Jim Rohn: How to Have Your Best Year Ever Book Summary

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Jim Rohn on How to Have Your Best Year Ever

Some do and some don’t. Why? We don’t know.

Sincerity is not a measure of truth.

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of This Talk

  1. Be Thankful – for what we already have, it opens up. Cynicism locks the doors.
  2. Listen Well
  3. Take Good Notes – be a good student

Don’t be a follower, be a student.

Make sure what you do is a product of your own conclusions.

5 Major Pieces – the Fundamentals

#1 Philosophy – the major determining factor

It is what we know and think.

Got to think and process ideas.

The set of the sail. Can’t change the wind so change the sail.

Don’t blame all you got to work with.

Start with your mind, your thinking, your philosophy.

Failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day. It is accumulated disaster.

Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day.

#2 Attitude

It is how we feel, about the past, about the future. The promise of the future is an awesome force.

How we feel about everybody else – appreciation
How you feel about yourself – self worth
Place high value on yourself. If somebody else can do it, I can do it.

Life change starts with education, not inspiration. “If a guy is an idiot and you motivate him, now you’ve got a motivated idiot.”

Get educated to the point where you messed up.

#3 Activity – the work, the labour

If you will plant the seed, God will make the tree. Give God the tough end of the deal.

Invest philosophy and attitude into action and you get a miracle. Turn wisdom, faith, and discipline into action to perform a miracle.

  1. Do what you can.
  2. Do the best you can.

Could change, should change, won’t change = Disaster
Could change, should change, will change = Miracle belongs to you

Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Get a list of the things you should be doing and clean it up (do them).

Don’t postpone like other people postpone (procrastinate).

Take action on neglect in disciplines. Start forming disciplines.

Do the best you can. Your philosophy on activity will determine you next years.

#4 Results – gotta measure every once in a while

Don’t let too much time go by without checking the results. See if you got the wrong plan.

How many books have your read, how many classes have you taken, what does your bank balance look like?

Results is the name of the game.

Life only asks that we make measurable progress in reasonable time.

Some things you got to check everyday, others weekly.

Got to be honest with yourself. The Truth will set you free.
The Truth is for amending our errors and finding new disciplines.

Don’t curse what is available and start amending what is possible to get the results you want and you will have great personal change.

Success is a numbers game.

How many pounds overweight should you be at 50 years old? Start checking your own numbers.

#5 Lifestyle – learning how to live well

Ultimate challenge of life after applying philosophy, attitude, and action to get results is how to fashion for yourself a good life.

If you wish to be wealthy, study wealth.

If you were to show me your current economic plan, would it excite me so much that I would want to travel across the country teaching it to others? Why not?

If you wish to be happy, study happiness.

Happiness is something you design, not an accident. Happiness is within the grasp of all of us.

Happiness is a study. Wealth is a study. Don’t be lazy in learning. Learn how to do well and learn how to live well.

If 2 tip amounts come into your mind, always go with the higher amount. Become the higher thinking person. Money doesn’t make you happy.

Personal Development

It is hard to give up blaming everything but yourself for your current economic, social, and emotional woes. But it is not what happens that determines the major part of your future. What happens happens to us all. The key is what you do about it.

If you will start the process of change, even a small one, everything will change.

What you have at the moment, you have attracted by the person you’ve become. You got to transition to taking responsibility for where you are in life.

If you will change, everything will change for you. To have more, you have to become more.

Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

Start with money. It is not the only value but it is easy to count and measure.

We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value, but we don’t get paid for time. We get paid for value.

Is it possible to becomes 2x, 3x as valuable and make 2x, 3x the money in the same amount of time? Of course. Simply become more valuable.

The facts: If you are not very valuable, you won’t get much money. You can’t get rich by demand.
Become more valuable.

Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job!

If you work hard on your job you will make a living. If you work hard on yourself you will make a fortune.

Develop the skills. Can’t change the world and how it works, so work on yourself.

Life and business is like the seasons. You cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself.

Things are not going to change. The next 10 years will be pretty much like the last 10 years.

Short description of human history: Opportunity mixed with difficulty.

If you change though, everything will change for you.

  1. Learn how to handle the Winters (they come after Fall) – emotional, social, economic, personal. What do you do about them? Get wiser, stronger, better. Wiser – read more, listen, watch. Stronger – workout, practice. Better – develop the skills.
  2. Learn how to take advantage of the Springs (they follow winter) – Spring = Opportunity. Got to take advantage. The key is to plant in the spring. Seize the day. Life is brief.
  3. In the Summer, nourish and protect – become capable and powerful. Bugs and weeds will take the garden unless you protect it. Nourish the garden and kill the weeds. Summer is a scenario of opportunity and threat. If you just think positive that is too naive, got to think negative too. Deal with your enemies in the summer.
  4. Reap in the harvest (Fall) without complaint or apology – must take personal responsibility. No apology for doing well and no complaint for doing poorly.

Physical Personal Development – take care of yourself

Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed.

Some people don’t do well because they don’t feel well.

Vitality is a major part of success.

Some people take better care of their pets, take more care in what they feed their animals than they do of themselves.

You never have a second chance to make a first impression with your appearance.

God may look on the inside, but people look on the outside. Its the world we live in.

After people get to know you they will start to judge the substance, but they see the outside first. So make sure the outside is a major reflection of what is going on inside.

Spiritual – study it and if you are a believer, practice it

Mental – learn, study, grow, change

Human development takes time. Wildebeest only have a few minutes after birth to learn to run because of the lions. A human baby, after 16 years we are not sure if ready to survive.

Feeding and nourishing the mind takes time. Get ready to debate great life issues. Got to be able to defend your philosophy, virtues, and values.

Need a good library. Most homes over $250,000 have a library.
Your library needs to show you are a serious student. Can’t live on mental candy.

Some recommended books.

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – great book, has some weird stuff in it.
  2. Richest Man in Babylon – good book on wealth fundamentals
  3. How to Read a Book – has list of “best writings ever written”

Your library needs to be balanced. Some sections for your library.

  • History – recommends Lessons of History by Durant
  • Philosophy – recommends Story of Philosophy also by Durant. Don’t just read the easy stuff, you won’t grow.
  • Novels – philosophy often interwoven into the story. Skip the trash
  • Biographies – stories of both successful and unsuccessful people, examples and warnings, good and evil
  • Accounting – at least a primary understanding
  • Law – need to know what to sign and what not to sign, don’t need to be a lawyer but knowing a little law will protect you
  • Economics – how to become financially independent
  • Culture and Sophistication – it is part of the fabric of the nation, be a student of dance, art, music
  • Spirituality – study it, and if you are a believer, study and practice

Keep a Journal – don’t trust your memory.

If you hear something or come across something important, write it down.

Buy empty books and fill them with valuable notes. Go back over them and let it instruct you and feed your mind and soul again.

3 Treasures that you leave behind

  1. Pictures – take a lot of pictures
  2. Library – books that taught you to become healthy, wealthy, powerful
  3. Your Journals – the ideas you picked up, be student enough to write things down

The 5 Abilities

#1 Absorb – be like a sponge, don’t miss anything

Learn to get from the day, not through the day.
Wherever you are, be there. Let your heart, mind and soul take “pictures”.

Pay attention.

#2 Respond – let life touch you

Don’t let it kill you, but let it touch you.
Give in to emotion.

Your emotion needs to be as educated as your intellect.
Need to know how to respond to life, to people.

#3 Reflect – go back over, study it again, remember

Go back over books, notes, your day.

Good times to reflect:

  1. At the end of the day for 1 hour
  2. At the end of the week for a few hours
  3. At the end of the month for half a day
  4. At the end of the year take a weekend

Solitude when you reflect is important. You can reflect with your spouse, your family, or your colleagues, but it is important to spend some time to reflect with yourself.

Reflection makes the past more valuable for the future. Gather up the past and invest it in the next day, the next week, the next year.

Self development earns respect, makes you better for others.

#4 Act – take action, don’t be hasty, but don’t waste much time

Act when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong. Otherwise you fall prey to the Law of Diminishing intent.

All disciplines affect each other.

Everything affects everything else

Every let down in discipline affects the rest of your performance.
Every new discipline affects the rest of your performance. That is why action is so important.

Greatest value of discipline: Self Worth or Self Esteem. Lack of discipline erodes the psyche, affects your philosophy. One neglect leads to another. Just start the smallest of disciplines and watch how it grows into another and another.

Walk away from the 97% who won’t do what they can. Don’t talk like they talk, don’t read what they read, don’t watch what they watch, don’t use their excuses and their blame list.

Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.

Labour well, learn well, discipline yourself well. Take charge of your own retirement, life, day, family, possibilities. Join the 3% of people who are doers.

Do what you can. Do the Best you can. And Rest very little.

Make rest a necessity not an objective. The objective of life is to act

#5 Share – pass along to someone else

If you share with 10 people, they get to hear the idea once and you get to hear it 10 times. You will get more out of it.

Everybody wins when somebody shares.

Sharing helps you, helps the person you share with. Sharing makes you bigger than you are. Increases your capacity. So you can hold more of the next experience.

Some people can’t be happy and can’t be wealthy because they aren’t big enough.

Setting Goals

Goals are your vision of the future.

You can either face the future with apprehension or with anticipation. Most face it with apprehension.

If you don’t make plans of your own, you will fall into someone else’s plan.

Need to make a “Not Much” list. If economy improves, if taxes get a little smaller, if you get a small raise at your job, if your negative relatives become positive, if the “right” political party got in power, etc, it would not do much for you. And too many people are counting on this list.

Count on your ability to design the future. If the promise of the future is clear and powerful, the price is easy to pay. The price is a few small disciplines practiced every day.

Get a handle on the future, set your own goals.

It is this simple: Decide what you want and write it down. Thats it.
It is your own private list so write whatever you want on it, no matter how small or silly.
Keep your list year after year so you can go back and look at it.
Get together with your spouse, your kids, your colleagues and come up with some goals.

Put “Become a Millionaire” on your list, for what it will make of you to achieve it.

The greatest value in life is not what you get, it is what you become.

Major question to ask on the job is not “What am I getting here?”. The major question to ask is “What am I becoming here?”.

When you have become a millionaire, what is important is not the money, you can give that away. What is important is the kind of person you have become.

Set the kind of goals that will make something of you to achieve them.

Don’t set goals to low. Don’t join the easy crowd. Go where demand to grow is high, where expectations of excellence are strong.
Don’t compromise. Don’t sell out. Count the cost.
Judas got the money, success? NO.

Greatest source of unhappiness is self unhappiness. Starts with being a little less than you can be. Beware of this.

Financial Independence

What should a child (or an adult) do with a dollar?

Don’t spend more than $0.70 of every dollar.

If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.

What to do with the other $0.30?

  • $0.10 – Charity: Helping people who can’t help themselves. Nothing teaches character better than generosity. Best to start with small amounts. Easier to give $0.10 out of a $1 than to give $100,000 out of a million.
  • $0.10 – Active Capital: Try to make a profit yourself. Profits are better than wages.

Wages will make you a living. Profits will make you a fortune.

There are many ways to show a profit. Leave things better than you found them. Become a person who leaves a profit. Profit has potential to make a fortune.

  • #0.10 – Passive Capital: Interest bearing investment. Loan it out (stocks, bonds, etc.). “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Be the lender.

This is an ideal. Set it up and work towards it. It’s not the amount that counts, it is the plan. You can start with 97/1/1/1. The numbers will change. It is just a good sample philosophy.

Keep strict accounts. Now where your money is going. Don’t let it “just get away from you.”

Get a new attitude.
“Hate to pay my taxes,” get past this. Taxes help pay for democracy, liberty, and freedom that is the goose that lays the golden eggs.
“Hate to pay my bills,” get beyond this. Bills reduce your liability and increase your assets.
Everybody must pay, even if its only pennies.

Spend, invest, show a profit, help others.


Effective communication is how to affect people with words.

Words can work miracles. They are powerful and can have dramatic effects.

Have Something Good to Say, Be Prepared


Show interest in the subject.
Then go beyond that and show fascination. Turn frustration into fascination if you can.


Understand other people. You have to be touched and moved by the drama in other peoples lives so you connect with them where they are. This involves emotion.


Take notes. Gather knowledge. Don’t be lazy in learning.

Say It Well

  • Sincerity
  • Repetition – Mother of Skill
  • Brevity – sometimes you don’t need many words
  • Vocabulary – There is a relationship between vocabulary and behavior. Words are a way of seeing and expressing. Stretch your vocabulary

Read Your Audience

  • What your see – body language
  • What you hear – kids will tell you
  • What you feel – emotional signals (women naturally better at this than men)


Your words need to be mixed with emotion. It has an incredible effect. Put more of you into what you say.

Don’t be casual in communication.
Emotions must be measured. “Don’t shoot a cannon at a rabbit.”

You need well chosen words mixed with measured emotion. The more you care, the stronger you can be.

The Negative and the Positive


There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. Life is not all positive.

Negative is normal, it is a normal part of life. It should not be ignored because it needs to be mastered.

Need the ant philosophy. Never quit and think winter all summer.


The day that turns your life around.

Things that turn your life around:

  1. Disgust – normally associated as negative, but can be positive. It is when you say, “I’ve had it. No more. Enough is enough.” If you can add an act to it, that helps.
  2. Decision – you can make a decision that turns your life around.
  3. Desire – wanting to bad enough. Sometimes desire waits for a trigger (like meeting someone, or not being able to do something that you want). Welcome all experiences because you never know which one will turn everything on.
  4. Resolve – saying “I will.” Do or Die. Promising yourself you will never give up. “Until,” do it until you succeed.

Final Thoughts

Learn to help people with their lives. Touch people with a book, with words. Help them with their goals and dreams.

If you work on your gifts, they will make room for you.






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