By Themba Msimango
One of my favourite authors, whom I respect highly, the late Jim Rohn once said, “It’s not what happens, it’s what you do that determines your future.” The ancient Stoic philosophers would fully agree with Rohn that we don’t control the world around us; we only control how we respond.
I was recently reminded about this timeless wisdom when I re-read the five major pieces to the life puzzle written by Jim Rohn published in 1991.I think this book is more relevant than ever to help us navigate the storms we are currently facing in the world right now. In this book Rohn unpacks five major things we should always keep in mind whether in good or bad times.
1.Philosophy: Most people don’t like the word philosophy because it’s mostly associated with academic complicated theories. Philosophy can simply be defined as the way you choose to live your life. Developing your personal philosophy is one of the major things that will contribute on how your life will turn out. For example, I believe in the Stoic philosophy that we don’t control the world around us, but we always have a choice on how we respond.
2. Attitude: Attitude is everything; it determines our level of potential. It produces the intensity of our activities and fairly predicts the quality of our results. The mind has the capacity to imagine and also has the ability to create.
3. Activity: When you know what you are aiming for, activities must be deliberately planned carefully, refined and consistently executed. The pain of discipline weighs only ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons. To produce desired results, we must put intelligence and intensity into our activity. Here’s an interesting fact and rule of nature, sometimes you will do the best job and plant your crops, water them daily without fail but come the reaping season a hailstorm damages your crops. This should not discourage us but make us truly understand that it’s outside of our control. We did our best with what we have which is what we need in all of our activities.
4. Results: Everything we have in life is a result of who we are; our philosophy, attitude and activities. How you choose to spend your day will influence your results. If you want to improve your life give special attention to philosophy, attitude and activities. In order to become more valuable you need to develop the necessary ingredients. For example, self-control, discipline, intense effort, consistency, patience,reading just to name a few.
5. Lifestyle: Design ways to live uniquely. It’s a skill to be mastered, not a condition to be pursued. For example, if you want to be happy, study and practice happiness. Start by thinking, feeling and acting happy. Happiness is an art not an accident.
All these five major pieces to the life puzzle will each contribute on how our lives will turn out. Rohn puts it succinctly, “whatever you reap is what you’ve sown.”
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Themba Msimango is a Stoic philosopher,co-founder of @ReadersMinds, writer and public relations professional