This month marks the five-year anniversary of the death of motivational speaker Jim Rohn. I wanted to write an article that would pay homage to a man that I never met but whose ideas have had a great impact on my life.
I listened to an audiotape of his, The Day That Turns Your Life Around, on the way to work the other day. I distilled and gleaned the following gems from his writings and speeches and hope they serve you in business and life as they have me.
1. It’s not just about you.
Rohn believed that what happens to you happens to everyone. As he explained in In the Set of the Sail, “It's not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination. It's the set of sail.”
In the journey called life, everyone is in a sort of sailboat. So everything that happens is happening to all because everyone is in the same boat. What determines your destination is not the blowing of the wind, the inevitable problems that occur in life, but the culmulative effect of everyone's individual sails.
You can gain a sail or reach a better destination in one, three or five years by continuing to capitalize on what you already know and learning as much new information you can and then implementing it.
2. Figure out your beliefs.
Rohn said, “Define your philosophy.” Everything in life comes down to your attitude and philosophy -- how you see things and react to things. Sometimes a simple change in philosophy, in how you view things can make all the difference.
For instance, working a few more hours to pay off bills versus working a few more hours to build wealth for your family. Which one makes it a little easier to work the extra hours?
3. You go in the direction you face.
If you face north, you will go in that direction. If you face despair and disappointment, your life will play out in that fashion. But if you face hope and opportunity, your life will follow that course.
4. Take action now. You'll reap results later.
Just because everybody can do something worthwhile does not mean that everyone will. You have what it takes to work hard and achieve more, but not everyone will work hard. Most humans take the path of least resistance. Don’t be like everybody. Changing your life means doings things others choose not to do.
5. Let the past teach and the future inspire.
Jim Rohn once wrote, "To really achieve your dreams, to really have your future plans pull you, your dreams must be vivid." It’s difficult to do that when you dwell too much on the past.
The past is an excellent place to gather data from, but a cruel place to live in. The past is sort of like gravity. It can pull you down if you live in the discouragements and the "what if"s of your past.
It’s better to let you dreams and goals guide and inspire you. Let them be the magnets that ultimately pull you through the tough times ahead.
6. Leave things better than you find them.
Because of the problems people experience in life, some become conditioned to believe that the current troubles are all that life has to offer. They don’t know they can make a change and so they don’t. Sometimes making a change can be as simple as reading a book, taking a class, going to a seminar or seeking better knowledge.
What if everything you touched turned to gold and everything that came your way got better or cleaner than you found it? What would that do for your psyche? In every area of your life and business, develop the mindset that because you touched it, it will only get better.
7. Don’t wish for fewer challenges. Strive to have better skills.
You learn some of the best lessons in life from struggles. So instead of wishing things were easier for you, become better. Learn what you need to learn to overcome the challenges in your life. Then teach what you know to others.
The only way you grow in life is when you face our problems head on. Stop wishing for fewer problems. Whatever you focus on grows, so instead of focusing on your problems, focus on the solutions. A great way to do that is by becoming more skillful. Get useful advice from a mentor. Attend that seminar. Make the needed changes.
Iron is sharpened when it is refined by fire. Challenges will sharpen you when you learn how to cope with them. The best way to cope is to gain wisdom. Wisdom will help you defeat challenges and enable your growth.
8. Be disciplined when facing disappointments.
If a professional football player fumbles the ball, he needs to get that play out of his mind so he can concentrate on the next play. Yes, it was disappointing, but he has to put it in perspective. In life, you can’t let little things cheat you out of big opportunities down the line.
9. Move in the right direction.
If you’re not careful, sometimes simply being busy all the time can fool you. You may feel as if you’re getting a lot accomplished, but when you take a step back you just might see that you are indeed moving, but not in the right direction. Don’t be busy just for the sake of being busy. Make sure you are moving toward achieving your goals.
10. Deal with the pain of making tough decisions.
“When you have to make a difficult decision, accept the pain of the decision because it has to be made,” Rohn said. “But not the guilt.” The guilt is what causes you to remain in stasis. The pain does not destroy people, but the guilt will.