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The Determination Factor

November 28, 2014 by  
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Last week I examined the word determination and talked about how critically important and life changing determination can be in anyone’s life. It really is a huge key in the lives of successful people in virtually every human endeavor. The definition of determination is “the quality of being resolute; a fixed purpose or intention.”  If you want to hear about having a fixed purpose beyond, or at least equal to, anything I’ve ever heard about, then you need to hear the story of Joe Simpson. If you and I can muster just a fraction of his determination as we set any goal for our lives then I am confident that we could each reach our goals.

You may have read the story about Joe Simpson in his book Touching the Void or saw the movie documentary by the same name. But even if you already know the story it is so very worth hearing it again, because there is so much we can learn and profit from his story of determination.  I will have to say that it would be tough to really have as much determination as Joe had because his life was on the line, but I do believe that it’s possible to push one’s thinking to the point that we see that our life, at least part of it, really is on the line.

Joe Simpson was hiking and climbing with his buddy Simon Yates in the frozen mountains of Peru when disaster struck. Joe slipped and fell and slid down the icy glacier. Simon dug into the ice and snow as deep as he could and held onto the rope that tethered them together. But eventually he began to be pulled toward the edge and at the last minute he was forced to cut the rope that held his friend. Joe fell a very long way and ended up in deep crevasse. Simon was certain that Joe was dead and made his way back to camp feeling absolutely devastated.

But Joe didn’t die. With a compound fracture in his leg, his shin bone shoved up into his kneecap, and knowing his life was all but over he still became determined not to die. He stumbled, hopped, and crawled for days to get himself down off a 3000 foot glacier covering more than 8 miles in freezing conditions without water or food. His true stroke of genius was the numerous 20 minute goals he set to help his brain deal with the huge distance he knew he had to travel. He would spot a rock or block of ice a hundred meters or so in the distance and crawled or hopped toward it while keeping track of the time.  Joe Simpson’s great, or I should say HUGE, determination factor and his simple plan saved his life.

You and I need to remember this story and try to implement that kind of determination when we set goals for ourselves. Even though our lives might not literally depend on those goals, how our lives are and what they will be do depend on reaching our goals. There is so much more to Joe’s story and how to use determination to reach even the most impossible seeming goal in Chapter 6 of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living.

 

Speaking of Determination

November 21, 2014 by  
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I just happened to pick up a little book today and it opened to a page that had this quote “some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined.” That was Elmer Towns Minute Motivators for Leaders by Stan Toler.  Great quote, a great truth and a great thing to think and about and do something about. Determination–what a great word and a great human attribute. That’s if you use it.

When I think about my own successes, whether they have been in my tennis tournaments and matches, or attaining great health or great wealth, I can clearly see the greatest common denominator for each one of my successes has been this great thing called determination.

But how does one boost or improve his or her level of determination? Researchers in human behavior studies have observed that most people can get a BIG BOOST in their own determination abilities and in their own self-control just by merely reading about or observing in other people’s examples; people who have expended a great amount of self-control or determination in various parts of their lives.  Just to know of those studies should motivate us to hang out with the kind of people that exert large amount of determination or at least we should seek out and read stories of people that use a ton of self-control and determination.

Personally I never seem to tire of observing and or reading those kinds of stories. They truly drove me to success, especially when I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. When I was younger it motivated me in sports. Later on it was all about making more money and, wow, did those people that I hung out with and the stories or others who made millions and billions push me to do more and more, and bigger and bigger.

Now at my age the people and the stories in the health and fitness department motivate me to stay the course of great health and try to do even better every day.  These stories lift me up and inspire me and even seem to give me more and more energy to do more with my life and do more to help other people with their lives.  If you really want to push and motivate yourself to levels beyond what you ever thought possible, try changing your thinking and convince yourself that your life is on the line, because in some ways our lives are on the line regardless of what we set out to do.  I’ll talk more about that next week. In the meantime, seek out stories and people who are all about determination and see if that doesn’t get you motivated to do more.

Money Can Buy Novelty

November 14, 2014 by  
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It’s too bad that much of the time money, especially having a ton of it, gets a bad rap. The negative view of money probably started a very long time ago, maybe even before the Christian bible made the comment that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” I do believe that tons of money can ruin some people’s lives, especially if they come into that money overnight and not by their own hard work over many years. But let me talk about one super wonderful thing that money can do for you, especially if you are wise enough to do the right things with that money.

It seems that way too many people think that the best thing to do with lots of money is to go out and buy a lot of stuff, especially fancy and high status goods. But that stuff can quickly become worn out and/or very boring. Consider the following as an alternative and one that can, and will, jump start and excite your brain as well as lasting a very long time.

This is all about giving your brain a huge dopamine boost through experiencing new and novel things. You see, the human brain craves novelty, and money makes it so much easier to give yourself novel experiences. Gregory Berns in his book Satisfaction says, “Novel experiences are the surest route to satisfaction.”

As I write these words my wife and I are on a flight to the French Rivera. Just minutes ago we had lift off and as we did, believe me my brain got a big dose of dopamine and that’s just the beginning. We’ll be staying in Cannes at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel and then later in another 5 star hotel in Nice. Then we’ll drive to the Italian town of San Remo to meet an old Swiss friend, Reto Moro, who I met 30 years ago on a tennis court in the south of Germany. We are visiting places, some of which are totally new to me or, in other words, ‘novel’.

Castles, old churches, new restaurants and all that I will see will pump my brain with dopamine. As you probably know dopamine is the natural brain chemical that makes you feel so very satisfied. I just love it. For years I didn’t have a clue about this thing called dopamine that was making me feel so good, but I certainly knew that I got a huge charge and brain boost by my visits to new places, so much so I came up with my bucket list of trying to visit every country in the world. I currently have hit 84 countries and my wife tells me that since I am now 70 years old I better pick up the pace—there are, at present, 196 countries in the world!

I guess I could have spent my money on fancy new cars and other expensive stuff but I’m pretty sure the novelty of a new car wouldn’t last very long. Traveling to new places has given me great memories that will last for many, many years, especially since I can easily re-stimulate my brain chemicals with so many pictures and videos!

The bottom line is, it’s true that money can’t necessarily buy happiness, but it can open up so many possibilities and make it easier to obtain more novel experiences. It gives one more time to carefully and creatively design, plan and carry out a wide range of novel experiences. So now I hope I have given you another good reason to push yourself to earn, save and invest your earnings.

 

Leverage to Lift Your Profits

November 7, 2014 by  
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Today I’m going to continue talking about making those huge returns that I touched on last week. Remember, with only a $30k salary and saving just 10% for only 5 years, you can bring in as much as $21 million dollars by age 70! How is it done?  It’s done by using two different types of leverage.

No. 1: Financial leverage. This is Other People’s Money (OPM) as in mortgage loans, personal loans, signature loans, loans from family or friends, or even through having family and friends as partners.

No. 2: Labor Leverage. This is Other People’s Efforts (OPE). You bring on other people, including employees, part time contract labor, day laborers, contractors and the like, to do the fix up work that will create added value in an asset.

Basically what these two types of leverage can do for you is help lift something that is bigger than you can take on yourself. To paraphrase what Archimedes said, give me a long enough lever and a place to stand and I could by myself lift the earth.

Using these two levers is exactly how it is very possible to receive a return of 15% or 20% or even more, turning a meager income of $30,000 into $21 million! The math is pretty simple. As I said in my July 25th blog, if you go out and buy a $500,000 dirt bag type property, one that needs some fixing up, and do this with a $100,000 down payment (a down payment that itself may be borrowed) and then go out and use some OPE and improve the value by $50,000, that gives you a 50% return on your money,

But of course it will have cost you something to fix it up. Let’s say it cost $30,000 in material and labor to fix it up. That puts you at a 20% return. Now keep doing that on additional properties and you’re looking at a cool 21 million by the time you hit 70 years old. Let me emphasis that you can only do this if you control your own money and do the work or have others do the heavy physical work.

Anytime someone comes along and offers you a 20% or 30% return on your money without you doing a thing, grab your wallet and check book and run away as fast as you can.  These very high returns are possible but, for the most part, only with your efforts or the efforts of other people that you control.

Think of it this way … if you are making 30% or more on most every deal you do, why would you go tell others about it? Wouldn’t you just borrow more money at 5% or 6% and take home the difference? You certainly wouldn’t give someone else a big fat return of 20% or 30% in passive income for not doing a thing to help.

I’m not saying these returns are easy and take no effort and there are other details such as income tax that will eat into that profit (although there is a way–see the IRS 1031 section of the tax code to help delay some taxes) so these numbers aren’t exact. But what I am saying is that it doesn’t take as much savings capital as most people think.  In fact it takes relatively little savings to reach some very big financial levels.

By the way, I’ve had more than a few deals that have topped the 100% return level. Compound that for a few years and your eyes will pop out! That’s the potential. Now, doesn’t that get you motivated?