What good is philosophy in this modern world? Isn’t it just a bunch of old guys sitting around discussing outdated ideas that aren’t relevant? Ideas that don’t matter much in today’s society?
Nothing could be further from the truth! Philosophy has far more meaning, especially since each of us has a personal philosophy, whether we realize it or not.
What is philosophy?
Yes, you, I, and everyone has a philosophy by which they live. The word comes from two Greek words, philos and sophi. Philos translates into English as love (such as in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love). Sophi translates into English as wisdom. Therefore philosophy means the love of wisdom. Who doesn’t love wisdom or at least desire to be wise?
Of all of the definitions of philosophy, two of the best are from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which states:
2. pursuit of wisdom
4. the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
Let’s look at three parts of the philosophy of a well-known man in his own words, representing his beliefs, concepts, and attitudes to see how they can help us with our own. His name is Jim Rohn, and he has been called “America’s Foremost Business Philosopher” for many decades.
Don’t let the term “business philosopher” turn you off. Philosophy, in whatever form, contains timeless truths about life. That is why the words of philosophers from thousands of years ago remain meaningful today. As you would imagine, Rohn’s philosophy runs through many areas and has tremendously impacted thousands of lives, including mine.
About 14 years into my career, I became a sales representative for a large company on the Eastern Seaboard. Around that time, I learned most salespeople had little formal training, and most had never read a book on sales! Sadly this claim continues to be made today.
Entering this new phase in my career, I decided to learn as much about sales as possible. I started by reading books through which I learned about the availability of cassette tapes by many of the same authors.
Covering several states and driving more than 50,000 miles yearly, I spent hours in the car each day. At that time, cassette tapes had become the standard for music and audio, so most cars had a tape player. I quickly discovered I was an aural learner and began purchasing personal development, motivational, sales, and similar audio cassette tapes.
I remember setting a goal to invest up to $70 each month (about $200 today) into building my library of audio tapes, primarily from Nightingale Conant. During this time, I discovered a man known as Jim Rohn.
One of the greats
Jim Rohn impacted millions worldwide and changed my life with his wisdom. To this day, I consider him one of my primary mentors, and I continue to learn from his works.
A little-known fact you may find of interest is Rohn was a teacher and mentor to the well-known Tony Robbins. Robbins was only 17 when they first met, and he went to work for Rohn soon after. Robbins followed Rohn’s philosophy, saying:
“He (Jim Rohn) got me to realize that the secret to life was to work harder on myself than my job or anything else because then I’d have something to give people, and he really shaped me.” Tony Robbins (1960-present)
Sadly Rohn passed away in 2009 at the age of 79.
Let’s look at three areas of Rohn’s philosophy. Each has served me well, become part of who I am, and is now part of my personal philosophy.
General life lessons
Starting with Rohn’s wisdom on life in general, after each quote, I will provide a short takeaway.
“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.” Jim Rohn (1930–2009)
If you wait for everything to be perfect and all the stars to align before you do something, you will never do it. Start where you are with what you have, and do so now, not a second later! If you are serious about getting something done, whatever is missing will come to you. If it does not come, you can always find another way.
“The more you care, the stronger you can be.” Jim Rohn
When you care enough about something, you gain strength. Weakness sets in when you quit caring. Marriage is an example. The more you care about your spouse, the stronger your bond is. The less you care, the weaker your bond becomes.
Another example is your work. The more you care, the greater your performance, strength, resolve, results, and rewards. The less you care about work, the more you lose out.
Of all of Rohn’s quotes, the next two are at the top of my list.
“If you don’t like how things are, change it!You’re not a tree.” Jim Rohn
Circumstances are not binding, and you do not have to accept what you have or where you are. You are capable, free, and full of potential. There is always something you can do.
“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you’ll make a fortune.” Jim Rohn
The thinking behind these words influenced Tony Robbins’ philosophy and life, as they have many others, including my own. There is always more work we can do on ourselves. When we go to work on ourselves, we become more valuable than the majority of our colleagues or competitors. Rohn’s words tell me that we should continually improve our knowledge and hone our skills.
Working on yourself is a lifetime pursuit, not something you do for a time. Although I am retired, I continue working on myself. Who doesn’t want to be the best spouse, brother, father, or friend possible?
You will achieve far more by working harder on yourself than anything else in life. The only thing that can stop you is you!
A life of discipline
The second area Rohn greatly impacted my life was his stance on discipline. To be without discipline is to be undisciplined. What comes to my mind when I hear the word undisciplined is a kid throwing a temper tantrum because of his parents’ lack of discipline.
Without discipline, you are self-absorbed, selfish, and prone to a great deal of failure. Who wants to live like that?
“We must all suffer one of two things:the pain of disciplineor the pain of regret.” Jim Rohn
Living an undisciplined life is a sure path to pain and regret. A disciplined life may create a little pain in the moment yet produce great gains in the future. It’s like a pay me now or pay me a whole lot later plan!
“Discipline has within it the potential for creating future miracles.” Jim Rohn
Anytime you see a virtuoso, whether a musician or in any other area of life, you can bet they have a great deal of discipline. Without it, they could never reach that status.
One of the biggest miracles discipline creates is the miracle of a life of significance instead of irrelevance. Is there any question about which you prefer?
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” and“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”Jim Rohn
What better visualization is there than using discipline to build a bridge between goals and accomplishment? That is sheer genius!
Being disciplined in the simple things in life, such as doing your work, spending your money wisely, eating healthy foods, and working out, will help you achieve your other goals for work and life.
“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.” Jim Rohn
If you apply discipline anywhere, apply it to learning and remaining curious. Become a lifelong learner to live a richer and fuller life. When you think about it, everything you have and everything you are is because of what you have learned! Always learning will keep you growing, regardless of age. You either grow or waste away. It’s your choice.
Take charge of your life
The third area of Rohn’s philosophy I adopted is that it is up to me to take control of and be responsible for my life. How could it be otherwise?
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn
Take charge of and become the leader in your life. The alternative is to become a follower of someone else who may not have the best plans for you.
“Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” Jim Rohn
Time is invaluable and irreplaceable. Spend it as you would anything of great value, with care and wisdom. One of the most important things to spend time on is your closest relationships. Relationships make our lives what they are, so where better to spend time?
“Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” Jim Rohn
You become like the people you surround yourself with, so choose who you associate with wisely. To become the best you can be, have people in your life that hold you to a higher standard.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” Jim Rohn
Become the best leader possible in your life and remember, it’s not just about you. It is about those whose lives you touch and how you treat them. The best leader is selfless and serves others.
Uncovering your personal philosophy
There is much to learn from Rohn’s books, audio recordings, and videos. You will find many YouTube videos that feature him and his work for free.
If you create part of your personal philosophy by following Rohn’s wisdom, you will undoubtedly find much success in life. Remember one last thing he said:
“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.” Jim Rohn
What is your personal philosophy? If you do not know, use this article to begin your discovery by asking yourself the following questions:
- What beliefs, concepts, and attitudes have I adopted?
- Am I pursuing wisdom?
- Whose examples in life am I following?
These three questions will get you started on uncovering your personal philosophy. Why not give them thought, do some journaling, and deeply consider the philosophy driving your life?
With a better understanding of philosophy, what are your thoughts? I would love to read your comments.
Why not spend some time studying philosophy and discovering its timeless truths? If you are not a reader, go to YouTube, and you will find plenty of videos on the great philosophers in history and about philosophy itself.
To make the best use of what you have learned in this article, share it with someone close. Then, discuss what you understand about your own and the other’s personal philosophies. Following through on this will help you and them on your journeys through life!
May you never lose your love of wisdom!