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Interview with Peter Hirsch
author of Success By Design

GGBC: Dr. Hirsch, thank you for writing Success by Design. It really is an empowering, uplifting and inspirational book. Could you tell us what inspired you to write it?

PH: Thanks so much for inviting me to share with you. What inspired me to write Success by Design was as much repentance as anything else. My first book which was similar in some ways, was totally humanistic. You probably know what I mean – anything you want, you can get . . . You can grow to be a god . . . As long as you’re happy . . .

When Jesus found me, I had a lot to make up for. I was at the lowest point in my life, having gone in a very short time from a multi-millionaire to virtually penniless in a matter of months. I went from the top of my field to being sued by the government for $85 million, and saw no way out. It was the first time in my life that I was not in control of my situation. Thankfully, when my world was closing in around me, I had nowhere to look but up.

I remember my words clearly: “Jesus, if you’re real, now is the time to show me, because I need help now, and there may not be a tomorrow for me.” It was as if two words were immediately put in my head. I didn’t hear the words as much as feel them. Those two words were: “Trust Me.” From that moment on, my life was no longer my own.

Diana, my wonderful and very beautiful wife, was the first to point out that the government lawsuit was a blessing because it brought me to Jesus. My initial response was, “A vision would have been just fine.” But the reality is that a vision would not have been enough because I had many issues that had to be dealt with – issues such as ingratitude, pride, and a host of others. I had to personally experience a lack of control, and then appreciate God’s personal love and mercy.

GGBC: You spoke about rebuilding your life on God's terms. What is the significant difference in success God's way?

PH: Success on G-d’s terms is simple: it’s the absolute knowing that you are a child of G-d. It has nothing to do with money or things. It has everything to do with relationship. Success is the result of a life well lived. It’s NOT something we accumulate. It’s doing the little things, that in the act of doing them, don’t seem to make any difference in the world, but the COMPOUNDED effect makes ALL the difference in the world. Success is a few simple disciplines repeated over time.

Let me share just two examples. Christians who are committed to success (remember, that means a relationship with Christ) will read the Bible for at least ten minutes every single day. Is that easy? Of course it is! The challenge is that it’s just as easy, or easier, not to do. It’s a simple discipline repeated over time, that allows us to establish intimacy with God.

Those who are committed to a life of success will tell those people who are important to them that they love them – every single day. Again, is that easy? Yes, but it’s just as easy not to do. It’s another simple discipline.

Now, if you neglect those two simple disciplines, will you feel it immediately? Maybe, but probably not. Will you feel it in a year? Absolutely! If you repeat those two simple disciplines for one or two days, will you be able to notice a difference? Maybe, but probably not. If you repeat those two simple disciplines everyday for a year, will you see a difference in your life? Absolutely! That’s how it works. Success is a few simple disciplines repeated over time, that in the act of doing them don’t seem to make any difference in the world, but the COMPOUNDED effect makes ALL the difference in the world.

GGBC: Could you please share with us the steps you outline in Success By Design and how they are each interrelated when it comes to authentic long term success?

PH:Success By Design

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • The Beginning: The Bottom Line of Success
  • Success by Design Secret # 1: Challenge
  • Success by Design Secret # 2: Belief
  • Success by Design Secret # 3: Purpose
  • Success by Design Secret # 4: Fearlessness
  • Success by Design Secret # 5: Attitude
  • Success by Design Secret # 6: Focus
  • Success by Design Secret # 7: Commitment
  • Success by Design Secret # 8: Desire
  • Success by Design Secret # 9: Goals
  • Success by Design Secret #10: Choice

GGBC: You wrote about how tension can be viewed as a positive in our lives. How could challenge and adversity help a person fulfill their divine destiny?

PH: It all comes down to how we view challenge – literally, how we define challenge in our lives. Challenges hold within them tremendous power to transform our lives. This is fascinating. If you trace the word “challenge” back all the way to it’s roots, through the old French and old English, back to “calumniari” they all turn out to mean the exact same thing. Challenge means: “to accuse falsely.” That’s what a challenge is – a false accusation. And, of course, we know who the accuser is. What this means, then, is that it’s up to us. We get to choose how to respond to the various challenges in our lives. We get to choose whether they empower us or limit us.

GGBC: In your opinion, what is the difference between confessions and affirmations?

PH:What a great question! The difference between confession and affirmation is a simple one – truth! We confess who we are in Christ, and we confess our needs to Him. Affirmations are typically wishes. Most personal development gurus encourage people who want to change their financial situation repeat something like: “I am rich . . . I am rich . . . I am rich.” If you’re financially poor, repeating the words, “I am rich” is simply delusional. I would rather those “motivators” teach their followers to say, “I’m poor and I don’t like it.”

GGBC: Often people seek God's will for their lives. How is this different or similar to a person purpose?

PH:God has a specific will for each one of us, and let’s remember that, without a vision, we perish. Do you remember in Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus was walking along and saw a fig tree? He must have asked Himself this question: I wonder if that fig tree has any figs. Do you think that’s a good question? Think about it. What other question is there for a fig tree? It’s the only question that matters. And when the answer was, “no” it’s one of the few times in Scripture we see Jesus lose His cool. No figs on a fig tree is unacceptable! What else is there for a fig tree to do other than have figs? And immediately the fig tree withered and died, never to grow fruit again. Here’s the deal: the fig tree was not living its purpose. What’s our purpose? That’s what we must seek God for in prayer. And He will reveal it. But He reveals it piece by piece. Here’s a hint: the first piece for all of us is KNOWING HIM.

GGBC: What do you believe is the biggest hindrance in regards to a person fulfilling the dreams God has placed in their hearts?

PH: The biggest hindrance we face is fear. The Apostle Paul is clear: we have not been given a spirit of fear. Nonetheless, many people choose to wallow in fear, rather than conquer it. For a detailed discussion of fear, and how to conquer it, please read Success by Design.

GGBC: How should a person's relationship with Christ effect the way they define and achieve success?

PH:God’s view of our success should define the way we view success. To God, you are a success if you know Him. It doesn’t matter if you fly rockets or drive a truck. To God, you are a success if you have a relationship with Him.

GGBC: Nowadays more and more people seek immediate riches or wealth but do not tap into the power within them to achieve the results they desire for the right reasons. How could a person balance service and a desire for financial freedom successfully?

PH: There’s a wonderful story told of two seas in Israel. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee are both fed by the same source. And yet one, the Dead Sea is completely dead – nothing at all can live and grow there – while the other, the Sea of Galilee, is full of life, very lush. What’s the difference? The difference is simple. The Sea of Galilee has an outlet. It gives back. The Dead Sea has no outlet. The same happens to us when we have no outlet. Jesus was clear: the greatest among us will be those who serve. Our focus must not be on the accumulation of wealth, but on greater service. And, by the way, greater wealth is very often the bi-product of greater service.

GGBC: We live in a fast paced society and so much demands our time and attention. Could you give us insight on how to focus on what truly is important?

PH: As difficult as this is at times, we MUST train our focus to be on the Lord. I understand that this is difficult, but it is vital. Do you remember when Jesus was walking on the water and Peter saw Him. Peter was so excited and asked Jesus to call him over, thinking that Peter, too, would be able to walk on water. Jesus calls Peter and Peter is doing it – he’s walking on water. How cool is that?! But then something happens. There are some waves, Peter looks away, and gets scared. Immediately, he begins to sink. That’s how it happens with us as well. When we train our focus on the Lord, we can accomplish any godly purpose. This is true for as long as our focus remains on Him. But the enemy and the world do everything in their collective power to take our focus away from Jesus. It’s a constant battle. Yet, Jesus has equipped us, through the Holy Spirit living in us, to be victorious.

Also, you in place of the word focus, substitute the word magnify. What happens when we put a magnifying glass over words? Those words become bigger and clearer to us, by blocking out everything around them. Same thing here. When the Angel approached Mary with the news that she was going to give birth to the Messiah, imagine what she could have gone through, emotionally. Here was a young, devout Jewish woman, who was engaged. What a scandal there could have been! Further, she could have faced the penalty of death by stoning. And yet what does Mary focus on? She could have chosen to focus on her problems. Instead, she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” She chose to focus on God. She chose to magnify God – to make God bigger and closer in her life then anything else. God was so big and so close that all of Mary’s problems became tiny. That’s the kind of focus we can all develop.

GGBC: You note that our values are at the heart of everything we do. How can we begin to change our values if they have been misplaced?

PH: Changing our values, more than anything, requires prayer. We all know when our values are misplaced. We have a choice. To continue in the direction we’re headed or to change course. It’s not easy. But through spending time with G-d through Prayer and through His Word, we can do it. Here’s the thing. We can’t change our destination overnight, but we CAN change our direction. And direction determines destination.

GGBC: Worry and anxiety can immobilize and disempower us. Could you leave us with your favorite life verse from the Scriptures that continues to inspire you?

PH: Here are two Scripture verses that speak to me constantly:

Isaiah 54:17: “No weapon formed against you will prosper.” But I take out the word “you” and put in the word, “me.”

Phil 4:13: “I can do everything through Him that gives me strength.”

GGBC: Thank you for your time. We wish you continued sucess!

ON A LITERARY NOTE

Review: Emma Dash

Emma Dash
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