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P.T. Barnum, father of “The Greatest Show on Earth”, had an amazing talent for packaging and promoting entertainment. He was also hard-working and determined to succeed. Below, I share some of P.T. Barnum’s Commandments for Success. In his autobiography, Barnum gives some advice for achieving success, which is just as valuable today as it was when it was written:

1. Avoid running into debt. “There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt,” Barnum states. He encourages saving money. “There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather.”

2. Persevere. “How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but losing faith in themselves have relaxed their energies, and the golden prize been lost forever?” asks Barnum. “Perseverance is sometimes but another word for self-reliance.”

3. Whatever you do, do with all your might. Barnum emphasizes that hard work breeds success. “Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.” he advises.

4. Depend on your own personal exertions. “No man has a right to expect to success in life unless he understands his business, and nobody can understand his business thoroughly unless he learns it by personal application and experience,” Barnum writes. Understanding what you do is more important to your success than “luck.”

I hope you take Barnum’s advice to heart. Not only was he an expert Showman, he was also an incredibly successful entrepreneur, whose practical advice can assist us all.


Lee Milteer

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Lee Milteer is an Intuitive Business Coach, Best Selling Author, blogger, Award winning Professional Speaker, and TV Personality. She is the founder of the Millionaire Smarts® Coaching program for Entrepreneurs and is the author of eleven books and over a hundred audio and video programs. Lee is a regular guest on National TV and radio shows and has appeared as an Expert Guest on: CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CTV, QVC, PBS, and CNN.

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