Many years ago, my family discovered a small journal that my grandfather had written in 1915, 2 years before he left for World War I. It contained a short essay titled simply, “My Guide.” Here's a paragraph from it: To respect those I love, my country, and above all myself. To be as honest and as fair with my fellow man as I know how, and to expect them to be honest and fair with me in return. To keep my future clear of debt by saving as well as by earning, and to guard my health of body and peace of mind as my most precious stock in trade. To use my strengths and skills to the best of my abilities, and to share the rewards of my success with my community. I was impressed that my grandfather, who would go on to become a successful businessman and patriarch of a large family, had thought about his life's philosophy at age 22. But I didn't think much more about my grandfather's words until years later when I met another person who would prove to be very influential in my life.
Jim Rohn was a public speaker and author of self-help books, known throughout the world as a “business philosopher.” I had the pleasure of attending a number of his talks and workshops and listened to his audio books until the tapes fell apart. His words have influenced many of my decisions (the best ones) over the past 20 years. I count him as one of my mentors. Sadly, he died at the end of 2009. Rohn taught that most of personal success boils down to a handful of basics. The cornerstone of Rohn's message was that you must put time and effort into thinking about your goals, priorities, and personal philosophy, because these things set your compass for later career and job satisfaction. One of his oft-cited pieces of advice is, “Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.”