Personal success can come in many forms depending on the person. Some people can live a slower paced life and be completely happy with just an opportunity to go fishing once a week. Other’s may need more to include faster cars, faster phones, bigger television sets, and a lot of money. The truth is, everyone has a different destination, whereupon reaching it, they feel happy, or that they have succeeded in some way. Some journeys are more challenging and ambitious than others, and that is ok.

There is no end-all-be-all book, franchise, idea, or guru that fits every scenario, but after studying countless books and courses, here are some of the fundamentals. The fundamentals are explained in a metaphorical way related to our physical world. There are also book recommendations included that tie together all the fundamentals in a way where anyone reading this can pick a specific area of their life to work on.

  1. The Land

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A metaphor for the foundation of everything we do. Having studied hundreds worth of material, your personal development, beliefs, and mental states are the foundation of what you need to succeed in any endeavor. Without understanding your personal development and what you need to grow, without managing your personal beliefs, and without keeping your mental states right, you will have a very difficult time ever being successful.

The acronyms NLP and NAC stand for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuro-Associate Conditioning. These technologies were developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (NLP), and Tony Robbins (NAC), respectively. Those technologies were designed to get to the core of how humans experience the world and ultimately live fulfilling lives. There are many more technologies, and out of the many books I have read, the works of Richard Bandler and Tony Robbins will help you start to develop those core foundations.

You can read all the other materials about great achievement, inventing, making money, creating wealth, finance, marketing or sales, and more, but without the deep insight provided by those two and a few others, you may not reach your fullest potential.

  1. The Sun

A metaphor for the amazing energy that keeps us warm and happy. This section is where your attitude comes in, and PMA stands for Positive Mental Attitude, a term coined by the late W. Clement Stone. This is more than just positive thinking or the power of positivity. Attitude is what will help everything developed on your land to grow and prosper. Having a Positive Mental Attitude will help you keep everything together.

It is debatable that Positive Mental Attitude could be considered the land. However, not everyone manages their personal beliefs or even wants personal development. Some may be “born into success,” or find success in other ways that might not last long such as through crime, but not have a positive mental attitude. To build long-lasting fulfillment, having a Positive Mental Attitude will help to multiply your personal development.

The sun will determine how you approach your day, whether you see everything as an obstacle or a learning experience. It will influence whether you see everything as gloomy or great. It has the power to help you warm those around you or cause others to walk away in shivers. For your attitude to work at its’ fullest potential, you must have your land in order. Fortunately, you have the tools; you just need to learn how to manage them.

Fantastic reading to develop your attitude goes to the pioneer of PMA: W. Clement Stone who partnered with Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill during their lifetime as business associates. All the task-oriented and creative ideas in the world won’t even come into existence if you don’t believe in them. That leads us to…

  1. Rain and Water

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A metaphor for the next foundational element of personal success. The sun, rain, and water go together. They help create life and allow it to thrive. By managing your thoughts and the things you tell yourself on a daily basis, you can transform yourself depending on where you are and where you want to become. Auto-suggestion and thoughts can turn even the most unfortunate into great successes.

But if you start having thoughts and use auto-suggestion without a positive mental attitude or the solid foundations of the land and managing your emotions, they will be ineffective, or possibly even have an ill effect when you come across your first major obstacle.

Rain and Water go together with keeping the land happy, healthy, and thriving, Both are essential, like the sun. When you practice the proper technique for auto-suggestion and start taking time for focused thought, you can accomplish incredible things. Combined with the sun your ideas will grow, and sprout, and eventually turn into actions that you will want to pursue.

When there are no thoughts or lack of the appropriate things to tell yourself, the land will start to wither. And without the sun, if for example there is a Negative Mental Attitude, uncontrolled rain and water can drown or wash away great possibilities. Right now is a great time to mention that it is not necessary to be optimistic and positive every waking moment. The sun Is not around all the time, and that is when there is rest. However, when a Positive Mental Attitude is there, that is when things can prosper.

The suggested reading in this foundational element of auto-suggestion and thought goes to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Combined with the material by W. Clement Stone, you now have the proper mindset to approach your goals because they will help you develop…

  1. Seeds

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A metaphor for the ideas you need to succeed. Everyone’s vision of success is very different, and therefore everyone will plant different seeds or come up with different ideas. Some seeds will take the form of relationships, while others will take the form of a master plan to end world hunger. Now, remember, ideas are the potential to become great things. However, if given the proper time, sun, rain, and water from the proper land, ideas begin to form into plans and actions.

It is important to remember that the thought of a seed itself does not do anything. When there is the energy of PMA, Auto-Suggestion, and Focused Thought, only then can seeds start to transform. And the first step is to plant them. The make them real. Thinking of planting a tree will only go so far, but taking the simple action of planting those ideas whether through physically writing them down, sharing them with a trusted advisor, or starting to bring them into reality is the important factor that will differentiate those who find personal success.

The moral of the story is to make sure you physically plant the seeds you want to grow the most. The rain and water will help your seeds start to grow. Focused thought will allow your ideas to become even more creative and create even more solutions (as opposed to problems) – the result of The Sun (PMA).

Seeds will not be as effective if you do not have the right belief in yourself, or if you do not talk to yourself appropriately. You want your seeds or ideas to be great, and remember that out of the massive number of seeds strewn across the land, a much smaller percentage of them grow into something physical, so do not be scared of having ideas you do not care to plant.

If you have a great attitude and you have your foundations, and you want to start creating more and better ideas, check out books and content by either Earl Nightingale or James Altucher. Earl Nightingale is a little more traditional, and goes broader through stories of personal success, while James Altucher’s material can get you straight to getting those ideas planted. He has several free articles you can find online right now about becoming an “idea machine.”

  1. The Tree

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A metaphor for what your seeds must become at some point to find personal success. At some point, those planted ideas must be transformed into physical plans and actions.

Sometimes, your seeds can start to sprout during the day with the right amount of Positive Mental Attitude, Auto-Suggestion, and Thought which results in taking physical actions right away such as taking a walk if you have a body-goal. Some plans and actions take much more time to grow and mature before you can transform them into something of value either for yourself or others.

There is an interesting saying that “nothing happens overnight,” and I do not know who said it, but I think some things do happen overnight. According to personal development technology created by people such as Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and Tony Robbins, many things can happen instantaneously. When those seeds are planted, the plans and actions are already starting to transform into value. I also support the concept that there are things that you can do that will have a great positive effect on you in the very near term.

If you plan to make a lot of money, and take action by either saving one hundred dollars or doing one more thing to make your boss or client happier, you will have had a result. And if you continue growing that tree of plans and actions with proper sun, rain, and water, it will become great and eventually release more seeds to grow more trees of plans and actions.

When a seed becomes a healthy tree that is fueled by the right amount of sun, rain, and water and sits upon a solid foundation of land, when an idea is transformed into proper plans and actions, motivated by a Positive Mental Attitude, focused Thought, and productive Auto-Suggestions, then it can be transformed into value for yourself or others.

Numerous books can help you develop the proper plans and actions, and all the authors and businesspeople mentioned thus far have material that can help you grow that tree. In this article, the tree requires that you begin to specialize deeper even outside of personal development, into what you want your end goal to become.

For example, if you are reading this because you are looking for inspiration to become a music producer, everything thus far will help you get there, but developing your plans and actions based on material about becoming a music producer (watering it with focused thoughts about music producing) will help that tree grow faster.

Specifically, by creating plans or exploring the options for your actions a great industry leader who comes to mind is Brian Tracy. After all the others have been developed, even a little bit further, with a strong belief in yourself, then learning from Brian Tracy of how to deliver value, and get value in return, will come in handy. You might also want to read up on Joe Vitale if you want to understand how you can get value to come to you. Brian Tracy touches on that subject “Law of Attraction” as well. And finally.


All of these metaphors are here to help you, dear reader, effectively create value for yourself and others. Value comes in so many shapes and sizes, tangible and intangible. It is not just about a house (as defined in the photo), nor money, nor is it about chopping down a tree to get wood to build a house (for the environmentalists out there).

Ultimately, we all want things we value. We trade for things we value. We give money for things we value. Some even take for granted things others value such as food, shelter, relationships, and more. The “things” and even “ideas” we value and trade for are different for everybody. One person’s throwaway idea is another person’s fortune.

How we go about getting or giving value is determined by those foundational elements of personal success listed above. Whether we trade money for time, time for money, money for happiness, happiness for art, or art for happiness, there will be some factor of those foundational elements that influence us. Understand the fundamentals, and you will start finding the way to your personal success.

Author: Em Fe

Emmett Ferguson is a Jack Welch Management Institute MBA. With a passion for people, he created this website to help others find advice to dream big, ignite passion, earn wealth, and achieve success.