Let me pass on to you these four simple steps to success:
No. 1 is good ideas.
Be a collector of good ideas. My mentor taught me to keep a journal when I was 25 years old. I’ve been doing it now all these years. They will be passed on to my children and my grandchildren. If you hear a good health idea, capture it, write it down. Don’t trust your memory. Then on a cold wintry evening, go back through your journal, the ideas that changed your life, the ideas that saved your marriage, the ideas that bailed you out of bankruptcy, the ideas that helped you become successful, the ideas that made you millions. What a good review. Go back over the collection of ideas that you gathered over the years. So be a collector of good ideas for your business, for your relationships, for your future.
The next step to success is to have good plans:
a good plan for the day, a good plan for the future, a good health plan, a good plan for your marriage. Building anything is like building a house—you need to have a plan. Now here is a good time-management question: When should you start the day? Answer: As soon as you have it finished. It is like building a house, building a life. What if you just started laying bricks and somebody asks, “What are you building?” And you say, “I have no idea.” See, they would come and take you away to a safe place. So, don’t start the house until you finish it. Now, is it possible to finish the house before you start it? Yes, but it would be foolish to start before you had it finished. Not a bad time-management idea. Don’t start the day until it is pretty well finished—at least the outline of the day. Leave some room to improvise. Leave some room for extra strategies, but finish it before you start it.
And here is the next piece that is a little more challenging:
Do not start the week until you have it finished. Lay it out, structure it, and then put it to work. Then the next one is a little tougher yet; do not start the month until you have it finished.
And finally the big one, don’t start the year until it is finished on paper.
It’s not a bad idea, toward the end of the year, to sit down with your family for the family structure plans, sit down in your business for the business plans, sit down with your financial advisor for your investments and map out the year... properties to buy, properties to sell, places to go with your family, lay out the year. I finally learned to do that. It was also helpful for my family to show them where they appeared on my calendar. You know I used to have my business things on there and I used to have my lectures and my seminars all laid out on my calendar, and guess what the children said, “Where are we on the game plan? Please show us our names on the game plan.” So you need to do it for your children, for your spouse, for your friends.
Now, here is the third step to success, and it can be really challenging.
Learn to handle the passing of time. It takes time to build a career, it takes time to make changes, so give your project time. Give your people time. If you’re working with people, give them time to learn, grow, change, develop, produce. And here is the big one, give yourself time. It takes time to master something new. It takes time to make altered changes and refinement in philosophy as well as activity. Give yourself time to learn, time to get it, time to start some momentum, time to finally achieve. It is easy to be impatient with yourself. I remember when I first tried to learn to tie my shoes. The shoestrings, it seemed like it would take me forever. Finally I got it and it didn’t take forever, but it seemed like for a while I’d never learn, I’d get it backward; the bow goes up and down instead of across. How do I straighten that out? Finally I got it, it just took time.
Mama taught me a little bit about playing the piano. “Here is the left hand scale,” she’d say. I got that, it was easy. Then she said, “Here is the right hand scale.” I got that. That was easy. Now, she said, “We are going to play both hands at the same time.” I said, “Well, how can you do that?” Now, one at a time was easy... but at the same time? Looking at this hand and looking at that hand, finally I got it. Finally I got where I could play the scales with both hands. Then I remember the day she said, “Now we are going to read the music and play with both hands.” I thought, “You can’t do all that.” But you know, sure enough I’m looking at the music, looking at each hand, a little confused at first, but finally I mastered it. It took a little time to read the music and play with both hands. Then I remember the day she said, “Now we are going to watch the audience, read the music and play with both hands.” I thought, “Now that is going too far!” How could you possibly do that? But, see, adding them one at a time and giving myself time to master one before we went to the next one, sure enough I got to where I could watch the audience, read the music and play with both hands. So the lesson here is: Give yourself time; you can become a better pro, you can better master the art of parenting, you can better master the art of managing time, conserving resources, working together as a partner. Give yourself time.
And here’s the last one:
Learn to solve problems. Business problems, family problems, financial problems, emotional problems, etc.: challenges for us all. Here’s the best way to treat a problem: as an opportunity to grow. Change if you have to, modify if you must, discard an old philosophy that wasn’t working well for a new one. The best phrase my mentor ever gave me was when he said, “Mr. Rohn, if you will change, everything will change for you.” Wow, I took that to heart, and sure enough the more I changed the more everything changed for me.
So learn to master good ideas, have good plans, handle the passing of time and solve problems, and you will be on your way to more success than you could ever imagine!
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