The Wisdom of Motivation Master, Jim Rohn

“The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” ~Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn MotivationBack in the late 70s, I briefly flirted with a career in real estate. It wasn’t my passion, so I didn’t last long, but it put me smack dab in the middle of the golden age of motivational speaking.

Sales people are driven by the affirmation that comes from closing the next big deal. So those of us in the trade were constantly on the lookout for people who could charge us up, provide positive motivation and sharpen our attitudes for a day that was often filled with hurdles and rejection.

This was the arena where Earl Nightingale, Denis Waitley, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn worked their magic. These educator / philosophers were masters at distilling the essence of motivation into parables, short stories and sentences. I drilled hundreds of these into my brain over the years, to the point where they reflexively pop out as not-so-subtle reminders to help keep me on course.

Tom Hopkins – I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.
Zig Ziglar – Are you a wandering generality or a meaningful specific?
Earl Nightingale – We become what we think about.
Denis Waitley – If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything.

I post at least one of these short sound bytes on my @SWestermanIII twitter feed each day. It’s more of a reminder to myself to continue to practice the behaviors and attitudes that attract positive opportunities to serve, and like minded fellow travelers.

Few were better at creating memorable motivational quotes than Jim Rohn

One of the giants of the era of motivation left us on December 5th 2009. I wrote an essay about Jim Rohn then. I come back to it often when I need to recharge my motivational batteries.

Jim Rohn was born to an Idaho farming family on September 17, 1930. By his own account, at age 25 he was in a personal rut familiar to many middle-class families who were in debt, unable to see a way that would lead to his personal ambitions.

Around this time, he was introduced to John Earl Shoaff, an entrepreneur who impressed Jim with his wealth, business accomplishments, charisma and life philosophy. Jim joined Shoaff’s direct sales organization, and began a process of personal development that culminated in his becoming a millionaire by age 31.

In the years that followed, Jim Rohn inculcated what he learned from John Earl Shoaff, discovering a demand from people outside his industry to hear his rags to riches stories, and the personal development philosophy that he felt had led to his accomplishments.

Jim presented his seminars for more than 40 years. Wikipedia notes that he addressed over 6,000 audiences and 4 million people worldwide and authored 17 different books, audio and video programs.

Jim thought of himself as a “Business Philosopher”. He did not claim to teach novel truths, only fundamentals – and as he was fond of saying: “There are no new fundamentals. Truth is not new, it’s old. Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy.”

Jim saw five major puzzle pieces to life:

Philosophy – how you think
Attitude – how you feel
Action – what you do
Results – measure often to see if you are making progress
Lifestyle – the kind of life you can make for yourself out of the first four pieces

How we dissect and develop each of these puzzle pieces will determine the joy or suffering we experience along the way.

One of my favorite hunting grounds is’s search function: You can enter a word or phrase there and instantly get a feel for what the Twittersphere is thinking about it in the current moment. I regularly put “#quote” into the search box and let the wisdom of the ages wash over me in 140 characters or less.

Today I searched Twitter for references to Jim Rohn and found a river of ideas. Ideas that are Jim’s legacy. Ideas that can still inspire all of us to be our best.

Whether you write them on post-it notes and stick em on your bathroom mirror, past them on your desktop, or pass them on to friends, incorporating Jim Rhon’s wisdom into your daily drill can help guide you to higher productivity, more joyful relationships and the kind of happiness that is the true definition of success.

Here are a few examples:

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.
You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.
You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.
We get paid for bringing value to the market place.
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time.
Formal education will make you a living self-education will make you a fortune.
Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Your philosophy determines whether you will go for the disciplines or continue the errors.
Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.
Whatever good things we build end up building us.
We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.
The more you know the less you need to say.
Don’t wish it was easier—wish you were better.
The few who do, are the envy of the many who only watch.
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.
It’s not the blowing of the wind, but the set of the sail that determines your outcome.
Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.
The book you don’t read won’t help.
If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.
Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.
Either you run the day or the day runs you.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.

Let’s close the the motivation master himself. The 15 minutes in this video can change your life, just as Jim Rohn changed so many lives… for the better.