5 Life Lessons You Never Learned in School

UPDATED: July 11, 2023
PUBLISHED: July 1, 2014

To the untrained ear, the advice given to Jim Rohn by his mentor Earl Schoaff sounds contradictory.

“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job,” the late philosopher says with his unique cadence and tone.

But listen to the words from Rohn’s mouth and you know that this man’s advice is anything but contradictory. He’s not saying you shouldn’t work hard at a job you love. The hard work comes naturally when you love what you do. What Rohn is saying is that personal development—the building and strengthening of you—is how you become better at everything else. Communication, time management, goal setting, leadership—these all improve when you do.

SUCCESS has compiled a series of five guides on communication, time management, goal setting, leadership and personal development, based on the transcripts of Rohn’s most popular lectures and writings. The Jim Rohn Guide Series comprises curated, 20-minute infusions of wisdom you’ll not likely find elsewhere.

Here we share the SUCCESS editors’ five favorite lessons from the series:

Lesson 1: Communication

“In order to be effective, your communication should be on purpose. Yes, occasionally you may say something off the top of your head and that can hold weight with others, but this is the exception and not the rule. Know what you want to communicate, when you want to communicate and how you want to communicate.”

—from The Jim Rohn Guide to Communication

Lesson 2: Personal Development

“The quest for personal development is the solving of problems. Success is simply solving problems. Sure, some things are complicated, but if you take it one piece at a time–solve the problems, put it back together–you can’t believe the enterprise you could build. Take it a piece at a time, master it, and then put it back together to solve it.”

—from The Jim Rohn Guide to Personal Development

Lesson 3: Goal Setting

“A life best lived is a life by design. Not by accident, and not by just walking through the day careening from wall to wall and managing to survive. That’s okay. But if you can start giving your life dimensions and design and color and objectives and purpose, the results can be staggering.”

—from The Jim Rohn Guide to Goal Setting

Lesson 4: Leadership

“Be strong but not rude. Be kind but not weak. Be bold but not a bully. Be humble but not timid. Be thoughtful but not lazy. Be proud but not arrogant. Have humor without folly.”

—from The Jim Rohn Guide to Leadership

Lesson 5: Time Management

“When you work, work. When you play, play. Don’t mix the two.”

—from The Jim Rohn Guide to Time Management

The Jim Rohn Guide Series is available in the SUCCESS Store for purchase individually or $14.95 for the entire set.

Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for SUCCESS.com. Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.