Philosophy is the chief cornerstone in the foundation of “The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.” A major factor in determining how our lives turn out is the way we choose to think. Everything that goes on inside the human mind in the form of thoughts, ideas and information forms our personal philosophy. Our philosophy then influences our habits and behavior, and this is really where it all begins.
OUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: HOW FORMED
Our personal philosophy comes from what we knowand from the process of how we cameto know all that we currently know. Throughout our lives we receive input from a multitude of sources. What we know comes from school, friends, associates, media influences, home, the streets; it comes from books and the process of reading; and it comes from listening and observing. The sources of knowledge and information that have contributed to the formation of our current philosophy are virtually unlimited. As adults all of the new information that comes our way is examined through the filter of our personal philosophy. Those concepts that seem to agree with the conclusions we have already reached are added to our storehouse of knowledge and serve to reinforce our current thinking. Those ideas that seem to contradict our beliefs are usually quickly rejected.
We are constantly in the process of checking our preexisting beliefs for accuracy or confirmation in the light of new information. As we blend the new with the old, the result is either the strengthening of our past beliefs or the broadening of our current philosophy in light of new and valuable information about life and people.
The same beliefs that form our personal philosophy also determine our value systems. Our beliefs led us to make certain decisions about what is valuable to us as human beings. As the day goes by, we choose to dowhatever we think is valuable.
We all have our own ideas about the things that affect our lives based on the information we have gathered over the years. Each of us has a personal view about government, education, the economy, our employer and a host of other issues. What we thinkabout these issues adds to our emerging philosophy and causes us to reach certain conclusions about life and how it operates. These conclusions then lead us to make specific value judgments, which determine how we will act on any given day and in any given circumstance. “We have all made and will continue to make decisions based upon what we think is valuable. Whether the decisions we are making will lead us toward inevitable success or unavoidable failure depends on the information we have gathered over the years to form our personal philosophy.”
PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: THE SET OF THE SAIL
Jim Rohn believes that in the process of living, the winds of circumstance blow on us all in an unending flow that touches each of our lives.
We have all experienced the blowing winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak. Why then, would each of us, in our own individual ship of life, all beginning at the same point, with the same intended destination in mind, arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all sailed on the same sea? Have we not all been blown by the same winds of circumstance and buffeted by the same turbulent storms of discontent?
What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail, Rohn would emphasize.“The way that each of us thinksmakes the major difference in where each of us arrives. The major difference is not circumstance; the majordifference is the set of the sail.”
The same circumstances happen to us all. We all have those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things justseem to fall apart. Challenging circumstances are not events reserved for the poor, the uneducated or the destitute. The rich andthe poor have children who get into trouble. The rich andthe poor have marital problems. The rich andthe poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. “In the final analysis, it is not what happensthat determines the quality of our lives, it is what we choose to dowhen we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed direction.”
When the winds change, wemust change. We must struggle to our feet once more and reset the sail in the manner that will steer us toward the destination of our own of our own deliberate choosing. The set of the sail, how we thinkand how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face. “How quickly and responsibly we react to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself.” Once we discipline ourselves to understand this, we will finally and willingly conclude that the great challenge of life is to control the process of our own thinking.
Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in a direction we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline. It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do and all that we think and decide. If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, bank account, lifestyle and relationships, and in how we feel about the things of value as well as the times of challenge. If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives.
“The greatest influence on what we decide to do with tomorrow’s opportunity is not going to be circumstance, but rather what and how we think.” What we think, and the conclusions we reach regarding life’s challenges, is going to be the sum total of what Rohn seems to be pontificating.
The learning process plays a major role in determining our personal philosophy. Over the years we have all managed to gather up considerable knowledge. We cannot live without the information that surrounds us making an impact on how we think. The human mind is continually taking pictures and recording the sights and sounds around us. Every experience is etched into the neurons of the brain. Every word, every song, every television program, every conversation, and every book has made an electrical or chemical imprint on our mental computers. Each emotion, each thought, each activity in which we have been engaged has created a new circuit in the brain, which is linked to all of the others circuits that already existed. All that has touched our lives has been indelibly recorded, and all that we now are is the result of an accumulation of input which is intricately connected by a delicate combination of chemical and electrical impulses stored in the three-pound brain. All that has ever happened in and around us is now this uniqueness we call SELF— the individual human being.
How we use all of this information and the way in which we assemble the knowledge we have gathered forms our personal philosophy. The problem is that much of the information we have gathered has resulted in erroneous conclusions about life that can actually block the achievement of our goals. The only way to eliminate these mental barriers is to review, reline and revise our personal philosophy.
Rohn advises that the best way to establish a new and powerful personal philosophy is to begin with an objective review of the conclusions we have drawn about life. Any conclusion that is not working forus may actually be working againstus.