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“If you're looking for a book that will inspire you to go for what you want in life, It All Matters is a great choice. Paul Cummings uses himself as a case study in this encouraging guide filled with life lessons, tools, and activities to help you set your course. Read this book—it could be the key to a successful future.”

Ken Blanchardcoauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and One Minute Mentoring

It All Matters is an inspiring book that is full of timeless truths and universal wisdom to help you to succeed in anything that you do.”

Brian TracyInternational motivational speaker, self‐development expert and author of over 70 books, including Maximum Achievement

“As both an athlete and a World Champion quarterback, I can truly appreciate the importance of having a great coach to help you on your journey. Great coaches will inspire you to dream big and they will push you towards achieving goals that you never thought were even possible. It All Matters is a fantastic read and having Paul Cummings as your personal coach along the way will inspire you to not only dream big, but to deliberately take action so that you too can achieve all of your goals and dreams.”

Joe TheismannFormer professional football player and World Champion quarterback, sports commentator, corporate speaker and restaurateur

“Paul Cummings has achieved something truly remarkable. In the spirit of sharing freely and uplifting others (which he has practiced for more than four decades), he has given us a book that opens the principles highly successful people follow, and challenges the reader to go through a powerful, proven set of exercises that will allow immediate application – and ultimately, with commitment, true mastery – of those principles. He walks this talk every single day. I was blessed greatly by It All Matters. You will be, too!”

Dan MoorePresident of Southwestern Advantage

“Paul Cummings' gift for storytelling delivers fundamental success principles in a fashion that is engaging, memorable and practical for effecting change in people's lives. He is a master of the science and the art of communication. We count him as a distinguished alumnus of the Southwestern program and are honored to have played a role in his life at an early age. I highly recommend It All Matters to anyone wishing to learn, improve and grow in the pursuit of excellence.”

Henry BedfordChairman and CEO of The Southwestern Family of Companies

“Paul Cummings has created a collection of some of life's greatest truths and presented them in concise snippets with actionable tools to help you get them implemented. The principles in this book have the power to change your life.”

Rory VadenCo‐founder of Southwestern Consulting and New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs

It All Matters is a timeless masterpiece of intellectual strategies that will propel any individual or business who desires to excel to unparalleled heights of success. Paul Cummings is a master of the art and science of personal development. Paul has lived these lessons and impacted people all over the globe with his unique ability to inspire confidence, clarity, certainty and creativity.”

Robert ForresterCEO, Vertu Motors, United Kingdom

“A powerful, compelling, impactful, and inspirational guide to personal and corporate excellence is the best way to describe It All Matters. Paul Cummings is a master teacher who has inspired people all over the world to change their lives for the better. We have used these strategies to drive millions of dollars of annual growth into our business for over a decade. No doubt this book will be a tipping point in your life.”

Warren von Bibravon Bibra Motor Group, Brisbane, Australia

“In Life Lesson 12, Paul Cummings says “You are one great question away from anything you want in life at all times.” Now here's a question for you: Are you ready to find out what matters to you? The answer starts in It All Matters.”

Harvey Mackay#1 New York Times bestseller of Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive

“Paul Cummings' book, It All Matters, is a book that you will want to peruse and not read with a cursory attitude. His strategies to live a creative and successful life are excellent. I highly recommend it because it is loaded with nuggets of confidence, clarity, and a path to peace, love, happiness, and success.”

Dale BrownFormer Head Basketball Coach at LSU‐1972‐1997 and a member of the National College Basketball Coaching Hall of Fame

Congratulations from everyone at kiWW on this magnificent project. We all look forward to purchasing it. Reading It All Matters was an extraordinary experience. Paul Cummings brings to life the wisdom and strategies to win in life and business. This book is a must read regardless of where you are in your life right now. Mr. Cummings' success is legendary. We now understand he accomplished extraordinary things by deciding each day that “it all matters”. If you read this book, and take action on its lessons, your life will change in powerful new ways. It's happening in our company right now!”

Kathy IrelandChair, CEO, Chief Designer, kathy ireland WorldWide

It All Matters is an inspiring, well‐structured, instructive, lightning fast read that will be your new best friend on the path to reaching your fullest potential. And there's no better guide for the journey than the insightful and dynamic Paul Cummings.”

Dave AndersonPresident of Learn To Lead, international columnist, renowned sales and leadership speaker, and author of 12 books, including Unstoppable


My Big “Why”

First, a special word of thanks to all my students. To everyone who ever invested their time and money to attend one of our events or watch one of our 12,000 eLearning videos, you have been my career inspiration. For all the times you screamed “10” and banged drumsticks together, thank you. For all the times you helped me convince a conference center or hotel that we should never be invited back because we were too loud, too intense, too enthusiastic and excited, I say thanks. I wrote, recorded, and spoke all over the world for you. I packed my bags, hugged my family good‐bye, ate airport food and slept in thousands of hotels for you. It was all worth it because all a teacher lives for, is that moment when the light comes on in someone's eyes and you know they will never be the same. I thank you all.

Special word of thanks to my parents, George and Shirley Cummings. I was blessed at birth to have amazing parents who gave me all I needed and much more. Thanks for all the love, support, and encouragement over the years. Thanks for telling me I could achieve any dream I had the courage to dream. Thanks for coming to so many of my speeches and special events. Thanks for teaching me that the secret to living is giving. I will always cherish the evening we shared when we rented the entire House of Blues in New Orleans and raised money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Your fingerprints were all over that special night. Most of all, thanks to you both for being examples of character, integrity, and values for our entire family. I love you both to the moon and back.

Special word of thanks to all my children: Jane Ellen, Lauren, Chris, Ryan, and Kobi Cummings. You have been my life. As a dad, I have always been proud of each one of you. I did my best to provide all of you with the love and support you deserve. I cherish every moment I have spent with you individually and collectively. I traveled too much and worked too many hours many times and through it all you have all cheered me on, and “Go, Dad!” still rings in my ears. You shared a lot of your dad with the world. I am a blessed man to have five incredible children. I love, cherish, and respect you all for the great grownups you have become. You make me proud.

Special word of thanks to my brother and sister, George and Sue Ellen Cummings. I wanted to say thanks to you both for all the memories we have shared over the years. I was lucky to be the middle child between a great big brother and the world's best sister. Congrats to you on all that you have accomplished, and thanks for the years of encouragement and support.

Special word of thanks to Sue Rice. You made my life brighter, bolder, and better for so many years. You were my left and right arms, both personally and corporately. I owe you more than I can ever repay you. Thanks for the love you expressed, the happiness you created, and the joy you shared with so many. You were my rock and the matriarch of our company and thanks for believing in my vision for TechTown for over a decade before we ever opened the doors.

Special word of thanks to Clay Odom. You have been such a valuable asset to our organization. I appreciate the immense effort you have displayed during your time with the company, and I appreciate your willingness to pivot and take on your new role as the CEO of Steam Society. I am so excited to have you at the helm of an organization I created to improve the lives of underserved youth all over the nation. I am stoked to see the results as you launch your summer camp program on college campuses across the nation. In addition, the friendship we have developed and fostered has been remarkable. I count on you for so much and you have never let me down. Thanks for everything you do every day to contribute to others so selflessly.

Special word of thanks to Tony Pate. You were the first leader I ever entrusted my mission to, many years ago. Thanks to you and Cathy for all the years of tireless efforts throughout the years. We certainly put a lot of people in a lot of rooms. Together, we changed a lot of lives, but more important, the moments you, Cathy, and I shared as friends will always be what I cherish the most.

Special word of thanks to Tina Huet and Wendy Baldwin. It is impossible not to acknowledge you as a team. I don't know what to say to two people who did so much for so many years to make my life better. I am forever in your debt and will always consider myself blessed that you chose to work with and beside me for so long. A man is lucky to have a lifelong friend, and I am grateful to have two, whom I will forever respect and cherish.

Special word of thanks to Mike Burdette. You were the first trainer I trusted to teach my work, and teach you did, for over 20 years. I appreciate you and all your efforts on behalf of the organization. More important, I appreciate all the lives you impacted along the way. We have too many memories to mention and you know that I love you both, Mike and Elaine.

Special word of thanks to Stephanie Wharton. You are in every way an amazing friend, mother, and wife, and your faith in God has always been an inspiration to me. Thanks for all the years of service and for making me look better than I deserve as you correct my serious writing deficiencies. More important, thanks for your friendship over the years. I'll always remember when my dad met you: He said, “Son, go ahead and hire her, that little redhead is a keeper!”

Special word of thanks to Renaldo Leonard. You are still my brother from another mother. I enjoyed every second that we worked together. I miss those days more than you know. I am so very proud of you and all that you have accomplished. For all the moments we shared the platform, traveled together, shared meals and family time together, I say thanks and I pray that life treats you well.

Special word of thanks to Keri Chriswell‐Kuffel. You have impacted my life in so many ways. Thanks for the two decades of friendship and support. I appreciate you traveling across the world to support our expansion in Great Britain. Thanks for your advice and editing skills in preparing this manuscript. More important, thanks for your friendship and wise counsel. You are an incredibly strong woman and mother who carries herself with dignity and class.

Special word of thanks to Victoria Bruck. You have been such a blessing with the editing and marketing of this project. Thanks for your optimism and for your passion for what we do. You're the best.


A Moment in Time

While sitting at a picnic table with my grandfather, George W. Cummings Sr., in Conway, Arkansas, on a beautiful summer day, one conversation completely changed the course of my life. As a young teenager, it would have been unnatural for me to think in those terms. However, looking back four decades later, that conversation was truly a defining moment in my journey that would set in motion a decision that would ultimately impact the rest of my life. It's stunning to think of it in those terms, but that one single moment in time was a tipping point. A statement, a story, a quip, a quote, a conversation, or an unexpected experience in life can be that moment, when “It” all changes for you. This was the beginning of my road to a life of confidence, clarity, certainty, and creativity.

Growing up, my grandfather was my mentor, confidant, fishing buddy, and best friend. He was a man who possessed immense knowledge, a sidesplitting sense of humor, and a multitude of life experiences that he was willing to share with his eager grandson. I loved every second that I was able to spend with my grandfather.

He shared a multitude of life lessons with me standing by the fencepost at his farm that still are present in my mind today—lessons such as “enthusiasm is an inside game with an outside reflection” or “you can't get a positive charge off a dead battery no matter how hard you try.” I will never forget the day when he told me that the age‐old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink,” was a lie. He explained, “If you salt their oats and make them thirsty, they will drink all day long.” I was fortunate to be able to plug into this type of wisdom at such a young age. Each one of these lessons was wrapped up in a compelling story that kept me engaged for hours.

His bigger‐than‐life personality, wisdom, and laughter made an indelible impression on me that I still cherish today. Unfortunately, you will never have the pleasure of his time. However, you will have the benefit of understanding all of his profound wisdom as you read this book. I refer fondly to his life lessons as “golden nuggets” that can lead you to a life filled with meaningful experiences and monumental victories.

I believe the art of storytelling is one of the most compelling skills anyone can learn. For this reason, I made the decision to base this book on a real‐life story that began in May of 1975. I believe that we all have a story that's important to us for a multitude of reasons.

Truth be told, you were never intended to run from conflict or to play small in the world. You were never designed to participate in the frenzy of life, solely based on other's opinions of your worth or your value. Life has offered you unlimited freedom and the power to choose your own path. You were intended to be bold, powerful, unique, determined, and immensely successful. Life is not a dress rehearsal, and my goal is to provide you with the life lessons, toolkits, strategies, and action plans you need to live a compelling life.

I deliver my speeches, blogs, and stories with what I call southern ease. Growing up in Arkansas and then Louisiana, I was dipped in the age‐old wisdom of my grandfather and bathed in the South Louisiana culture and the celebration of life by my mother, Shirley Cummings. All of these experiences are combined with the lessons I have learned over my 40‐year business career as an entrepreneur, teacher, and owner of a global business enterprise. It All Matters is void of theory and overflowing with lessons learned through both moments of immense struggle and mind‐boggling successes.

I have invited five of my great clients—Robert Forrester, Andy Heck, Wade von Bibra, Brad Mugg, and Charlie Collins—to author the introductions for each part of the narrative. I am confident you will gain great insight from their words of wisdom.

Over the course of my career, I have been influenced and inspired by many great teachers. Og Mandino and his great book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, inspired me to believe in myself and pursue my most important goals and dreams. I have been honored to speak on platforms with Dr. Ken Blanchard, Harvey Mackay, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Terry Bradshaw, Dale Brown, and many other great speakers whose work has continued to play an important role in my life. As a student I was inspired from a young age by the words of Tom Hopkins, who taught me that success is comprised of thousands of hours of hard work, dedication, and practice.

I was inspired to become a public speaker, teacher, and author by Spencer Hays, Mort Utley, David Dean, Art Williams, Les Brown, Zig Ziglar, and Jackie B. Cooper, whose amazing presentation abilities captivated me at a young age. I would like to acknowledge and thank these individuals for their commitment to improving the lives of others through their work. Join me now as I share a personal story with you, which was written with the pen of my own experience, a sense of humor, and an appreciation of life all in hand.

Part One

Sketch showing a sunrise scene. A car is parked across the sun with a man walking toward the same holding a briefcase in the left hand and showing a thumbs-up through the right hand.

Where It All Began – Confidence

A Special Message from Charlie Collins

As a Man Thinketh was written by James Allen in 1902, and remains to this day a book filled with timeless wisdom. That very same year, George W. Cummings Sr. was born and, other than his family, friends, and the local community, his birth received very little notice. But that would all change, as he, too, would leave behind a legacy of timeless truths and wisdom to encourage and inspire many future generations.

I met Paul Cummings for the very first time in the spring of 1975. At age 23, after selling books with Southwestern for five summers myself, I was a sales manager of a hundred people who were a lot like Paul…or so I had thought.

Check that: There are very few people like Paul. When I first met him, he was a brash, talented, and passionate young man. And yes, over the past 40 years he has changed some, but only in the refining and maturing that all men need. He has never lost his passion, and is still committed to making a difference in this world. If you will take these timeless truths to heart, and act on them, you will benefit more than you know.

Paul was blessed to have such a wise grandfather, who took the time to impart his experience and wisdom to his beloved grandson. In this book, Paul, now a grandfather himself, will give you the opportunity to accelerate your own life at the speed of light. This is George's legacy, but it is also a part of Paul's legacy too. Now, you can benefit from almost 100 years of combined life experiences from both of these incredibly wise gentlemen.

Success involves principles that are universally true, as clear and certain as the laws of gravity. For example, the Internet is not free; someone pays the bill. I believe that success involves some of these exact same universally true principles. Paul has simply outlined these principles in a manner that gives anyone who will choose to follow them a road to travel on which to create success in any area of their life. These truths will help you whether they are applied at your place of business or if you apply them within your family.

Paul had an advantage of the heritage of loving parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, many of us do not. Look around and you will see that dysfunctional and broken families abound everywhere. If you see yourself as a grasshopper, you will be regarded as one. If you will take hold of the truths that Paul Cummings has given, recognize that the lies of your environment are simply that, only lies, you can then begin to see the beauty of your creation. This book can be your guide to reorder your life.

If you as are young as Paul was, when he was first introduced to these life principles, then congratulations. However, if you've traveled further along on your journey in life, this book can still be a springboard to encourage you toward a greater future for all of your tomorrows.

If you are in transition, or think life has passed you by, I have a news flash for you. It is never too late. You can have the life you desire. These principles work and they will work for you. If you are in your 60s or 70s, you may be nearing retirement, but remember, you aren't dead. Living intentionally has no expiration date. Passion is not only for the young.

Have the courage to live, really live. You have far greater value than you think. You have been created for greatness. Experience it by living intentionally every day that you have left. Paul has given you an organized form and as excellent path towards greatness. Take it!

—Charles V. Collins