Success Stories

Does It Have Any “Long Term” Lasting Benefit?

According Paul Thayer, former Chairman and C.E.O. of LTV Aerospace Corp, it does!


Dear Ed:

It’s hard to believe but it’s been almost a quarter of a century since we first met. In looking back on that part of my life, I must conclude that no other one person, other than my wife, Margery, has exerted such a positive influence on me, particularly during some pretty dark days that now we hardly remember. And, it’s about time I told you so.

In the late sixties not too long after we met, as you will remember, I accepted your invitation to spend a long weekend in Kerrville attending my first SUCCESSFUL LIFE Course. By Sunday afternoon, you and Earlene had managed to persuade me that I was not quite as motivated as I thought I was. The most impressive result of the entire three-day event, however, was to watch some rather shy, not-so-confident members of the class emerge as laughing, living, and loving personalities ready to take on all the challenges they had been holding in the background.

At this point, I was the Chairman of LTV/Aerospace Corp. and succeeded in convincing some of my associates that they too should plan to spend a weekend in Kerrville. Many of the executives were less than enthusiastic about the prospect before going but returned convinced. As the word got around and “I’m Terrific” became a password in the hallways, the follow-on groups got their own momentum. Needless to say, many of the problems that faced LTVAC in those days were met with much more force and finesse than before we were injected with “Foreman’s Formidable Formula.”

Then in June of 1970, I was “anointed” by the LTV Board to the Chairman and CEO of the parent company. I didn’t really want the job because I was having a lot of fun in the aerospace business. I was convinced it was the right change to make, however, when a couple of the Board members mentioned that if I didn’t accept their offer, they would have to hire me a boss and I might not like him.

Well as you know, at the time LTV had a lousy financial picture – roughly two billion dollars in debt; negative cash flow; under collateralized; unable to service debt and in technical default with the banks. So among other things, we exposed many of our management people to the “Foreman Magic” and two years later, we were profitable with most of our financial problems well on the way to being solved.

So, in looking back about 23 years, Ed Foreman, it’s clear that you have been a moving, tangible force in my life. And along with a few thousand others, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a great and dear friend.

Signed Paul Thayer
Paul Thayer

Mr. Ed Foreman, President
Executive Development Systems
14135 Midway Road, Suite 250, L.B. #7
Dallas, Texas 75244

Does Positive Leadership Training Really Work?

Is it Cost Effective? Any Measurable Results?

To answer those questions, here is a letter from F. D. Foster, Complex Manager for Shell Oil Company, Norco Manufacturing Complex, responding to a collegue…

Norco Letterhead

Mr. Donald A. Melchert
Area Specialist
E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Company
Pontchartrain Works
P.O. Box 2000
LaPlace, LA 70069-1150

Dear Donald,

As requested in your letter of May 18, I would be pleased to address the question “What have been the benefits to Shell Oil Company, Norco, by using Ed Foreman’s Successful Life Course?”

We feel that our most important asset is our people. In general, everyone in our industry has access to similar technology and processing equipment. So the only way we can expect to secure a competitive edge is through development of our people resource to the highest level of their capability. The Ed Foreman Course is a major ingredient in attaining this goal for us.

It has been proven that a happier, healthier employee is a more productive employee. This translates to a human resource that is strong in body and positive in mind. Ed Foreman’s Course is the best I’ve ever seen in delivering people in this state regardless of the starting point; i.e., whether or not they are negative in thinking and sloppy in physical habits to begin with.

The feature of the Successful Life Course that sets it apart is the prescription Ed gives for perpetuating good health and positive thoughts. His regimen for a good day includes daily reading, exercise, self-talk, etc., that reinforces the overall positive attitude of the individual. This helps to keep the message evergreen for many months and years after being exposed to the original course.

Now, specifically, what has it done for us at Shell to affect the bottom line? Two manufacturing locations I’ve been associated with have used this approach to increase productivity and performance in every area by an order of magnitude. In the early 1970’s, we had a new Chemical Plant at Geismar, Louisiana, that was teetering on collapse. We had new hardware (and technology) that wouldn’t run and a workforce so negative toward management that we were close to walking away from the operation. I decided to install a new management system in a last ditch effort to recover the investment. Unfortunately, the workforce was very resistant to change, including the Shell senior managers. We had negative thinking key supervisory staff that would not work together and first-line employees with low productivity and a high “bitch” factor.


I started by sending all senior managers to the Successful Life Course in Kerrville, Texas. Many of these people went through a complete change in attitude. They became more positive, but also seemed more cooperative, more productive, and more creative. Their self assurance went up and their capacity for job stress seemed to increase. These managers, who previously resisted change, went to work in restructuring the management system.

We sent more middle management people to Kerrville and followed with an in-house Successful Living Course that Ed conducted in Baton Rouge. We made this available to most all employees at the Plant. This was a resounding success. With a different attitude, the first-line employees embraced the management redesign and implemented it with enthusiasm. Performance in terms of safety, production costs, throughput, and product quality improved by order of magnitude. The plant went on to become the most profitable in Shell. The Geismar Plant has retained this positive, can-do image over the years of expansions and is now the benchmark in Shell for a high performing system with outstanding management/employee relations. I credit the Ed Foreman Course for turning that workforce around.

In more recent times, I have effectively employed the Successful Living Course at an older, larger installation at Shell Norco, a manufacturing complex of 1600 Shell employees. When I arrived in 1985, the organization was marked by a strong anti-management feeling among the Union employees and some dissention among the senior and middle management. I employed the same approach as mentioned above. We sent all senior managers to the three-day course and instituted an in-house program for any employee who wanted to experience the course. Again, all performance parameters improved markedly; i.e., costs, safety, environmental performance, quality, and profitability.

Further, Norco was voted the best operating location and the safest operating location in Shell in 1987. Again, I attribute a great deal of that success to the improved minds and bodies that result from the Successful Living Course. My files are filled with letters from course attendees who thank me for permitting them to have this experience.

One last example – as you probably know, we sustained a tragic explosion and fire in 1988 that had a traumatic impact on all employees at Norco. Mental condition of our employees was of great concern to us. Fortunately, the Ed Foreman courses were underway throughout this episode and feedback from the workforce convinces me the positive thinking taught in the course had a great healing effect on our people.

I would give an unqualified recommendation to the Ed Foreman Course in rendering our people happier, healthier, and more productive employees.

Sincerely yours,


F. D. Foster
Complex Manager

bc: Ed Foreman

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Act “AS IF” Principle

In the mid-1950’s, a flamboyant, but unknown, American pianist had dreams of performing in the Hollywood Bowl. He gathered some money, rented the Hollywood Bowl on an off night, showed up wearing a tuxedo and played a full concert on a grand piano to absolutely no audience at all.

Except that the hall was empty, he lived his dream. Then he kept building on that dream until, four years later to the very night, Liberace performed at the Hollywood Bowl before a capacity, standing-room-only crowd.

“Great living
starts with a
picture held in
your imagination
of what you’d like
to do or be!”

My great mentor, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, said, “Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind’s eye and you will be drawn toward it. Picture yourself vividly as defeated and that alone will make victory impossible. Picture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination of what you would like to do or be.”

Liberace had one major goal at first – the Hollywood Bowl. He held that picture in his mind, then acted as if he had already achieved it, and it came to pass. These are two necessary steps to achieving any result, regardless how big or small: hold a picture of the dream in your mind and act as if it were already so.

It is especially true in the art of self-transformation. Whether you want to overcome shyness, kick a habit, find a fulfilling relationship or achieve a long held dream, the process is the same. Picture it in your mind then act as if you were already self-confident, as if you were already free from the habit, or as if you were perfectly capable of growing that relationship. The results are remarkable!

Successful Life Course Graduate’s Invention in the Smithsonian Top Ten

Mariano and Wanda Martinez and many of their restaurant leaders and employees are super-terrific graduates of the SUCCESSFUL LIFE Course. Through the years, Mariano has enjoyed many successes in his restaurant business in Dallas…but, it just seems that his invention of the first Frozen Margarita Machine stands out as one of his most outstanding (and delicious) accomplishments. Ed Foreman was one of the early investors in the La Hacienda Ranch enterprise, and he often enjoys sharing a scrumptious meal, and of course a refreshing, tasty frozen margarita, with family, friends and clients at one or another of the La Hacienda or Mariano’s restaurants…and for those in the Dallas area or those visiting this area, he urges you to do the same. Read on about Mariano’s Machine:

Mariano’s Machine

The World's First Frozen Margarita MachineSmithsonian Magazine celebrated National Inventor’s Month with a story on the top 10 inventions in the collection of the National Museum of American History. The number one invention was the light bulb, but what caused dancing in the streets of Texas was the inclusion of the Frozen Margarita Machine. The following is an excerpt from The Smithsonian:

“10. And last but not least, The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine. As we savor the last days of summer, this one had to make the list. In 2005, the museum acquired the first ever frozen margarita machine invented by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez in 1971. Museum Director Brent Glass called the invention a “classic example of the American entrepreneurial spirit.” With the advent of the machine, Margaritas became as standard as chips and salsa at Tex-Mex restaurants. (Next time I have one, I shall toast Mariano!)”

“I’m still working on ways to improve the Margarita,” said Mariano, who once won an award for doing more for the sale of tequila than anyone else in the world. “We use only 100 % Blue Agave Tequila in our drinks.”

Today, he oversees his Mexican cuisine restaurants, which include his flagship Mariano’s in Dallas, another location in Arlington, and four massive La Hacienda Ranch locations throughout the Metroplex.

When Molly Ansfield of Colorado Springs learned about the light bulb being named the top all-time American invention, and the margarita machine being named number 10, she disagreed with the order. “The margarita machine should be number one,” she argued. “Margaritas are best enjoyed by candlelight.”

For More Information:

Defender Direct, Inc. Uses The Successful Life Course To Fuel It’s Astonishing Growth

Defender DirectDefender Direct, Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a privately held company that sells and installs ADT security systems and Dish Network Satellite TV to homeowners across the U.S. Its President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dave Lindsey started the business out of his home in 1998, making the transition to entrepreneur from security sales. He used $30,000 of his and his wife’s personal savings to fund the start-up, which he called Defender Security Company.

Since its humble beginnings in the Lindseys’ spare bedroom, Defender has become one of the largest security and satellite dealers in the Midwest, experiencing an average annual growth rate of 60 percent over ten years. In 2008, Defender generated $78.1 million in revenues, and earned the rank of 387 on the Inc. 500 list of “America’s Fastest-Growing Companies. With 1,500 employees, the company had a national footprint of 120 offices in 40 states.

Dave Lindsey explains, “Defender has grown faster than its peers not because we are better at selling and installing security systems, but because our people have grown. Our sales have doubled because the capacity and talents of our leaders have doubled. A few years ago we stopped trying to double our business and realized the way to grow was to double our team members’ enthusiasm, optimism and skills. Send people to seminars, leadership conferences and self-help programs. Build a culture on purpose, not by accident.”

Defender is now sending a total of 30 people (15 employees plus a spouse, significant other, parent, or other guest of their choice) to participate in each session of the SUCCESSFUL LIFE Course. Dave attributes Defender’s success to its culture, which he has built around each employee’s “personal growth.” As he says, “Another word is TERRIFIC. We talk about being terrific every day, and we choose to be that way. We coined a saying,

“Businesses don’t grow—people do.”

I don’t want this to become a cliché around Defender because it’s been our secret sauce. All of us had to grow. We’ve accomplished this reinvention through good books, good tapes and networking with good people motivated and inspired through the SUCCESSFUL LIFE Course. Our ability to forgive each other is one of our greatest strengths and it’s the glue that allows us to stay at this breakneck speed.”

The SUCCESSFUL LIFE Course can be the secret ingredient to inspiring your team to be and do all that they are capable of accomplishing. Other clients, including BWI Inc.; Ferguson Integrated Services; Quality Care; Rinderle Door Company, Caterpillar, Milliken Textiles, et al, have also contracted to send their people to each session of this life-enriching experience. Join us soon for a session to see for yourself why business leaders from throughout the world are so enthusiastic about the results they, and their teams, have achieved as a result of applying these successful daily living principles to their business and personal lives!

Around the World – Part 2

You probably remember Roger from our article Life Is Terrific Around the World.

It’s been 25 years since Roger took the Successful Life Course. He still remembers and practices goal setting and the other principles taught.

And it has helped him to be successful. He achieved his goal of going around the world in 1985.

Now, 24 years later, Roger went back to India.


Here he is in front of the Taj Mahal, in the same place as before, with a Life Is TERRIFIC! bumpersticker!

Way to go Roger! Thank you for sharing with us!

Life Is Terrific Around the World

It’s always good to hear success stories from our graduates.

I recently got an email from Roger Knipp. Roger took the 3 day Successful Life Course with Ed Foreman and Earlene Vining in 1984.

He said “As a result of the course, I set a goal of going around the world, which I did in 1985. I took a picture of myself in front of the Taj Mahal in 1985, holding up a Life Is Terrific bumpersticker. Had that picture in my living room for two decades and still cherish it. And Ed put it in his newsletter in late 1985.”


Talk about the power of goal setting!

Now Roger is going back to India and is going to take one of those bumperstickers. He says “I will be seeing the Taj Mahal again and I want to strike the same pose holding the same bumpersticker.”

We’re rooting for you, Roger! Please send us the new picture when you get it!

Do you have a success story to tell? Sharing success encourages all of us to better things and helps counteract all of the negative news we are bombarded with daily. If you have a success story, please let us know by clicking the “comment” button below or send an email to

Three Feet from Gold with Ed Foreman

The book “Three Feet from Gold” expounds on the discoveries made by Napoleon Hill when he interviewed the wealthiest and most successful people of his era. This new classic in the making updates Hill’s findings by including insights from current captains of success, it also presents the principles in an accessible story.

For this book, author Greg Reid, with the aid of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, interviewed people who have achieved their goals and lived their dreams, including Ed Foreman (A millionaire and the only person in this century to be elected to Congress from two states).

Here is the interview with Ed Foreman:

A film by Jon Dixon
Music by Burnie Stevenson