Zig Ziglar — November 6, 1926 – November 28, 2012

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar


This post has nothing to do with bass guitar, but is my tribute to someone that’s been a great inspiration to me.  Whether you are a politician, a sales person, or even a bass player.  We can all use a bit of Zig’s, “attitude of gratitude.”  R.I.P. Zig Ziglar.


Many of us will remember the 1980’s as the time of the Yuppies or so called Young Urban Professionals.  I have to say that I was firmly embedded in that kind of thinking.  A time when each new car had to be a step up, from a status standpoint, from the previous one.

It was during this period that I came across the whole personal development craze.  We were all trying to become more and more successful and needed to find new ways to excel.  And suddenly there was a whole range of professionals that could show you how to get there.

We all remember the Tony Robbin infomercials.  At least those of us that couldn’t get to sleep at night.  (Probably worrying about their BMW payments.)  But you might not be familiar with one of the greatest motivational trainers of our time.

His name is Zig Ziglar.

Zig was born in Gary, Indiana in 1926, but moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi in 1931.  This is where he would spend most of his childhood and this is where so many of his stories of growing up were centered.  A year later his father died of a stroke and his sister died just two days after that.

During the war years he served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1945, but didn’t see combat service.

In 1944 he met the love of his life Jean and they were married in 1946.  Zig was a story teller and Jean was always present in his stories.  She was, as he put it, the “decided redhead”.  That was because, “one day, she just decided”, to be a redhead.

And that’s the way Zig was.  Always a funny story, but the story was always connected to a serious point.

Being from the south Zig had a thick southern accent, and he played up that southern style in his presentation.  Some people didn’t like the “twang”, but for me it was always part of the character, part of the style and always pure charm.

For me I got to know Zig over the course of many road trips.  Not personally, but it felt that way.  I bought quite a few of his tape programs and would listen to them while I was travelling around British Columbia doing computer work.  Sometimes those trips would be as long as thirteen hours.  It was the road and me and Zig and a bag of pistachios.  There was never a dull moment.

What was great about Zig was that he always had a message.  The message was always positive and the humour always kept you on the edge of your seat.  But his humour was never demeaning or derogatory.   As he would say he would check it out spiritually and morally before he would put his name on it.

He was always the goal setter and at the same time steadfast to his ethic.  In one book, he wrote in the first chapter, that he weighed forty pounds less that he actually did.  But he had set a goal to write a certain number of pages every day and to lose a certain amount of weight during the same time.  When the book was complete, he was at his goal weight.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in person a couple of times and the presentations were awesome.  So often he’d start a presentation with a question.  “How many of you have either seen me before, or this is the first time?”  Or comments like, “One in three people is amazingly good looking”.  Then, he’d get you to look at the person on your left then on your right.

The last time I saw Zig Ziglar, he had a serious moment where he had talked about, “having a code-blue”.  Presumably he had almost died.  He was looking pretty gray and the years where catching up with him, but the spirit was still there.  And he didn’t miss a beat.

Sadly, the news came today (November 28, 2012) that Zig Ziglar has passed away after a short battle with pneumonia.

In recent years those old tape sets have been transferred to my iPod and I still listen to them from time to time.  The stories are timeless and as true today as thirty years ago.

Zig Ziglar was great human being that loved life and loved to share his special brand of success with the world.

He will be missed.


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