Considered by many to be America’s foremost business philosopher, Jim Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker whose “rags to riches” tale inspired thousands. Born in Yakima, Washington during the Great Depression, Rohn spent his early years working on his parents farm in Caldwell, Idaho. His acquired first real job was as a stock clerk for Sears, before eventually moving on to the world of direct selling – first with AbundaVita, then with Nutri-Bio.
The founders of Nutri-Bio were the first to see Rohn’s potential, and after a brief mentorship period, Rohn developed one of the largest inner-company organizations. As a result of this success, they promoted him to vice president of the organization. After Nutri-Bio went out of business in the 1960s, Rohn found himself invited to speak at various events in the region, and these speaking engagements led to many others on a national level.
Rohn received the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking, and would become the mentor to both Mark R. Hughes and Tony Robbins during his lifetime.
Here are some of his best ideas concerning personal development:
1. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.
2. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
3. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
4. Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.
5. Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.
6. You cannot change your destination overnight. You can change your direction.
7. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
8. Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.
9. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
10. The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.
11. Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
12. The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – never knowing.
13. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planed for you? Not much.
14. When you know what you want, and you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it.
15. Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.
16. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.
17. You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
18. Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.
19. Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
20. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
When Rohn passed away from pulmonary fibrosis in 2009, he left behind him a legacy which will endure for decades to come. His contributions to the industry of personal development laid the groundwork for much of the research and discussions in existence today.