We have heard it over and over–change begins with you…you as in “I”, “Me.” Success begins with looking inward. It all comes down to you. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series have focused on exactly that–self growth. Once you have learned to master yourself, you will begin to look for ways to grow your resources (usually starting with finances). Rohn has some interesting things to share regarding this topic…

For starters, we can all agree greed is not a virtue, and that it isn’t right to use others for personal gain. Conversely, the honorable pursuit of excellence, and hard work, is typically rewarded and realized, whether financially or another way. 

Financial Independence

Rohn argues that a service to many will lead to great wealth, recognition, satisfaction, and ultimately financial independence.  In The Richest Man in Babylon, a 1926 book by George S. Clason that infuses parables based in 2000 BC Babylon with financial wisdom, the overall theme is what you do with what you have is more important than what you have. It’s really true — what you do with your money says a lot about you and your priorities.

But before getting to the place where you have a lot of money to do anything with, you HAVE to have a plan for obtaining financial independence.  

Rohn argues that you need to stop believing that “if” you had more money, you would have a better plan, and instead accept that, if you had a better plan, you would have more money.

It’s not the amount that matters, but the plan.

It’s not what you allocate, but how you allocate it.

Here are the money principles Rohn outlines:

1. Spend 70% of your net income (this includes life expenses like mortgage, rent, cars, etc.)

2.  Put 10% towards charity/church tithe.

3. 10% towards engaging in the marketplace with buying, fixing, selling, and some sort of hobby

4. Use 10% on investing in the marketplace. Keep strict financial accounts so you know where it all goes

How do I make a change tomorrow?

As past blogs in this series have covered, it is the small habits done consistently over the course of time that contribute to change. But it’s also true that on any day, you can massively change your life with one choice (for good or ill.) Start with those little disciplines – those small but pivotal habits you build day by day. You can’t do the big ones until you do the small ones. Keep in mind, too, that you can’t change people, so spend your energy on your own self-motivation.

Start changing your life

To do this, you need ideas. You need to understand how things work. Put the ideas that come to you and the information you learn in your journal. Go over the things you write down repeatedly and study them. Learn as much as you can and find out all that you are able to about your ideas. In this way, you’re practicing what Jesus says in the Bible is to be “like a child,” which can be done in four ways:

–          Be curious

–          Be excited

–          Have faith

–          Have trust

Another way to start changing now is to become a good reader. You can and will learn from others’ experiences. Not only that, but a good book can save you five years of your life. Instead of wasting time on trial and error, you could learn from someone who’s been there already. Read, and then make your own decisions.

Learn the setup

The world is run on laws. You might not like them, but you need to know them so you can avoid getting hurt. In the same way, you don’t have to like “the setup”, but you have to learn it. The Bible presents it for us pretty clearly.  

The Law of Use: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. This applies to a lot of things, whether it is your arm, your brain, strong feelings, ambition, faith, energy, etc. Take the time to take an inventory of yourself and make sure you are using all your abilities. (See Bible’s Parable of the Talents)

The Law of Sowing and Reaping: Whatever you sow, you shall reap. Don’t try to beat this law. If you don’t like the crop you get (what you reap), ask yourself, who planted (sowed) it? To go a step further, you don’t just reap what you sow, you reap MORE than what you sow – both positive and negative.  “If you sow to the wind, you reap the whirlwind.”

To tie all of this back to finances again, think about this: How much does your TV cost? Rohn reframes the question this way – it’s not just the amount of money you paid for the TV equipment itself – not just the flat screen and wall mount… but the thousands of dollars a year you effectively spend to watch it.  That’s the “sowing” that Rohn is talking about. You could be using that TV-watching time to do instead the very things that will produce (“reap”) in you actual, real change. What you reap could in turn be the financial independence you seek.  

These principles are seemingly simple… but simple does not mean easy. Some of the simplest things in life are the hardest to execute. We don’t like the answer because it seems to elementary, so we look for another flashier way. I’ve done this dozens of times and have found over and over to still the these age-old fundamentals. There is a reason they have lasted the test of time.

Part 4 of Tim’s Notes on “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn. Read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3