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Jim Rohn: Good Ideas — The Keys to Living the Good Life

By Jim Rohn

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Just a few good ideas separate you from the life you’ve always envisioned.

Many years ago, I learned that some of the best advice ever given comes from the Bible. There is a phrase in that amazing book that says, “If you search you will find.” So that is the way to discover good ideas and life-changing information. Search. In order to find — you must search.

You must go to the seminars and to the training classes. You must listen to the audio programs that can give you breakthrough ideas. You must go and engage in conversations with people of substance. You must go looking, go searching. Rarely do good ideas interrupt you. And as you make a diligent search, you will find all the good ideas you need.

Now, here is the next keyword in the process of seeking information that can change your life, and that word is “Capture.” When you find good ideas, capture them. Don’t trust your memory. Capture everything. Write it down. Record it. This is one of the reasons I share this with you and have made several audio programs on this and other topics — to capture the good ideas. As a serious student of wealth and happiness, I would encourage you to make use of a journal as a gathering place for all the good ideas that come your way.

Ideas are everywhere — find new ones every day.

Here are the very ideas that launched untold careers and opportunities.

Now, here is the next keyword in the process of seeking information that can change your life, and that word is “Capture.” When you find good ideas, capture them. Don’t trust your memory. Capture everything. Write it down. Record it. This is one of the reasons I share this with you and have made several audio programs on this and other topics — to capture the good ideas. As a serious student of wealth and happiness, I would encourage you to make use of a journal as a gathering place for all the good ideas that come your way.

So start a new discipline that can lead to wealth and happiness. Find out how things work. Never let it be said you didn’t find out. Now, let me give you a qualifying phrase. You may not be able to do all you find out, but make sure you find out all you can do. You don’t want to wind up at the end of your life and find out that you lived only one-tenth of it and the other nine-tenths went down the drain. Not for lack of opportunity but for lack of information.

Let me share with you two of the best sources of information available:

First, learn from your own experiences. Become a good student of your own life. It’s the information you are most familiar with and feel the strongest about. So make your own life one of your most important studies.

And in studying your own life, be sure to study the negative as well as the positive, your failures as well as your successes. Our so-called failures serve us well when they teach us valuable information. They’re frequently better teachers than our successes. One of the ways we learn how to do something right is simply by doing it wrong. Doing it wrong is a great school for learning. Now I would suggest that you not take too long. If you’ve done it wrong for 10 years, I wouldn’t suggest another 10. But what a close-at-hand and emotionally impactful way to learn — from your experiences.

When I met Mr. Shoaff, I had been working for six years. I started when I was 19, and when I met him I was 25. He said to me, “Mr. Rohn you have been working now for six years. How are you doing?” I said, “Not very well.” He said, “Then I suggest you not do that anymore. Six years is long enough to operate the wrong plan.” Next he asked, “How much money have you saved in the last six years?” I said, “Not any.” He said, “Who sold you on that plan six years ago?”  What a fantastic question! Where did I get my present plan that wasn’t working well? Hey, everyone has bought someone’s plan. The question is:

Now, those initial confrontations as you come to grips with your own past experiences may be a little painful at first, especially if you have made as many errors as I did. But think of the progress you can make when you have finally confronted those errors by becoming a better student of your own life!

Now, the next way to learn is from other people’s experiences. And remember, you can learn from other people whether they have done it right or wrong. You can learn from negative as well as positive. The Bible is such a great book because it is a collection of human stories on both sides of the ledger. One list of human stories is called examples: Do what these people did. And the other list of human stories is called warnings: Don’t do what these clods did. What a wealth of information. What to do and what not to do. I think it also means, however, that if your story ever gets in somebody’s book, make sure it’s used as an example, not a warning.

One way to learn from other people is to listen to the audio programs and read the books by and about people who’ve accomplished great things.

All successful people I know and work with around the world are great readers. They just read, read, read. They are so curious that they are driven to read because they just have to know. It is one of the things they all have in common. Here is a good phrase: All leaders are readers.

And they use audio programs, too, especially while they’re in the car or during other times when they can’t read. Listening to audio programs can help all of us easily pick up good ideas and new skills. Did you know there are audios and books on how to be stronger, be more decisive, be a better speaker, be a more effective leader, have a better effect on other people, become more loving, develop personality, get rich, develop influence, become sophisticated… and people don’t use them! How would you explain that?

Did you know that hundreds of successful people have written their insights and good ideas in books and told how they did it on audios, and people don’t want to listen? How would you explain that? The guy’s busy, I guess. He says, “Well, yeah. If you worked where I work, by the time you struggle home it’s late. You’ve got to have a bite to eat, watch a little TV, and get to bed. You can’t stay up half the night and read, read, read.”

And this guy is behind on his bills. He’s a good worker, hard worker, sincere. Hey, remember, you can be sincere and work hard all your life and wind up broke, confused, and embarrassed. You’ve got to be better than a good worker. You’ve got to be a good reader, a good listener. At least he could hear a good CD program on his way home, right?

I say, “John, I’ve got this gold mine. I’ve got so much gold, I don’t know what to do with it all.  Come on over and dig.” John says, “I don’t have a shovel.” I say, “Well, John, get you one.” He says, “Do you know what they want for shovels?” Hey, invest the money, get the CDs and books. The best money you can spend is money invested in your self-education. Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to investing in your own future.

Let’s go through it. We need a good library. Mr. 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.  Mr. Shoaff said to me, “Doesn’t that little book intrigue you?”

Now, you don’t have to read or listen to educational CDs half the night. (Although, if you’re broke, it’s a good place to start.) But here is all I ask — just 30 minutes a day. That’s all. Stretch it to an hour, if you can, but at least 30 minutes. Half-rich isn’t bad. Thirty minutes. Hear or read something challenging, something instructional, at least 30 minutes a day. And here is the next key — every day. Don’t miss. Miss a meal, but not your 30 minutes. Hey, you can get along without some meals, but you can’t get along without some good ideas, examples, and inspiration.

There’s a Bible phrase that says, “Humans cannot live on bread alone, or food alone.” It says, “The next most important thing to bread is words.” Words nourish the mind; words nourish the soul. Humans have to have food and words to be healthy and prosperous. Make sure you have a good diet of words every day.  I told my staff one day, “Some people read so little they have rickets of the mind.”

Here’s a thought: Why not call good books and audio programs “tapping the treasure of good ideas.” That’s it — tapping the treasure of ideas, as you’re doing with this program. And if somebody’s got a good excuse for not tapping the treasure of good ideas for a least 30 minutes every day or spending the money and getting the books and audio programs, I’d like to hear it. Some excuses you wouldn’t believe.

One of the greatest treasures of good ideas is found right here.

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“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. 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 $400,000 has got a library. Why do you suppose that is? Wouldn’t that make you curious? How come every home over $400,000 has got a library? Does that tell you something? Does that educate you at all? You say, well, I can’t afford a $400,000 home. It doesn't matter what size home. Take your present apartment, clean out a closet, and call it your library. And start acting intelligent. And start this process as 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 kinds. Let your library show you’re a serious student.

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