The 5 Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” ~Jim Rohn
Herein lies the answer to why so many people find success to be so elusive! Most people see success as a great mystery to be solved, and until they find the magic key, the door will not open. Well if that’s been your thinking, the great news is, THERE IS NO MAGIC KEY!
So if you’ve been standing behind the door, waiting for someone to hand you the key, well now is your chance to step in to a new way of living! And if you’re someone who has been trying key after key, struggling to find the right one, the same goes for you. The door is unlocked and the good life is right there on the other side for your taking! Yes, right now!
The only “key” you need to improve your circumstances in life is to master the time-tested principles that have been passed down from generation to generation demonstrating a long line of human achievement. While furthering your education is definitely one of the basics, I see so many people trying to master more and more while focusing less and less.
I see two huge problems with this type of activity. First, I see so many people taking course after course but NOT IMPLEMENTING what they learn! And then they wonder why success is evading them! Hmmm….
Second, I see many well-intentioned people plugging away at all the right steps, but completely missing the mark because they are missing some of these basic fundamentals I’m talking about. After all, you can’t build a skyscraper without an incredibly strong foundation, right?!
So what are these foundational elements that when mastered, will have the greatest impact on your quality of your life?
To answer this, I’m going to dive in to a must-read book by Jim Rohn, The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. I absolutely love this book! It is one of those books where you just can’t stop underlining because everything is so powerful! I love the way Jim talks about these 5 fundamentals each being a piece to a puzzle, and if any one piece either doesn’t fit or is missing, the complete picture never reveals itself.
In today’s post, I will focus on the first fundamental, which serves as the main anchor which will hold everything in place. This is your Personal Philosophy. Your personal philosophy comes from “what we know and from the process of how we came to know all that we currently know.”
This is where it all begins….and unfortunately for some, where it all ends. Your personal philosophy is about making choices based on the beliefs and values you have formed over the years, and those beliefs and values in term determine whether you will experience inevitable success or unavoidable failure. So yes, this is HUGE!
Jim likens personal philosophy to the set of a sail. We all know that the winds of circumstance blow each of us along our journey in life. The reason we all end up in different places is because we are all the captains of our own ship, and therefore it is up to us to determine the set of our sail.
“In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives, it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all our efforts, that the wind has changed direction.
When the winds change, we must change. We must struggle to our feet once more and reset the sail in the manner that will steer us toward the destination of our deliberate choosing.”
It has often been said that one of the best ways to learn to do something right is to do something wrong. If in the past, you have blamed others, manipulated the truth or drifted off in ignorance when failure has come knocking on your door, then you also likely have found yourself repeating those errors time and again. The essential thing to do from this point forward is to “make the memories of past events our servants, lest the repetition of those events makes us their slave.” It is only by fully accepting the reality of our failures that the lessons can guide us to higher levels of success and fulfillment.
There are untold opportunities for learning all around us. Here are just a few thoughts and quotes from the book on ways to refine your personal philosophy and journey toward the good life:
1. Learn from other people’s experience with failure. There are 2 very important categories of study here: those examples you want to follow, and those you want to avoid. Similar experiences that produce vastly different results. This learning is gold!
2. Learn from other people’s success. Study the habits, the disciplines, the language and the dress of those who you admire for the success they have achieved. A great source for this is simply reading quotes books.
3. Capitalize on the power of positive influence. “The key is to find unique human beings whose personalities and achievements stimulate, fascinate and inspire us, and then strive to assimilate their best qualities. Great projects are always built from a pattern or blueprint. In this lifetime there is no greater project than the deliberate development of our own lives.”
4. Become a good observer. Be alert. Pay attention to what is going on in your industry, your government, your community, your neighborhood. Keep an eye out for new opportunities, tools and techniques as they emerge. Be awake!
5. Become a good listener. “One of the greatest attributes of leadership is effective communication, and learning what to say comes only when we have learned how to listen. The art of listening is an opportunity to add to our knowledge and to increase our value. The process of speaking, on the other hand, is the act of putting on display all – or the little – that we have learned. We must first master the art of listening before our spoken words will have any great value to others.”
6. Read all the books. “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary…..if we fail to set aside the time, if we fail to pick up the book, if we fail to exercise the discipline, then ignorance will quickly move in to fill the void.” The habit of reading personal growth and success books is what allows us to re-set our sails based on their experience, thus expediting our path to success and happiness.
7. Keep a personal journal. A journal has two remarkable benefits. It allows us to capture a moment for future review, and also, the very act of writing allows us to think more objectively about our actions. Writing slows down the flow of information, allows us to really ponder and analyze the experience, and in turn, we communicate more effectively.
In essence, developing a sound philosophy prepares us for making sound decisions and choices. We now have a solid foundation to support the vision, and are well on our way to living the good life! Success is really much simpler than most think. Just like failure results from small errors in judgment repeated every day, success results from small disciplines practiced every day.
So if success is so easy to achieve, why don’t more of us do it? The answer is simple. Because what is easy to do is also easy not to do! It is always a choice.
“We must each make our own conscious decision to reach out for the good life through the refinement of our thoughts and the careful examination of the potential consequences of our accumulated errors. We must not allow ourselves to think that the errors don’t matter. They do. We must not allow ourselves to assume that a lack of discipline in one small area of our lives will not make a difference. They will. And we must not allow ourselves to believe that we can have all that we want to have and become all that we wish to be without making any changes in the way we think about life. We must.”
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I’ll move on to a discussion on Attitude. But in the meantime, pay close attention to what I have shared here. The remaining pieces of the puzzle of life will be of little value if we have not resolved to develop a sound personal philosophy and become the master of our own ship!
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