While re-reading a Jim Rohn book earlier this week, something sort of just “clicked” for me, you know, in a “Oh boy, I just had an epiphany” kind of way: After all these years of absorbing the same material over and over again, I finally figured out that this particular book “Leading an Inspired Life” (as well as it’s little brother “Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness”) has become the main compass I turn to and follow for guidance on how to live my life; more specifically, I realized that by having handy access to it (on my kindle) for reference is what keeps me on track with my life, my goals – and above all, the quest to become the kind of person I want to be. Let me explain:
It occurred to me that the very fact that I’m re-reading this same information for the 5th or 6th time tells me it’s become my “go-to” material for guidance; which now that I think about it, makes perfect sense. That’s because these books offer sound, solid advice that I know will steer me in the right direction in every area of my life, each and every time. More importantly, they make me think about things before deciding whether or not I actually act on them… and for an emotional guy like me, this is an important mechanism to have in place.
For example, this week I was reading about why developing good habits (over bad habits) is so important for long term success in anything; and while this may sound obvious as a stand-alone claim, in his typical “Horse sense” approach, Jim demonstrated the principle with the following example – one that really hits the point home, once and for all. Here’s what he says:
We all know the old saying – A “What” a day, keeps the doctor away? An apple, of course! But what if someone made the mistake, and switched that apple for a chocolate bar a day? At first, there wouldn’t be much to notice; but if this mistake, this “error in judgement” continued day after day, week after week, month after month, and eventually – year after year – can you imagine the result? If we aren’t careful, and don’t catch something before it becomes a long term habit, it can drastically alter our outcome over time.
That’s pretty simple, right? It’s easy for anyone to understand, don’t you think? And that’s the point. If you’re like me, these words conjure up potent, powerful images – images of health versus obesity; images of time lost, and valuable opportunities missed. Most important of all is that this same principle applies for many different and important scenarios in our lives… you know, things like saving money versus not saving; smoking versus not smoking; saying “I love you” versus not; eating healthy versus not; daily exercising versus not; and on and on the list goes… In other words, it’s not an “apple versus chocolate” debate, not by a long stretch.
For me, the core of the message from this particular philosophy is that success in anything comes from small, daily acts, compounded over time to grow and grow, eventually into something big, strong and solid. It also comes with a “built-in” warning that says if we aren’t careful in choosing which behaviours we allow to become habits, one day we may wake up and be living in a big ole’ “World of Hurt” that – if we are honest with ourselves – could have avoided by years ago choosing – then practicing – better daily habits. I can honestly say that I see a lot of examples of this in people my age and older – folks who, over the years have practiced poor habits with money, food, lifestyle, etc. and are now dealing with the reality of those choices, and often it’s not pretty… I know, that sounds brutally harsh, and it is… but it’s also true.
Re-reading this chapter on habits got me thinking about what simple habits anyone (including me) could easily adopt in order to increase their own personal life experiences, so I began jotting down a few ideas for a post… And if you’ve reading this blog for a while, you’ll know this act is how I hold myself accountable to incorporating these ideas in my own life… told you so! By that omission you can probably figure out I’m not 100% perfect at all of these yet- far from it; but by putting them out there, it will help me try even harder to stay on track.
So with that said, here’s the list of some good and bad habits I came up with. If you see something that makes sense to you, then by all means feel free to practice it in your own life… Either way, one thing is for sure – If you do try something new from the list, then continue to practice it over time, then your life will be headed in a great place! And when that happens, you can call me up to thank me; and Jim Rohn, of course!
Good Habits To Try
- Demonstrating Gratitude as much as possible
- Smiling and saying “Hello!” to strangers
- Reading good books to educate yourself
- Making and keeping commitments with others
- Being well mannered and kind to friends and strangers
- Being profitable in all your endeavours
- Being Charitable with both your time and money
- Helping out others when they need it
- Teaching others your valuable skill sets
- Eating good healthy foods, and exercising frequently
- Choose to demonstrate integrity over not
- Consistently push yourself through your comfort zone
- Being honest, regardless of how hard it is
- Don’t dominate conversations with “I”
- Encouraging other people to talk about themselves
- Listen to what other people have to say!
- Be positive! Find something good to say about any situation
- Being non-judgemental of people/ be accepting
- Being on time for appointments / not being late
- Showing a genuine interest in people
- Being empathetic with people’s unique situations
- Taking the high road in difficult situations
Bad Habits To Avoid
The exact opposite of everything above…
For even MORE wisdom from Jim Rohn, check out this post!