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Start Small but Get Started

December 20, 2008 by  
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A challenge that faces us when under extreme stress is to keep focused on goals. You might be depressed or feel overwhelmed and the effect is you don’t want to do anything. This is precisely what you must do – act! You might not feel like getting out of your house – but do it anyway. Just getting started usually helps.

Focus on what you can do. Put deadlines with each step and keep focused on doing rather than perfection or worrying.

For example, you can set goals to:

  • Eat right – which will help your energy levels and you’ll feel better.
  • Exercise – challenge yourself to go on a walk, a bike ride, or anything. Start with a small goal, like 5 mins. or 15.

Small success leads to bigger success, especially as you continue over time. Leave a comment and tell me about some of your goals. How have you have broken them down into small pieces?

Finding Mentors – A Billionaire’s Secret

December 15, 2008 by  
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“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit-forming.”
– Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett’s 7 Secrets for Living a Happy and Simple Life
Part of success is mindset – and those who are successful at overcoming challenges or excelling make great mentors. They understand the power of your mindset. A mentor can be someone you know personally (or seek out and become friends with), people you read about, or those no longer living.

I like meeting people I admire – most of them are completely within reach. It’s surprising how easy it is to meet people if you are persistent – it’s something I’ve done all of my life.

I’ve met the Dalai Lama and the president of the United States, plus many people you may not know about who’ve done great things and overcome huge obstacles.

Where can I find great mentors?
One way to find mentors is through organizations. I’ve belonged to real estate associations, political associations, and other groups. Some are a waste of your time, but others like one I’m involved in is the Granite Education Foundation. This organization have been very helpful and extremely rewarding for me. Find organizations that are doing good work in your community and you’ll likely find mentors who you can learn from.

One way I find people to follow is I read newspapers, magazines (like Fortune, Forbes, Time Magazine, Newsweek) and see who is being talked about. Then I seek those people out. It’s not hard to get to know people. One way that can work – is to keep asking for an audience until you get a response.

Once I decided I wanted to meet the Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds and I did it through sheer persistence. Ray didn’t make his fortune until he was 55 years old. He started by studying the success of a small burger joint in Southern California and later bought it and franchised it around the world. He made several billion dollars.

He started out flipping hamburgers and 40 years later he was the CEO of the company. How did he do it? I wanted to talk to him, find out more. So I devised a method and I persisted. I called his office asking to meet him until one day he gave in. He gave me 20 mins. but when we got talking I was there for two hours. We became friends and he gave me great advice that helped in a huge way to build my own fortune.

Another one of my heroes was the billionaire Aristotle Onasis. The story goes that he wanted to meet a famous Argentinian businessman. He only made 25 cents an hour and had little hope of ever meeting the man.

His plan was to stand by the man’s gate every day, not saying a word. After standing in the same place for several weeks, this important man that he wanted to meet finally couldn’t stand the suspense any longer. He confronted Aristotle and said who are you and what do you want? And from that initial meeting, Aristotle learned a great deal that helped his success.

Another person I want to meet now is Nando Parrado. I am planning to travel to South America to meet him. He was one of the few survivors of a deadly plane crash in the Andes mountains. He spent 72 days in freezing temperatures then climbed over 17,000 foot ice capped mountains and led a rescue party to the other survivors. It just about killed him but he lived and wrote the book about his experiences in, “Miracle in the Andes.”

I always have a list of people I want to meet. What do I want to learn from these men and others like them? I want to know their thoughts – what’s inside of their heads. How they survived and thrived through difficulties. Some disclose it in their books but not all do. I want to know how their experiences affect their lives now. How it affects their thinking.

So one of my secrets to passion in life is to make a list of who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.

Taking A Long Term View in Tough Economic Times

December 9, 2008 by  
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“It is hard to maintain vitality when you are always hungry”.
– Aristotle Onassis

A question that people ask is how to follow passion for living when you are barely making a living. When things are difficult and you’re hanging on just to survive. Now the economy around the world is in turmoil. You could argue that it’s just about impossible to find passion in life, especially if you were already struggling. It’s true that it’s much more difficult to live in the present or have passion for life if you’re worried about basic human needs.

One way I approach difficulties is through mindset. I look at situations relatively. There are families in our country who are in tough situations right now. For example: a husband and wife with two kids, no savings, who are behind on their rent payments. Then the husband loses his job and they wonder how they will make it.
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Top 3 Things you can do to Help Build Wealth

December 6, 2008 by  
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Many of you want to build wealth and these are the top 3 things that I’ve used to help me in my life.

  • Read good books about finance. Then think about, and find someone to discuss your ideas with. Find someone who has been successful at building wealth. Don’t listen to the talkers of big success but the doers that have really done it.
  • Record your thoughts in a journal as you read. This will help you retain knowledge.
  • Write down your goals along with timeframes of when you will reach them.

I love this quote: “Always have two books – one to read from and one to write in.” As mentioned in the first point, find people that are good at what you want to learn. All my life I’ve looked for mentors – people who have been successful at what I want to learn. I’ll go into this more in my next post.

Ways to Focus on the Present

December 4, 2008 by  
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One way to increase happiness in your life, and therefore maintain passion, is to stay in the present. When things are stressful, this is challenging. Most of the time we are worried about the past or the future and not really paying attention to what is happening right now. So we miss life as it is happening. It’s tough to live passionately in that place.

I’m not saying it’s always easy to live this way. It takes practice to train your mind to live in the present. It’s something I’ve worked to achieve all of my life. It is easier now than when I started, but it still takes a concerted effort. As you learn how to redirect your thoughts and focus on the present, it’s important not to be hard on yourself. Just keep working. When you get off, when you’re mind wanders, just gently steer yourself back.

Yoga is one way that I practice keeping my focus. I do yoga several times a week. Yoga is way underrated in this country. It’s a great tool and you don’t need to go to a gym, or class to do yoga. I practice at home with the Yoga Journal’s “YOGA for Beginners” with Patricia Walden. Keep practicing and you’ll get better too.

What methods of focusing on the present have worked well for you?

Keeping Passion Alive In Stressful Situations

December 1, 2008 by  
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Lately I’ve been challenged with a situation that I’m sure you can relate to – how to maintain passion when things go wrong – or appear to go wrong. Last week I started to get chest pains, and I went to see my doctor. He told me my chest pains were caused by one of three things:

1. I have a heart problem
2. I have cancer
3. It’s acid reflux

I live a healthy lifestyle, my cholesterol is low, my blood pressure is low and I eat right. This increases the odds tremendously that rather than a heart problem or cancer, I’ll be diagnosed with the much preferable acid reflux. Still, my concern challenges my ability to live in the moment.

The key is learning how to live in the moment. “Live in the moment. So I talk to myself and say: I must visit the past and the future in short segments, but live in the now.”

The real key to living in the moment is your internal dialog – how you talk to yourself. I tell myself things like, there’s nothing I can do right now. I can’t speed up this process. I recognize that worry doesn’t help. In a few days I’ll know my diagnosis. In the meantime, I’m living in the moment and redirecting myself when I stray.

My next post is going to talk about ways that have helped me living in the moment – regardless of the stresses of life around me.