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A Lesson From America’s Greatest Business Philosopher

Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn

About 10 years ago I purchased a tape set called The Weekend Seminar.  It was comprised of several tapes that were recorded at a seminar that had been put on by Jim Rohn.  At that time, Jim Rohn was well known among professional speakers.  He was a member of the National Speakers Association and had won its top award for outstanding performance and professionalism in speaking.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve spent a lot of money on audio programs – first by purchasing cassette tapes, then CD’s, and now mp3’s that can be downloaded to my iPod.  (As a side note, I bought my iPod about 3 years ago and I’m still amazed by the fact that I can transfer audio recordings from thousands of tapes and CD’s onto one little device that is smaller than a pack of cigarettes.)

Over the years, there have only been a handful of speakers that I have repeatedly given money to by purchasing their newly released audio (and video) recordings.  Jim Rohn was one of those speakers.  Some of the other tape and CD sets I purchased from his company included: The Challenge To Succeed, Take Charge of Your Life, and Cultivating An Unshakable Character.

For over 45 years, Jim shared his experience and wisdom with audiences all over the world.  In the self-improvement arena, he was known as “America’s Greatest Business Philosopher.”  He taught about the fundamentals of human behavior and how those fundamentals could be used to improve a person’s personal and business performance.  He had a unique ability to teach and inspire others.  To this day, every time I re-listen to one of his tapes or CD’s, I gain several new insights, even though I may have listened to the same recording on several previous occasions.

I have a book at home by Jim titled, The Treasury of Quotes.  Included in the book are 365 quotes on 60 different topics that were gathered from his personal journals, seminars, and books.  Jim was a master at taking a profound concept or insight and reducing it to a simple quote.  Here are some of my favorite Jim Rohn quotes:

• Unless you change how you are, you’ll always have what you’ve got.

• You must get good at one of two things; planting in the spring or begging in the fall.

• Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.

• Success is not so much what we have as it is what we are.

• Happiness is not an accident.  Nor is it something you wish for.  Happiness is something you design.

Last week Jim Rohn died after an 18 month battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis.  When I read about his death, I immediately started thinking about all of the lessons I learned from him over the years that had an impact on my personal and business life.

One thing Rohn repeatedly said in his talks and seminars was:

“A life worth living is a life worth recording.” 

He taught that because every person is unique, he or she has certain life experiences and wisdom that no one else has; therefore, that person has an obligation to share those experiences and wisdom with others by recording them on tape, in a personal journal, or in a book.

Even though I’ve always known I should be following Rohn’s advice, I never seriously worked on developing the habit of recording my life experiences. 

I originally began writing this weekly Adoration Letter for the primary purpose of challenging others to: (1) think about their faith and personal spiritual growth in a different way by taking into consideration current events and other matters that I believe are related to our Catholic faith, and (2) develop a deeper prayer life (which would hopefully result in them agreeing to commit to a weekly holy hour in the Adoration Chapel).

It didn’t take me long to realize that I could follow Jim Rohn’s advice by including my own personal life experiences within some of my articles.  By doing this, I could use my own stories to teach about the Catholic faith while, at the same time, “record” significant events from my life to pass on to others (including my children and grandchildren). 

So was Jim Rohn right?  If a life is worth living, is it worth recording?

In order to answer those two questions, we don’t have to look any further than what took place after our Lord died and ascended into Heaven.  In the early days of the Church, the apostles were inspired to record the important details of the life of Jesus Christ.  If our Lord’s life had not been recorded, we would not have the New Testament of the Bible to turn to for guidance, inspiration, and support.

The Catholic Church teaches that the lives of all human beings are worth living (and preserving).  We are taught that we have a moral obligation to value every human life, regardless of the “quality” of that life.  Consequently, since every life is worth living, every life is worth recording.

When was the last time you made an effort to record your own life experiences (or the life experiences of a loved one)?

I have a CD that my dad gave me that has a couple of audio recordings of my grandmother, Effie Williams, where she talked about some of her own life experiences.  Even though the technology was available, there was no such recording ever made of my grandfather, Tom Williams.

Prior to my grandmother Cecilia LaHood’s death, my mom’s younger sister, Mary Ann Penn, recorded a video of Grandma Ceil where she talked about some of her own life experiences.  Unfortunately, there is no audio or video recording of my grandfather, Harry LaHood, who I never got to know because he died before I was born.

I would pay a large sum of money if I could obtain recordings of my grandfathers talking about what they enjoyed doing while they were young boys, how they met their wives, the jobs (and businesses) they were involved in, the struggles they endured, and their own personal failings and triumphs.  I would love to hear what words of wisdom they would have had for me and my children.  Unfortunately, their earthly voices were forever silenced when they died (just as all of our voices will someday be silenced).

Don’t be lazy about this.  Schedule a time to meet with your loved ones to start recording their life experiences.  Then commit to an hour each week in the Adoration Chapel to start recording your own (ongoing) life story.

Is your life worth living?  If it is, you have an obligation to leave a record of it for your family, friends, and fellow Catholics.

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