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The Difference Every Day Makes

January 30, 2015 by  
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One day doesn’t seem like very much time and if we get a lot of good stuff done or we do nothing but watch TV all day it may not seem to make much difference in our world let alone the rest of the world.  Hey, it’s only one day. No big deal. I’ve got lots and lots of days ahead of me—like maybe 50 or 100 thousand more of those days before being blasted off this planet. But those single goof-off days can add up quickly and none of us have near as many days as we might figure to accomplish what we want, especially if we set our eyes and minds on big and lofty goals.

Yesterday as I was driving home from a great doubles tennis match I did some quick figuring in my head and was somewhat shocked at the number of days I had left in my life or I should I say the lack of number of days. Even if I made it to age 100 my remaining number of days, with me being almost 71, was only a little over 10,000, and that was IF I make it to age 100!

Even if you are only a mere 25 years of age, that still only gives you just over 27,000 days to age 100.  Now to some people that might seem like a lot of days but to me it’s a pretty small number, therefore I am inclined to think that to waste even one day is a very serious matter, unless of course you don’t have any big and lofty plans and goals.

The good news however, is that I am totally convinced from my experience in life that if you are keenly aware of your hours and days as you experience those days of your life then you will be much more likely to not only set good, worthwhile and important goals but you will be many times more likely to reach those goals.  And because we all have a limited number of days–whether it’s 10, 20 or 27,000–we need to put strict time deadlines on those goals, because if we do that then we are much less likely to waste those precious days and more likely to reach your goals.

Millionaire news clippingRecently I came across an article about me that appeared on the front page of the Sunday Register Star of Rockford, Illinois and I was quite stunned at some of the things they quoted me as saying way back on November 1st of 1981.

I was only 37 back when the paper ran the story entitled “He Quit Bragging after his First Million”.  As I re-read the story that they wrote about me, I must admit that I was a bit surprised that in talking about my beginnings as a construction worker 16 years earlier, there in Rockford, making only $4.50 an hour, that I had already set my sights on becoming a millionaire.  Plus, even at the young age of 21, I was acutely aware of this thing called “time”.

I had figured that even working as hard as I was, making just $4.50 an hour would only bring me a mere $9360 in a year and even after 50 years, I would only have made $468,000. Of course, when I considered that I would have to spend money to live, I quickly figured out that there had to be some formula or secret to becoming a millionaire because just working an hourly job wasn’t going to do it. I was to find out later, using each precious day to look for the answer, that there was, in fact, a formula to making millions and one that doesn’t require a person to invent Facebook or Amazon or some hi-tech computer program.

If I hadn’t realized how critically important each and every day was and how few days are in a person’s life, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have spent my days searching for the “financial formula”.  So please never forget the great and precious value of a single day in your life and use it accordingly.

Next week I want to share more of the newspaper article and more specifics of the “financial formula”.

 

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ALMOST 5 MILLION

January 23, 2015 by  
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I got a bit of a shock via an email I received last week. It came from “Fitbit”. It was a summary report of my fitness for the year 2014. It said, “Whoa, take a look back at everything you accomplished in 2014!” And I did.

The shocker was my Fitbit recorded me taking 4,980,169 steps in just one year. That’s 2,341 miles. The message went on to say, “You might not have noticed when you were running errands, chasing the bus or hitting the gym after a long day, but every single step you took added up to something big. Something really big. It’s a year to be proud of and we’re pumped to be a part of it.”

I would have never guessed a year ago, when my wife gave me this little tiny thing called a Fitbit that I ever could or would take almost 5 million steps in a single year!

I wrote about my Fitbit in a blog early in 2014 saying that when we take time to measure and keep track of most anything, we tend to get better at whatever we are measuring. This is because we are competing against ourselves and we can see our progress. We just want to do better or do more today than we did yesterday and with those records to keep reminding us, we then are driven to continue improving each day after that.

After getting the summary report from Fitbit I am certainly even more motivated to continue improving my fitness and have challenged myself to do much better in 2015. In fact my goal is now 7 million steps for this year.

As all of us begin this new year, I want to push and challenge you to start measuring whatever it is that you want improve upon. It could be your wealth, your health, your donations of time and or money to others or anything you would like to be doing more of or be better at. Start today to keep track and I promise that ‘keeping track’ will to keep you ‘on track’ and you will get better and better at whatever you are measuring.

Lesson from the Life of Billy Crystal

January 16, 2015 by  
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I want to continue discussing the theme we had last week on writing your thoughts, ideas and life into a journal. I have strong and passionate feelings about this process of making a record of your life, about having the ability to read over all those ups and downs and the lessons we learn along the way.

This past week, I read about the fascinating life and thoughts of Billy Crystal in his incredible autobiography Still Foolin’ ‘Em. He wrote the book when he was turning 65 and it’s really a great read. It’s packed full of very funny stuff but I was quite a bit more impressed by his deep thoughts and feelings on everything from his family including his wonderful wife, kids and grand-kids plus the big impact his father, mother and grandmother had on him, to his numerous famous friends and not so famous friends and business associates.  I’ll tell you, if you read his book you will quickly grow to love and admire this man. He inspires you and gives you some great insights into the human mind and behavior.

He and his famous friends certainly lived the philosophy of “feel the fear and do it anyway”. That is something we all need to remind ourselves to believe in and practice. I think most of us look at famous and really successful people and think that they don’t have great fears like us but nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has fears, but the key to success and a great life is to plow right through those fears and “do it anyway”.

The other great lesson I learned from Billy Crystal, or I should say I re-learned and reminded myself to do more of, was the huge value of people networking. I was astounded at how many friends and business contacts Billy had. Even though Billy is super talented I don’t believe he would have soared nearly as high as he did without his people networking. I’m talking hundreds of incredibly influential people he got to know who helped him on his path to such tremendous success. And did he ever soar! His success was not only as a stand-up comedian but as an actor in all those wonderful movies, TV shows and even on the Broadway stage. He made us laugh which is so very good for our minds and souls plus he gave us so many hours of movie and TV entertainment. Now through his book, he is giving even more.

I certainly don’t think Billy is even close to being finished as he approaches his 67th birthday on March 14th of this year. The biggest lesson I think we should take away from Mr. Billy Chrystal is that all of us need to record our life, our activities and, most importantly, our thinking. This can be not only helpful to ourselves when we re-read what our thoughts were at different stages of our lives but also that your autobiography will be equally helpful to others. So keep making those journal entries and leave a legacy for your family, friends and everyone to enjoy as well as learning some great lessons from your own life.

Great Insights from the Best Teacher

January 9, 2015 by  
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Have you started writing in your own journal yet? If you haven’t, I’m going to try to persuade you to start doing it. Why? Because of the many, many benefits you’ll get not just at the time you write them out, but also down the road. This will be especially true if you write more about how you are feeling and what is quietly running through your brain from day to day.

In addition to writing your thoughts down, you will also want to record what you are doing including those steps you are taking to reach your goals. By writing out your thoughts and feelings as well as your goal items, you will no doubt find, as I have, that the biggest benefits come later when you re-read and revisit those thoughts that were running through your brain at different points of your life. You really can experience some major breakthroughs and some life changing and life enhancing discoveries just by looking back and seeing where you were and what you were doing at various times in your past.

I’ve been keeping my “thought journals” since I was 19 years old. I will admit that as I go back and read some of my thoughts and reasoning it’s down-right hilarious, but I’ve been shocked more than once that some of my recorded thoughts as a young 19 year old are rather profound. It’s so interesting to me to actually learn from myself, from my own words, concepts and thoughts that I had long ago forgotten. Many of us try to learn more about ourselves and want more insights into our minds and our lives. With more insights into our minds we can make big improvements to our lives. And who doesn’t want to be happier, healthier and wealthier? Well, that is what journaling can help you with.

Now as we begin a new year I think it would be the perfect time to start your own “thought journal”. If you are already journaling your journey and recording your thoughts and feelings, keep it up. And maybe now it would be good to take some time and re-read some old entries and see what you can learn from yourself. You may even come across some old goals that you logged but forgot about and it will make you realize that it’s time to hit the reset button on those goals.

I just re-read some of my thoughts and thinking from early 2012 and they certainly got me jump started for this new year. Maybe the best teacher you will ever have is actually you! But you do need to pay close attention to yourself and to you inner thinking and be sure to capture and record those thoughts and feelings. Then you will be able to revisit in order to learn and discover great insights from you, one of your greatest teachers, at a later time.

Immoveable Deadlines

January 2, 2015 by  
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While I was preparing for a trip to Kauai a few days ago, I was suddenly hit by a pretty powerful thought.  The thought came as a result of my packing and getting hundreds of things organized before I was to leave.  I noticed how really organized and efficient I was becoming–making lists of items I needed to take, the things I must do before I left, and the people that I needed to meet with or email or call.  I will be gone for months so I knew all these things needed to be done, without question, and there was definitely a dead line on all of it–my flight out.  This kind of deadline pushed me to become an almost perfect picture of efficiency and effectiveness.

In the midst of my packing, I stopped for a few moments and observed what I was doing, how I was I was plowing through dozen of tasks so quickly and quite smoothly. Of course the motivation was obvious. I had a very fixed and non-movable deadline that I couldn’t easily be changed without a huge expense and hassle. But the thing that struck me was that this packing was a goal with a deadline I was not willing to miss.

Especially now at the beginning of a new year, as I am setting goals for myself, I realize how important this is–goals need to be set with time deadlines we are not willing to miss. Deadlines, ones we adhere to, are a huge key to pushing ourselves to be more effective, more efficient and ultimately more successful!

Think about that a moment.  Look at your own habits and behavior when you know you have a flight or other seemingly immovable deadline to meet. Don’t you get done what needs to be done? The great lessons here are:

  1. We all need to recognize how very beneficial it is to have deadlines attached to our goals.
  2. We must become tougher on ourselves by setting goals with absolute time deadlines attached to them.

Never forget that you and I only live, on average, about 700,000 hours, so it’s critically important to use our time wisely. If you want to accomplish a lot in your life and do big things for yourself, your family, your friends, and for mankind, you need to be efficient and well-motivated.

So with your next goals, pretend that your deadline is like a flight you have booked to Paris or Hawaii and if you miss it or have to postpone the flight it will cost you many thousands of dollars.  Depending on what your goals are, missing a time deadline may actually be more costly than a few thousand dollars. In the long run, a missed goal could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or even worse if you have a huge loss of confidence or damage your self-esteem.  Bottom line here is, make time deadlines your biggest friend, helper and partner by seeing them as the important, unnegotiable deadlines they really are.