The Set of the Sail

The late Jim Rohn is someone I would loved to have met…

Jim was once known as America’s greatest business philosopher and his principles are timeless. Through the wonder of YouTube, I have learnt a great deal from him. For me, he is like the wise family member or mentor you turn to in challenging times. There is a great story about Jim’s journey in life from being broke with a young family or having ‘no pennies in his pocket’ as he put it, to becoming a world renowned multi-millionaire. Perhaps that is a story for another day.

In this post I am going to briefly discuss one of Jim’s great principles – to set a better sail.

For Jim, the common complaints of ‘the marketplace is not good enough, government policy is not right/ideal, taxes are too high’ etc. are pointless. At any given point in time they are all we have. They are the environment in which we operate and are pretty much the same for everyone else in our marketplace. Our focus should not be on trying to change these things* but to have a better business philosophy.  Throughout history, in even the toughest of times, some businesses thrive and others struggle. Jim’s own analogy was that these factors are like the prevailing winds and we should not spend our time wishing for a better wind (this is naive). We should wish for the wisdom and skills to set a better sail against them. It’s not these factors that need to change but us.

When I find myself complaining about some external factor beyond my control (which I often do), I try to remind myself to set a better sail…

‘Set your sails to make the most of whatever wind may blow’ – Jim Rohn

*Of course, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t seek to change something when we have a level of control over it, just that for most environmental factors we can’t.