“The book you don’t read can’t help you;
– Jim Rohn
This message is the kind you would expect at a graduation ceremony. However, I believe the essence of it belongs almost everywhere: in college recruiting conversations, freshmen orientation, classroom lectures, course assignments, student meetings with the dean, family meetings, parents advising their children, employee meetings with the boss, team meetings, church services and blog posts like this one.
“Knowledge gives you power… The more knowledge
you have about a subject, the better equipped
you become to link your daily experience to new opportunity.”
– Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar, “Born to Win”, p. 79, 81
Knowledge is Important, But…
Apparently, when it comes to formal education, we get it! Formal education is widely considered invaluable as part of life’s preparation. Although I tend to qualify this because the college experience is valuable only to the extent that one pays attention. The late Jim Rohn said it this way: “Rarely does a good idea interrupt you.”
Educational opportunities created in school make way for the acquisition of knowledge and a controlled environment where students can experiment with what they learn. Of course, the diploma that one earns has value as a key credential for employment and advancement. However, there’s one success factor that is widely overlooked — self-education. College isn’t the only development opportunity and it doesn’t meet all growth needs.
“Formal education will make you a living.
Self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
…Knowledge Without Wisdom is Impotent!
Your diploma is not a guarantee for success. It’s not an invitation for a seat at the boardroom table. It’s not a ticket to employment. It’s not even a promise of getting an interview. It is merely one of many essential credentials to be considered for employment. While having an education will not always lead to the interview you want, you can be certain that not having one will likely disqualify from getting the interview. The reason is simple. Employers hire people, not repositories of knowledge. The value you bring to the market goes beyond what you know.
Preparation Increases Your Value
Whether the task is small or large, always prepare. Preparing means, “equipping yourself with the tools, skills, knowledge and attitudes you need to turn your plans into reality.” Preparation includes learning, planning and practice. Only then can you expect consistent and successful execution.
“The few who do are the envy of the many
who only watch.” – Jim Rohn
Success is the result of our daily commitment to preserving and increasing our value in the marketplace. So, every day we should ask ourselves the following three questions:
- What will I do today to learn and grow? (my promises)
- What will I do today to implement what I’ve learned and who I’ve become? (my promises)
- How well did I do today in the areas of learning and implementation? (assessing my promises)
“You must get good at one of two things:
planting in the spring or begging in the fall.” – Jim Rohn
Prepare to Win is more than a slogan. It’s the name of a program to help you become a better learner and a better implementer. Click HERE for more information.
“I used to say, ‘I sure hope things will change.’
– Jim Rohn, The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn, p. 21
Tiny Seeds of Success and Significance
Successful people often recall seminal moments that changed their lives. At the time, these events often seemed small. It was only after the fact that they realized how a small event was actually a BIG life-changing moment. The clarity that comes from experience and 20-20 hindsight can reveal the true impact of many small events. Get out your magnifying glass as we take a look closely at small things that molded big people.
From Farmhand to Philosopher
The late Jim Rohn’s destiny shifted at the age of 25, the day he met his mentor Earl Shoaff. “Little did I know how this encounter would change my life…” This meeting preceded many mentoring moments that shaped a lump of clay into “America’s Foremost Business Philosopher.”
Small Moments Bigger Than a Tornado
Ed Thomas, football coach and author of “The Sacred Acre” points to three simple lessons taught by his parents. These not only stuck with him, but formed beliefs that led to inspiring attitudes, that led an entire community to regain hope, that led to the rebuilding of Parkersburg, Iowa after it was leveled by an EF5 tornado.
“…the greatest power God gives any of us is the power to choose.”
“Adversity not only reveals character; it shapes it if we let it.”
“When you make the right choice, adversity becomes a tremendous opportunity
rather than a problem to be solved.”
Coach Thomas first applied these philosophies in his role as head football coach. Who would have predicted their importance in the wake of a tragic event?
The Wall of Gratitude
One of Zig Ziglar’s favorite life-changing stories was the day P.C. Merrill took him aside and said, “You can be a great one… if, you believe in yourself and go to work on a regular schedule.” Zig believed these words and the rest is history. That is, until 1972, when an elderly black woman, who was a weekend house guest, led him to Christ. He said, “My savior came into my life in a very real way that weekend. I’ve always been grateful that she was not prejudiced.” Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, I think it’s easy to recognize the significance of this moment in Zig’s life. Zig is gone from this life, but his countless so-called “small things” are becoming bigger by the minute.
Zig’s “Wall of Gratitude” honors people who were part of his life-changing moments. If you were to create such a monument, who would be included and what moments would they represent? The questions below could help you decide.
Questions About Life-changing Moments
Are life-changing moments accidental matters of coincidence or could these apparent accidents be divine gifts? Can we engineer these moments by the choices we make? Or is it that our choices are merely the means by which we accept divine gifts? Who has entered your life to deliver a divine gift?