In chapter two of Jim Rohn’s “How to Have Your Best Year Ever!” seminar he dives into personal development and what his mentor, Mr. Shoaff, taught him about personal development.

He expands on the how money is a good way to evaluate your own personal development. The more you work on yourself, the more valuable you become.

The Extraordinary Journey of Personal Development

01:24:31: Next subject: Personal development.

Some of the things Mr. Shoaff taught me starting at age 25, some things came quickly, some things came easily. Setting goals, that was easy. We’re gonna talk about that later on.

But this one, I had to struggle with—personal development.

It was hard for me to give up my old blame list. It was so comfortable blaming the government, and blaming my negative relatives, and the company, company policy, unions, wage scale, economy, interest rates, prices, and circumstances, and all that. That was difficult for me to give up.

That was quite a transition for me to make and blaming myself.

But Mr. Shoaff started out with something very, very important. Let me give that to you.

He said, “It’s not what happens that determines the major part of your future. It’s not what happens, what happens happens to us all.”

Said, “The key is what you do about it. It’s not what happens, it’s what you do about it.”

And he said, “If you will start that process of change, do something different the next 90 days than you did the last 90 days, like picking up the books to read. Do something different, like the new health disciplines. Relationship with your family… Whatever it is, doesn’t matter how small it is, if you’ll start doing different things with the same circumstances, since we cannot change the circumstances, but we can change ourselves, we can change what we do.”

And then he gave me another secret to success when he said, “What you have at the moment Mr. Rohn, you’ve attracted by the person you’ve become. What you have at the moment you’ve attracted by the person you’ve become.”

Few little simple principles here—once you understand these—it starts to explain so much.

Now sometimes it’s a little tough to take—blaming yourself instead of the marketplace.

Taking responsibility instead of putting it off on someone else. That transition sometimes is a challenging mission.

And this one was a little tough for me.

He said, “Mr. Rohn, you’ve got pennies in your pocket, you’ve got nothing in the bank, the creditors are calling. You’re behind on your promises.”

And he says, “Here’s how that occurs. You’ve attracted, up until now, you’ve attracted things to you, because of the person you’ve become.”

Now I said, “Well, how can I change all that?”

He said—very simple—”If you will change, everything will change for you. You don’t have to change what’s outside, all you’ve got to change is what’s inside. To have more, you simply have to become more.

And then he said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Start working on yourself making these personal changes.”

And he said, “It’ll all change for you.”

So let’s talk a little bit about personal development, that extraordinary adventure I undertook starting at age 25. And I’ve never ceased that adventure.

I’m still going forward, in the 90s, I want to get better and better. I want my craft to get better, my business operations to get better, the things I do to get better. Because once I picked up the simple formula—I’m telling you, it’s easy to figure out where the problem is, if you go to work on it.

Now let’s talk about personal development.

Use Money as a Measure of Personal Development

01:28:12: And in helping kids understand personal development, I always start with money.

Now money’s not the only place to start, money certainly isn’t the only value, but we’ve all got to start somewhere and money is something people count. Right?

Kids are interested in money. Okay?

A lot of things are a little tougher to measure.

But economics is pretty easy, right? Because you can count.

Okay, someone says, “How are you doing?”

I don’t know. Let’s count. Now this is not the only count.

I understand that, there’s a lot of other things to count, but to see if there may be some errors in your judgment and lack of disciplines in your life, we might as well start with money! Because it’s so easy to count.

So let’s just start there, and see whether or not maybe we have messed up.

Okay. So here’s how I explained it to kids: We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.

Key to understanding economics, we get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.

Marketplace is also described as reality.

Reality, the marketplace.

Now it takes time—it takes time—to bring value to the marketplace, but we don’t get paid for time.

It’s very important for kids to understand, as well as adults, we don’t get paid for time.

Mistakenly, the man says I’m making about $20 for an hour, not true. Not true!

If that was true, you could just stay home having said your money.

No, it’s not true, you don’t get paid for the hour, you get paid for the value you put in the time.

So we don’t get paid for time, we get paid for value.

Now since that’s true, here’s one of the key questions of the afternoon.

Is it possible to become twice as valuable? And make twice as much money in the same time?

Is it possible to become three times as valuable as you now are? And make three times as much money in the same time? Is that possible?

Of course! If you want to really emphasize something, that’s a good phrase to use: Of course. Of course!

Now, all you have to do to earn more money in the same time is simply become more valuable.

America’s unique, it’s a ladder to climb.

Starts down here, what? About $4 an hour?

Big argument last year in Congress about the starting place, should be five, should be five, should be five—well, no, doesn’t need to be five. Why not start with four, it’s a ladder. Right?

This is not a bid. This is a ladder, this is a ladder to climb.

Starts at $4. Now somebody said, “Well should be five, should be five.”

Well, maybe if you’re gonna stay at the bottom for the rest of your life it probably should be five. But that’s kind of a pitiful way to live, start and not grow, start and not change, start to not become more valuable.

Hey, the whole scenario of life is to start—number one—and what? Become more valuable—number two.

So America’s a ladder to climb, starts at $4 an hour, and the more valuable you become you just keep moving up the ladder.

Top income last year, what? $52 million—guy that runs Disney.

Would a company pay somebody for one year’s work $52 million? And the answer is, of course, this is one of those “of course” places.

Of course!

If you help a company make a billion dollars, would they pay you $52 million? The answer is of course!

It’s chickenfeed.

I mean it’s not much money.

Now, why that much money? Because he has become so valuable.

Now why would we pay somebody only $4 an hour? They’re not very valuable to the marketplace.

Now, we have got to make that distinction: To the marketplace.

Might be a valuable brother, valuable member of that community, valuable member of the church, valuable member in the sight of God to the human family of course, those kinds of values.

But to the marketplace, which is called what? Reality.

Reality is if you’re not very valuable, you don’t get much money.

Those are called: The facts!

And that’s how that is.

Well then how do you get more money? Simple answer.

Somebody says, “Well, I’ll go on strike for more.”

Well. Here’s the major problem with that.

Here’s the major problem with that.

You can’t get rich by demand!

Somebody says, “Well, I’m waiting for a raise.”

I’m telling you, it’s easier to climb, than to wait for a raise.

Why not just become more valuable rather than wait?

I’m telling you, that’s the key to all good things: Becoming more valuable.

Why would we pay somebody $400 an hour?

They’ve become more valuable to the marketplace.

See how this works? I’m telling you, this stuff is so easy. This is America, this is a ladder.

How far is it from four to five? I’m telling it’s not far from $4 to $5 an hour.

If you work for McDonald’s, haul out the trash, they’ll pay you $5 an hour. If you whistle while you haul out the trash, they’ll pay you $5 an hour.

I’m telling you, you’ll get an extra dollar just for a good attitude.

Yay, McDonald’s, wear the hat. It’s incredible.

Five dollars. And then you just keep becoming more valuable, more valuable, more valuable.

I got a telephone call five years ago, company said, “We’re ready to expand internationally and we need some help.”

I was sort of semi-retired, right? Looking for the next exotic beach!

They said, “No, no, Mr. Rohn, we’ve got a project for you.”


“We’re going to expand internationally, we could use your help. Next little while we’ll add some millions to your fortune to make it worth your while.”

I said okay.

I thought later, isn’t that interesting that they called me?

My second thought was, of course they’d call me, who else would they call?

I mean, you know, I could get the job done.

Now, how come? How come I got a telephone call worth millions?

I had become valuable.

Now, I’m a farm boy from Idaho, I was raised in obscurity, one year of college and I thought I was thoroughly educated. Made all kinds of mistakes galore. At age 25 the creditors are calling me saying, “Hey, you told us the debt was in the mail.”

I’ve got pennies in my pocket, I’ve got nothing in the bank, I’m behind on my promises.

How come I get a telephone call five years ago and it’s worth millions?

I changed. I changed. I turned my life around.

Is it possible to become worth millions—speaking economically—now there’s a lot of values to become, but let’s just talk economics. Is it possible to become that valuable?

The answer is of course, of course!

Now let me give you the secret. Shoaff said, “Here’s the secret Mr. Rohn, learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”

Once I got that it turned my life around, learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.

He said, “If you work hard on your job, you’ll make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune.”


If you would have known me at age 25, you would have said, “Jim Rohn’s a hard worker.”

If you had known me, you would have said that.

I’m the guy—I don’t mind—coming in a little bit early, staying a little bit late. I don’t mind that. You would have said, “Well, Jim Rohn’s a hard worker.”

You’d say, “Well, how come he’s got pennies in his pocket, and nothing in the bank, and behind on his promises?”

Well, I was a hard worker, but I was working hard on my job. Not on my self.

I’m telling you, if you’ll learn that simple little principle and start the process today, latest tomorrow—I’ll give you tonight to think it over—and start this whole process of personal development, work on yourself.

Make yourself more valuable to the marketplace.

I’m telling you, you can so dynamically change your income.

And economics is the least of the values that you can start earning in terms of equity.

If you’ll start working harder on yourself than you do on your job.

Work hard on yourself and develop the skills, work hard on yourself and develop the graces, all of the stuff necessary to become more valuable to the marketplace.

I’m telling you, your whole life can explode into change.

Promotions, no problem! Becoming more valuable to the company—I’m telling you—no problem! Money, no problem! Economics, no problem! Future, no problem!

If you just go to work on the right thing, not get things out there to change. Don’t try to change the seed. Don’t change the soil. Don’t change the sunshine. Don’t change the rain. Don’t change the mix of seasons.

Let the miracle of everything that’s available work for you. And start working on the inside work on your philosophy. Work on your attitude. Work on your personality, work on your language, work on the gift of communication, work on all of your abilities.

And if you’ll start making those personal changes—I’m telling you—everything will change for you.

Continue reading Jim Rohn’s “How to Have Your Best Year Ever!” seminar transcripts: