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Jim Rohn is happy and healthy! The Road to Wisdom


Chapter 5. The Road to Wisdom

Goals are like magnets.

They’ll attract the things that make them come true. ― Tony Robbins

One of the fundamental strategies

for living the good life is knowing

what information you need

to achieve your goals and how to get it.

One of the best things Mr. Shoaff did

for me in the early days was

to instill in me a sense of the value of learning.

He said, “If you want to be successful,

learn to be successful.

If you want to be happy,

learn to be happy.

If you want to make money,

learn how to get rich.

“Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons

why more people don’t create it for themselves,

and why most people don’t even get close

to living up to their full potential.” ― Grant Cardone

People achieve these things not by accident.

It is the result of learning first and practice second.”

Do you want to guess how many people consider wealth a subject?

Yes, very little.

Consider many men and women

who want to find wealth and happiness,

do you think they study those things carefully,

don’t you believe?

Why don’t they study carefully?

That is yet another point in the special classification

that I call “the mysteries of life”.

There is a verse in the Bible that says,

Seek and you will find”.

So it’s a way to discover new knowledge to generate new ideas.


To be able to see something,

you must first search.

Need a big idea to change your life?

Rarely does that idea come out of nowhere.

But if you’re persistent in your search

for the knowledge you need,

the right ideas will come your way,

often when you least expect it.

Do what you have to do

until you can do what you want to do. ― Oprah Winfrey


Capture the treasure of knowledge

Here’s another background word you need to take care of:


Great ideas are fleeting and easy to forget,

but they can also make your life so worth living.

That’s why it’s really important

to learn to grasp these things.

First, learn to capture special moments.

Use the camera.

Take lots of photos.

Being able to capture events in less

than a second is a 20th century phenomenon.

And it’s also easy to take advantage of this phenomenon.

I will tell you a recent experience.

Every year for the past three years

I have been invited to give lectures in Taiwan.

At one of my most recent weekend seminars,

about a thousand people attended.

Now, if there are a thousand people in attendance,

how many cameras do you think

there will be in the conference room?

Yes – a thousand!

People bring cameras to capture moments,

new friends,

new experiences.

I spent a large part of my time

there taking pictures with the attendees.

Have you ever seen pictures

from a few generations ago?


very few such photographs are still circulating.

Wouldn’t it be great

if we had enough photos to tell the

whole story of what was real life a hundred years ago?

So don’t be impatient.

Make sure you’ve got your whole story covered

with a treasure trove of photos and videos.

There is another way to capture knowledge into your personal library.

I’m not talking about the books your interior designers bought.

I mean books that are worn and heavily marked

– the ones you choose to study and focus on;

books for which you have notes in the margins;

books that help shape your philosophy about the values of life.

It is truly a treasure worth holding on to!

Today, with the concept of communication expanded,

I also include in this treasure all the modern media that are shaping

and making our lives better.

It is also a special legacy for our children and grandchildren.

In the end, you will need to grasp all the knowledge

that you gain as you live your life.

That’s why I encourage you,

a serious practitioner of prosperity and happiness,

to use a workbook

or diary as a place to collect all the ideas that come to you.

What will gradually emerge is an incredibly valuable treasure

– business ideas,

social ideas,

cultural ideas,

investment ideas,

lifestyle ideas.

Can you imagine the value in those?

Surely this kind of treasure is a much more valuable heirloom

than your antique watch!


How to become wise

There are two ways to gather wisdom.

One way is to learn from your own life.

The second way is to learn from the lives of others.

The distance between your dreams and reality is call action. ― Ben Francia


Personal reflection

Consider your life experiences carefully.

Learn the skill of reflection,

which is to reflect on life events

with the intention of learning from them.

I call this process “rewinding the tape”.

Events in your life are some of the best resources for information.

So don’t just pass by your days

– gain from them.

Be aware of what’s going on around you

so you can create memory lanes

of it deep in your consciousness.

Make time and place for everything.

There is a time for action

and a time for reflection

but most of us don’t make time

for a single reflection serious yoke.

With busy schedules,

we often overlook this important part of the recipe for success.

At the end of each day,

take a few minutes to review

what happened during the day

– where you went,

what you did, the things you said.

Reflect on what did and didn’t work,

what you want to repeat,

and what you want to give up.

Try to remember events as vividly as possible.

Remember colors,



dialogues, feel.

You see, experience can become a commodity

or even a currency.

But it can only become

so if you take the time to document this experience,

reflect on it,

and translate it into something of value.

In the end,

it’s one’s actions in the face of what happens

—not the events themselves

—that determines what one’s life shows.

And to do positive things in our lives,

we must extract valuable information from it.

Another good time to reflect is at the end

of key periods like every week,


or year.

At the end of each week,

set aside a few hours.

At the end of each month, take a day.

And at the end of each year take a week…

to reflect,


and reflect on each

and every thing that has happened in your life.

Sophisticated people have learned how to accumulate the past

and invest in the future.

When my father turned seventy-six I said to him,

“Father, can you imagine

what would happen if you gathered the last seventy-five years

and invested in your seventy-sixth year?”

Have you ever thought about life this way?

That’s how life becomes ever more productive and exciting.

Don’t just live another year.

Instead, gather the years you’ve spent

and invest them in the next year.

Don’t just make another conversation.

Instead, gather all your past conversations

and invest them in the next one.

So start a new discipline.

Find out, by observing your life,

things and how things work in this world.

Never be told that you have lived a life

without knowing anything about it.

You may not be able to do this with all you find,

but make sure you find all that you can.

In the end, you don’t want to live life only

to find out that you only lived a tenth of it,

that you let the other nine out of ten go to waste.

As you study your life,

make sure you learn both the negatives

as well as the positives,

failures as well as successes.

So-called failures are also very useful

as they teach us valuable lessons.

Often, the lessons from failure are more valuable

than the lessons from success.

One of the ways to do something right is

to learn from the previous mistake.

Learning from mistakes is a valuable course in life.

Now, I would advise you not

to take this course for too long.

If you’ve been doing something the wrong way

for the past ten years,

I don’t recommend going on for another ten years.

But if you can learn quickly,

there’s nothing better,

no more emotionally effective than learning

from personal experiences.

When I met Mr. Shoaff I had been working for six years.

Right after we met,

he asked me,

“Jim, how long have you been working so far?”

I answered him.

“How’s it going?” he added.

“Not quite as well,” I replied,

a little annoyed at having to admit this.

“Then I advise you not to continue doing that,”

he said. “Six years is long enough to run a plan wrong.”

Then he asked,

“How much money have you saved in the last six years?”

“Nothing,” I admitted shyly.

Raising an eyebrow, he said, ”

Who sold you that plan?”

What a wonderful question.

Where did I get this ruinous plan?

Whose plans did you trust?

Now, I must tell you that it can be painful at first

to confront your own past experiences.

This is especially true if you’ve made many of the same mistakes I made.

But think about what you get!

Think about the progress you can make in the face of these mistakes!

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer

to where you want to be tomorrow. ― Paulo Coelho


Learn from others

Another way for you to gain knowledge is to imitate,

through the savings of others.

And you can learn from their successes

as well as their failures.

One of the reasons the Bible is such a good teacher is

that it is a collection of human stories of both failure and success.

A list of stories is called “examples”.

The message is:

Do what these people did.

The other category of stories is called “warnings”.

The message is:

Don’t do what these idiots did.

Where are the people who don’t have goals headed?

Those 97 per cent end up working for the three percent. — Shiv Khera 


What useful information!

But perhaps there is even another message.

If your story was ever included in someone’s book

make sure it’s used as a model and not as a warning…

There are three ways that one person can learn from another:

– Through published works such as books,

cassettes or videotapes.

– Listen to the wise and foolish words of others.

– Observe the winners and losers.

Let’s discuss each of the above points:


Books and tapes

All the successful people

I’ve come in contact with are good readers.

They read, read and read.

It was their curiosity that prompted them to read.

They simply have to be knowledgeable.

They are constantly looking for new ways to be better.

Here’s a good statement you have to remember:

All leaders are readers.

There was a time when publishing was almost understood as

what was printed as a book.

But now we can still learn thanks

to the magic of electronic publishing.

I mean cassettes, videotapes and other modern media.

Many of the busiest people

I know use cassettes

to study while not working.

For example, they often listen

to tapes while driving.

Listening to tapes is an easy way

to gather new ideas and skills.

Did you know there are thousands of books

and tapes on how to become stronger,

more assertive,

better speakers,

more effective leaders,

better love; develop the ability to influence others;

Find partners;

become more refined;

starting a business

– and thousands of other useful topics?

But many people do not use this treasure of knowledge.

Can you explain that?

Did you know that thousands

of successful people have put their inspirational stories to paper?

Yet people don’t want to read them.

Can you explain that?

Our “man” is busy,

I guess.

He said,

“Yes, yes.

But you try to work in my position and see,

by the time you drag home,

it’s already late.

He ate too much,

watched TV for a while to relax and then went to sleep.

You can’t sit there until midnight doing reading,



And here’s the guy

who always doesn’t pay his bills on time.

He is a good worker,

a hard worker,

a true worker.

Hey, you can be sincere

and work hard all your life

and then end up broken,

confused and embarrassed.

You must become better than the good worker.

You must be a good reader.

And if you don’t like reading,

you can at least listen to a good tape on the way home, right?

Now you don’t have to read books

or listen to tapes until midnight

(but if you’re broke, that’s not a bad idea).

All I ask is that you dedicate yourself,

just 30 minutes a day, to studying.

That’s all.

You want to do it well?

Then increase from minutes to an hour.

But it takes at least 30 minutes.

Ah yes, one more thing:

Not to be missed.

Better to skip a meal

but not 30 minutes of your study.

We can all skip a few meals,

but none of us can afford to miss out on ideas,


and inspiration.

The Bible teaches us that man cannot live on bread alone.

The Bible teaches us that after food,

mind and soul, we must be nourished by words.


most people suffer from mental malnutrition.

I recently told my employees,

“Some people read so little that they are mentally stunted.”

Not only do you have to nourish your mind,

but you should also ensure that

you have a very balanced brain nutrition.

Don’t just feed your mind with easy things.

You can’t live on mental candy.

Think of your reading time

as “opening the door to a treasure trove of ideas.”

And if anyone has a good reason

for not opening the door to a treasure trove of ideas

for at least 30 minutes a day

or not investing a little money in the search for knowledge,

I’d love to know why.

Hey, let’s invest the money.

Buy the books and cassettes you need to train yourself.

Don’t be unfair to yourself

when it’s time to invest in your own better future.

Mr. Shoaff asked me to start with books right from the start.

He said: “You have to know how to train yourself.

Ordinary education would bring him ordinary results.

Check out the income figures of people

with a conventional education

and see if that’s what you want.

If not, if you want more than average,

you have to train yourself.”

So I started building a library.

And now I have one of the best libraries.

Mr. Shoaff suggested a few books to get me started.

One of them is a Bible that I also have available.

The Bible consists of 66 books and my parents have read them

so I’m very familiar with them,

so I imagine I’m off to a pretty good start.

But he also insisted that I have Think and Grow Rich

– The 13 Principles of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

If you haven’t read this book,

I suggest you run out and buy one.

I have been

Read this wonderful book dozens of times.

I need to do that.

Shoaff said,

“Repetition is the mother of skill.”

And given my bank account status in the past,

I needed a lot of skills.

When I look back, the information in this book was worth tens

of thousands of dollars to me.

And I bought it for a few cents.

This taught me a powerful lesson:

Sometimes there is a huge difference between price and value.

Before I met Shoaff, I used to ask,

“How much does it cost?”

But he taught me to ask,

“What is it worth?”

When I started basing my life on value instead of price,

things started to happen.

Remember: You are what you read.

One of the first things I do

when I visit someone is look through his or her library.

I find out more by looking through someone’s collection of books

and tapes than through idle conversation.

Choosing books and tapes reveals the person’s key thoughts,


and values.

What does your library say about you?

You see, reading is not a luxury pastime;

It is essential for those who want to grow.

So don’t be like some of my friends

who think graduating from high school

or college has given them a license to never read another book.

Let’s start reading books.

And especially reading books that help you unleash your inner potential.

Are you thinking about all the books you should read right now?

Then there’s some good news:

You don’t have to read all of these books at once.

Try to read two books a week.

And if that’s still too much, pick up two pamphlets to get started.

Do this for ten years and you’ll read over a thousand books!

Do you think that acquiring knowledge

from a thousand books will affect many aspects of your life?

Of course it is.

So that means if you haven’t read two books a week

for the past ten years,

you’re a thousand behind people who do.

Have you begun to understand the unexpected underperformance

you would face in ten years

if you had to enter a market

where you lost two thousand books?

Why, because in some more complex confrontations you will act as cannon fodder.

They will shoot you down.

But that’s still not all.

You will also miss out on some great opportunities due

to lack of knowledge.

And your philosophy is too faint

to protect you against the rigors of life.

Lack of skills, lack of knowledge,

lack of insight,

lack of values,

lack of lifestyle are all consequences of not reading.

Remember, an unread book is a book that can’t help you.

The number of books you can read is never too much,

but it will most likely be too few.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening

when you’d have preferred to talk. ― Doug Larson



Listening is a great way to learn.

Let me offer you a shocking idea:

Pick a really successful person

and invite him or her to dinner.

A poor person

(we are all poor compared to someone,

no matter how well we work)

should invest in eating with a rich person.

Then do what?

That’s right

– listen.

Try it out. Spend 50, 60, 80, even 100 dollars.

Let’s do nine such courses.

Start with appetizers and ask questions.

Eat a salad (usually about 15 minutes)

and keep the conversation going.

It will usually take you 45 minutes

to finish the main course

– always ask questions.

Order dessert.

See how long you can extend the meal.

Aim for at least two hours,

you can learn enough strategies

and attitudes to multiply your income

and change your life.

But of course you’re right.

The poor do not invite the rich to eat out.

That may be the reason they are poor.

Our “man” says,

“If he’s rich, let him buy your damn dinner!

I don’t waste money.

And besides, if you’re in my position,

it’ll be late by the time you get home.

He ate too much,

watched TV for a while to relax

and then went to sleep.

You can’t spend all that time trying

to find a rich person to feed them.”

And this guy is always in debt.

Debt! He is a good worker,

a hard worker,

a true worker.

But you can work hard and honestly all your life

and then end up broken and unhappy.

You must become better than the good worker.

You must be a good listener.

The most important thing in communication

is hearing what isn’t said. ― Peter Drucker



The third way to learn from others is to observe.

Look at what successful people do.

Why? Because success leaves traces.

See how a successful man shakes hands with others.

See how a successful woman asks questions.

These people all have habits for success.

They create patterns of winning behavior just

as laggards create patterns of losing behaviour.

You want to get promoted?

Observe your manager.

Want to make a lot of money?

Observe how he manages his money and his lifestyle.

One of the reasons you should attend seminars of successful people is

because you can observe them.

No book or cassette, no matter how good,

can convey the power of non-verbal communication.

This is why video is such a wonderful tool

for holistic communication.

So be a good observer.

Don’t miss any signs that can help you change

and make your life better.

Don’t complain about someone not treating you right.

If you know you deserve better,

why are you with them? ― Cherry Nguyen


Invest for the future

The search for knowledge is one of the strategies

for prosperity and happiness.

The thought of spending time on a consistent,


and purposeful quest for knowledge

is indeed a powerful thought.

But like anything of value,

it has a price to pay.

And this, unfortunately,

makes some people suddenly give up.

Seek knowledge related to investing.

In fact, three types of investments are required

for you to successfully begin this difficult journey:

First, it requires an investment of money.

It’s money to buy books,


and attend seminars.

That’s why I recommend setting aside your own education fund.

Each month,

set aside some of your income

and invest it in your own knowledge search.

Spend money to nurture the giant sleeping inside of you.

This amount will be very small compared

to what you can get back.

More important than money is the next expense:

Time. Time is the main cost.

I understand that.

Asking someone to spend money is one thing,

but asking him to spend time is quite another.

God, there’s no shortcut.

Until a machine can attach and pour knowledge into your brain,

it takes time – precious time.

Fortunately, life has a unique way of rewarding big investments with big results.

The investment of your time now can be the catalyst

for your future successes.

In the end,

you will have to invest the effort.

Serious learning requires more effort than normal learning.

In everything you do, whether observing yourself,

reading or observing others,

the intensity of your effort will have a profound effect on

the amount of knowledge you gain.

A focused mind is like a mental shot hitting the target of ideas.

And to get that focus you need

to put in a lot more effort to pay attention.

But it is precisely this effort

that opens the floodgates

to where big ideas can work their magic

to bring you closer to prosperity and happiness.

“Approach every situation with a whatever-it-takes-mindset.” – Grant Cardone

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