The Five Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle by Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn, one of the great mentors in life coaching was asked if he could sum up a way to categorize life and he said, “I think I can.”

Here’s what he came up with, it is the five pieces of the life puzzle.

1. Philosophy

Jim says our personal philosophy comes from what we know and from the process of how we came to know all that we currently know. The what of we know comes from our friends, school, media (tv, radio, etc…), family life, and daily activities of interaction. Our personal philosophy acts as the filter for all information we come in contact with. What a powerful piece of information this is.

Jim says philosophy is the first and foremost determiner of where life takes you. Philosophy is like the set of the sail. Our philosophy sets the course for where we want to go. The wind may take us to unwanted destinations. But our core philosophy of what life means to us in every situation will be the primary factor of what life turns out for us.

I think there’s some great questions to ask about philosophy in regards to how it determines what life becomes for each of us. Here they are.

  • What about learning the history of the world?
  • What is the maximum income you can earn?
  • What type of person will you become if you achieve all your goals?
  • Is it possible to become worth millions?
  • Regardless of your situation, can you achieve greatness?
  • What can the best books teach you?
  • What does your team mean to you?
  • Why not be interested in life, capital, increase, and fulfillment?
  • If you give it all you have, what might happen?
  • Is there a limit to what you can do?

I think questions are a great way to understand your own philosophy. The more questions you ask, the more your brain works to find an answer. In the end, Jim says that a good life comes from becoming more and doing more than what you are doing right now. The way to do this is to change your philosophy of life and set your sights higher.

To develop a powerful personal philosophy, Jim says to concentrate on what and how we think. Our conclusions of what the challenges in life mean will greatly affect our outcomes. The way in which we use life’s information to act – will you use it for good and to increase, or will you use it to preach doom and gloom, will determine what your philosophy is like and what decisions you end up making…

2. Attitude

Jim says attitude is how you feel. If philosophy sets the course of your life, your attitude is how you feel about your life.

Philosophy is more about the logic of life. Attitude is the emotional side of life. Our emotional state governs most of our daily decisions, demeanor, and conduct. The wrong attitude can cause you to freeze and feel paralyzed. Or your attitude can inspire you to take immediate action at any time.

There are a few things that might affect our attitude. They are the following.

The Past

Is the past a point of pain for you, or is it a school? For myself, I have to be on careful guard not to have the past be a pain point for me. How many times have I made a fool of myself? How many times have I screwed up? What about lost money? What about arguments and fights? What about lost opportunities?

There’s plenty that I can find about my past that could paint a picture of how royally screwed up I am. And if I choose to have my attitude be that, then I will project that attitude and my life will play out like a movie on the big screen reflecting that attitude.

Or I can treat the past like a school. I can look at what went wrong. I can see what state I was in when it went wrong. I can see how to correct it. I can find resources to help with the moments of weakness. I can take the times I failed in the past and move forward with rigor, determination, and new knowledge to try again and again until I succeed, learning with each failure.

And if I do that, a different projection of my life will take place, one that creates an optimistic outlook and what might be possible with determination, education, and constant evolving and learning.

The Present

The present time is what we are experiencing now. The past gives us experiences – things to reflect on. But the present gives us opportunity to exert ourselves. In order to embrace a better future, we must take action right now in the present.

Jim mentions that today gives up 1,440 minutes; 86,400 ticks of the clock. Each one of us has the same amount of time. Today greets us and says, “Here I am. What will you do with me?”

What a great question! With the right attitude, what we do with a day may be a great undertaking, or it will be a day of inaction and self-pity. The choice is each of ours. The pain of discipline or the pain of regret will be felt with what we do each day.

The Future

Our attitude about the future will determine what we think is possible about the future. Each human has the ability to imagine, dream, and design the future. What the mind can imagine, it can create.

Jim mentions that everything in the world that was created was once finished in the mind of an individual. With the right attitude about the past and present, a powerful future may be the next step.

If we intelligently invest the experiences of the past and present into what the future might bring and if we have a clear and compelling vision of the future and if we are willing to pay the price of the effort it will take to get there, then an awesome force will be created to create a future to our liking.

Our Associations

Ask the following questions:

  • Who am I around?
  • What effect are they having?
  • Is that effect acceptable?

I know that I’ve had to give up some people in my past due to asking myself these questions. It’s not easy to ask the questions. It might mean losing someone you care about right now. But if you are after a good life with a compelling future, it might be the price that has to be paid to get there…

3. Activity

Jim tells this story so well, it is “The Parable Of The Talents.”

A master had three servants and gave them each a number of talents, just before he was to leave for a while. One servant had five, one two, and another one. He urged the servants to look after their talents while he was gone.

The master was gone and the servant with five talents took them and turned them into ten. The second servant took his two and turned them into four. The third servant, being very cautious, took his and buried it in the ground to stay safe.

When the master returned, the first servant explained how he had turned five talents into ten. The master said, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” The second told the master of how he turned two into four. The master said, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” The third servant spoke of how he was afraid he might lost the talent and so he buried it in the earth.

Jim says the master lost his cool, and told the servant to take the single unused talents and give it to the one who now has ten.

There are two words to think of when it comes to activity. Need and Deserve. The moral of the story is that whatever we have in life, it is our responsibility to take what we are given and do something with it. This is how a good life and fortunes are made – through activity. Philosophy and attitude are not enough. Activity is the translation of thoughts and feelings into reality.

What is the key?

There are some people who put forth very little activity and have a bad attitude and philosophy and seem to come out on top every time. Yet others have a good philosophy and attitude, and put forth great effort and still don’t seem to come out on top. Jim explains it like this.

Perhaps we do not work at our goals and the undeserving do. Perhaps we do not stay up late to toil in sweat and labor and the undeserving do. Perhaps we do not create a vision and plans and the undeserving do. Perhaps we do not make every possible effort to get around the right people and the undeserving do. And maybe when we are dreaming in our chairs, the undeserving are out putting in work to make those dreams real… This is something to think about.

Ratio of activity to rest

How many days of the week should one work or rest? 5 days work 2 rest? What about mixing up that ratio? Your philosophy of the ratio of activity will determine the amount of activity you put in. Boy, this one hit me hard when I heard Jim talk about it. If I believe that life should be luxurious and comfortable, I might have a 6 day rest, 1 day activity philosophy. And with that level of activity, what could possibly be achieved?

Key ways for efficient activity

  • Activity must be planned. Don’t wait until today to plan for today. Do it in advance.
  • A good plan is a simple plan. Don’t bog yourself down with complexities.
  • Disciplined activity is key. Stay focused. Don’t give into distraction.
  • Take your “Should Have’s” and start doing them daily. Should exercise, should save, should love, should eat right, etc…

4. Results

Every once in a while you’ve got to take a measure of results. You can’t let too much time pass without measuring results. Results are the measure of our harvest. If we each think of the activity we put forth as a farm in the fields, then the crops are what we get back from the work we do.

Results are always in direct proportion to effort. Those who relax in the spring do not reap in the fall, even if they absolutely need it. One of Jim’s great saying is this, “You not only sow what you reap, but you also reap what you sow.”

How to measure results

First look at what you have. How is your body, your home, your bank account, your friends, your family? What are the assets you have accumulated to this point? Assets accumulated (wealth and tangible items) will determine relative ‘value’ to the marketplace that we have.

After examining life and assets, take a look at time passed. Has a long time passed without much increase in personal wealth and assets? If so, this is a clue that something needs to change. Perhaps new skills need to be learned. Perhaps more activity needs to be introduced. Maybe more awareness needs to be brought to light. A tweak to philosophy of spending and earning might be in order…

Attraction of more

One of Jim’s great quotes is, “We attract what we have by the type of person we are.” Success is something to be attracted and not pursued. If you pursue success, it’s like trying to catch a fly with chop sticks. You’re likely to drive yourself crazy. So you first work on yourself. Then the attraction of success begins to come.

Gaining new skills is another way to get more. A person can chop down a tree with a hammer, but that might take a while. By learning to use an axe, the same tree chopping might take a short time. This is a new skill. When knowledge is combined with skill, life becomes easier. The way to get a skill is to master a task. Do it often – over and over, until it becomes second nature.

How to get better results

Start with desire, planning, effort, and perseverance. That magic formula will always create optimal results. So the question is not will that formula work – the question is, will the person work the formula for getting results?

To get better results, look inward and not outward. You can blame taxes, the government, the country, your parents, the school system. Or you can check with yourself often to see what results you are getting and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available to you. We live in a time right now, with no shortage of problems to solve and opportunities to take advantage of.

The great challenge of life is to make measurable progress in reasonable time. If we find that we are not making progress, then effort must be intensified. More focus must be introduced. More skills must be acquired. More vision and planning must be adopted. If progress still eludes us, then perhaps the goal is too small and needs to be broadened.

Questions to ponder

  • How many books have I read in the past ninety days?
  • How regularly did I exercise last month?
  • How much of my income have I invested this past year?
  • How many letters have I written in the past week?
  • How many times have I writtein in my journal this month?

5. Lifestyle

The final piece of the life puzzle. Jim Rohn says lifestyle is the way in which one wants to live their life. It is how we choose to live and design our lives. Lifestyle is not an amount of money. Lifestyle is the degree to which we respond to and appreciate life. Anyone can enjoy a sunset. Anyone can appreciate fine art. Anyone can admire a professional doing great work. We don’t have to be rich to live richly.

The great key that I take from Jim’s discussion of lifestyle is this. Learn to be happy with what you have while you strive for what you want. We don’t have to wait to be happy. Happiness is something we do in the present moment.

Let life touch you

There is a difference between going to Paris, France and experiencing Paris, France. Going is a simple matter of logistics. Experiencing is a highly emotional event. To be happy, start by thinking, feeling, and acting happy. To be wealthy, start by thinking, feeling, and acting wealthy.

The question is, what opportunities and experiences are passing you by right now? Do you need wealth to experience life? Do you need wealth to make a difference to your children? Do you need wealth to show your spouse that you truly care?

In the end, lifestyle is the culmination of the first your pieces of the five pieces of the life puzzle. It is how we experience life. It is how we choose to affect others with our words and deeds. It is the consideration we give to ourselves and others in making life something truly unique and worth living.


My conclusion of the five major pieces of the life puzzle is that Jim Rohn was a great man. He achieved a high income and was surrounded by great people. If I knew nothing else except all the good things people have said about him, I’d know that he is worth listening to. This portion of what he has taught is one of the great tools to use to understand life better.

I’ve made an attempt to summarize it using my own words. My hope is that this twist will add value to you in your life in using the words of a great man, Jim Rohn, combined with my summarizing to offer you a tool to make another leap forward in your life for good.

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