“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn
Born in 1930, Jim Rohn went from Idaho farm boy to Beverly Hills millionaire in 31 years. When he died in 2009, his net worth was an estimated $500 million. His story is a classic tale of “rags to riches” but his determination to achieve his dream of financial security and his eventual success is testament to his belief that if you really want to do something, you’ll find a way…
Jim credits his unwavering work ethic to his parents and the farming life he was born into. He worked hard at school and was a good student, but after just a year at college, he made the decision to drop out and enter the workplace instead. He had a job, and he soon had a wife and family to support, but by his own admission, he was struggling to make ends meet. The day he made the decision to change his life is a day he often spoke of in his inspirational speeches in the story of the Girl Scout and the cookies:
“I was lounging at home one day when I heard a knock at the door. It was a timid, hesitant knock. When I opened the door, I looked down to see a pair of big brown eyes staring up at me. There stood a frail little girl of about 10. She told me, with all the courage and determination her little heart could muster, that she was selling Girl Scout cookies. It was a masterful presentation – several flavours, a special deal, and only two dollars per box. How could anyone refuse? Finally, with a big smile and ever so politely, she asked me to buy. And I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to!
Except for one thing. I didn’t have two dollars. Boy, was I embarrassed! Here I was – a father, had been to college, was gainfully employed – and yet I didn’t have two dollars to my name. Naturally I couldn’t tell this to the little girl with the big brown eyes. So, I did the next best thing. I lied to her. I said, ‘Thanks, but I’ve already bought Girl Scout cookies this year. And I’ve still got plenty stacked in the house.’ Now that simply wasn’t true. But it was the only thing I could think of to get me off the hook. And it did. The little girl said, ‘That’s okay, sir. Thank you very much.’ And with that she turned around and went on her way. I stared after her for what seemed a very long time. Finally, I closed the door behind me and, leaning my back to it, cried out, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’ve had it with being broke, and I’ve had it with lying. I’ll never be embarrassed again by not having any money in my pocket.’ That day I promised myself to earn enough to always have several hundred dollars in my pocket at all times.”
Through telling this story, Jim was making the point that his decision to make change happen may have resulted from embarrassment, but it was enough to motivate him to take action.
“For things to change, YOU have to change.” – Jim Rohn
The message that Jim wanted to get across to his audiences was that no matter who you are, what your circumstances, or what you aspire to achieve, if you want things to change, the change must come from within. He said, “Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you’ve got.”
Jim changed through setting himself a goal, but he also found a mentor with the knowledge and skills to help him achieve his goal. Goals provide inspiration, motivation, and focus, but as Jim wisely said, “The real value in setting goals is not in their achievement. The acquisition of the things you want is strictly secondary. The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them.”
Who do you want to become?
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach, Mentor and Key Note Speaker.
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