk more than we've ever talked. As the kids say, we hang out more than ever. She's just - you know when I first saw her, and I'll never forget the moment, the time, the place, the circumstances, I was immediately attracted to her. I'm still tremendously attracted to her. She's very bright, has a huge sense of humor, and she has been absolutely with me every step of the way, a tremendous encouragement to me.
LAMB:: So, what's the secret?
ZIGLAR:: The secret is we have never even one time said to the other one that was a dumb, stupid, idiotic thing to do. How could you? You know. We've disagreed but we've made it always civil, and then we tell each other every day how much we love each other, and every day when we're together we try to do something that's simple that the other one could do for themselves but we do it because we love her.
For example, in the 55 years, she probably has not opened her own car door a dozen times and she's one of the finest car door openers in Dallas, but every time I walk around the car, I'm reminded here is the most important person on this earth to me. When I leave town, as on this trip, years ago I started laying my money, I took it out of the wallet and laid it, I'd fold it over and lay it on the counter in the bathroom.
She started counting my money and if she did not think I had enough to cover an emergency where cash was required, she'd go get me some more. Now that's not a big deal but what it says is everything. It says honey, I love you very much. You're very special to me. I'll be more comfortable knowing that in case there is an emergency, you will neither be delayed, endangered, or embarrassed. That says a lot. We keep it going that way.
She's known as a happy hugger. If it's moving, she'll stop it and hug it and if it's not moving, she'll dust it off and sell it. We'll hug 15 or 20 times every day that I'm around the house doing my other things. They're not long. They're not suggestive. They just say I sure do love you. You're special to me.
LAMB:: Time's up. Our guest has been Zig Ziglar. Here's what the book looks like. It's his autobiography, his 21st book. Thank you very much for joining us.
ZIGLAR:: Thank you very much.
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