I just finished reading The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, written by celebrated business-leader and trailblazer the late Jim Rohn. The book is based on what Mr. Rohn believed are the five pillars for success:
- Philosophy – the thoughts you adopt and live by.
- Attitude – the energy and intent you give to a situation.
- Action - what you do.
- Results – metrics- progress and results how you are moving towards your goal.
- Lifestyle - the kind of life you create for yourself by adopting the four principles above.
Not only did Mr. Rohn have a unique life perspective, he was clearly skilled in reframing scenarios into useful and empowering points of views. And he was famous for his quotes as well. For example, “Your income is related to your philosophy, not to the economy!” (How relevant is this today). Mr. Rohn’s common sense writing style can easily lead someone to think his book is a quick read. However, any serious reader will realize that The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle is laden with thought-provoking insights that are worth reflecting upon. Take for example – Mr. Rohn’s statement that:…
“…Success is something you attract by the person you become…Success is not something you pursue. (That’s like chasing a butterfly. You just quite can’t catch it)… Success is something you attract by being an attractive person….
What does Mr. Rohn mean by “success” and “attractive”? To most people the words automatically convey ‘money’ and ‘beauty’. But there are so many other definitions – that’s personal to everyone. Regardless of the myriad of associations those words call up, if we take the entire statement as a whole one of things we can conclude is that: Stagnation doesn't work; if what you are doing isn't working, meaning you don’t like the feedback you are receiving, then you need to adjust, grow, change, acquire the necessary tools – whatever those need to be - to help get you to your destination.
I’m reminded of two real-life examples: ONE - Debra Ehrhardt struggled for years in both New York City and Hollywood to become an established stage actress. This was her life-long dream; it’s what she trained for many years to be. She did everything “within the expected box” trying make things happen. You name it Debra did it… Auditions after auditions, sending out resumes and head-shots, responding to casting calls, etc... And still no one gave her any roles. She came close… but, still – nothing.
Debra realized that if wanted to be a working actress then things had to change; she had to become more than just an actress. Fortunately, unrestrained desire and ambition were on Debra’s side. If no one wanted to offer her a role, give her a break, then she would write her own roles. She learned the craft of playwriting and the business production side of the theatre industry and then mounted one-person plays in which - she – was the: producer, promoter as well as its star.
Her first play attracted network TV executives who eventually bought it. That being history, and still hungry to work the stage, Debra wrote a second one-person play, and won numerous prestigious awards for it. Her current play, Jamaica Farewell, in which she’s once again the producer, promoter and star, continues to be performed in sold-out theatres in the USA, Canada, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. It also caught the attention of a serious hi-profile movie mogul and is currently in the process of being turned into a major motion-picture.
TWO- Poverty and a lower caste family was what Kalpana Saroj was born into in India. Strangers, even family members called her horrible names when she was young. Getting beaten up on her daily eight mile trek to school and forbidden to drink from certain water wells was a common occurrence. Kalpana’s mother even told her to accept her fate, meaning there was no way out. At twelve Kalpana was forced into an abusive marriage. She eventually defied social pressures and left it, but doing so had its negative social consequences. Too much to tolerate, Kalpana tried taking her life - but survived.
This proved to be a turning point. She now had several options:(one), accept her fate as her mother said, (two), do a better job of taking her life, or (three), change her circumstances for the better – something people within her caste rarely had achieved. Kalpana took option three…to live the life that she wanted, despite what others expected and thought of her because of her social status – an untouchable.
Kalpana left her tiny village, made her way to the big city, Mumbai, and got a job in the garment industry paying her 15-cents a day. She taught herself how to use a variety of commercial sewing equipment which made her marketable, and as a result saw her income rise. At age twenty, she applied and received a government loan and opened her first business. It turned out that she had the gift for running a business. One successful venture led to another to the point that people who had a failing enterprise - regardless of what caste they came from - sought her consultation and offered her highly lucrative business opportunities. All this culminated in her becoming a titan in business. Today, in her early fifties, Kalpana’s worth millions and her combined companies are valued at over 100 million dollars. In addition to that, she met a businessman whom she married – by choice!
We can infer a lot from these examples. One thing is for sure: Debra Ehrhardt and Kalpana Saroj are successful by their standards. Both had to become more than what they were, doing whatever it took, whether it was by acquiring new skills, cultivating the appropriate mental attitude, adopting a new philosophy, etc. so they could change their circumstances and design a lifestyle on their terms. “…Success is something you attract by the person you become…”
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