Jim Rohn, considered by many as America’s greatest business philosopher, said many things worth remembering. His quote, “Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune,” is on my mind lately. I am writing a book on Change, and the change that I am writing about is changing me. The stimulus for this latest change effort of mine was several major experiences in 2017, the latest of which was living through Hurricane Irma when it hit St. Maarten on September 6, 2017. A quote that came to me during that major life experience was, “When I thought I was going to die, I decided to really live.” What “really live” means for me is still evolving. I have, however, made several changes that make my life more satisfying. More about those later. This post isn’t really about me, or my latest book. It is about the insight that can hopefully be of benefit to you.
Change is so easy to talk about. There are many books on Change and many more articles. Most of the books and articles are about changing an organization, a team, or a business. Those changes are important, and as a consultant, I have worked with companies and individuals to enact wide-scale organizational change. All of those changes also involved changes in the behavior of people. Unfortunately, if the changes did not change the behavior of the person in charge, the CEO, the changes were only temporary. I had some success with that, and some failure. While I accept responsibility for facilitating those changes, or not, I recognized then and now that a facilitator cannot really change anything or anyone if the heart of the CEO doesn’t change. If there is no change in the heart, there is no sustainable change in behavior.
“Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” You may not want to make a fortune, money is not a motivator for some people. But all of us want to be able to afford what is most important to us, and that is getting more and more expensive. So, interpret from Jim Rohn’s quote that “fortune” means being able to afford whatever you want. And to hopefully have enough to be able to share some of your fortune with others. While we still can, while there is still time.
It happened again yesterday. Another person I know died. He was not a close friend, but he was someone that I always enjoyed seeing, and chatting with briefly. He passed away unexpectedly. Another person I knew professionally died a few weeks ago, also unexpectedly. Is it because I am getting older that more people are dying? I now read obituaries and look for the ages and causes of death of those whom I did not even know! I realize that this is old people behavior! I also take comfort in the fact that my father-in-law is soon to be ninety-five years of age, and a friend is soon to be ninety-six!
But, should we, or I, really be focused on how long we live, or how well we live? Is living a happy and satisfying life more important than how long we live? Probably. If so, then, what are we going to do today to change whatever we want and need to change to be and have what is most important to us? And we know what those changes we need to make are if we are honest with ourselves. We just haven’t gotten serious enough yet to do the hard work to make those changes.
It is too late for those whom I mentioned who passed away to make any changes. But it isn’t too late for those reading this, or for me. We still have time, but we do not know how much time. Life changes on the dime. It is risky to wait.