Put in Your Time

Jim Rohn is one of my favorite self-development teachers.  I’ve been mentored by him over the past few years through his writings and recorded seminars.  I have never met him.  He died in 2009 after a full life.

Some time ago, I heard him dispense this nugget, worthy of wrapping one’s head around:

“Make rest a necessity, not an objective.”

Now that’s a new and powerful way of highlighting the importance of working hard.

Rest is something we earn.  This sounds foreign to American ears.  We are used to the “standard” of a forty-hour work week.  But forty hours of labor over a seven-day period—as enough to get ahead–is distinctly Western and recent.  Our grandparents didn’t think like this.

I’ve heard it said that if you’re only working forty hours a week, it’s not likely you’ll get ahead–certainly not as far ahead as your dreams, goals, and ambitions.

Even God worked six days out of seven when He created the cosmos.  He wasn’t done on Friday afternoon at 5:00.

I have family members who are doctors, attorneys, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, Federal officials, and much more.  They’ve all gotten where they’re at the old-fashioned way:  They worked their tails off.  Nobody handed any of them anything.

Here are just a few benefits that will return to you with greater effort and longer hours, as you create a life:

  • You will certainly grow in your chosen fields of vocation and avocation.
  • Your sense of accomplishment will increase as you tackle and master more skills and meet goals.
  • You will run far ahead of the pack simply because many, if not most, are content to put their expected time in, satisfied with “working their forty hours.”
  • Your earning potential will undoubtedly increase, especially if the extra effort is focused and you strive for greater levels of excellence at all to which you put your hands to.

This is not to praise workaholism, far from it.  But in a culture that lives for the weekend, for partying, for good times and leisure, one tends to get an unrealistic picture of what it takes to win at life and realize your full potential.  It’s simply a matter of adjusting your perspective to accord with reality.

My advice is this:  See work and labor not as a curse, but as a blessing.  Some of the most successful people in recent memory got that way, in sizeable measure, because they love working:  Sumner Redstone, Howard Schultz, Charlie Munger, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. Even Kate Upton (see the photo). Look for lots of increases in lots of different places as you likewise work harder toward fulfilling your destiny.

And, when you have striven and exerted and are tired, then rest.

You’ve earned it.


Suggested Resources:

Leading an Inspired Life (Jim Rohn)

Twelve Pillars (Jim Rohn & Chris Widener)


Image Credit


No Easy Run

“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.”

(Dean Karnazes)


Suggested Resources:

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (Dean Karnazes)

Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine (Tom Jordan)

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Christopher McDougall)


Image Credit


Larry Bird’s Hall of Fame Habit

The Work Ethic of Larry BirdIn 1979, Larry Joe Bird, “the hick from French Lick (Indiana)”, first broke into the NBA, the beginning of a long and spectacular career with the Boston Celtics.  Larry had a practice regimen that he faithfully observed throughout his career.  He would arrive at the venue at least two hours before game time and, with the help of a ball boy, shoot baskets.  Over and over.  Before every single game.  Larry said that through hard work and self-discipline, he was able to go farther in his career than other guys who had better natural gifts but didn’t work hard developing their talents.  Though Bird was tall (6’9”), he couldn’t run or jump well.  But he could outshoot and outthink his opponents.  This he did time and time again.

We all come into life with certain aptitudes, advantages and challenges.  What we do with what we’ve been given determine the kinds of lives we make for ourselves.  Quality and success in life do not come automatically.  You may have superior intelligence, even brilliance.  But if you neglect the hard work of study, learning, practice and productivity, your potential will remain unfulfilled.  That software developer, entrepeneur, author, cardiologist or Grammy Award-winning musician inside you does not emerge automatically.

Some years ago a friend of mine was working on his Ph.D (in education).  When asked what types of students earn their doctorates (versus those who don’t), he remarked, “The Einsteins wash out.” Why? “Because you can’t outsmart the work.”  That was the secret of Thomas Edison’s genius.  “It’s plain hard work that does it.”

Similarly, you may have come into life with health problems in your family tree.  Those challenges do not have to define or limit your life.  You may have obesity, heart disease or high blood pressure in your family line but their effects are not necessarily inevitable.  Again, it takes work—the hard but fruitful work of exercising, eating carefully, avoiding unhealthy behaviors and stuff.

Life is what we make it.  It’s a canvas to paint on.  Like Larry Bird, with hard work and self-discipline, we can take modest giftings, even disadvantages and turn them into a Hall of Fame life.

Image Credit

Rocky, Telling It Like It Is

rocky-balboa-trailerMy wife and I are huge fans of the “Rocky” movies.  In this moving scene from “Rocky Balboa,” Rocky gives his grown son powerful advice about taking personal responsibility for one’s life, career, dreams and choices.


Image Credit

Uneven Performance and Excellence

Uneven PerformanceDerek Jeter, throughout a stellar career in Major League Baseball that has spanned eighteen seasons, gets a hit—on average—only three times for every ten at-bats.  And he is destined for induction in the Hall of Fame, probably the first ballot, five years after he retires.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player to step onto an NBA court, has missed more shots than he’s taken.  That’s an admission out of his own mouth and a matter of statistical fact.  And he’s Michael Jordan—a Hall of Famer and the standard by which professional hoopsters are judged.

Thomas Edison had over a thousand failures before he perfected the incandescent light bulb.  He kept at it until he got it right.

None of us is perfect.  We are all uneven performers in every conceivable area of life.  And yet we are capable of excellence and being outstanding in those things to which we put our hands.  Think about that.

Excellence does not mean never making a mistake, striking out, dropping a pass or making a train wreck of a meeting or conversation.  It does mean, however, getting up and dusting off, stepping back into the batter’s box, and calling someone and saying, “I’m sorry.  I blew it.  Please forgive me.”

Failed recently?  Join the club.  You are not a god and neither am I.  We are uneven often, perhaps most of the time.  But we keep at it.  We don’t stop trying.  We double down and give better effort and evaluate failure points as well as those times where we succeeded.

Okay now—no self-pity.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Bruised egos are not fatal by any means.  Get back on that horse and charge!

Image Credit

Running and Mojo Recovery

Running and Mojo RecoveryIt’s your thirtieth birthday.  The date:  August 23, 1992.  You have a successful career as a marketing executive in the San Francisco Bay area.  You wake up strangely unexcited.  You have lunch with your wife whom you adore.  Later, you and your wife gather with friends in a local bar for dinner and drinks, in celebration of your big day.

The evening wears on and your wife decides to go home and turn in.  You elect to stay with your friends.  As you mingle, an attractive woman begins making overtures, coming on to you.  Her message is clear.

What do you do?

You excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, located towards the back of the bar.  You find a rear exit and leave.  Without any goodbyes.  You walk home, to the house occupied by the wife you adore, now sleeping.

Something needs to be worked out of you.  Thirty is a watershed.  You should be happy but aren’t.  You need to clear your head.

What do you do?

You strip down to your skivvies and t-shirt, find an old pair of running shoes in the garage and put them on.  You let your wife sleep.  Clad only in your underwear, shirt, socks and sneakers, you begin running.

You haven’t run in fifteen years.  You gave it up when an arrogant track and field coach laughed at you.  You were, after all, a cross-country guy who ran with heart and had served another coach with heart.  But he retired.

You run thirty miles without stopping except to grab burritos and a Coke and press on.  People think you’re crazy.  And you probably are.

That night is a rebirth for you.

That’s what you do if you’re Dean Karnazes.

Read his book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner.  The whole story and much more is there.  You won’t regret it.  You may even begin to think about what really matters in life.  It ain’t prestige, position or the other trappings of Yuppiedom.

Dean got his mojo back that night and hasn’t stopped running.  That was almost twenty-one years ago.

What will it take to get your mojo back, to recover your heart?

Image Credit

Cheating: Don’t

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Major League Baseball handed down sizeable suspensions to a number of players today who’ve either admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs or have tested positive for such substances.  It is a sorry day for the sport.  You can read about it here.

People cheat to get a leg up on the competition.  People cheat for the thrill of risk of exposure.  People cheat to save money.  They are losers, all.

Recent U.S. history is awash in stories of cheating by high-profile individuals in every conceivable arena where there is competition or some other advantage to gain.  Finance (Bernie Madoff, Michael Milken), sports (list is endless—see the above link), sexual (politicians, preachers, actors and actresses too numerous to mention).  It is a problem.

No, it is a plague.  An epidemic.

Business owners routinely keep two sets of books, paying people under the table or taking elaborate or not-so-subtle steps to avoid paying employee and business taxes owed the government.  Regular folks like you and me are put to the test every tax season:  Will we declare all of our non-gifted income?  Many of us fail the test.  Spouses and couples often cheat one another through outright affairs, flirting, or pornographic indulgences.  Universities are often finding whole groups of students who cheat their way through exams or try to pass off written material as their own.

Cheaters usually get caught.  With technology today, it’s easier than ever both to cheat and to get snared in the act.

Cheaters have an asterisk next to their name in their annals—whether sports records or an otherwise remarkable career.  What do you think of when you hear the names Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, and Enron?  Sports?  Governance and politics?  Big business?  No, I don’t either.

Cheaters, ultimately, cheat themselves.  In the end, they only fool the person they see in the bathroom mirror each morning.  I know.  I’ve cheated before.  One makes good and bad choices in half a century of life.  And I lost.  The scorn cheaters earn for coloring outside the lines is just that:  Earned.  Actions have consequences.

Thinking about cheating, then?


Image Credit