Grow a Pair

You’re either a Larry Winget fan or not. Not many people sit on the fence when it comes to the New York Times bestselling author and the Pitbull of Personal Development®, one of the most opinionated speakers and authors around.  He’s spoken to 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, so there must be something to his message that appeals even to corporate America.

It’s well worth reading any or all of his books. He might make you angry or annoyed, but if you stop and wonder why – there’s probably some validity in what he is saying. And there is something in your life that he’s woken you up to.

This particular book is about rejecting victimhood in favor of taking control of your life and taking personal responsibility for yourself. No more excuses, no more playing the doormat. Stand up for yourself, for your rights and don’t let anyone get you down or let the bullies get their way. Stop putting up with excuses and poor service.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Control YOUR World, not THE World!

"When I grew a pair, the way the world is didn’t bother me nearly as much because I was suddenly in control. I was not in control of the world (damn it!) but I was in control of my world."
- Grow a Pair, page 46

Ideally, we’d all like to change the world.  But we can’t. We can only change ourselves. And it is hard to change ourselves, never mind what those ‘motivational bozos’ say.  We can do it one little bit at a time. For us to change ourselves is a gradual process, not something sudden nor big. No matter how much we’d like to be different, it takes time.

It’s not rocket science or anything difficult to understand, but many people sure do have a problem standing up for themselves. If you are one of the sheeple out there (people who accept the beliefs or opinions of others, without any critical analysis or thoughts of their own), Winget advises to stop being one and think for yourself.

Winget’s Have-a-Pair Hall of Fame includes Elvis, Rocky, John Wayne, Maggie Thatcher and of course, Larry himself. Larry encourages you to make a list of people who, in your opinion, have a pair. Next to their names, write down what it is about them that causes you to admire them.  The next step is for you to consider how you can take this list of attributes and develop them in your own life.

Bottom line, Winget wants you to stand up straight, live boldly and not let others walk all over you. He wants you to be in charge of your life, and he wants you to do so without being a jerk, He wants you to fail, then get back up, and get at it again until you succeed.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Believe in yourself, not others!

"Don’t be a follower of the ideas of any individual, group, party, church or other movement. Instead, you should read, study, think and work. Rely on your brain and your brawn to create the life you want. In other words: Grow a pair!"
- Grow a Pair, page 19

Winget states that we have become a society of weenies. He asks you a list of questions to determine if you have a pair, such as:

  • Do you accept bad service without speaking up?
  • Do your kids talk back to you?
  • Do you allow people to take advantage of you?
  • Do people talk down to you?
  • Do you ever feel that people don’t respect you?

He then answers the question “where did everyone’s pair go?” He states that one of the most castrating effects on our society, with our lack of having a pair, is political correctness.

His examples of being too politically correct include Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia who were forced to revolt for the right to say ‘Ho, ho, ho’, the traditional laugh of Santa.  We’re all familiar with people being ‘challenged’ these days as being called ‘vertically challenged’ for short people, ‘mobility challenged’ if they can’t walk well and ‘behaviorally challenged’ which is a criminal, or ‘truth challenged’ which means you’re a liar!

He then shares how you can ‘grow a pair’, (a phrase that gets repeated often and becomes a bit tiresome by the end of the book). He discusses growing a pair at home, with your kids, with your friends, in your business, your money, and while being a citizen and customer.  You start growing a pair by speaking up. You stop using weak language – no more “I think” or “in my humble opinion”. You learn to speak well and get to the point. You ask for what you want and stop apologizing.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

It’s all about Personal Responsibility!

"People who have a pair don’t offer up excuses or explanations. They face the facts, take responsibility, and deal with the consequences. And they don’t put up with any of this crap!"
- Grow a Pair, page 10

Speak up, be judgmental, have an opinion, be decisive, be honest, never make excuses, don’t whine, walk away, ask for what you want, get to the point, and stop apologizing if you’ve done nothing wrong.

Having a pair does NOT mean being rude, obnoxious, loud, arrogant, self-centered, mean or overly aggressive.  The benefits of growing a pair include more success, better service, better kids, better friends, more confidence, more money, more happiness and great satisfaction with yourself and your accomplishments.


The side effects of having a pair can be that you can be criticized, called names like mean, a bully and a pain in the ass. But don’t let all that bother you – if you have a pair, it won’t.

Like his other books, this book provides straight advice that may irk some people, and Winget doesn’t care in the least if he does. In fact, he hopes it will.  He hopes that those who get their feathers ruffled wake up to their problems and start acting on the suggestions contained within these 150+ short pages.

I read his earlier book Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life and enjoyed it more than this one.

However, if you feel like you might be verging on being a sheeple, a blind follower and not having a pair, this is the book for you. It will give you the reinforcement and encouragement you need to grow up and grow a pair of your own.

Life is too short not to take it by the horns and do it your way. Frank Sinatra was right.

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Patti Pokorchak

ABOUT Patti Pokorchak

Patti Pokorchak, MBA - Small Business Sales Coach, Speaker and Trainer Patti’s motto is ’to have fun and make money’, and if you’re not having fun, then who cares about the money! Born into an entrepreneurial family, small business has been in her blood since leaving her four years at the IBM finishing school (thank you for teaching me how to sell though!), wandering off to Europe for a decade and working at five startup tech companies...
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