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Smart as a Turtle

May 12, 2017 by  
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Good ole sex therapist Dr. Ruth is still at it at age 88 … Wow! Her latest advice is a good one too. I just heard her on the radio talking about how important it is to take some risks if you want to have a better more fulfilling and financially more profitable life.

Dr. Ruth collects little turtle figurines and presently has 40 of them. Why? Because these turtles hold a great meaning for her and her life. Namely, as she says, “If a turtle wants to move, it has to take risks. It has to stick it’s neck out. It could get hurt. But if it does not stick it’s neck out, it doesn’t move.”

She goes on to say that the turtle is like herself, saying that she too sticks her neck out and takes risks; risks that put her on top in the broadcasting world. She is also probably the most famous sex therapist in the country. Not bad for a lady that is an orphan survivor of the holocaust.

The last couple weeks I’ve talked a lot about fears that we all have and ways to face those fears and overcome some of them. We all need to heed the advice captured in the title of Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. That title can and should apply to so many parts of our lives. It could be investing some of our money into a run-down property that we can see could be worth so much more when fixed up. Or perhaps it’s changing jobs or our profession and getting into something totally new, knowing it could be a much better position or career, one that fits our talents and our passion in life. Or maybe you want to write a book or start giving public speeches but your great fears kick in and stop you in your tracks.

If so, you are just like that turtle that doesn’t stick it’s neck out and therefore doesn’t move. In the case of the turtle, that lack of movement could even be a death sentence and for us humans who want to lead a wonderful and more fulfilling life it probably will kill that kind life or at least do some major damage.

So, I think all of us need to remember and take to heart that advice from Dr. Ruth’s turtle. We should stick our neck out when we want to move ahead and take some risks. Even when we feel the fear, let’s do it anyway!

Losing Out to Fear

May 5, 2017 by  
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I am totally convinced that most people don’t end up making big money–especially when you are talking millions of dollars—not because they aren’t smart enough but because of their fears. It is a fear of failing and/or the fear of losing what little money they may have. Believe me, I totally understand those fears because that is exactly what held me back for a long time.  But that’s when my wonderful friend and mentor, Larry Rosenberg stepped in and gave me the courage to overcome my fears or at least reduce my level of fear. At the same time, he showed me exactly how to do the big deals and reduce the risks which, of course, reduced the amount of fear I had.

Don’t get me wrong there are always risks but even so, Larry convinced me that if I wanted to hit it really big, I would have to take some bigger risks. At that point, I reasoned with myself and agreed with that old saying, “Better to try and fail than never to try at all.”  I never forgot being told repeatedly when I was young, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

There is no question that when you use financial leverage on a purchase that you increase the risk to yourself.  Like that old example I’ve used over and over—if you put 10% down on a $500,000 dollar property, you could lose all your money if that property dropped in value by 10% and you had to sell it. That’s $50k gone just like that.

That kind of risk is scary but on the other hand, if that property increases in value by 10% then you’ve just doubled your money or made a 100% return. Remember what huge numbers 100% returns do to your money over time–just one penny compounded at 100% a year grows to well over $10 million in just 30 years! That’s the great power of compounding. Of course, you can reduce your risks, big time, by using your brain and your brawn to fix up a property which greatly increases the chance of raising its value and greatly reduces your risk.

If you want to reduce your risk even more, you may want to do what one of my long time students did early on in his acquisition of property. I’m talking about Dell Loy Hansen who now owns properties valued in the billions. He started from scratch after he read my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. How did he reduce his risk?  He went out and found partners which allowed him to buy property with much bigger down payments, so they went into these investments with a lot more equity and hence less risk. That, of course, reduces the possible return on the amount invested but, for Mr. Hansen, it greatly increased his leverage and allowed him to buy bigger and bigger properties, hence his multibillion-dollar portfolio.

So remember, if you want to hit it big, be prepared to take some risks and if you want to cut those risks a bit, go find some good partners to share in the initial down payment. Just be sure to take good care of those partners.

 

 

Crossing Out Our Fears

April 28, 2017 by  
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Last week I promised to give you some directions on how to get rid of your fears and, yes, I think we all have some fears that should be dealt with. Elle Luna in her great book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, gives such excellent advice and direction on how to eliminate fears.

The first thing you need to do is be totally honest with yourself and write down your fears, some of which you’ve probably not told anyone about. Those of you who follow my books and blog know that I am a huge believer in the power of writing things down.  When I write down a goal, for example, especially if I include a time line and date for reaching that goal, those written words have huge power over me and push me to deliver on the promise and the goals that I set for myself.  Those written words on the page drive me and won’t let me go until I achieve the goal.

Elle’s advice on writing things down begins with a list. “Grab a piece of paper and write the numbers one through ten on the left side of the page. At the top, title it “What are you so afraid of?” This is your worst-case scenario list. This is your list of fears, ultimate doomsday concerns, and everyone-is-going-to laugh-at-me-and-run-the-other-way scenarios. These are your largest, scariest fears, and you’ve got ten minutes to write them down.”

I really loved the following advice she says right after that–“Now let’s get realistic about these fears. Because often, fears in our mind can be like say–sticky and way difficult to remove. But fears on paper? Tangible, visible.”  This is followed up by a new term for me and one I really love. She asks us to identify and go to work on the fears that are “cross out-able.”

“After you’ve gone through all of your fears,” Elle says, “write a short note or tip next to each line listing one thing–just one–that you can do to loosen that fear’s grip on your life. Get to know these fears intimately because they are the invisible walls that surround you daily. Decide which ones stay and which ones gotta go.  If you are going to live that better, more satisfying life you must follow your ‘musts’ not those ‘shoulds’.”

You see, as you make even a little bit of progress in eliminating a fear you will gain a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and power and writing it down will help you push yourself to eliminate that fear. And never forget that it’s totally ok to approach this by taking baby steps, as Lao-Tzu was quoted as saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

 

 

The Life We Want

April 21, 2017 by  
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How do we discover who we really are and what we really want our lives to be? First, listen to what the brilliant Mark Twain said many years ago: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Most of us know what day we were born but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s pretty darn important to figure out why you were born and what you want your life to be although in that regard, many of us feel uncertain. One of my favorite authors, Joseph Campbell, said in his book, The Power of Myth, “I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

In the book by Elle Luna that we have been examining, The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle explains that if you want to really discover who you are and what your life should be, you have to “find and follow your passion.” I couldn’t agree more, but how do we find it?

A great starting point would be to look at our childhood. Luna says, “Nowhere is the essence of Must (or in other words what you must do and be with your life) more purely exhibited than in childhood. What were you like as a child? What did you enjoy doing? Were you solitary or did you prefer a crowd? Independent or collaborative? Day optimizer or day dreamer?” She goes on to say, “If you don’t remember, call your mom, or someone who knew you well in your early childhood, and ask for stories about what you were like as a kid.” She adds that you should take good notes because this can lead you to who you really want to be and must be.

When I followed her advice and revisited my childhood, I wrote down what I was like and what turned me on back then and I easily remembered that I loved sports and loved talking to people, especially new people. I loved to visit new places and I loved to tell stories. I began in my early teens to write down stories of my thoughts and dreams and I was thrilled to note that I’ve continued to write and have made a career out of it. So now, when my mind starts wandering and wondering what I should be doing differently with my life, I take a pause and more fully realize I’m already following my passion and that makes me feel so much more satisfied.

“Don’t ask what the world needs,” Elle says. “Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Luna does throw in a big caution flag saying, “While money, time and space are the reasons given most often for not choosing Must, there is another fear that’s far scarier and spoken about much less.” She is referring to the feeling of being vulnerable which is caused by our personal fears. She then gives suggestions on how to rid yourself of those fears, which just might be the thing to cover in next week’s blog.

Eliminating the Shoulds

April 14, 2017 by  
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If each of us is to live a much better and more fulfilling life, it’s very important that we move from living a life of things we ‘should’ do and move to a life of things we ‘must’ do. The ‘shoulds’ are the things that other people and institutions have told us we should and should not do while the ‘musts’ are those things we think and decide for ourselves.

So, the big question is, how does a person dump those ‘shoulds’ that were put on us by others? Many, if not most of the ‘shoulds’ of our lives were put on us when we were young and easily persuaded to do or not do certain things. Of course, as kids, we did need to be told what to do, what not to do, and how to act.  But if we want to live a total and satisfying life, one that is our life by our own design, then we need to move from the ‘should’ mindset that came from others to our own life of what we feel we ‘must’ do.  If we do that, then we can really follow our own dreams, ambitions, passions, and natural talents.

But how do we really get there?  How do we discover what we really want, who we really are, and what we want our lives to be?  First of all, according to the book we looked at last week, Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must, it’s not easy to get rid of our ‘shoulds’ and move to our own designed ‘must’ list and life.

Elle says that “we need to know each ‘should’s’ origins, how it got there, and when we first began to integrate it into our decision-making … look for recurring patterns and choices both little and big that are affected.”

Luna further suggest that you “grab a piece of paper, and make a list of the ‘shoulds’ you hold on to by completing the sentences that I listed in last week’s blog. She adds that you should “listen to what comes up first and write it down … where did you come from? Are you true for me? Do I want to keep holding on to you?”

Think about how many ‘shoulds’ that have been put on you in so many parts of your life–religious beliefs, education and what you specifically studied, the job or occupation that your ended up in, your political leanings, and what you think you want to do for fun and for pleasure.  The list of these affected areas could go on and on. Of course, some of your list would be things that you personally chose for yourself and were not pushed on you but those that were not your choice need to be examined and eliminated if it’s not what you really want and not who you really are at your core.

Next week I will give Elle Luna’s suggested ways of how one goes about discovering who they really are and what you really want your life to be like. It’s not an easy process but it is so very worth the effort and the results that will make your life so very much better and more fulfilled.

 

 

The Paths of Should and Must

April 9, 2017 by  
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I ended my blog last week by saying, “Give more so others can live more,” which, of course, not only helps your life but also lifts the life of others. My dear and wonderful giving wife, Kimberly, is always giving of her time and talents as well as gifts to my kids, to my grandkids, to my ex-wife, and to strangers. Recently she gave me a great gift. It was a simple book but, wow, what a great life giving and life changing book it can be if you follow the advice of the author.

The book she gave me is entitled The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, written by Elle Luna. The author is convinced that those people who do what they ‘must’ usually discover who they really are and what they really can do with their lives as opposed to those people who do what other people say they should do and should become.

Elle goes on to make a very good case for following what we feel we ‘must’ do versus what we feel we ‘should’ do. “Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires–unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike the should, must doesn’t accept compromises.”

The author goes on to explain how to get rid of all the ‘shoulds’ of your life and then how to discover what the ‘must’ of your life and existence really is. On the ‘should’ side, she suggests you make a list of what others have told you that you should do and should become then with that list you can start to figure ways to eliminate the ‘shoulds’.

Finishing these sentences is a good way to start, Elle suggests.

YOU SHOULD NEVER ________________.

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS___________________.

YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO ___________________.

YOU SHOULD NOT____________.

From the time we were born, or as very young kids, all of us, no doubt, have been told what we should do or should not do or should become and most people seem to blindly follow that advice even when we are mature adults. So, we are not really living our own life or following what we truly love and are good at so we don’t become the best of ourselves.

I want to close out this week’s blog by quoting a famous person:

“It’s your life, but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Next week I will discuss ways and methods that the brilliant Elle Luna suggests to move from living a life of ‘should’ and moving to discover your real self and live an enhanced and happier more fulfilling life of ‘must’!

Being a Giver

March 31, 2017 by  
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There are a lot of various reasons and motivators that push people to go after wealth, even great wealth. But the real bottom line basic motivator to make even a little money is simply survival because we all need money for food, clothing and shelter. Thankfully, here in the good ole US of A, most of us are beyond that stage. Certainly, a large part of the reason for this is because of our great freedom and our wonderful free enterprise system that allows even a person born into poverty the real chance–albeit with a ton of work and effort–to rise above it all and make lots of money and even a fortune starting from scratch.

One of the more unique motivators for achieving wealth is sometimes, “I want to make a lot so I can give a lot.”  Some people would question that saying, “Why would that push or motivate people to achieve great financial success?” and my answer to that would be “Because it can make the giver feel on top of the world with wonderful inner feelings that last and last.” Plus, it’s a great legacy that can and will linger on long after the giver has passed on.  That feeling of giving back is so very good for the body, mind, and soul and I’m sure most of my readers have experienced that at many different levels.

That wonderful feeling can be had from giving both money and non-money stuff. Think of how you feel when you give someone a gift, or do a big favor for someone, or give a great compliment and you receive sincere, enthusiastic, and emotional thanks. There are not many feelings that are a greater reward than what you get when you are a giver.

So, if you and I really take the time to think it through, we may well see what a great motivator it can be for us to push ourselves to make more money so we can give more money to others. Also, never forget all those other things we can give–everything from sincere compliments and praise, our time, our service, and our sincere love and attention to others. The return on these kinds of investments are many times much more satisfying than the return we get on our money investments. My motto is becoming, more and more, “Give more to live more.” Or better yet, “Give more so others can live more.”

 

Rethinking Stress

March 24, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about the good and bad sides of stress and what you can do to reduce the bad stuff. But I also mentioned that I had just found out something that came as a big shock to me. I had just learned about an 8 year study which discovered that how you think about stress can shorten or lengthen your life. Yes, just by believing or thinking in a certain way about stress can affect your health and lifespan. The good news is that you can change your thinking and gain benefits from the stress in your life.

Kelly McGonigal gave a Ted Talk back in June of 2013 and told of the results of the 8 year study. In that study, 30,000 adults were asked if they believed that stress was very bad for their health. There were many that said “yes” to that question and many that said “no”, then 8 years later the death records were examined and it was found that those who believed that stress caused health problems had a 43% higher death rate than those that didn’t think stress caused health problems.

In other words, just by the mind believing the stress was not bad for them protected those people’s health. The mind really does have a lot more power than we usually give it credit for. The healthy group even had a longer life span than the average person.

There is even one more pretty big positive benefit of stress when you have the right mind set—under stress, the body produces a lot of oxytocin which is a neuron hormone that actually increases your energy level. The difficulty is that if you believe stress is harmful for your health, your blood vessels become constricted which increases your chance of a heart attack. However, if you don’t believe stress is harmful then your blood vessels don’t constrict and you have the extra energy caused by that stress stimulating the production of oxytocin.

So, that is the good and the bad of being stressed and now we know that this good ole brain of ours can make it be one way or the other. To stay on the good side of stress, we all need to do mental work outs and practice controlling our thoughts and directing our beliefs to see, and benefit from, the healthy, energized aspect of the stresses we live with every day.

Stress as Good And Bad

March 18, 2017 by  
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This week I want to talk about stress. I am even a bit stressed about getting this written in time to post it! There is a lot to stress about. Because of that people have come up with all sorts of ways and methods to reduce stress. However, stress can be good because it can push you to get more done and try harder to reach your goals. And, get this, you can actually learn how to make it so that even a ton of stress doesn’t hurt or ruin your health! I think you will be surprised and delighted to learn how to do this, as I was. But let’s examine how we think about stress for a minute.

As most people know, stress seems to be caused, for the most part, by our thinking and worrying about some future event–near or far. There is, however, two bits of really good news about stress. We all know that if we wanted to be a better or even a great tennis player, golfer, singer, writer, public speaker, etcetera, there are ways to become just that. One of the best methods is the “10,000-hour rule” as explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s a must.) It says you need to put in 10,000 hours at something to become world-class in that field.

From my experience and from what I read, we as humans can do “work outs” and do lots of “practice sessions” with and for our brains, just like we can invest those 10,000 hours to become the best at something. Part of the good news is that, when it’s needed, it doesn’t take 10,000 practice hours to reduce stress.

So, before I get to the good news about how stress isn’t always bad for you and your health, let me just list a few simple techniques that are easy to do to reduce or eliminate stress when you know it isn’t doing you any good:

  1. Take a walk outside.
  2. Take a run in a new neighborhood.
  3. Take a Hike.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Go to a yoga class.
  6. Share your problems or stress with others.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Take a hot bath or jump in a hot tub.
  9. Do a good deed for someone else.
  10. Give or get hugs and kisses from friends and relatives.

These simple things are easy to do and are well known to work.

Okay, that is all well and good but what about the big shocker I’ve been hinting at? This is something that hit me hard. It has to do with changing a person’s thinking and how what they believe changes their health and life span. It is pretty amazing and I will cover it next week. But in the meantime, de-stress as needed and start getting used to the idea that it’s not always bad to be stressed. Then tune in next week to see what I mean!

The Deadline Motivator

March 10, 2017 by  
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Have you ever noticed how you tend to get very organized and efficient, getting tons of stuff done, when you are preparing to go on a trip? It doesn’t matter if it’s a vacation or a business trip—just any kind of travel with a set time to leave will get you moving. Why does this happen? Because if we are going to catch a plane or train or we have an appointment that absolutely must be kept, then that deadline will drive us and focus us. This teaches us that deadlines can be a very good thing. They push us to be more organized and efficient and get so much more done than we probably even thought we could.

That thought hit me pretty hard the other day as I was hurrying around getting so much done since we were flying out of Kauai on our way back to our Salt Lake City home. Good ole Delta Airlines set a 10 p.m. deadline for me the next day and I had to get a whole list of things done so we could get out on time and not miss our flight. I feel the pressure of this deadline even though I do have a special deal with Delta which is if I am not there on time they can leave without me! Oh, I know you probably have the same deal, ho ho! So, wow, was I ever getting a ton of things done and, for all the pressure that it caused, it also made me feel very good about myself and my life because I was really pushing myself.

I have always thought that setting deadlines is a very good thing since they push us humans to be more productive. Deadlines can and should be used in many parts of our lives. I sure have found that my setting deadlines for certain financial goals was a huge key to my wealth building.

I have found that setting deadlines for health also has been very helpful. If we decide to do a fast or start a workout program and do not set a day and time deadline to accomplish them, there is a very good chance that we will not get very far with those goals.

I guess if you and I lived forever, or even for 500 years, deadlines would not be important or at least not very important. But I did hear a rumor that everyone of us is going to die, so hey, if you want to be more productive, more successful, and live a full life, you better get started now. Set some goals and attach good solid deadlines to get them done. Maybe pretend that you are going to Europe and just cannot miss your flight! And yes, of course, you must write those goals and deadlines down and review and revisit the promises that you made to yourself and stay on target! Because you don’t want to miss your deadline!

 

 

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