Today, I’d like to provide a book review and share some of my favorite John Mason quotes from his book An Enemy Called Average.
A few months ago, I bought a small lot of personal development books on eBay. One of those books was An Enemy Called Average by John Mason. To date, it’s sold over 150,000 copies. It also has a forward by Amway legend Dexter Yager, so I figured it was worth checking out.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I read it in about two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. It does make a lot of religious references and quotes in it, but I expected that, considering the author has his own ministry.
Basically, the book shares 52 golden nuggets on how to be successful in life. Each nugget is short and to the point, just a few pages. You could definitely use the book as a mini-course and focus on one nugget a week before moving on to the next one. That’s what I would recommend.
An Enemy Called Average: Top John Mason Quotes
Listed below are a few of my favorite John Mason quotes from the book. Each quote is in bold and italics. After each quote I will share my own thoughts on the subject.
# 1: Mediocrity is a region bounded on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking, and on the west by lack of vision.
Most people are average because of these four reasons. The opposite of greatness is “average” or “good enough” not bad. If you wan to do great things in life, you must decide what it is you want, make a plan, work your plan, stay consistent and never quit.
# 2: People who live defensively never rise above being average.
Be open minded and strive to learn something new each day. Welcome advice without getting defensive, especially if that advice is from people who have accomplished what you are trying to do. Learn something from everyone you talk too, even if it’s what not to do.
# 3: Most people let others control their destiny.
Be the captain of your own ship. If you want something, get after it. Remember, no one cares as much about you and your future as you do.
# 4: Persistent people begin their success where most others quit.
Most successful people have had many failures before they eventually succeeded. Learn from each mistake and press on. You must fail your way to success, because success is never a straight line.
# 5: One person with commitment, persistence and endurance will accomplish more than a thousand people with interest alone.
Success is a marathon not a sprint. Always take the long-term view on things. Get started, learn as you go and persist UNTIL successful. Nothing worth accomplishing is fast, free or easy. If it was, everyone would do it.
# 6: All great achievers, all successful people, are those who have been able to gain control over their time.
Time is your most valuable asset and it’s the only thing you can’t get back once it’s gone. Manage it wisely. Keep the main thing the main thing and do not confuse busy work with being productive.
# 7: I have heard a minister say that what a person is like at midnight when he is all alone reveals that person’s true self.
It’s true; who you are when no one else is watching reveals your real character.
# 8: The more we look backward, the less able we are to see forward.
Cherish the past, enjoy the present, but focus on the future.
# 9: What we say affects what get from others, and what others get from us.
We become what we think about. Thoughts are things. This is known as the Law of Attraction. Do your best to focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
# 10: Most people quit right on the verge of success.
Tough times never last, but tough people do. To achieve success, you must overcome many obstacles and setbacks.
# 11: Smiling – being happy and enthusiastic – is always a choice and not a result.
Each day wake up and choose to be happy. It’s your choice. Be grateful to be alive and to be who you are.
# 12: Quitting, giving up, failing, judging – all of these begin with an excuse.
If you’re looking for a reason to give up any excuse will do. You can either make excuses or you can make money, but you can’t do both.
# 13: One of the greatest prizes of victory is the opportunity to do more.
The more we achieve in life the more we can give back and help others.
# 14: It is always better to fail in doing something than to excel in doing nothing.
I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.
# 15: Don’t wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.
Opportunities must be seized. They won’t just fall into your lap. If you want something, go after it.
# 16: No one is truly a success in life until he has learned how to serve.
Life is truly about helping others. The more people you serve, the better you do in life (and the more money you make).
# 17: I have found it is better to be alone than in the wrong company.
Be careful who you hang out with. You might end up just like them. Choose your mentors and friends wisely.
# 18: In the eyes of average people, average is always considered outstanding.
Surround yourself with people who uplift you and encourage you, not people who hold you back. Hang out with people at your level of motivation and success and higher.
# 19: One of the greatest compliments that anyone can give you is to say that you are different.
Be a trail blazer. Look at what most people do and do the exact opposite. Leaders never follow the crowd. Instead, they make their own trails.
# 20: There is one guaranteed formula for failure and that is to try to please everyone.
No matter what you do in life, you can’t please everyone. If everyone agrees with you, you probably aren’t doing much.
# 21: One of the hidden truths of life is the fact that the path to the prize is more valuable than the prize itself.
Who you become on your journey to success is always better than what you actually achieve. Don’t wish you had millions of dollars. Instead, wish you were the person who was capable of earning millions of dollars.
# 22: If anything is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well.
No matter what you do in life do it well. Take pride in what you do and do it to the best of your ability.
# 23: In natural conversation leaders always monopolize the listening.
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them in that proportion. The best leaders ask questions and listen much more than they talk.
Other Books You Might Enjoy
About John Mason
John Mason is the founder and President of Insight International, a ministry that brings excellence and efficiency to other ministries and businesses. He lives in Oklahoma with his family.
About the Book
The book was first published in 1990. The ISBN is 0-89274-765-X. It features 123-pages and comes in soft-cover format. I believe it is an out of print book, but it can still be found online. If you’re interested in buying the book, you can order a copy on Amazon right here.
In conclusion, An Enemy Called Average by John Mason is a great book, especially for people with confidence and doubt issues. If you sell yourself short, don’t think you are worthy of success, or tend to compare yourself to others, this is the book for you.
What do you think? Have you read the book before? If so, did you like it? Also, which John Mason quote above is your favorite and why? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.