In this transcript of “How to Have Your Best Year Ever!” chapter 2, Jim Rohn discusses the other elements that make up personal development. From your physical appearance to journaling, many things contribute to one’s personal development.

Other Parts of Personal Development

01:56:21: Let’s talk about some more parts of personal development.

Here’s the first one: Physical.

The physical side, you’ve got to take care of yourself.

Do not neglect to take care of yourself.

Good phraseology used in the Bible—in my amateur way—but let me put it to you best I can, here’s what it says, “Treat your body like a temple.”

That’s a good phrase, good suggestion.

A temple, meaning something you take extremely good care of—a temple.

That’s a good phrase, treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed, a temple! A temple! Take good care, it’s the only place you’ve got to live currently.

The temple.

Nutrition. My mother studied nutrition, passed it along to me, passed it along to my father, my children, my grandchildren, what a legacy that was, learning to just take care of yourself.

Key phrase: Some people don’t do well, because they don’t feel well.

They’ve got the gifts, they’ve got the skills, maybe they just haven’t taken care of themselves. They don’t have the vitality.

Key phrase: Vitality is a major part of success.

Vitality. So take care of yourself.

I know a guy that raises racehorses—I’m telling you—the guy feeds these horses better than he feeds himself.

He’s so careful how he feeds his horses. He’s so careful what they eat. He’s so careful that they get everything. And because of that extreme care, I mean, these are magnificent animals, they can run like the wind.

But you ought to see this guy, ten steps up a flight of stairs and I mean, he’s all out of breath.

His horses can run like the wind and he can hardly make it up the steps. The guy takes care of his animals better than he takes care of himself.

Some people feed their dogs better than they feed their kids.

Physically. There’s all kinds of parts to physical.

Appearance, the Importance of Making a Good Impression

01:58:51: Here’s one: Appearance, it’s part of the physical.

You never have a second chance to make a first impression, physical side.

And here’s some of the best advice on appearance I can give you, comes from ancient scripture again, it says, “God looks on the inside, people look on the outside.”

Isn’t that—good information?

Now you say, “Well, people shouldn’t judge you by how you look.”

Well, let me give you a clue. They do. They do.

You can’t deal in these “should’s” and “shouldn’t’s”, you’ll be tipped over the rest of your life.

Now, of course, when people get to know you, they’ll judge you by more than what they see, but at first, they’re gonna take a look.

So, here’s the best advice I can give you: Make sure the outside is a major reflection of what’s going on inside.

The physical side—few minutes a day—stay healthy. A little bit of nourishment, a little bit of study on nutrition, stay healthy. Key.

The Spiritual Part

02:00:08: Now, here’s the next part of personal development: The spiritual part.

Now, I’m an amateur on the spiritual side.

I do happen to believe that human beings are more than just an advanced life form—an advanced species of the animal kingdom—I do believe, humans are a special creation.

That’s just my personal belief, and I don’t ask you to buy it.

But here’s what I do ask you to buy, if you do believe in spirituality in any manner—here’s my best advice—study it and practice it.

Do not neglect your values, do not neglect your virtues.

If you do believe in spirituality, my advice is study it and practice it.

Don’t let it go unstudied. Don’t let it go unnourished. If you do believe, that’s my best advice on the spiritual side.

The Mental Side

02:00:59: Now, here’s the third part: The mental side.

Part of this personal development challenge is to develop mentally, learn, study, grow, change.

It’s what schooling is all about.

And the human development takes time, incredible amounts of time. It’s why we’ve taken the time for this seminar—it just takes time.

Some things you can’t cover in 20 minutes speech. You can’t cover in a little five minute talk—takes time!

For humans, it takes, seems like, more time than any other life form. Human beings.

The little wildebeest in Africa. Guess how much time it’s got as soon as it’s born to be able to run with the pack, so it doesn’t get eaten by the lions, guess how much time it’s got? A few minutes!

Soon as the little wildebeest is born, it tries to stand up, falls down, its mother nudges it, gets it to stand back up, falls back down.

Finally, on little shaky legs it tries to nurse, the mother pushes it away—she moves away, so it can’t nurse. Why? Can’t nurse now, you’ve got to develop some strength now. The Lions, the lions, the lions. Falls down, gets back up. Tries to nurse, mother pushes it away. No. You’ve got to get these legs strong.

“How much time have we got? Not much time.”, mama wildebeest says, “Not much time!”

Not hours, not days…minutes. Wow.

But the human baby—wow—after 16 years, we’re not sure. Unbelievable the amount of time it takes.

So it does take time for personal development, does take time for spiritual development, physical development.

But here’s also what takes time, and that’s your mental development.

Feeding the mind. Nourishing the mind.

Some people read so little they’ve got ricketts of the mind. They couldn’t give you a good strong argument as to their own personal beliefs.

Here’s one of the challenges we’ve got as parents, and that is to get our kids ready to debate the major life issues of the 90s.

They’ve got to get ready to debate.

We’ve spent this last couple of decades debating communism. Communism taught, capital belongs in the hands of the state.

We’ve been teaching: No, capital belongs in the hands of the people.

Communism taught: People are too dumb and stupid to know what to do with capital. You’ve got to take capital away from all the dumb and stupid people and give it to the all-knowing, all-wise state. And let the state run everything, and let the people meekly show up for their work assignments.

“All glory to the state,” communism taught.

Kid says, “Well, is that right?”

No! All glory to the people, let the state be the servant of its people, not the people be the servant of the state.

I’m telling you, you’ve got to be able to pick up those ideologies, you’ve got to be able to pick up the philosophy. And here’s the next part, you’ve got to be able to defend it.

If you can’t defend your virtues, and if you can’t defend your values—I’m telling you, even in the 90s—you’ll fall prey to philosophies that are not in your best interest.

And we’ve got to help our teenagers, we’ve got to help our kids, especially, to be able to debate the major life issues, the political issues, and the social issues, and the religious issues, and the spiritual issues, and the nutritional issues, and the economic issues, and all of the rest of the issues that are valuable for us to build the kind of equities we want.

You’ve got to get yourself ready, and one of the ways you’ve got to get ready, is not just physical and not just spiritual, you’ve got to get ready mentally.

And this is where Shoaff went to work on me—to be ready mentally, to develop the philosophy and also be able to defend your virtues and your values.

Build Your Library

02:05:12: Let’s go through it.

You need a good library, Shoaff got me started on my library.

Here’s one of the books he recommended: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Think and Grow Rich.

Shoaff said to me, “Doesn’t that book title intrigue you? Think and grow rich. Don’t you have to read that book, Think and Grow Rich?”

I said, “Yes, sir.”

By Napoleon Hill.

I went and found that book in a used bookstore, that’s where I had to start, in a used bookstore.

I paid less than 50 cents for it. I’ve still got it. It’s one of the rare hardback covers.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Wow, Shoaff was right. Get a library started, it’ll change your life.

Any home over $200,000 has got a library.

Why do you suppose that is?

Wouldn’t that make you curious?

How come every home over $200,000 has got a library?

Does that tell you something?

Does that educate you at all?

You say, “Well, I can’t afford a $200,000 home.”

It doesn’t matter what size home, take your present apartment, clean out a closet, call it your library and start acting intelligent.

And start this process like I did.

Start developing a library.

Here’s what your library needs to show, that you’re a serious student of health and life, spirituality, culture, uniqueness, sophistication, economics, prosperity, productivity, sales, management, skills values of all kind, let your library show you’re a serious student.

Don’t be casual in learning.

Don’t be lazy in learning.

Information is the key. Okay?

Learning is the beginning of wealth.

Learning is the beginning of health.

Learning is the beginning of prosperity, learning is the beginning of democracy, the beginning of freedom, all values, all virtues start with the learning process.

So, don’t be lazy in learning.

Don’t be lazy in gathering the library that will teach you and instruct you.

And I got that book Think and Grow Rich. Some of the ideas in that book inspired me to no end and helped me change my life.

Now, it’s got some weird stuff in it. You know, it’s got some weird stuff.

Napoleon was weird, so you gotta separate out a little of this weird stuff.

But you can do that. You can separate out the weird stuff, okay? Unless you’re weird, just do the weird stuff.

Anyway, remember, don’t be a follower, be a student.

That’s the key to all books: Don’t be a follower, be a student.

Another book he recommended—helped me become financially independent—we’re going to cover that before we finish this afternoon. The book was entitled The Richest Man in Babylon.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. C-L-A-S-O-N.

This little book, The Richest Man in Babylon, I use it as a textbook teaching teenagers how to be rich by 40 living in America—35 if you’re extra bright, much sooner if you find a unique opportunity.

I got rich by the time I was 31, didn’t wait till 35. If you find unique opportunity, so we’ll get into that after we come back from our next break.

The Richest Man in Babylon. Get your library started.

Here’s some key sections to put in your library, called mental food. In fact, we call it food for thought.

It’s so important to nourish the mind, not just the body, but nourish the mind.

Key phrase: Now it needs to be well balanced. You can’t live on mental candy.

Somebody says, “Well, I just read this positive stuff.”

That’s too second grade. Got to get out of second grade.

You can’t just be inspired, you’ve got to be taught. You can’t just be inspired, you’ve got to be educated. Key.

Here’s a good book, it’s called How to Read a Book. Good title, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler.

In this book, How to Read a Book, Mortimer, you know, is the chief editor of the New Encyclopedia Britannica—a good set of books, right, to have in your library.

Encyclopedia Britannica, chief editor Mortimer Adler, he’s still—he’s in his 80s—he’s still active, still writing books. I’ve got several of his books, the sixth grade ideas, a lot of books, Mortimer Adler, but he wrote this book, How to Read a Book.

Now in this book, How to Read a Book, not only does he give you some good suggestions on how to get the most out of the book, it’s one thing to read, it’s another thing to get the best out of it, he’ll give you some techniques on how to get the best out of the books—very good.

But here’s what’s also in his book, How to Read a Book, a list of what he calls the best writings ever written.

The best writings ever written.

I’ve used it as a centerpiece for my library.

So, I’m just asking you to take a look.

If it suits you, fine, it doesn’t suit you, hey, keep looking until you find something to suit you.

But well balanced.

Let me give you some of that balance.

Number one: History.

We’ve all got to have a sense of history, American history, national history, international history, family history, political history.

We all need a sense of history.

Shortest history lesson, opportunity mixed with difficulty. No matter how far back you go, a thousand years ago, two thousand years ago, three thousand, four thousand years ago, I’m telling you it all reads the same.

Once you understand the thread, that it isn’t going to change, then what’s going to change from my life?

Answer, looks like I’m going to have to change.

History helps us to understand how it is, what there is to work with—seed, soil, sunshine, rain—and what human beings have done with it in the past.

And how many of them, have like I did by age 25, they have messed up.

That’s what history is for, be a good student of history.

Here’s a good book, The Lessons of History, by Durant. The Lessons of History by Durant.

This little book is only 100 pages, but I’m telling you, it’s so well written you’ll be intrigued, as I was.

This little book, The Lessons of History by Durant.

Next is philosophy. Durant also wrote a good book on philosophy, The Story of Philosophy.

It’s got a good rundown of the key philosophers of the last several hundred years, what they taught, and some of the lives they lived.

You might find a little difficult, but hey, you can just read the easy stuff.

Key phrase to add here in parenthesis: Don’t just read the easy stuff.

You won’t grow, you won’t change, you won’t develop. Tackle the more difficult stuff.

Next, novels, novels are good. Sometimes an intriguing story keeps our attention so that the author can weave in the philosophy he or she is trying to get across.

Ayn Rand was probably better at that than anybody else I could possibly think of. Atlas Shrugged, some of those towering novels. The novel kept us intrigue, but guess what she was doing all the time, feeding us her philosophy, feeding us her philosophy.

Now whether you agreed with her philosophy, or not, you had to admit she was really good at getting it out there. Weaving it through the story, in the dialogue, and in the speeches, in the text. Fabulous, novels.

Novels are good.

Now here’s a little personal advice, skip the trash. I mean you know.

Somebody says, “Well, you know you can find something valuable in a trashy novel.”

I wouldn’t go through it, to find it. You can find the crust of bread in a garbage can, but I wouldn’t go through it.

Number one, you don’t need the reputation.

So not enough time to read the brilliant stuff, the good stuff? Skip the trash.

Really, my personal advice on personal development becoming more valuable than you are.

Next is biographies and autobiographies, the story of stories of successful people, unsuccessful people.

There’s some dramatic stuff. Right? Over the last hundred years there has been written biographies and autobiographies. Here’s one of the best: the Bible.

The Bible is a unique book because it’s got a list of human stories on one side of the ledger, another list of human stories and the other side of the ledger. One’s called examples, and the other’s called warnings.

And here’s what we’ve got to have on biographies and autobiographies, both warnings and examples.

In the Bible—the examples. Bible says, “Look at these people’s lives, follow them, follow their philosophy, follow their advice.”

And then we’ve got the warnings. “Don’t do what these people did, they messed up their life and through their life away.”

Vitally important, both sides of the scenario.

Now, if your life story ever gets in one of those books, make sure they use it as an example, not a warning.

Also, we need balance—both sides—balance, good and evil biographies and autobiographies. You need a book on Gandhi, you need a book on Hitler.

One to illustrate how high a human being can go, and the other one to illustrate, what? How low and despicable a human being can become.

We need both sides of the scenario.

Next, accounting.

Got to have a little, at least a primary view of accounting. Kids have got to start learning the difference between a debit and a credit.

Next, is law. We all need—right?—a little bit. You don’t have to be a lawyer, but you’ve got to know contracts, what to sign, what not to sign, backups, good advice, how to be safe, rather than sorry.

All of us need a little law, not a lawyer, but a little law. Especially, these complicated days, everything’s important these days.

I learned this the hard way. Company wanted to borrow money—long time ago—up in Canada, company wanted to borrow some money. The bank said, “Well, yes, we will loan the company the money, if Mr. Rohn will sign personally.”

And I wanted to play hero, and I knew the company could pay it back.

Quarter of a million dollars. So I signed, no problem.

Sure enough, within less than a year, they paid it all back, a quarter of a million dollars. I am now a hero.

Well, about a year later this company gets into financial trouble.

They go back to the bank and borrow this quarter of a million dollars again.

I said, “I hope my phone doesn’t ring because I won’t sign the note this time.”

Because I knew they were in trouble, I knew they were probably going to go bankrupt. My phone never rang. I’m off the hook.

Sure enough, within less than a year the company goes bankrupt, can’t pay. But I get this letter from the bank saying, “Dear Mr. Rohn, since the company cannot perform its obligation and pay this quarter of a million dollars, and since we have here your personal guarantee, would you please send us your check for a quarter million dollars.”

I said, “Hey, hold it, hold it. There must be some mistake here. I signed that first note, and they paid it all back. I wouldn’t have signed the second note. I didn’t sign the second note.”

Well, what I didn’t know I had originally signed was a continuing guarantee.

So now, I know what the word “continuing” means.

I’m asking you to study a little law. Know what to sign, know how to defend yourself.

Say, “Hey, we’ll get back.”

Don’t sign too quickly. I mean, there’s all kinds of things here, be a student.

Don’t be lazy in learning, how to defend as well as nourish, how to grow, as well as take care of your enemies.

You’ve got to learn. Let your library indicate that you’re a serious student about personal relationships with your family, gifts and skills, economics, and all the rest.

Here’s the next one, economics. We’re going to study that when we come back from our break.

Economics, we’re going to cover—especially for the kids today—how to become financially independent, we’re going to let the adults listen.

I’ve been teaching kids for the last eighteen, nineteen years, how to be rich by 40—35 if you’re extra bright, most kids think they’re extra bright, they go for 35, or much sooner, if you find a unique opportunity, we’re going to get into that. Be a student of economics.

Next, culture, sophistication.

Don’t leave that out of your life, culture, sophistication, culture is part of the fabric of the nation. Culture is what makes us different than dogs and animals. Culture is what makes us different from the barbarians, culture, sophistication.

Be a student of the dance, and the art, and the music, and all the rest of those extraordinary human values that are possible for us all to participate in, as well as to enjoy.

Be a student of culture.

And the last one is spirituality. Study it from the Bible and all the related books about spirituality.

If you’re a believer, study and practice.

Let your library show you’re a serious student.

Keep a Journal

02:20:28: Next, keep a journal.

Shoaff said, “Mr. Rohn, not only be a student, but the good ideas that you develop from the books, keep a separate journal, write all this stuff down.”

Here’s what he said, “Don’t trust your memory. If you’re serious about becoming wealthy and powerful, sophisticated, and healthy, and influential, cultured, unique. Keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory.”

If you listen to something valuable, write it down, you come across something important write it down, write it down.

Now I used to take notes on pieces of paper and torn off corners and backs of old envelopes and restaurant placemats, and long sheets, and narrow sheets, and little sheets, and pieces, thrown in a drawer.

Found out, the best way, keep a journal. I’ve been keeping these journals now since age 25. It makes up a valuable part of my own learning, and it’s a valuable part of my library.

My own journals now form a good portion of my own library.

This stuff, I’m trying to get kids to do like I do, be a buyer of empty books, kids find it interesting, I buy an empty book. Especially at my status in life. What did I pay for this one? $26.

Kids say, “$26 for an empty book! Why would you do that?”

Well, the reason I pay $26 is to press me to see if I can’t find something worth $26 to put in here.

And I’m telling you all my journals are private. But if you got a hold of one of my journals, you wouldn’t have to look very far until you would say, “This is worth more than $26.”

I must admit, if you got a glimpse of Mr. Rohn’s journals, you’d have to say he is a serious student.

Not just committed to his craft, but committed to life, committed to skills, committed to learning, to see what I can do with seed, and soil, and sunshine, and rain, and miracle, and possibilities, and turn it into equities of life and treasure.

Family relationships, enterprise, sales, management, gifts galore everything you want all available, especially in America, I’m asking you keep a journal.

I call it the one of the three treasures to leave behind—let me give you that, one of the three treasures to leave behind.

Number one is your pictures.

Take a lot of pictures. Do you ever look back, right, two, three generations, just a handful of photographs way back there. Wouldn’t it be something if there was album after album, thousands of pictures to help tell the story.

A picture’s worth a thousand words.

Don’t be lazy in capturing the event.

How long does it take to capture the event? A fraction of a second.

How long does it take to miss the event? A fraction of a second.

Errors in judgment or disciplines.

Take lots of pictures, help tell the story. Click, click, got it! Click, click, got it!

I go to Taiwan to lecture. Taipei, Taiwan, Grand Hotel—neat place to do a weekend seminar—I’ve got a thousand students. Guess how many cameras? One thousand cameras!

They all bring their cameras, they wouldn’t miss the event—take pictures. Takes me more time to take pictures than it does to do the lectures.

“Here’s my new American friend, here’s the new American friend.”

Click, click, save it, got it. A thousand words each one, what a scenario.

Don’t miss the pictures. When you’re gone, one of the things to leave behind, the treasure in picture, as well as in words.

Next, your library. The library that you gathered, that taught you, that instructed you, that helped you to defend your ideals, that helped you to develop a philosophy, that helped you to become wealthy and powerful and healthy and sophisticated and unique.

The library that helped you conquer some disease. The library they helped you to conquer poverty. The library that caused you to walk away from the ghetto. The library, the books instructed you, fed your mind, and fed your soul.

Leave your library behind. One of the greatest gifts you can leave behind is your library.

Stepping stones out of the darkness and into the light.

Your library.

So leave your books behind, your books will be more valuable than your couch. Your books, your books, your books.

And third, is your journals.

The ideas that you picked up, the notes you took at seminars like this.

Wherever you found an occasion to gather something valuable and put it in here so you could go back over it, and go back over it. Repetition is the mother of skill. Read it one more time, learn it one more time, see if you can adjust it one more time.

Let it coach you one more time, let it teach you one more time, let it inspire you one more time.

Words are inspirational. The lyrics of a song.

And not just read it once, that’s why we put our stuff on cassette so you can go through it again, and again, and again.

If you hear a beautiful song that does something to you, you don’t say, “Well, that’s enough, don’t need to hear that again.”

No! Wouldn’t you want to hear it again, hear it again, hear it again, let it instruct you, let it feed you, let it teach you, take you on wings of emotional journeys—wouldn’t you want to do that again?

The answer is yes!

Yes, that’s what’s so important, and here’s what’s important, one of the things to leave behind, your journals. All the stuff you took the meticulous time to gather, it’s one of the greatest proofs that you’re a serious student.

Taking pictures—that’s pretty easy. Buying a book at a bookstore—that’s pretty easy.

Here’s one that’s a little more challenging, be student enough of your own life and your own future and your own destiny, be student enough to take the time to keep notes and keep the journal.

You will be so glad you did.

What a treasure to leave behind when you go, your journals. I wouldn’t be without mine now.

I’m in Carmel, California—one of my favorite places, it’s where I wrote my first book called The Seasons of Life.

I went to this little church one Sunday morning, first time I’ve been there. Little, small church—I don’t know 150 people—classic sermon that morning, classic sermon.

One of the best I’ve ever heard in all of my life, I happened to be there. And I have my journal.

While his sermon is going on—I can’t believe it, it was so precise, it was so unique, it was so powerful—and I’ve got my journal and I’m taking notes, taking notes of this classic sermon.

Guess how many other people were taking notes?

Approximately, guess? How many do you suppose? It looked like—best as I could tell—I’m the only one taking notes of this classic sermon.

Now, since I’m a stranger there, and it’s the first time I’ve been there, and I’m taking these notes, people started looking, “Who is he and what’s he doing?”

I start feeling just a little bit uncomfortable. I’m still writing, now I’m feeling kind of like a spy, right?

I could hear some of them say, “He’s gonna get out of here with some of this stuff.”

And I did. I did. I’m the guy that walked away with the stuff.

I’m asking you to be no less sincere, and be no less committed, to the advancement of your philosophy. The set of the sail. Talk about have your best year ever, this year, and then get ready for next year, your very best year ever and they’ll start being the best, the best, the best year after year if you’ll commit yourself to some of this simple stuff called personal development.

Start with a walk around the block, start with a refinement of your philosophy, start with the teaching of your own fabulous mind where all the answers are.

I can only give you a few answers from my own experience the rest of all the magical answers are within the confines of your own mind, but it takes the books, it takes the cassettes, it takes the videos, the personal conversations, sermons, lyrics from songs, dialogue from the movie. Let your heart be stirred by words.

Find ways to capture part of your personal development quest.

Now here’s the last subject on personal development just before we take our break.

Isn’t this good stuff? I’m telling you this stuff changed my life, turned me every way but loose.

I’ve never been the same, since my teacher gave me some of this simple instruction, how to go from where you are, to where you want to go, how to go from what you are, to what you want to become, how to go from pennies to treasure, how to go from nothing to fortune.

It’s all within the confines of this stuff that I’ve been trying to share with you. Laboring the best I can—words are clumsy—when you try it in your head to share your experience, but I’m doing my best today. And I’m excited about it, appreciate you taking all these good notes.

Good students today, I appreciate that.

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