The Strangest Thing About The Strangest Secret

In 1956, Earl Nightingale recorded what would become the first spoken word recording to receive a Gold Record. In a recent interview with Earl's widow Diana Nightingale (View Interview Here) I learned that he recorded the message for his salesmen before he went on a fishing trip. Earl loved the water and loved fishing but he also took his role as leader very seriously. Leaving a recorded message was unusual for the day but it ensured he would communicate the tone and message in the most effective manner in his absence.

One might picture Earl sitting down to the recorder at his desk. Having written out his intended message and dressed in a dark grey Hickey-Freeman suit, freshly pressed and starched white shirt and conservative tie, his deep and comforting voice would command attention as he leaned slightly forward in is chair.

But I know Earl was far more likely to have recorded the message in a fishing shirt and a pair of jeans. You see, Earl was a real person and if you watch the interview you'll learn a lot about him and how he looked at life.

The message was intended to inspire the people in his office in his absence. It ultimately would inspire a generation, perhaps not directly with that message, but with the hundreds of thousands of messages and ideas spawned from this one simple thought, "We become what we think about."

The strangest thing about the strangest secret is that while you become what you think about, your knowledge of what is possible and available to you expands so you are constantly thinking about becoming that which you have yet to see evidence of possible.

This falls directly in line with Earl’s belief that “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”  

You must think progressively in your quest to become that which you desire.  The fool-hearty believe they will one day arrive at a destination of happiness or success.  But true happiness is dependent upon living.  Living is dependent upon growing because you are either growing or dying. And growing is dependent upon action.

You must have a need or desire to be motivated to act

You must have action to have experience

You must experience to gain knowledge

You must have knowledge to gain competence

You must be competent in one area to grow into another

You must grow in order to be living

You must be living in order to be happy

You must be happy to persist in the face of difficulty

You must persist in the face of difficulty in order to progress toward a worthy goal or ideal

In progressing to a worthy goal or ideal you are exposed to new opportunity and new experience that reveal those things possible you could not imagine.

Much has been said about having a "why" that is big enough to overcome any "how". While I agree this is important, too often we become so consumed with the "why" and the "how" that we fail to do the "what". If you're struggling to achieve that which you know you are capable of an desire to attain, stop thinking and start doing. You'll find the more you act the more you'll learn about your "how" and "why".

An Interview with Diana Nightingale

(View the interview here)

If you're like me, the number of people who have had a hand in making you who you are today are countless. There have been so many serendipitous meetings, resources that appeared at just the right time, and so much divine intervention, there's just no way to properly account for the power others have had in my life

That's not to say I didn't make it happen. Had I not been willing to pay attention, see the opportunity, and act when necessary, all that intervention would have been useless. I often wonder (not for long because it isn't useful) how many things I missed because I wasn't ready for the instruction or opportunity.

I've often mentioned Earl Nightingale, my friend and mentor whom I never met, as being one of the most influential people in my life. I've listened to his messages so often for so long I often wonder where his words end and mine begin.

What I may not have mentioned often enough is the impact Mike O'Neil ( Lori Ruff ( had as well. These friends taught me so much, not the least of which is the power of Linkedin when used properly.

Which brings me to meeting Diana Nightingale (

One day I was listening to a message from Earl and wondered who might be alive that was related to him. I didn't know what I would find but I knew where to start. I researched Earl and found his wife's name was Diana. What's more, I discovered she was still active in keeping Earl's legacy (and her own) alive. A quick search of LinkedIn and I found her. I requested connection with her, expecting she would not reply (not the best attitude, I know).

Surprisingly, a few weeks later she accepted my request. That was just the beginning. If I had left it there I would be able to say I was "friends" with Diana Nightingale. But having learned from Mike and Lori, I knew I could do more.

About ten years ago I began writing a book called "It's Easier to Win" based on a message that Earl had shared nearly fifty years earlier. The opening of the book is the story of how I "met" Earl and how I "found" him at Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda, Florida. I decided to share the story with Diana.

What happened next was amazing. Diana and I connected, shared stories, and have since done her premier podcast together.  But first, we just connected through video and recorded the story of our strange connection in time and place. This is the video of our first connection. Enjoy!