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Author Interview

The Twelve Undeniable Qualities of Uncommon Achievers

By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director


CBN.com - Considered by many to be America’s top Christian success coach, Dr. Dave Martin believes there are consistent themes that run through the lives of successful people in all areas of life.

In his latest book, The 12 Traits of the Greats, Dr. Martin examines 12 key traits of people who are considered to be ‘uncommon achievers’ in their respective field, activity, or life pursuit.  From Walt Disney to Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin has pinpointed many related time-tested Biblical principles and offers suggestions to set you on a path to success.

CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Dr. Martin to discuss what makes a person an uncommon achiever, common mistakes people make trying to be successful, and how faith plays a critical role in determining a person’s success.

What was your your purpose for writing “The Twelve Traits of the Greats”?

To teach the body of Christ. There is a difference between the person of Jesus and the principles of Jesus. The person of Jesus prepares you for Heaven, but the principles prepare you for Earth. And I just felt like we have all this material in the new-age market and the secular arena, but there's not a lot of Christian principle books that I find that are teaching just the success principles for your job, for your business, for entrepreneurs.

You write about “uncommon achievers” in your book, and there are 12 undeniable qualities of those uncommon achievers. Could define what an uncommon achiever is?

It is someone who has achieved above the normal, who has not lived a life of mediocrity, but that's achieved greater than just an average life. For example, each chapter takes a trait out and shows where Moses used it, but also how Winston Churchill may have used the same trait.  Then we might pull someone from today, an athlete, or an actor, or a pastor that has achieved with that same quality.

You mentioned Moses and Winston Churchill. Are there any contemporary people who you could point to as an uncommon achiever?

One of the stories I share in the book is the story of Tim Allen, the actor and where his life came from. A lot of people don't know this but he was in jail, and really that was where he began to develop these traits. For example, taking responsibility for himself. One of the chapters in the book is on responsibility, and I look at him as someone who really stepped out from a life of mediocrity, and pursued his dream.  He took responsibility for himself and became a great actor.

It's obvious that many of the leadership traits you write about (mindset, passion, imagination, focus, courage, integrity, etc …) are deeply rooted in the Bible. These are all interwoven throughout Scripture. How important is it for someone who wants to acquire these traits to be in the Word?

I'd say it this way; you've got ungodly people who follow godly principles and achieve ungodly results.  But we have Christians who have the Word of God which is full of these principles of success but don't activate them and use them. And so, I think you can follow these principles. The principles work.

I find so many Christians that don't activate them.  Imagination is one that I find so many Christians stay away from.  They say, “Oh that's 'New Age' or “That's a 'Mickey Mouse' Walt Disney thing” or something like that. But it's right there in the Bible with Abraham and David. I can show so many examples of where God had people use their imagination or visualization to accomplish things.

In the final paragraph of your introduction you write, “It's never too late to be great.” Many people might disagree with that.  I'm mostly talking about the people who feel they’ve been beaten down by life. They've got a lot of personal baggage. What are some common principles that you could share with these folks to help them turn their situations around?

First, I would share a couple of stories. In his sixties, Colonel Sanders built Kentucky Fried Chicken. He had a small restaurant. The odds were against him. They'd built an interstate so no one drove past his place anymore.  He got in his car, and slept in his car and started going place to place. Another example is my grandfather, who gave his heart to God at 75 years old. He went back to college, decided he could start over, became a contractor, and at 77 was elected president of Habitat for Humanity and began to help other people. That's why I say it's never too late. A lot of times people who have those kinds of excuses are blaming other people for why they haven't made it.  When they begin taking responsibility for themselves, I think that's the most important thing to begin to make the change.

What role can faith play in becoming an uncommon achiever? How significant are your beliefs?

It's very significant, because that's what my life is built on.  You can even look at scripture, “Faith without works is dead." So you have to have faith, but you have to put these principles behind the faith. You’ve got people that sit, and they take scriptures, “The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous.” They sit home and pray all day. But I don't think God's going to take Bill Gate's money and give it to some Christian just sitting at home. There are things you've got to activate and get up and do and put your faith in. My faith has been a big huge part, and not just my faith in God but my faith to believe. In my chapter on mindset, Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." And I think that is really the essence of faith.  It's all about faith, faith in yourself, faith in the abilities God's put inside of you.

What do you think is the biggest mistake a person can make when they're going through your 12 traits and trying to become an uncommon achiever?

I'd say the biggest one would be doing nothing. Thinking that, “Why that's too much for me; I couldn't achieve that." You go to the scripture. God will never give you more than you can bear. So you already know that you can do this.  So no matter what situation you’re in or what you’re facing, He's putting these principles in there if you'll activate them. I believe God wants the best for us. He wouldn't have put these principles in the Bible if He didn't want us to achieve and move forward in life. Remember, He said, “Meditate on my Word day and night; I'll cause you to have good success. Commit your plans to me, and I'll cause them to succeed.” And so I think just not doing it would be the biggest pitfall.

As you were going through the process of writing this book, did you learn anything about yourself that you didn't know before?

Two of the chapters that were really big for me was the chapter on mindset and the chapter on passion. I grew up in a small town in the woods in Mississippi, and as I was researching, and even discovering and writing the chapter on mindset, I began to realize I got out of Mississippi long before Mississippi got out of me. And I began to see a lot of things in my thinking that hindered me for so many years from really achieving all that God had for me and all that I could do and accomplish. So the chapter on mindset really helped me see some of the hindering things in my own mindset, even that I deal with today that is a constant battle. So that's where the renewing of your mind comes in to the process. I also love the chapter on passion.  I would say the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered why.

No matter how good things are, it can get better. No matter how bad things are, thank God, it can get better. And God put these simple principles here in the Word to help me to do better for my family, for my church, for humanity in general.

Purchase The 12 Traits of the Greats

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