It was with sadness I learned of the passing this past weekend of a man that had a great influence on my life, Jim Rohn. Most technical people have never heard of Mr. Rohn, but he was a giant in the field of personal development. Jim was the picture of heath until a couple of years ago when he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. He was 79.
As not only a software tester, but a business owner, I learned early on that I had to learn about what it means to be successful in business. Not in a greedy way, but in a way that helps others. Mr. Rohn taught me how to do that.
I'm not a believer in "The Secret" - the idea that you attract the things that come into your life - good and bad. (I do believe we can attract certain things by what we do, but that's different.) Anyway, I did have an experience that was amazing in the realm of goals.
I started Rice Consulting back in 1990 with no idea of where it would lead or even if it would be successful. I just knew that very few consultants and trainers specialized in testing at that time.
Before long, I realized my business lacked direction and control, so I started looking for how to get that positive direction. One resource I found was a tape set called "The Art of Exceptional Living" by Jim Rohn. I listened to those tapes at least a dozen times while I would be on walks, driving, etc. In fact, I still listen to them on occasion.
I thought, "I would sure like to meet Mr. Rohn in person one day." Then, amazingly about six months later he came to Oklahoma City to present a half-day session on The Seasons of Life. I bought the VIP ticket so I could attend a pre-event reception. I remember like yesterday seeing Mr. Rohn standing at the side of the room with no one else around, so I introduced myself and asked if it was OK to ask a question. He graciously said, "Of course."
I asked Mr. Rohn a question I would not have asked anyone else because I knew he came from the same spiritual perspective as me. "Do you think it is possible to be too rich?" I asked.
He paused, pursed his lips and said, "Well...let me see...Is it possible to be too happy? Or too healthy? Or have too many good relationships? No...I don't think you can be too rich."
Now, context is important here. I had heard Jim's teaching on "enlighted wealth" where it's not the accumulation of prosperity for the sake of ourselves, so I knew he was not advocating wealth at any cost. I was just curious because of my lower middle class background and past spiritual teachings.
Since then, I have heard him say that humans are the only creatures that place limits on their own growth. So, it would be like asking, "Can a tree grow too tall?"
Jim was the person that taught me the importance of communication and how ideas are conveyed. He also taught me that it's possible to create something tangible from something intangible, like an idea.
Jim touched millions of people around the world. If you would like to see the tributes, there are many at http://tribute.jimrohn.com/. There are also some video clips there of his teaching. If you are inspired and want to go deeper, I highly recommend "The Art of Exceptional Living (abridged version)" or full version as a starting point.
Jim Rohn will be missed, but he left a legacy of teaching that will endure for a long, long time. I know he is in a better place.