In the first chapter of Jim Rohn’s “How to Have Your Best Year Ever!” seminar he discusses the 5 major pieces of the life puzzle. The fundamentals which every human needs to keep in mind in order to achieve success in their life.

The first piece to this puzzle, according to Jim, is philosophy, which is the outlook that one has on life. Jim makes a poignant point that we can not blame the things around us which we have no control over, we must accept them and rise above them.

5 Major Pieces of the Life Puzzle – #1: Philosophy

00:26:37: Because I’m going to deal mostly in concepts, I expect you to, you know, fill in a lot of the details. Because
I’ve got a lot to share. I want to get through it all.

But let’s lay this foundation again of the five major pieces. Happens to be the title of my latest book.

But I think it is so valuable in laying a foundation. It’s some of the things I learned between ages 25 and 30.

The teacher who taught me, taught me so well. He dealt in these fundamentals, we call these

We call these basics. Basics for sports, fundamentals for sports, fundamentals for your
business, fundamentals for the way you deal with your family, a few simple things.

A few basic things that if you practice everyday can make all the difference in the world, how it works out, I
boiled it down to five major pieces to the life puzzle.

Let’s just review them.

Number one is philosophy.

Philosophy. Philosophy, as I taught the last time I was here, philosophy, in my personal
opinion, is the major determining factor in how your life works out.

Philosophy, the major determining factor in how your life works.

Philosophy, to form our philosophy, you got to think, got to use your mind, got to process

And this whole process over a lifetime, starting way back here when we were children, schools that we’ve
attended, our parents, our experiences, all this stuff that we’ve processed by the thinking process helps to
develop our philosophy.

And in my opinion, each person’s personal philosophy is the major factor in how your life works out.

Here’s what I called it in that last presentation when I was here, it’s called, “the set of the sail.” Each
person’s personal philosophy is like the set of the sail.

Now I used to think of the circumstances that ordered my life.

If someone would have asked me at age 25, “Mr. Rohn, how come you’re not doing well? Pennies in your pocket,
creditors calling, nothing in the bank, behind on your promises to your family, you live in America. Twenty-five
years old, got a beautiful family, every reason to do well, and things are not going that well for you. What is
wrong here?”

It would not have occurred to me to blame my philosophy.

I mean, it would not have occurred to me.

“Well, I got this lousy philosophy and that’s how come I got pennies in my pocket and nothing in the bank.
Things aren’t working well.”

That would not have occurred to me.

I found it much easier to blame the government, much easier to blame the tax problem.

I used to say taxes are too high, top tax rate when I first started paying taxes: 91%.

Back then when your income reached a certain level all your income over that 91%.

So I used to say, “That’s too high!”

Now the tax top tax rates about 33%. But people are still saying what taxes are too high!

See that, you can’t use that anymore. If it’s gone from 91% to 33%. How could it be too high?

Come on.

I threw all that old excuse stuff away.

Some people found it though, and they’re using it these days.

My old list. I used to blame the traffic, the weather, I used to blame circumstances, right?

People say, “I’m too tall. I’m too short. I’m too old. I was raised in obscurity raised on a farm, parents of
modest means,” all that stuff.

If you would ask me, how can you find yourself here with grown age 25, living in America, land of abundance and
opportunity, pennies, zero in the bank, not doing well, creditors calling, it would not have occurred to me to
blame my philosophy.

I found it easier to blame the company—company policy. I used to say, “If this is all they pay, how do they
expect you to do well?”

So, I figured that, you know, my future was going to be tied to what everybody else was arranging, the economy,
and right, interest rates. I used to say, “Things cost too much!”

That was my whole explanation, not my philosophy.

Until my teacher taught me better, that this is where the problem was, my own personal philosophy.

Here’s what’s exciting about each person’s personal philosophy.

That’s what makes us different than dogs and animals, birds and cats, and spiders and alligators.

That’s what makes us different than all other life forms. The ability to think, the ability to use your mind,
the ability to process ideas, and not just operate by instinct.

In the winter, I’m telling you, the goose can only fly south.

What if south doesn’t look too good?

Tough luck.

It can only fly south.

But see, human beings are not like a goose who can only fly south.

I mean, you could turn around, go north, you can go east, you can go west, you can order the entire process of
your own life.

And we do that, by the way we think. We do that by exercising our mind. We do that by processing ideas, and
come up with a better philosophy, a better strategy for our life, goals for the future.

Okay, plans to achieve those goals.

All of this comes from developing our philosophy.

Philosophy helps us to process what’s available.

Well, when we get here, we got seed, and we got soil, and we got some rain. And we’ve got some what? Sunshine
and we’ve got some seasons, and what? The miracle of life. Now the key is, what do you do with all this stuff?

How do you turn all this stuff that’s available here into equity, and promise, and lifestyle? And dreams? And


All of this that’s possible now with human beings? How do you take all this stuff and turn it into this?
Equities and values?

Well, it starts with philosophy.

What is the seed? What is the soil? What is the sunshine? What is the rain? Is it possible to take some of each
of all the stuff that’s available and turn it into food, and turn it into value and turn it into nourishment?

Turn it into something spectacular and unique that no other life form can do? And the answer is, yes.

But you cannot deal with all this stuff. And what to do with it, unless you start refining your philosophy.

Think! Use your mind, come up with ideas, and strengthen your philosophy.

So the seed in the soil, and the rain and the sunshine. This is called, you know, the economy, and the banks,
and the money, and the schools, and everything that’s available out there, processing information, what to do
with all that and turn it into equity and value.

That is the major challenge of life, in my personal opinion.

So each person’s personal philosophy now is going to determine what you’re going to do with seed, and soil, and
sunshine, and rain, and the miracle.

The change of seasons. That’s it. My personal opinion.

Each person’s personal philosophy is like the set of the sail.

That’s what this seminar is for today—help you to trim a better sail.

You don’t need a better economy. You don’t need better seed and soil.

In fact, when it comes to seed, and soil, and rain, and sunshine, and seasons, and the miracle of life, that’s
all you got.

Now what if you blame this stuff? Then you’re blaming all you got!

If you blame the economy, and you blame the schools, and you blame the teachers, and you blame the sermons, and
the preachers, and you blame, you know the marketplace, you blame the company, and company policy.

What else is there?

When some people get through their blame list, there is nothing else. That’s all there is.

And if you blame the only thing you got to work with, I’m telling you it’s called “mistake colossal”—in not
understanding that, that’s all you’ve got to work with.

And if this is all you’ve got to work with, then you don’t change the seed, and you don’t change the soil, and
you don’t change the rain, and you don’t change the sunshine. You don’t change the seasons.

Right? Guy says, “I’ll take three springs, four summers, nine falls, no winters,” and no, you can’t fool with
this stuff, you got to take it like it comes, then what do you change to make your life work well?

Well, you got to start with your philosophy.

Guess what I had to do at age 25 in order to change my own future?

I had to change my mind, I had to change my thinking, I had to change my philosophy. I was messed up on what
was causing my problem.

And once I got that straightened out, that all this stuff I blamed, the government and taxes, the marketplace,
and the economy, and things cost too much, negative relatives, cynical neighbors.

Once I got rid of that, and started going for where the real problem was, which was me, I’m telling you, my
life exploded into change.

My bank account changed immediately, my income changed immediately.

My whole life took on a whole new look and color immediately.

And the early results I got from making these philosophical changes tasted so good, I’ve never stopped the
process from that day until this.

And I’m telling you with a little consideration of the refinement of your sail, by setting a better sail,
refining your philosophy, your whole life can start to change from today on.

You don’t have to wait till tomorrow. You don’t have to wait till next month. You don’t have to wait till
spring, don’t have to wait till ’93. You can start this whole process immediately.

I recommend it.

Now, some people do so little thinking they don’t even have their sail up.

I mean, you can imagine where they’re going to wind up at the end of this week, at the end of this month, at
the end of this year.

Now’s the chance to change!

Process all this information.

So, number one is philosophy.

And we dealt with all that. Where we get ideas, from personal experience, from other people’s experiences.

I don’t want to get into all the details because we’ve covered that the last time I was here.

But philosophy, that’s number one, my personal opinion, each person’s personal

The Definition of Success and Failure Based on Philosophy

00:36:46: Here’s the definition of success and failure.

Just make this note: Here’s failure. A few errors in judgment, repeated every day.

Now you can automatically assume, “Mr. Rohn I say, I can understand that. A few errors in judgment repeated
every day for six years?”

I’m with my father, I think I told the story the last time I was here, my father 88 years old, he’s never been
ill, still hasn’t retired.

Not long ago, midnight, we’re getting ready to go to bed. We’ve drilled a new well, got some water, got some
more acres going, he’s all excited.

At midnight we’re getting ready to go to bed, my father’s eating what he calls his midnight snack. A little
bite to eat before you go to bed, don’t have to go to bed hungry.

And I’m watching him eat this midnight snack. Guess what he had? An apple, a few graham crackers, and a glass
of grapefruit juice.

I said no wonder my father’s so healthy. My mom taught us all those good health practices taught me when I’m
growing up, right, I’m an only child. I’ve never been ill, passed the Big 5-0 some time ago.

My two daughters, 32 and 33, never been ill. My grandkids never been ill. I’m telling you the legacy lingers

As I watched my father have this midnight snack, suddenly it occurred to me.

I know that’s part of it.

An apple, what? A day—that’s gotten to Dallas Fort Worth, right?

An apple? An apple? An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.

Good question for this intelligent audience. What if that’s true?

You say, “Mr. Rohn, if that’s true, that would be easy to do!”

Then what’s the problem? It’s easy not to do. It’s easy not to adopt it as your own personal philosophy.

Or the guy messed up the saying, “A Hershey bar a day…”

Say, “No, no, you’ve been watching too much television.”

It is not Hershey bar, you got to be smarter in philosophy than to fall for the Hershey bar a day, when it’s an
apple a day.

You’ve got to be smarter than that.

And if you make that kind of an error in judgment, every day for six years, I’m telling you, it’ll accumulate
into disaster.

Sometimes the first year you say, “Well, you know I’m so healthy now what difference is it gonna make?”

You gotta be smarter than that!

Just because disaster doesn’t fall on us at the end of the first day, doesn’t mean disaster isn’t coming.

You’ve got to be so smart that you look down the road and say, “Will the errors in my present judgment of
philosophy, what’s that going to cost me in one year, six years, one month, six months?”

I’m telling you the money costs, and the health costs, and the success cost, is too gigantic. If you look down
the road a little ways and say, “Are there errors in my current judgment? Like an apple versus a Hershey bar? Is
that just a good illustration of some of the rest of my errors in judgment? If it is…”

That’s where I found myself at age 25. I started working when I was 19. I met my teacher who helped turn my
life around when I was 25. That’s six years.

At the end of the first six years of my economic life, I’ve got pennies in my pocket. I’ve got nothing in the
bank. The creditors are calling saying, “Hey, you told us the check was in the mail.”

I’m embarrassed, I’m behind on my promises.

I live in America. I’m a 25 year old, American male. I got a nice family, every reason to do well.

And I messed up.

Now what’s messed up, I used to think it was the community that was messed up, and the country was messed up,
and the government was messed up.

If those Democrats ever get in the White House, that will really mess things up. If the Republicans stay in
power, that’ll really mess things up. The economy was messed up, interest rates are messed up, I thought all his
stuff was messed up, then I found out that’s not what was messed up.

I was criticizing the only thing I had to work with, what was really messed up was my own personal philosophy.

My own errors in judgment, in my own personal philosophy brought me in six years to pennies in my pocket,
nothing in the bank, and trying to explain why I wasn’t doing well living in America as a 25 year old American
male—got a family, every reason to do well.

Now, once I understood this, here’s the formula for failure, errors in judgment, being lax about developing
your own personal philosophy. I’m telling you, it’s called accumulated disaster.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your health or your bank account.

Guy’s got an empty bank account, probably has high cholesterol.

Why? Over the last six years, he never paid attention to either one.

And it doesn’t matter whether it’s $1, whether it’s your money, or whether it’s your cholesterol count, all you
got to do is commit the errors.

And just because disaster doesn’t fall on you at the end of the first day that you don’t eat an apple, you say,
“Well, I didn’t need an apple today. And tonight, I’m not ill.”

Well, you got to be brighter than that. Someday you got to leave first grade.

The reason we make those first grade desks so small, so they won’t fit at age 25.

You don’t belong here anymore. Come on!

Now, let me give you the secret to success. The formula for failure, a few errors in judgment repeated every
day for one month starts the weakness, starts the disaster process.

You can imagine what happens in six years.

Now here’s the formula for success.

A few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

And you’ve started a whole new process called a whole new life.

A few simple disciplines practiced every day.

And if you decide today, to go for the apple, instead of the Hershey bar, I’m telling you, you have begun the
process of turning your life around.

And if you keep up that process, not only with your health habits, but with your money habits and with your
communication habits, with your sales habits and management habits, and every other habit that you got.

If you’ll start that process, eliminate the errors and replace it with disciplines practiced. I’m telling you
to start this process of life change immediately.

After today, you don’t ever have to be the same again.

Only by choice.

You don’t have to walk out of here the same as you walked in today.

Only by choice.

You can start a whole new process. You say, “Well Mr. Rohn, is it that simple?”

Yes. It’s that simple. Where else would you start, but with an apple?

You don’t have to start with something staggering.

What if you should be walking around the block for your good health and you don’t?

What will that do in six years?

I’m telling you, the word is disaster.

You could, and you should, and you don’t, here’s an even stronger word—you won’t.

I mean “don’t” might mean you’re careless. “Won’t” probably means you’re stubborn.

And either one’s called disaster.

Could, should, don’t.

I’m telling you that’s why at the end of five years—six years—I found myself with pennies in my pocket, nothing
in the bank, creditors calling.

“Could, should, won’t. Could, should, don’t,” it’s called disaster.

Now how do you change all that?

The next six years I got rich, the next six years I became a millionaire.

By the time I’m 31. I’m a millionaire.

How about that? You say, “Well Mr. Rohn, what happened?”

Well, strangely enough during that second six years of my economic life, the government was about the same.

I’m telling you, taxes were about the same.

My negative relatives were the same.

I’m telling you the economy was about the same, and prices were about the same.

And everything else was about the same, circumstances were about the same.

Then how come I got rich? How come I totally changed my life?

I was not the same.

Someone says, “Well, what did you go to work on to do all that?”

I started with my philosophy, I started amending my errors, by doing some better thinking, changing my mind,
coming up with ideas that I didn’t have before I met my teacher.

And once that whole process started for me, I’m telling you, I changed my whole life. Within a six year period,
I was never the same. And I kept up that process all these years.

One of the reasons why I’m here is to continue my craft.

I don’t want the day to come, someday, somebody says, “You should have heard Jim Rohn, 10 years ago, when he
was really terrific.”

Guess what I want people to say, “I heard him 10 years ago, but you should hear him now. I’m telling you, the
man works on his craft, I’m telling you, the man’s done some extra reading, I’m telling you, the man doesn’t
miss a trick. I’m telling you, he’s worked hard on himself. That’s why he’s able to deliver like he does.”

The same thing can happen for you as a teenager, it can happen to you, as a mother, as a father, as a business
person, as a salesperson. Running a business, doesn’t matter. Management, wherever you find yourself.

This is the process called personal change.

And what I say to start with is, start with your own philosophy.

Your philosophy is going to determine whether or not you go for the disciplines, or continue
the errors that are called “potential disaster.”

And everybody has it within their power.

What was so happy for me to find out at age 25, Mr. Shoaff, said “Mr. Rohn, you don’t have to change countries.
But you do have to change philosophy.”

And if you’ll change philosophy, not country, you can turn around your income, you can turn around your bank
account, you can turn around your skills, you can become capable, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential,
all the other equities that you could possibly want out of your life, using the only stuff there is and not
trying to change any of this stuff.

Appreciate all of this stuff with all of its ups and downs, with all of its mystery of why it works—and
sometimes it doesn’t work.

Don’t challenge this.

You don’t have to ask for another planet. You don’t have to ask for another country.

Just ask for another book, ask for another seminar. Ask for another idea.

And you can start this whole process of personal life change.

Now I could spend the whole day on philosophy, because that’s where it is, if I can get you intrigued with that
enough to study it, enough to ponder it to where you pick up the commitment like I did, and say, “Hey, as simple
as an apple a day, as simple as a walk around the block.”

Why not start right there. If you don’t start there, where else you can start?

Might as well start where it’s easy, and then go to the more complicated disciplines.

Because if you can’t handle the simple disciplines, how can you handle a complicated ones?

Key: Philosophy.

Here’s number two.

I’ve got to give these now very quickly because I got too much to cover here, to linger too long.

Number one, we’re affected by philosophy, first major, of the five major pieces.

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