four key habits of successful people rudy

The Four Key Habits Of Successful People Create Persistence

What is success other than a state of mind? Definitions abound, but the one I like best is that suggested by Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret, which is “success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” The four key habits of successful people discussed here are simple in concept but profound in effect.

It’s a fact that about 95 per cent of people are not successful. They have not decided what they want out of life. As a result they are not working toward the realization of their goals; because they don’t have any. They are just drifting with the flow, conforming to the norms and expectations of those around them.

Let’s talk about the four key habits of successful people that are the basis of Og Mandino’s assertion in Chapter Eight of “The Greatest Salesman In The World”, that “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits.”

Persistence is a habit.

It’s a good habit.

I have it.

You can have it too if you develop the four key habits of successful people which culminate in the habit of persistence. I have them.

The four key habits of successful people are simple and easily cultivated. It is true that anyone can have them.

They are as follows:

Four Key Habits of Successful People

  1. A Definite Major Purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment
  2. A Definite Plan expressed in continuous action
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly Master Mind Alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose. 

Over the past three months of the Master Key Master Mind Alliance Experience I have developed and refined these habits in my own life. It has taken hard mental work, discipline and practice.

But the process is simple. “I build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, complete any undertaking” (Mandino, The Scroll Marked III). I have all those four key habits of successful people.

But the exercise undertaken this week has brought into clear, blinding focus, the real implications of each one of those habits.

I viewed two movies, each of which is based on a true story and dramatizes the enormous struggle undertaken by the lead characters as they pursued their dreams. My journey so far has been a cakewalk compared to what these people endured.

So far I have viewed “Rudy” and “Wild” and I will definitely watch “Door To Door” and “October Sky” before the week is out. I am in awe. My resolve is strengthened.

If you find the list of key habits sort of academic and lifeless I suggest you watch these movies and discover each of them. If you do you will understand why they are so powerful. You will understand as I do how the seemingly impossible has been accomplished by those who really live them.

The Four Key Habits of Successful People In the Movie “Rudy”

1. A Definite Major Purpose

four key habits of successful people 2

four key habits of successful people 2

This is the most fundamental of the four key habits of successful people. It’s the starting point. Without a very clear idea of where you want to go or be or do, none of the other habits matter. So let’s get started with the definite major purpose illustrated in the movie.

The lead character is Rudy Ruettiger, one of fourteen children in the family of a steelworker in Joliette, Indiana. Rudy has, since he was seven years old, dreamed of attending Notre Dame University and playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.

He lives his dream. The opening scene shows him wearing a metallic gold football helmet as he plays sandlot football with his brothers and some other kids. Rudy is small and not athletically gifted. He is subjected to ridicule and derision by his brother as a result of that and because of his desire to play football for Notre Dame.

He learns everything he can about Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish. He has memorized a long play record of what seems to be a playbook of signals called by a quarterback, probably from Notre Dame. He barks out the signals in perfect unison with the record and with tremendous enthusiasm.

He has a burning desire. Its flame just keeps burning within him despite all the obstacles that are thrown in his path and the negative attitudes he encounters. More on that later. But you have to watch the movie to see what I mean.

2. A Definite Plan expressed in continuous action

Part of Rudy’s plan as a kid, is living his dream as described above. He is constantly reinforcing his desire. He plays football in high school, preparing himself for Notre Dame. But he’s just not the athlete who is destined to get a football scholarship and that avenue closes to him as his last year of high school football ends.

His grades are not good enough to get him into Notre Dame without a football scholarship and so he takes a job at the steel mill like his Dad and older brothers. He does not abandon his dream but is saving his money with the intention of getting into Notre Dame eventually. But time is passing. He is now 22 and no closer to realizing his dream.

He is getting pressure from his girlfriend. She wants to get married, buy a nice little house and raise a family. If Rudy takes that option he knows his dream is down the tubes.

Then his best friend Pete, who also works at the steel mill is killed in an accident at work. This traumatic experience makes Rudy realize it’s decision time. Pete has been the only person who believed in him over the years. He was Rudy’s first Master Mind partner who encouraged him to keep on and not abandon his dream. Pete gave him a Notre Dame jacket on his 22nd birthday, just a few days before his death.

Rudy decides to go to South Bend and somehow gain access to Notre Dame. He knows that Notre Dame has a walk on tryout and if he can get enrolled that’s how he’s going to get on the team. So he gets on a bus and heads out.

He takes the attitude that he’ll do what it takes and trusts that somehow the resources, people and opportunities required will be there when needed. It turns out that this is true but they aren’t laid out on a silver platter. He has to work his butt off and establish some significant Master Mind Alliances to get there.

He is like Edwin C. Barnes who had a burning desire to work with, not for, Edison. Barnes presented himself in Edison’s office with full faith that he would be a business associate of the great man (Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill). Rudy presented himself in the office of Coach Parseghian of the Fighting Irish with exactly the same attitude, as soon as he arrived at the university.

He has to enter a local college to get his grades up to standard to allow him to get into Notre Dame. He works steadily for at least 4 terms at this task, receiving three rejections from Notre Dame before finally being accepted on the last application he would be able to submit.

All this time he spends as much time as possible at the football stadium and stays constantly in touch with his dream in so doing. He works as a groundskeeper at the stadium. He manages to sleep in the office there because he can’t afford residence or an apartment.

When he finally gets admitted to Notre Dame he immediately gets himself into the walk on tryout and due to sheer determination and guts, makes the team. He’s on the practice roster only but gives it his all, never misses a practice for two years. He instinctively knows you gotta give before you get.

His attitude is that his job is to get the starters prepared for the next game and he never lets up, giving it his very best every time out. The coaches wish their stars had even a small part of his drive, determination and heart. He’s a team guy and does what will benefit the team regardless of the cost to him.

But he wants to play. His detractors at home bug him about not seeing him in the games and suggest he’s not really on the team. Partly because of that, but mostly because his dad is a long time Notre Dame fan and he’d like to give him the gift of seeing his son play for The Irish, he asks Coach Parseghian to play him in at least one game in the upcoming season. The coach agrees.

Before the season begins Coach Parseghian leaves Notre Dame and a new one arrives. Rudy perseveres and works as usual. He looks at the roster sheet every posting, hoping to see his name on it. He almost quits because the season is down to the last two games and he’s still not on the starter list.

It is heart wrenching and heart warming to see how he gets onto that list to dress for the last game of the season. And it’s equally wonderful to see how he gets into the game in the final minute or so. I tell you I choked up several times in this movie, but that last sequence was the most emotional of all.

All the giving Rudy had done over the years there was rewarded in ways that brought tears to my eyes. “What you sow shall you reap” has never been more beautifully illustrated.

Rudy persisted and Rudy won. Let’s look at some of the obstacles he had to face related to the negative influences in his life and the habit that allowed him to succeed.

3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.

Earl Nightingale says “the opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity.” That sums up the way 95% of people go through life. They don’t think for themselves. They follow the crowd, believe the opinions of others are correct and adopt the lifestyle of those around them.

Without this member of the four key habits of successful people, Rudy would have very quickly abandoned his dream. Had Rudy succumbed to this trap he’d never have gotten out of that steel mill. He was subjected to ridicule for his small stature and for having the dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the Irish. This came from family, friends, teachers and the priests.

His steadfast hold on his dream and his practice of constantly giving it vitality helped him ward off the remarks like “Notre Dame is for rich kids, smart kids and great athletes. You are none of those.” His father tells him that “chasing after some crazy dream just brings pain and heartache to you and everyone around you.”

This is dad’s blueprint talking. He has Rudy’s welfare at heart but his experience with dreamers is very personal. His own father chased a dream, failed and then abandoned the family. Dad’s siblings were split up and life was hard. All he could see was the same dismal future for Rudy and his dream.

He just wants his boys to take the union job at the mill, settle down in that good job and be comfortable. Rudy is not deterred. Put yourself in that position. Can you appreciate the power of Rudy’s desire?

Rudy shuts it all out. His desire has been nurtured since he was a little kid. When he’s seven years old and listening to his father advise one of Rudy’s older brothers to take the good, secure job at the mill, he announces “I’m going to play football at Notre Dame.” The derision this produces from his siblings and even his father does not faze him in the least.

So let’s now talk about some of the ways in which people, resources and opportunity appeared in Rudy’s life and helped him succeed.

4. A friendly Master Mind Alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

You’ve got to do it yourself and you can’t do it alone

Martin Rutte

Some would say this is the most critical of the four key habits of successful people. They’re probably right. I can’t imagine Rudy having been successful without the Master Mind Alliances he forged.

In his journey to ultimate success Rudy had no idea exactly how he was going to accomplish what he wanted or how he was going to obtain the resources he needed. He had faith that ways and means would appear and he would recognize and act upon them.

He formed some key alliances that helped him get the resources he needed. Some also helped him maintain his focus on the dream. The first alliance was with the priest he consulted upon arriving at Notre Dame two hours before the Admissions Office even opened. The priest helped him get admission to the local college so he could obtain the academic standing needed to gain admission to Notre Dame.

The second was an alliance with a classmate who tutored him, helping raise his grades and finally gain admission to Notre Dame. In return Rudy introduced him to female classmates because the guy was awkward and shy around girls and noticed Rudy was quite the opposite.

As all true Master Mind Alliances should, both partners benefited. When Rudy’s tutor and the girl he hooked up with arrive at the game Rudy actually got to play in, you will understand what I mean!

Probably the most important Master Mind Alliance Rudy formed was with the stadium groundskeeper. Rudy so impressed him with his enthusiasm and determination to play for Notre Dame he gave him a job as assistant and slipped him the key to the office so Rudy could sleep on the cot there. This was a superb example of resources and means appearing as needed.

This alliance was key to Rudy’s physical ability to continue his quest. More importantly perhaps it was also instrumental in pushing Rudy to ‘keep on keeping on’ when he was about to quit. It turns out the groundskeeper was once in Rudy’s shoes and really did quit. When he found out Rudy was about to quit he gave him the kick in the butt and encouragement needed to get him back on track.

Most heart warming was the informal alliance he established with the entire Fighting Irish team and coaches. Because of his selfless giving, determination and dedication he had the respect and support of every member of the team. He set an example for all, including a kid who was a fine athlete but who was there only because his father was an All American Alumnus and was paying the tuition. That kid told him he stayed and persisted because of the example Rudy set.

A powerful example of one of the four key habits of successful people in action

But here’s the really powerful example of the effect of one of these four habits of successful people you just have to see for yourself. Rudy had an agreement with Coach Parseghian to play in one game his last season. When Parseghian left , the new coach was not about to honor the agreement. Every member of the team dropped a jersey on the coach’s desk, opting out of the game in favour of Rudy. He got on the starters list and dressed.

You have to see for yourself the lengths to which the team and eventually the entire stadium went to force the coach to put Rudy into the game.


One relentless step at a time. Persistence is the key habit that materializes if you develop and nurture the four key habits of successful people illustrated in this movie.


four key habits of successful people

About the Author Terry Neraasen

Online marketer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I come from a background in science with wetland and waterfowl ecology and management as both passions and vocation. I continue to be very passionate about wildlife conservation and protecting the environments upon which we all depend. I have been around the block with network marketing and affiliate sales. While I no longer focus on those areas of business I do promote the best MLM training I've ever seen- Go90Grow. It's all based on The Success System That Never Fails. I have graduated to online retailing of physical products. I'm a graduate and Certified Guide for The Master Key Experience which is the ultimate in personal development. Get in touch if you've a mind to. I'm always open to new things and new friends.

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