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Andy’s Notes from Business Folks: Jim Rohn – Why Not You? and Why Not Now?

What’s Holding You Back? – Doubt You’d Say It Was Your Philosophy, But It Might Just Be

“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor of how your life turns out.” – Jim Rohn

It’s easy to blame your situation, other people, the economy, or a host of things when matters don’t go your way.  Unfortunately, blaming doesn’t help you get to a new spot.  The tendency to blame is just one reflection of a personal philosophy that can hold you back.  Jim Rohn regularly spoke about the opportunities of developing your own personal philosophy, so you can design the life of your dreams and get a chance to live it.

Introduction to Jim Rohn

I first learned of Jim Rohn through another purveyor in the personal development world, Darren Hardy (he’ll be featured in a future article), since Darren studied under Jim early in Darren’s career.  Jim was an early practitioner in the self-improvement arena and through the videos and recordings of Jim’s live sessions seem antiquated nowadays, the timeless truths he shared still have tremendous value today. 

Here are six of Jim’s philosophical quotes that have stuck with me:

  1. “We must all suffer one of two things:  the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”
  2. “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”
  3. “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
  4. “Learn how to be happy with what you have, while you pursue all you want.”
  5. “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.  Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills.  Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
  6. “For things to change, YOU have to change.  For things to get better, YOU have to get better.  For things to improve, YOU have to improve.  When YOU grow, EVERYTHING grows with you.”

Thinking deep into those quotes should be instructional for you.  Remembering them reminds me of the challenges that Jim posed to his listeners.  One of the most memorable and inspiring of Jim’s messages came in the form of a series of four questions that Jim would often ask, particularly as he would wrap up one of his talks.

Four Questions That Will Change Your Life – Jim Rohn

Jim shared four questions with his audiences that were valuable to him, and I hope they can be valuable for you, as well

Question #1 – Why?

You ask Why? quite often for a variety of reasons.  Jim suggested a few Why questions to ask yourself:

  • Why should we work this hard?
  • Why take that many classes? Why go to school that many years?
  • Why take the notes?  Why read the books?
  • Why work that hard?  Why put yourself through the pushups and the disciplines?

Jim would often say that if your Why is big enough, your How gets easier.  Whether it’s your family or a cause, or an accomplishment, the bigger and clearer your Why might be, the easier it will be to achieve it.

Question #2 – Why Not?

Jim would say that one of the best answers to the first question was the second question, Why Not?  He shared a few Why Not questions to ask yourself:

  • Why not see how many books you can read?  …how many classes you can take?  …how many skills you can develop?
  • Why not see how valuable you can become….to the marketplace, to your friends, and to your family?
  • Why not see what you can make of yourself?
  • Why not see how far you can go?  …how much you can see? …how much you can earn?  …how much you can share?

You have such opportunities, especially if you live in the United States.

Question #3 – Why Not You?

Jim always said he wanted to ask the third question to you in person, but because he realized that it wasn’t possible to spend personal time with everyone, he suggested that you imagine he was sitting next to just you and asking, Why Not You?

  • Why not you?  With good self-esteem and starting to change.
  • Why not you?  Making progress towards financial independence.

Jim would say, “If I can do it, you can do it.”  He was just a farm boy from Idaho, and he ended up on stages sharing his story with thousands of people.  He’d suggest that you’ve likely heard stories of folks that went from nothing to running a company, or achieving their dreams.

Then he’d say, “If we can change, you can change.  If we can figure it out, you can figure it out. If we can turn it around, you can turn it around.”

Question #4 – Why Not Now?

Jim would say that this is a good time.  A good time to set your goals, to work on yourself, to work on your skills.  A good time to get it together, to start this process….of personal development, of growing, changing, developing…of having a good plan for your money and for your life….now is a good time.

Jim would usually conclude by saying that he hoped to see you one of these days, and hear your story of how you used some of his philosophy to reach your goals, your dreams, and your future.


Jim was a philosopher, and his four-question sequence was designed to engage you and inspire you.  Asking Why? Why not? Why not you? and Why not now? can prompt you to take action to become all that you can be with what you’ve been given.  Take the time to ask yourself those questions and see what actions you’re inspired to take.

After hearing Jim Rohn’s four questions, I was inspired both to answer them for myself and to hear more of what Jim had to share.  I was fortunate to be able to listen to several of his programs and long-form teaching sessions.  Hearing the stories behind the philosophy helped bring the message home for me.

Consider the Four Questions.

It starts with Why? and I made a list.  From my family to my desire to become all I could be with all that I’d been given, I quickly found I had plenty of motivation to get to work on myself.  I wanted to improve my skills and my value to the marketplace and the people that mattered most to me.

When I asked myself Why Not? I couldn’t come up with any good reasons that I shouldn’t take action.  I had every reason to get started, and I was inspired to act.

When I asked myself Why Not Me? I again couldn’t come up with any reasons that I couldn’t reach all of my dreams.  I had plenty going for me, and I knew many examples of folks that had started with less, dealt with more difficult situations than mine, and still been tremendously successful.  People I knew and admired had achieved their dreams by overcoming unbelievable difficulties.  I was firmly convinced that I could do whatever I could dream.

Finally, when I asked myself Why Not Now? there wasn’t any good reason not to get started right away.  Hearing Jim’s talk was intended to put me in a reflective mode. and I couldn’t help but think deeply about my life and my future.  There is no better time than right now to get started.

Get to Work.

Inspired to take immediate action, I committed myself to a state of ongoing learning.  I started with all Jim’s materials I could find, along with Darren Hardy’s and many more.  My range of learning has expanded over the years, but I’ve tried to go deeper and apply what I’ve learned, rather than continue to dabble in lots of areas.

Jim said that “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” I committed myself to establishing key disciplines in my life that would put me on a path to success.

  • Do you have a big Why? that drives you to achieve?
  • Who is counting on you?  Are you living up to their expectations and your own?
  • Are your goals clearly defined?  Do you have a plan for accomplishing them?
  • Are you waiting for something before you really start pursuing your goals?
  • Would people say that you seem happy with what you have, even as you pursue more of what you want?
  • Do you sometimes feel like a victim and blame the economy, or something or someone else for your situation?
  • Do you believe that you can achieve all your dreams?
  • Do you believe that you can change?  …and that everything can change for you?

Jim Rohn was born in 1930 and grew up as an only child on a farm in Caldwell, Idaho.  His family was poor, but Jim became a millionaire at age 30, and went broke when he was 33.  He later became a millionaire again.  He was a world-renowned speaker who many credit for influencing their careers including Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, and Darren Hardy.  Jim was the author of numerous written, audio, and video media including The Power of Ambition, Take Charge of Your Life, and The Day That Turns Your Life Around.

  1. Do you have a personal philosophy that you’ve written down?
  2. What’s holding you back from achieving your goals and dreams?
  3. What’s one change you could make today that would shift one aspect of your life into a more positive direction?

Please answer the questions and add your comments below. 

We look forward to hearing from you!