Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: The Art of Exceptional Living

Today I listened to the book The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn on CD.

I would have preferred a book, but the CD was the only option available from the library. For me, I like to see things printed so I can re-read them if I want to do so.

At any rate, I liked the messages that this author shared. He basically went from being a 25 year old man who was working, but had nothing in savings and creditors calling him to someone who was a millionaire - all by changing his philosophy about life.

Some key things he said:

- Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.
- Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day.
- Study! If you wish to be successful, study success. If you wish to be happy, study happiness. If you wish to be wealthy, study wealth.
- Capture what you learn. Write it down. Record it. Keep a journal to record ideas that come your way.
- Find out all you can do.
- The two best sources of information: your own experience (both the positive and negative) and other people's experiences. Read about others' lives - both successful ones and people who share challenges they've had and mistakes they've made that they've overcome.
- All leaders are readers. Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour hearing or reading something challenging every day.
- Have a good library at home.
- Words nourish the soul.

- The best money you can spend is investing in yourself.
- Every new discipline affects the others. The smallest action inspires the next one.
- One's goal should be to diminish the "lacks" in one life by staring new disciplines.
- A lack of discipline affects one's self-worth, consciousness, and philosophy.
- When neglect starts in one's life (in any area), it diminishes self-worth.
- Have the attitude of: I should, I could, I will.
- Transform your life by reading. Only 3% of people have a library card.
- Affirmation without discipline equals delusion.
- Do what you can; and do the best you can. Remember to rest, but not too long. Make rest a necessity, but not an objective.
- Develop the ability to share. Everybody wins when someone shares.
- When you share what you have, your capacity grows.

The last part of the CD/book focused on the Four Major Lessons in Life. Jim Rohn compared these four lessons in life to seasons. Below is the transcript of what he said:

The Four Major Lessons In Life - Winter

"The four major lessons. It is so important to study the majors. Have you ever notice that some people don't do well, because they major in minor things. Whatever you do, check at the end of the week, the end of the year, and make sure you're not spending major time on minor things. Otherwise, you'll wind up with a below average life.

Now, before I get into the four major lessons, here are two phrases to consider. First, life and business are like the changing seasons. That's one of the best ways to illustrate life. It's like the seasons, the change. Frank Sinatra sang "life is like the seasons". Here is the second phrase: you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself.

Now, with those two key phrases in mind, here are the four major lessons in life to learn.

The first is, learn how to handle the winters. They come right after fall with regularity. Some are long, some are short. Some are difficult, some are easy. But they always come right after fall. Remember, it isn't going to change. Now, there are all kinds of winters, right? The winter when you can't figure it out. The winter when it all go smashed. We call it 'the winters of your life'.

One writer call it 'the winter of discontent'. The winter when it turns upside down, when it all goes wrong. There are economic winters, social winters, personal winters. When your heart is smashed into a thousand pieces. Winter time, disappointments. Disappointment is common to us all.

So learn how to handle the winters. You must learn how to handle the nights, they come right after days. You must learn how to handle difficulties, they always come right after opportunities. You must handle recessions, they come right after expansions. It isn't going to change.

So the big question is: what do you do about the winters? Well, you can't get rid of January simply by tearing it off the calendar. But here is what you can do: you can get stronger, wiser and better. Make note of the trio of words: stronger, wiser, better. See, the winter won't change, but you can.

Before I understood this, when it was winter, I used to wish it was summer. I didn't understand. When it was difficult, I used to wish it was easy. I didn't know. Then Mr. Shoaff (my mentor) gave me the answer from a part of his very unique philosophy, when he said, "Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom."

The Four Major Lessons In Life - Spring

"Here is the second major lesson in life to learn: learn how to take advantage of the spring. Spring is called opportunity. And uniquely enough, spring follows winter. And pray tell how often? Is it reliable? Can you count on it? Well six thousand years that we know of, that's pretty reliable. And what a great place for spring, right after winter. If you were going to put it somewhere, that's the place to put it. God is a genius. Hey, day follows night. Isn't that terrific? Opportunity follows difficulty, expansion follows recession, and all with regularity. You can count on it.

However, make a special note of the two words: take advantage. That, is what we must learn to do: take advantage. Just because spring comes, is no sign you're gonna look good during the fall, you must do something with it. In fact, everyone must get good in one of two things: planting in the spring, or begging in the fall. So take advantage of the day, take advantage of the opportunity. And read every book you can get your hands on, to learn how to take advantage of the spring.

And one more thought: get busy quickly on your spring, your opportunity. There are just a handful of springs that have been handed to each of us. Life is brief even at the longest. The Beatles wrote 'Life is so short....', and for John Lennon on the street of New York, it was extra short. But it is short. Elton John sings, 'She lived her life like a candle in the wind...'. Life is fragile, life is brief. Whatever you're going to do with your life, get at it. Don't just let the seasons pass, pass, pass."

The Four Major Lessons In Life - Summer

"The third major lesson in life is: learn how to nourish and protect your crops all summer. Sure enough, as soon as you've planted, the busy bugs and the noxious weeds are out to take it. And here is the next bit of truth: they will take it, unless you prevent it. And that is the third major lesson to learn. Major skill to develop: preventing the intruder from taking the goods.

Here are two key phrases to consider under the third major lesson. First, all good will be attacked. On this planet, all good will be attacked, and don't press me for a why. I was not in on some of the early decisions. So I don't know why. All I know is it's true. Let reality be your best beginning. Every garden will be invaded, not to think so is naïve.

Here's the second phrase: all values must be defended. Social values, political values, friendship values, marriage values, family values, business values. Every garden must be tended all summer. If you don't develop this skill, you'll never wind up with anything of value."

The Four Major Lessons In Life - Fall

"Last, is the fourth major lesson in life to learn: learn how to reap in the fall, without complain. Take full responsibility for what happens to you. It is one of the highest forms of human maturity: Accepting full responsibility. It's the day you know you've passed from childhood to adulthood. And learn how to reap in the fall without apology. Without apology if you have done well, and without complain if you have not. That's the best of human maturity. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm saying it's the best.

There's a hymn that says 'It's not my mother nor my father, not my brother nor my sister, but it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer'. See, I used to blame everything outside for my lack of progress, until I found the problem was inside. For a big share of my life, I kept looking for the answer to do well outside, and I found out the answers were inside. Success is not something you pursue, success is something you become.

You see, it's not what happens that determine the quality or the quantity of your life. It's not what happens. And the reason is because: what happens, happens to about everybody. The sun went down on all of us last night, a common event. And I found out the same things can happen to two different people, but one gets rich and the other stays poor. Why is that? It's because it's not what happens but rather what you do about it. There is an important phrase for your written and mental note: It's not what happens, it's what you do that makes the difference in how your life works out.

Anything can happen, right? I've heard all of the stories. Hey, I've been one of the stories. We could all tell stories for days on end. Anything can happen. Have you heard of Murphy's laws? Surely you have. One of the laws was, if anything can go wrong it will. That's one of the laws, anything can happen. I've fallen out of the skies so many times.

Everyone's got the same happenings. Someone says 'but you don't understand the disappointments I've had'. Come on, everyone has disappointments. Disappointments are not special gifts reserved for the poor, everybody has them. The question is: what are you going to do about it?"

1 comment:

Smily said...

Very interesting, thank you! Much to think about and over.
Totally agree about printed books, they seem to have a special magic.