Classic Challenges to Succeed by Jim Rohn (LECTURE NOTES)


  • Unless you change who you are, you’ll always have what you’ve got
  • If you took all the money in the world and divided it among people, equally, it would soon be back in the same pockets
  • The question to ask on the job: not “what are you getting?” but “what are you becoming.”

Happiness is not in what you GET, but what you BECOME

Theme of this seminar:

The MAJOR key to your better future is YOU.

  • What makes a person do well? It’s not time — everyone has the same amount.
  • If you can’t get more time, what can you get to get better results? Value.
  • In economics: You can’t create more time, but you can create more value. We get paid for value, not time.
  • How? By working primarily on yourself.
  • Develop an above-average…smile, interest in others, desire to win…
  • Learn to work harder on yourself than on your job.
  • Situations don’t change til you do
  • Some people don’t do well because they major in minor things

Life, and business, is like the changing seasons

  • You can’t change the seasons but you can change yourself

4 Seasons Lessons

  • Learn to handle winters, they always come. (Failures, troubles, personal, economic, etc) Get stronger, wiser, better. The winters won’t change, but you can. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.
  • Takeadvantage of the springs, quickly (opportunity). Spring follows Winter. You only get a few springs in life.
  • Learn to protect your crops all summer. Prevent intruders from taking the good you started. All good is attacked. All values much be protected. All gardens much be tended all summer.
  • Learn to reap in fall without complaint (if you don’t do well) or apology (if you do). Take full responsibility for what happens to you. It’s not the government’s fault or the weather, traffic, company, policies, relatives, etc.

It’s not what happens that determines the quality of your life, but it’s what you do that changes everything.

  • Anything happens to everyone.
  • If you don’t do something to change tomorrow, tomorrow’s gonna be the same. If you don’t like it, change it. You can change. You don’t have to be the same again.
  • If you don’t like your address, change it — you’re not a tree.

What does it take to make a change tomorrow?

  • Discipline: Get excited over your ability to make yourself to necessary things.
  • On any day, you can massively change your life. (Murder is a negative example. But positive examples occur too) Who can do it? Anybody. When can they do it? Whenever you pick.
  • Start with the little disciplines. You can’t do the big ones until you do the small ones.
  • You can’t change people — they change themselves.
  • It takes self-motivation to alter your life. Don’t give your self-motivation to someone else. What if they don’t show up?

How to start changing your life

  • Find out how things work: to change your life, you need ideas.
  • Put the ideas/info in your journal so that you can go over it. So you can repeat and study. Whatever you want, study it. (Happiness, success, wealth, economics, social, spiritual, etc)
  • You may not be able to do all you find out, but find out all you can do.
  • Jesus said, be like a child. In four ways: Be curious, be excited, have faith, have trust
  • Become a good reader. You can learn from others’ experiences. A good book can save you five years. Read, and make your own decisions.

Learn the setup

  • The world is run on laws. You need to know them. Why? To avoid getting hurt.

You don’t have to like the setup, but you have to learn it.

  • The plus of life: life can be good too. Learn to get on the good side of the way things work.

Basic laws (that come from the Bible)

  • The Bible is as practical as it is spiritual.
  • The Law of Use:Don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
    (whether it is your arm, your brain, strong feelings, ambition, faith, energy, etc)
    Take an inventory of yourself and make sure you are using all your abilities. (See Bible’s Parable of the Talents)
  • The Law of Sowing and Reaping: Whatever you sow, you shall reap.
    Don’t try to beat this law. There’s another way to quote this law: “Whatever you reap is what you’ve sown.” If you don’t like the crop you get, ask yourself, who planted it?
    If you sow bad, you reap bad. If you sow good, you reap good.
    You don’t just reap what you sow, you reap MORE than what you sow. (Both positive and negative) “If you sow to the wind, you reap the whirlwind”
    Still, you could lose everything. Farmers sometimes lose crops to weather no matter what they do. It’s just that kind of planet. Be ready.
    If you don’t sow, you don’t reap.

Other notes

  • One day, you will arrive. The question is…arrive where?
  • There’s one thing better than the truth, and that is the WHOLE truth.
  • How much does your TV cost? Not just the cost of your TV the machine itself, but thousands of dollars a year to watch it. (You could be using that time to do other stuff)

Setting Goals

  • You need a list of goals.
  • If you don’t set goals, you will let life deteriorate into making a living over making a life. Subsistence instead of substance.

If you have enough reasons, you can do the incredible.

Reasons can change your life.

  • Reasons come first, answers come second. Life hangs on to answers and gives them up to people inspired by reasons.
  • Reasons for doing well:
    Personal reasons(respect, love the feeling, joy, satisfaction, etc).
    Family reasons (this is powerful. People can greatly affect others. Sometimes people will do things for others they won’t do for themselves)

Random person: “If I had a million dollars, I’d never work a day in my life”

Jim: “That’s probably why the Good Lord saw fit not to give you that million.”

  • Andrew Carnegie’s goal: “I want to spend the first half of my life accumulating money. I want to spend the last half giving it away.” He did exactly that.
  • What’s your goal? What’s got you fired up? What’s got you turned off?
  • Nitty gritty reasons: sometimes little reasons are biggest ways to change your life. (Jim’s example: felt ashamed that he lied to a girl scout because he didn’t have money to buy cookies. So from then on he worked hard to earn money so it wouldn’t happen again)
    Other examples: to prove the scoffers wrong. Frank Sinatra: The best revenge is massive success.
  • Wealth is not a matter of intelligence but inspiration.

Divide goals in two parts:

  1. Long range: dreams for the rest of your life. You gotta keep dreaming — Bible: “Without dreams, people perish”
  2. Short range: tomorrow, this week, month, year.

Divide goals into 3 categories:

  1. Economic: plays a big role in everyone’s life. Plan it meticulously well.
  2. Things: Put everything on the list. It’s fun to check it off. When you check off something major, celebrate!
  3. Personal development: Stronger, more decisive, learn a language, improve your skills in some way.
    For all these goals think: Tomorrow, this week,monoth, long term.
  • Success is doing what the failures won’t do. Like making meticulous financial plans.

We grow from 2 experiences: 1) Pain of losing, 2) joy of winning.

  • We need both. Amplify them. Make losing painful. Celebrate winning.
  • Maturity is self congratulations. Immaturity is seeking congratulations.
  • Mediocre life: at the end of the day, don’t know if you’re winning or losing.
  • Setting goals is WORK. Make plans. Don’t just be a good worker, be a good planner.

Write your goals down

  • In your journal. Because:

One of the major people you want to study is YOURSELF.

  • What goals did you have before? How did that change?
  • The future doesn’t get better by hope, but by plans. Get serious about your goals.

Check the size of your goals — how big they are, what kind they are, how they affect you?

  • Your goals are always affecting you: your personality, dress, style, etc. Lousy goals have bad effects.
  • People who give up on life join the Thank God It’s Friday club.
  • Learn the art of asking. The Bible even says “ask.” Asking is the beginning of receiving.
  • Receiving is like the ocean. You can receive it with a teaspoon or a bucket.
  • 2 ways to ask:
    1) with intelligence: don’t mumble, be clear. Describe what you want
    2) with faith: believe you can get what you want. Like a child. Adults are too skeptical.
  • Remember: you won’t get everything you want. Sometimes it hails on your crops. But you can still get plenty.

Diseases of attitude

  • Attitude diseases are as bad as physical diseases
  • 4 emotions that can change your life:
  1. DISGUST: I have had it. I don’t want to live like this anymore. Commit an act that says, “I’m done!” Ex: shooting a clunker car to say, “I will never drive this scrap metal again, and not just that, no one else will either!”
  2. DECISION:Making decisions can be like an inner Civil War. Just do it. Deciding is the hard part. Continuing is easy.
  3. DESIRE: comes from inside, not outside. Can be triggered by anything. Desire sometimes sleeps until something happens — book, sermon, song, seminar…evenbad experiences can wake you up. So let life touch you.
  4. RESOLVE: Benjamin Disraeli: nothing can stand in the way of human will that will risk its own existence (think extreme mountain climbers). Promise yourself you will never give up. Babies don’t give up trying to walk until they got it.
  • Finally, do something about how you feel. “Don’t just be listeners, be doers of the word” (Jesus)

The day that turns your life around

  • Emotions are powerful for life change. They can build or destroy.
  • Some people are too cautious. “What if this happens?” is the language of the poor. In reality,

It’s all risky.

  • Life is risky. Don’t ask for security, but adventure. It’s not how long you live, it’s HOW you live.
  • Pessimism: looking on the dark side. Trying to figure out all the reasons why something won’t work. Looking for problems, not virtues. Looks out the window and doesn’t see the sunset but the spots on the window.
  • Our lives are affected by the way we THINK things are, not the way they actually are.
  • The mind is like a mental factory. Whatever you spend your time thinking of, is what you’ll become. Bible “As you think, so you are.”
  • What you read pours ingredients into your mental factory and becomes the fabric of your life. Don’t read trash and expect to produce good stuff. You may as well make cake out of cement.
  • How to build a good life: simple, not easy, but simple: Select the write ingredients and keep out the wrong ingredients.

It starts with thought. Everything starts with thought. Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.

  • Life is both sugar and strychnine. Watch your coffee. It doesn’t matter who hands you bad stuff — even if your best friend unknowingly put strychnine in your coffee, you’ll still die.
  • You decide what goes into your mental factory.
  • the last deadly attitude disease: COMPLAINING
  • Remember the story of Israel in the desert: they whined all the way through the desert and never got to the Promised Land. God was like: “I’ve had it, trip is canceled.”
  • Indulge in Complaining long enough and you’ll cancel your own future
  • There’s a war going on, you have to make sure you’re winning it: mentally, personally, socially, economically

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