The metaphors and models that dominate Jim Rohn's
speaking are drawn from the life of rural America, with particular emphasis on
paying close attention to the four seasons. He says, for example, learn that
"winters follow falls;" we should prepare for life's winters, even
the winters of "discontent." His lessons are perennial and perhaps have
a universal appeal--even for many city people.
Rohn tells his personal story
first, the way many motivational speakers do, to establish that he knows what
it is like when nothing works, when there is no money, when we are "behind
on our promises." His story leads to the experience of transformation
since he was lucky enough to meet a mentor, his employer for five years, whose
insights and experience changed Rohn's life by changing his outlook. Rohn wants
to play such a mentoring role in the listening of his audience; he does it with
style, energy, and impressive credibility.
The most interesting, even
innovative, aspect of Rohn's first CD here is his emphasis on
"philosophy" as the way to success in life. Philosophy is a subject
(and a word) most success-motivation speakers avoid for fear of falling prey to
anti-intellectual bias everywhere. "Philosophy doesn't bake bread" a
poet wrote, and many have misapplied this insight, suspecting philosophy itself
is dispensable. Rohn knows better than approach the being of human being without
attending to its philosophical aspects. He knows that each person is not like a
silly goose who can "only fly south" in autumn; every person can use
the mind to set a personal course through life. Philosophy, Rohn argues, is a
vital, transformative power available to each person who wants more out of
Rohn shows the ways that
"study" and "building a personal library" and "keeping
a journal" all contribute to developing a philosophy that can lead to
success. He names some good books people should read--such as How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
(once described as "America's wealthiest philosopher") or The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant.
He says, don't be afraid to try a little of the harder stuff for your
reading--it will stretch you, help you grow.
Rohn's points add up to the
not-so-popular insight that being truly human and wanting more than a middling
existence requires a bit of discipline, the judgment to set up specific
disciplines and stick with them daily for a long time. No "quick fix"
expert is he; study and discipline will yield a philosophy and this is the
ground of lasting success.
It's a pleasure to hear someone
successful in business tell that truth about succeeding. And he does it with
energetic style. People who really want to make some needed changes in their
lives would do well to buy this program, listen to it often, and make the
specific changes Rohn recommends.
The fundamental premise behind
Rohn's teaching is that each of us is completely responsible for what we do
about our lives, how we handle what happens to us, our attitudes, and
especially, what sorts of things and people we attract to ourselves. It just
doesn't help to complain, to whine, to blame circumstances, negative people our
jobs, or indeed, anything outside ourselves. We make our own realities. This is
the Jim Rohn approach.
What he offers is inspiring and
plausible. Rather than "wishing things were easier" we should wish we
are "better" and "have more skills." Rather than
complaining about too little pay and too much tax, we should see earning as
"a ladder" and "not a bed" and learn how to climb well.
Climbing has little to do with position, he says, and much to do with outlook.
© 2004 David Wolf
David Wolf is the author of Philosophy
That Works, a book about the practice of philosophy. His book page for
orders (hardback & paperback) is www.xlibris.com/philosophythatworks
; readers can also see the first chapter there.