Jim RohnI’m currently reading a classic Jim Rohn book called The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle (first published in 1991). I heard about this book through Trevor Mauch, an entrepreneur and real estate investor who recently launched an Entrepreneur Book Club that I signed up to be a part of. I still don’t have a hard copy of the book (and I much prefer to holding a real book in my hands), but I did download the Kindle version on my iPhone after reading about the book club, and I promptly devoured all 121 pages in only a few days.  Now that I’ve finished reading the whole book, I’m re-reading each chapter and really letting the concepts sink in.

I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love the work that I do, and I love the idea that nothing is impossible. The only real limit to my potential is my own imagination. Below are my favorite “take-aways” from each of the five sections …

I. Philosophy

“Everything that goes on inside the human mind in the form of thoughts, ideas, and information forms our personal philosophy. Our philosophy then influences our habits and behavior, and this is really where it all begins.”

My personal philosophy is sapere vedere … a latin phrase that means “knowing how to see”. Most people say “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there” but sapere vedere says “I’ll see that bridge before I cross it.”

“In the final analysis, it is not what happens what that determines the quality of our lives, but what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed direction.”

Everybody faces challenges and setbacks … it doesn’t matter where you came from, how much money you have (or don’t have), or who your parents are, the key to success is learning how to adjust the sails! Attitude is everything.

“We all have memories of past deeds and of the subsequent rewards or consequences of those deeds. The key is to make the memories of past events our servants, lest the repetition of those events makes us their slave.”

“What we think determines what we believe; what we believe influences what we choose; what we choose defines what we are; and what we are attracts what we have.”

It sounds so simple, yet this is really quite profound! We ultimately become what we continually think. That’s why we are reminded in in Philippians 4:8 to think on “these things”.

“While it is easy to do the things that success and happiness require, it is also easy not to do them.”

This was probably the most revealing statement from the entire book … the things that are easy to do are also easy not to do! Success is not hard, and the things that I have to do to be successful are easy to do, but at the same time they are also easy not to do. Hmmmmmmm. Why do we (I) make it so difficult?

II. Attitude

“What we know determines our philosophy. How we feel about what we know determines our attitude.”

“Just as the body instinctively knows how to perform the miracle of health, the mind instinctively knows how to perform the miracle of wealth.”

“We must see and want the promise with an insatiable desire, or the price it requires will overcome our wishes, and we will fall back to where we once were.”

Do I really want it bad enough? Is the pain of failure greater than the pain of discipline? Good intentions aren’t enough to overcome the habits of failure.

“Failure is the slow and imperceptible accumulation of small errors in judgment repeated on a daily basis over a prolonged period of time.”

The things that are easy to do are also easy not to do!

“We should discipline ourselves to spend eighty percent of our time with the twenty percent who are helping us to produce eighty percent of the results, and twenty percent of our time with the eighty percent who are producing only twenty percent of the results.”

Wow. This one was an eye-opener for me and really made me think about who is consuming my time on a daily basis!

III. Activity

“We will all experience one pain or the other – the pain of discipline or the pain of regret – but the difference is that the pain of discipline weighs only ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons.”

Discipline feels painful at first, but ultimately leads to long-term satisfaction. I think I need to practice the art of delayed gratification.

“In order to produce the desired results we must put intelligence as well as intensity into our activity.”

This reminds me of Dave Ramsey when he talks about the debt snowball … I need to go after my goals with a gazelle-like intensity.

“The major accomplishments in life begin with the mastery of the small disciplines.”

IV. Results

“The results will always be predictable because results are always determined by what we are in the process of becoming.”

This represents a paradigm shift in the traditional way of thinking. The normal way of thinking says that results are measured by the actions I take, but what’s more important is who I am becoming in the process of taking those actions.

“We cannot have more without first becoming more.”

“It is the acquisition of more value that we must pursue, not more valuables.”

In the pursuit of achieving the “American Dream” (happiness), I need to focus on who I am rather than on what I have (or don’t have).

“Results do not respond to need. Results respond to effort… to labor… to activity.”

Just because I need something now doesn’t mean it will magically appear if I think about it long enough … instead I have to think about my future needs and plan accordingly today!

“Every error defeated by disciplined activity paves the way for our future success.”

We overcome bad habits one day at a time!

“Weak is he who permits his attitude to control his actions, and strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.”

“The greatest rewards are always reserved for those who bring great value to themselves and the world around them as a result of whom and what they have become.”

V. Lifestyle

“…practiced sophistication is as much a cause of wealth as it is a result of wealth.”

I can’t wait until I have a lot of money in my bank account to start appreciating the finer things in life. If I will learn how to appreciate the finer things in life, then I will ultimately have more wealth as a result.

“Lifestyle is really nothing more than the art of doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

“Lifestyle is a result of living more… living more fully, living more consciously, living more joyfully, living more appreciatively.”

How can I ever appreciate the things I don’t yet have if I can’t learn how to appreciate the things I already have?

“Happiness is as much a cause of success as it is a result of success, and we can begin to experience happiness whenever we wish, regardless of our current circumstances.”

Happiness is a choice. I can either focus on the things I don’t have or I can focus on the things that I do have. The grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s probably because that side has more shit – I mean fertilizer.

“If we cannot learn to be happy with what we have right now, then we will never be happy no matter how much good fortune comes our way.”

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