Life Is Tremendous

by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

The Corona virus shutdown has been mentally taxing. Daily news reports chronicle the number of new cases and deaths. Many sectors of the economy have come to a screeching halt. 30 million people have applied for unemployment benefits. In that context I wanted to read something light and positive. This 100-page booklet was published in 1968 and has sold more than a million copies.

“Perhaps as much as ninety-nine percent of our conversation is negative… I believe it is possible to say something positive to everybody all the time if we want to… Consider the different effects of the statements: ‘This rain ruins everything!’ and ‘Look at the beautiful rainbow!’ If you’ll cultivate the habit of saying something positive to everybody, you won’t have to say something to everyone; your image will promote a positive atmosphere wherever you go.”

“Living is involvement with reality, and the deepest reality is people. We are leading others all the time, unconsciously or deliberately, through our action or their recollection, in one direction or another.”

The book includes the author’s seven laws of leading a happy, productive life.

“The First Law of Leadership is learning to get excited about my work, not someone else’s work. Not the work I’m going to do someday. The First Law of Leadership tells me to get excited about the miserable job I have right now! …. Rather than wandering through life looking for something that never existed, get excited about your work now and begin to live!”

The third law is called Production to Perfection. “If you major in perfection, you’ll produce little more than dreams. But production will teach you a little about perfection in daily living.”

The fifth law is Exposure to Experience. With each new experience, you add a key to your experience keyring. “As you accumulate experiences you use those keys over and over again. Eventually you know which keys unlock the doors… The old timer… doesn’t need the stamina that he once needed; he knows how to get to the heart of a problem and prescribe a remedy.”

“It’s a shame that people get old rather than grow old. A person who gets old is not practicing the law of Exposure and Experience. Getting old means you’re drifting, not growing. And that means getting shallow, and cynical, and thankless.  But if you grow old, you’re getting deeper and richer and fuller.”

The sixth law is Flexible Planning. “Do you know that a lot of people are miserable because they expect everything to go right? They’re asking for misery! … Flexible Planning says to have a plan that enables you to roll with the punches, to adapt and adjust. Be learning to capitalize on things that go wrong, making them stepping stones of progress. That makes the ‘wrong’ things ‘right,’ an exchange that anyone should appreciate.”

There are some funny lines in the book:

  • “You know the trouble with canned sales talks? The customers don’t know their parts!” Charlie Jones was an insurance salesman.
  • “My oldest son Jere was 14 years old at the time. He was a perfect teenager. He never did anything wrong; he never did anything right; he just never did anything!”
  • Quoting a book by Alan Redpath, a pastor from England:
    “One pastor says to the other, ‘Hey, I heard you had a great revival at your church.’
    He said, ‘We sure did.’
    ‘How many additions did you have?’
    ‘None, but we sure had some blessed subtractions!’”

“One of the greatest thoughts I’ve ever heard is ‘You will be the same in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.’ You know, that’s absolutely true.”


Jones, Charles E. Life Is Tremendous. Wheaton, IL: Living Books, 1968. Buy from Amazon.com


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