Jim Rohn is a man I wish I had known personally. He was one of the most inspirational speakers I have ever heard speak on the subject of personal development.
Sadly, Jim died in 2009, but he left a wonderful legacy of his philosophy around the principles of self improvement. Of all the people I have heard speak on this subject over the years, Jim provided the clearest statement of the importance of personal development as the route to success.
It was Jim’s own experience, mainly from the period when he was between the ages of 25 and 31, that he drew his lessons about life and what it takes to succeed. At age 25, Jim was earning $57 per week working as a stock clerk; at age 31 – just six years later – he was a millionaire and his central message was always that anyone could do exactly the same.
He began as a motivational speaker by giving a talk that he entitled, “Idaho Farm Boy Makes it to Beverly Hills.” It was a talk that he was invited to give, time and again, over his long and highly successful career, the essence of which can be summed up in his 4 Questions to Ponder which we’ll take a brief look at here:
The first question is: why? Why should you be prepared to put in all the necessary the time and effort to work on transforming yourself into a person the market values? Jim says it is a good question. To accomplish the transformation, you would need to begin a serious study program and dedicate yourself to the process of life-long learning. It is far more effort than the majority of people will ever be prepared to put in. Jim also says the best answer to this question is his second question.
The second question is: why not? Why not see how far you can go; why not see how many books you can read; why not see what you can accomplish; why not see how much you can earn? Jim’s core philosophy is right there, embedded within those questions. If you live in the developed world, you have a golden opportunity to make your dreams into your reality so, quite simply, why not?
The third question is: why not you? Why should it not be you who is the leader of your own enterprise; why should it not be you who is living a life full of enjoyment and fulfilment; why should it not be you that is setting the world alight with joy and enthusiasm; why should it not be you who is achieving at a level you have never before dared to dream?
His final question to ponder is: why not now? It took Jim just six years to become a millionaire once he had begun the process he recommends. Those six years will pass anyway, whether or not you personally decide to improve yourself during that same period. The choice you have is either to stay where you are or to be a different person six years hence.
By the way, Jim did not advocate the business of pursuing riches. In fact, understanding that is a real key to success i.e. that if you attempt to pursue riches, they will probably continually elude you. Jim’s philosophy is that riches come as a by-product of working on yourself. It is simply the way things work. If you want to never have to worry about money again, you need to essentially transform yourself into a person that the market values.
Here’s Jim speaking, at one of his seminars, on the subject of how to begin the process of turning your life around: How to Have Your Best Year Ever.