Recently, I was reading the short article called Sophistication (see article below) by Jim Rohn, who is one of the great personal development gurus of our generation.
When I first read the article, I was a little bothered by his use of the word sophistication. I grew up a farm kid in northeast Iowa. We worked hard and were good people, but sophisticated was not a work you used to describe farm people. Sophisticated was a word you used to describe town people who wore fancy suits and had a lot of money. To be honest, I had a real problem with the use of the word sophisticated because with my upbringing, I could not relate to the word.
After looking closer at the article, I realized that the way Mr. Rohn was using the word sophisticated had nothing to do with where you lived, how you dressed, how much money you had or anything on the outside at all. The way sophisticated is used here, it has to do with your mind and how you choose to use it. It has to do with our approach to life. Simply put, I would say that the word sophisticated takes on the following meaning:
Sophistication= being better than average
We all have a choice in how we respond to things that happen to us in our lives. We can choose the easier path that most travel because it is easier or we can choose the harder path, knowing that we will grow more as a person by taking it. A sophisticated person would take the harder path.
I love how he begins the article. So many people live their lives just trying to get through the day. I know that I can personally say that I have done that many days. A sophisticated person wants to get all they can from each day they are given. A sophisticated person knows that each day is a learning opportunity and as long as there are days left, you are still learning. Each day we are given is truly a gift and we need to remember to treat it as such. Going through a day of life should not be a chore. No matter how bad things might be going, someone always has it worse than you do so maybe we should keep that in mind the next time we try to just get through the day.
I love Mr. Rohn’s analogy of the man who bought two tons of doughnuts and only two books with lots of pictures. Books are a wonderful resource available to all of us. They help us expand our minds. They let our imaginations soar. Getting to read is a privilege, not a chore. Any money spent on developing yourself as a person is money well spent. I challenge myself to read 15-20 pages each day something that will help develop myself as a person. If you can commit to doing something like this each and every day, it adds up to a life’s worth of education. Just so you know, by reading this blog, it counts as at least four pages read so good job!
Mr. Rohn talks about how sophisticated people don’t leave early. They will stay to get the job done. If they can’t get it done that day, they will work for the full-time. Too many people try to cut corners when it comes to work. They will check out mentally long before they actually leave the workplace. I would like to challenge all of us to devoting our minds and hearts completely to the work we do while we are working. That extra bit of effort can make all the difference in the world.
I like how Mr. Rohn brings money into focus and tells about how it doesn’t really cost that much to do sophisticated things. It is all a matter of where your priorities are. He is not saying that if you go to the symphony that will make you a sophisticated person. You may not even like the symphony. Put whatever you want in place of symphony. The symphony here is an event that will make you a better person by doing it. It will teach you something or open your heart to love and caring. It is something that will truly improve you. You really can’t put a price tag on something like that, but even if you do, you will most likely find that it does not cost as much as you thought it did.
The last part of this article that really struck me was that a sophisticated person does not give in to their inclinations. They train their emotions so they can act in a proper manner. This is so true. It is so easy for us to just give in to peer pressure. To do whatever everyone else around you is doing. It takes a certain sophistication to choose to not do something you shouldn’t do. It takes sophistication to control your emotions instead of lashing out at someone who make you angry. By being able to not give into your inclinations or to control your emotions makes you better than average. It makes you a sophisticated person.
I want to thank Jim Rohn for writing this article. I am glad that I took the time to really read it and not just set it down, which was my first inclination. Who knows, maybe an old farm boy can be sophisticated after all!
by Jim Rohn
Most people are just trying to get through the day. Sophisticated people learn how to get from the day.
Sophistication is understanding the difference between trinkets and treasures.
Don’t spend major money on minor things. In the last 10 years the guy has bought two tons of donuts and only two books—and the books are primarily filled with pictures.
Sophisticated people don’t leave early. The man says, “Yeah, but I want to beat the traffic.” Isn’t that a great skill to have—beating the traffic?
It doesn’t take a million dollars to learn the difference between a bottle of fine wine and a Pepsi. Sophistication is a study, not an amount.
One of the early signs of sophistication is not giving way to all inclinations, but rather sending your emotions to school so they will learn how to behave.
Money doesn’t make you sophisticated. Only study and practice make you sophisticated. Even people of modest means can become sophisticated because it is within study and practice. How much is a night out at the symphony? About 30 dollars. You say, “Poor people can’t afford 30 dollars to go to the symphony.” Yes, they can. It’s only 30 Hershey bars!
We must teach our children not to spend their money a dollar at a time. If you spend your money a dollar at a time, you’ll wind up with trinkets instead of treasures. You can’t buy much of value a dollar at a time.