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The Power of Repeated Thoughts

September 28, 2018 by  
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People commonly remark to themselves, or to other people, things like “I’m a real good people person,” or “You know, I’m not good with people. I guess I’m kind of anti-social.” Others say, “Hey, I’m really good at fixing things,” or “I sure am a poor public speaker, but I’m a very good writer.” How about you? What do you tell yourself and others that you are good at and things that you are not so good at?

This self-talk is a very powerful thing and it tends to make you much better at some things, but it also can reinforce negative ideas about your life and habits which can hurt you.

I’ve said for many years that I’m very good with numbers and that I am a good wordsmith but, when it comes to repairing or fixing things, ugh… I’m terrible. And for many years now I’ve said to myself and to others, “I’m really, really not physically flexible.” In fact, I can’t even touch the floor without bending my knees big time. But, a few weeks ago, I started thinking about the huge connection between the brain and the body and how my comments about my lack of flexibility was totally reinforcing that weakness. You see, by telling myself over and over again that I was not at all flexible, my body believed it, which wasn’t hard because I wasn’t doing anything to change it either. So, my body was just following the brain’s instructions.

It does surprise me that I didn’t have this wakeup call years ago. I just accepted having a stiff body as an unchangeable fact and by always saying that I was not flexible, I reinforced what my brain was telling my body.

So, having had my little epiphany, I decided to do something about it. I started a simple daily stretching routine and within just a few days I was delighted to see a slow but consistent improvement in my flexibility. Before my stretching program, if I had dropped something on the floor, I would ask my wonderful wife, Kimberly, it she’d pick it up and she always would. But now she doesn’t have to. Even though I’ve got a long way to go to be super flexible, I can see that it is going to happen, just a little bit at a time.

I’m not saying that we don’t each have some very natural talents and abilities but there is also a very strong connection between the brain and the body that can also affect our abilities. We need to remember that we can direct our thoughts to make changes and improvements in our body and in our life, changes that we may have thought were not possible. The bottom line is that our thoughts can reinforce good stuff in our lives as well as some bad stuff so we should pay attention to which kind of thoughts we keep repeating to ourselves and others.

Think about this and maybe experiment with ways to direct you and your body to change or improve. You might surprise yourself.

 

Choosing Novelty over Fear

September 21, 2018 by  
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Flying back with my wonderful wife, Kimberly, from Paris yesterday —a 10 hour non-stop to Salt Lake City—a 10 hour non-stop to Salt Lake City – I couldn’t help but reminisce over our super great trip to Sicily and France. In my mind, I relived all the things we did – the wonderful cathedrals, castles and intriguing side streets with the totally unique cafe’s and tasty 3 cheese fondue dips.

I got to thinking just how much travel to foreign counties and different places in the world expands and stimulates a person’s mind, making them more creative and appreciative as well as, sometimes, giving the entrepreneurial mind great ideas for new products and services that they can introduce back in their own country. These ideas can, sometimes, make that entrepreneur a fortune from just duplicating, or even, improving and/or changing that product or service. There are so many discoveries popping up all over the world and those can make a fortune for anyone who is paying attention and willing to work to make that product or service fit in their own country.

But business aside, I find that travel to a foreign country lifts my soul. If I was feeling a bit down or depressed before the trip, that plane ride and the visuals as we fly over a city like Paris, London, or Rome, eventually strolling through those foreign streets as well, is like taking a super drug to make me feel great. I’ve never forgotten how much the brain craves novelty and how that novelty pumps feel good chemicals into the brain. New places, new faces, and different unique cultures do exactly that for us humans.

This morning, as I was writing this, I was struck by the question of how many Americans have never traveled outside the USA and also why so many people have a great fear of flying. First of all, in regards to the fear of flying, many studies have shown that the chances of dying on a commercial jet are just .07 out of one billion miles flown!  Knowing that statistic makes my flights at 35,000 feet at 565 miles an hour across the ocean very relaxing.

Sadly, even here in the USA, which is one of richest countries in the world, as much as 63% of the population has never traveled outside the country. I would bet that most of that comes more from the fear of flying rather than the cost. And by the way, if you shop around, you can find round trip flights to Paris from the US for a mere $500 or so, depending on when you travel.  And again, if you or your friends or family members have a fear of flying, be sure to give them some statistics. So here is another one –there is only one chance in 11 million that you will die in a commercial plane.

By the way, I was thrilled to read recently that they are reintroducing the Concorde Jet and that it will be flying again in 2023. I always loved that 3 and half hour plane ride to and from Europe. Wow, what amazing speed–about 1350 miles an hour! I would urge you to sit down right now and make a list of the countries you want to visit, being sure to put some projected dates down for your trips, then go do it. Coax your friends and relatives to do the same thing—you won’t be sorry!

A List to Start the Day

September 14, 2018 by  
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A few weeks ago, I talked about how important that first hour of your day can be as the book, The Miracle Morning, talks about. I would add one critical thing that you can do to make that first 60 minutes of your day so much more productive and beneficial to your life – write down, the night before, the items and tasks that you want to address the next morning. Write what you want to concentrate on for those first 60 minutes. You can break it down to six 10 minute items or four 15 minutes tasks, but no matter how you do it, making a list can, and will, greatly increase the odds of you following through on what you want to accomplish.

There is something magic that happens in your brain when you reduce your desires to a list. When you write those items down, it’s like your brain pushes you to act on them and won’t let you go until you do it.

In my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I have a chapter entitled “Clone Yourself with the Amazing ‘L’ Factor”.  Show me any super-successful person who has accomplished big things and I’ll show you an accomplished list maker. Yes, you can clone yourself by the wise use of list making, plus some good old-fashion delegation.

Of the many specific techniques that have huge value in helping catapult a person to the top of whatever they’re going after, I have to say that list making is at, or near, the top of that list. For some reason most people tend to put a much higher value on just about anything that is on a written list. It’s just flat-out amazing how much more enhanced your life will become and how many more dreams and goals you will be able to achieve by using lists. In addition, daily task lists or to-do lists are the key to keeping track of accomplishing all the bite-size components into which you’ve broken down your big picture goals.

So, if you have gotten away from that ole list making habit, it’s probably a good time to start making lists in order to drive yourself to get lots of stuff done. And I don’t mean just for that first hour of the day, but make lists for your big, huge goals and read over your list often, checking off those items that you’ve accomplished. Then you can give yourself a nice pat on the back for getting the job done!

A Billionaire and a Popstar

August 31, 2018 by  
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I’m sure you’ve taken note of certain people whose lives seem packed full of many marvelous activities, adventures, and experiences. Have you ever wondered how they do it all? Well, a big part of their success is that they are good at making, keeping, and working off of lists.

A good example is British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who credits his lists of things he wants to accomplish as the key to his getting so much done. He takes the time to go down that list often, adding to it and checking off each item as it is completed.

Here’s a guy who, at the tender age of 25, had the nerve to make a $100,000 offer to buy the Caribbean island of Necker that was listed for sale at $6 million dollars. No, the seller didn’t accept that low ball offer but, later, Branson did buy the entire island for a mere $180,000 which ended up being one of his favorite paradise getaways. And get this … his super luxury cabin rents out for $65,000 a night! Wow. That’s my kind of real estate investment – a place you can rent out, when not using it for yourself, that provides a super great cash flow.

Today, his Virgin group of businesses owns more than 200 different companies. Among these companies are businesses that specialize in air travel, finance, retail sales, music, cell phones, internet, hotels, and even a railroad. In 1999, Branson attempted, and broke, world records in hot air balloon travel and in a transatlantic small boat crossing.

Pop star, Madonna, also has a reputation as a big list maker. Although her accomplishments are in different areas than Branson’s, she attributes her list-making to keeping track of her priorities and getting so much done.

Lists are one of the secrets used by the rich and famous every day of their lives. They help them to run their businesses and to expand their ventures. List making is a common trait of millions of successful people regardless of race, sex, nationality, or occupation. Lists are used to lift their lives and propel them toward fulfillment. And lists can do the same for you and me!

Once again, as I write about this, it truly motivates me to make more lists and be more consistent in doing just that. But here’s a good question to end on: How important is it to “Prioritize” your lists?  We’ll talk about that next week.

In the meantime, how about you or your son or granddaughter become the next Branson? Hey, it could happen, and then maybe you will invite me to a hot air balloon ride across the Atlantic!

More Production Yields a Better Life

August 4, 2018 by  
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In this post, I wanted to expand on Hyrum Smith’s great book, Purposeful Retirement (and yes you should go buy a copy!) He points out that studies show that the earlier you retire, the sooner you die. Having projects that are meaningful when you retire can not only raise your self-esteem and well-being but will also help you to live longer and stronger. So, if you are retired and, like me, have found that you don’t have enough to do and it’s driving you bonkers, or if retirement is in the not-too-distant future, it’s very wise and life enhancing to make a plan for your retirement years.

The key to this plan is to map out and write down the specifics of what you are going to do to truly make a difference in the world. From another great book, The Miracle Morning, the author Hal Elrod says, “you’re not supposed to ‘figure out’ what your purpose is.” Instead, he says, “you get to make it up.” So, it really is up to each of us to decide what we are going to do with the rest of our lives.

After reading this and giving it a lot of thought, I woke up the other morning with a very strong feeling of, “I know what I want my purpose to be.” My words to myself were, “I want to live, live, live, to give, give, give!” and I decided right then that from now on I would try to ask someone every day, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Perhaps, in doing this, I’m being a little selfish because I read in Smith’s book that, “through MRI technology we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain–and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier, but also healthier, wealthier, and more productive and meaningful.” Plus, it helps you live longer. And, hey, I want all of those things!

So, my new resolution is to “produce” a lifestyle of giving that makes the world a better place! And I just figured out a way to make that easier and faster. I would like to volunteer to give free speeches, seminars, and mentoring to anyone who wants it–whether it’s on financial strategies and methods or other self-improvement habits. So, if I can be of service to you individually or to your group, club or organization, please let me know. I do think that “Great Giving produces Great Living.” Hmm. I like that saying even though I am just quoting myself. But who knows, maybe it will go viral and I’ll be famous … ho ho ho!

To contact me, you can leave a comment on this post (look for the “leave a comment” link at the top of the blog. If you don’t see the link click the header of the blog post to get to the blog post specific page and it should be there.) Or, if you get this by email, just respond to the email. I’m looking forward to hearing, and helping, you.

 

Personal Value Versus Work Value

July 27, 2018 by  
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You probably have heard other people say, and you may have even have said it yourself, “I’m so looking forward to my retirement.” Most people think that their life is going to be so great and so much better when they retire. When you are retired you don’t have to get up when the alarm goes off and hurry off to work to arrive at a very specific time. You probably think that life after retirement is going to be a breeze, giving a person all that free time to do whatever they choose to do.

Those were certainly my thoughts and feelings, that is, until I suddenly hit retirement and found myself sitting at home with not enough to do and absolutely no timelines or deadlines to push and motivate me to get much of anything done. Ok, I did set up goals like that 20,000 steps per day goal of mine that pushes me to get up off my butt and get moving, but once I’ve hit that goal for the day, I would find myself bored out of my mind. Yes, there’s that bit of fun traveling to exotic places that I love to do, but between trips it quickly becomes a real downer.

Even if you are not even close to retirement, I think it’s a real good idea to start planning specifically on what you are going do when you reach that status. I hadn’t given that subject enough thought and planning before I retired and, wow, was it ever a huge letdown when I found myself there.

But thankfully, I had a huge breakthrough that is changing and improving everything and every day! Thank God for great authors who write wonderful books that can make a major difference in many different parts of a person’s life. That’s what Hyrum Smith and his book Purposeful Retirement did for me.

Hyrum talks about how so many beliefs can be so wrong and hurt you. Like the belief that personal value only comes through hard work, or important people have important titles, or if you are busy then you are important. Those beliefs can be so very harmful, especially to you when you move into retirement. Your work value has nothing to do with your value as a person.

Quoting Hyrum Smith, “My value as a human being is independent of my job. If I based my value on my job and my job goes away, my value as a human goes away with it. This leads to big trouble. This leads to unhappiness, isolation, depression, and eventually death. The minute you find value from just being you, you will find inner peace. But first you must not only understand but you must know your value has nothing to do with your job title.” These are some very wise words that we all need to pound into our head.

Next week I want to dig deeper into Hyrum’s book and pass on some more great advice about how important it is to stay productive and have meaningful projects. I’ll also talk about how important it is to start giving back and helping others after retirement and how that keeps you excited about yourself and your life.

The Grateful List

July 20, 2018 by  
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A few days ago, I walked down my very long driveway to get my newspaper. The walk down the drive and back is about 1500 steps which is a very good start towards my goal of 20,000 steps a day, a goal that motivates and drives me to always keep moving for better health and longevity.

But this day, as I walked, I was thinking about what I said in my last blog, about how most of us humans take so much of the good stuff in our lives for granted. That simple thought led me to begin making a list in my mind of things I am so grateful for but then I began to notice how many things on my mental list were things that I was totally taking for granted! So, I decided I should write them down and take a look at that list at least once a week and push myself to take time to appreciate the wonderful things in my life.

When I got back to the house, I began my list. Doing this simple little exercise has been a great motivator and has begun to make me more at ease with life.  I would encourage you to make your own list of 10, 15 or more things you want to better appreciate in your life and review them regularly. Constantly renew your vows to appreciate those great things in your life and not take them for granted.

Please, go ahead and do it and you’ll see how much it can enhance your life. And yes, why don’t you and I encourage our family and friends to do the same thing and spread the word. This is just another way of paying good stuff forward.

Here is the list of things that I do so much appreciate, and many times take for granted:

  1. My darling, kind, energetic and loving wife.
  2. My super wonderful kids and grandkids— there’s not a bad one in the bunch.
  3. My good and consistent health and the many people that dedicate their lives to be great doctors, surgeons and inventors of great medicines that help cure so many things.
  4. My fairly good game of tennis at age 74.
  5. My warm and supportive friends (especially the ones that let me beat them in tennis, ho ho!)
  6. Living in a great, free country that provides so many opportunities for growth and prosperity.
  7. My many great mentors that have enhanced my life–both in person and through some great books.
  8. The many very smart and hardworking inventors that have given us everything fromautomobiles to jet airplanes to heaters, air conditioners, and so many electronic products.
  9. My FitBit, a great invention that can give people great health and longer lives, that counts my steps and has motivated me to keep moving.
  10. An absolutely gorgeous sunset or star-studded sky.
  11. My great opportunities to travel the world and how easy it is with today’s jet’s, great hotels, guides, and services. Plus, the convenience of cell phones and computers to check up on the kids.
  12. The great, super safe pilots and operators of machines of all types.
  13. All that great music out there that motivates and inspires so many of us.
  14. My many wonderful financial opportunities and all the ambitious, energetic help and assistance I’ve had from employees and partners.

I’ve probably left off other things I don’t appreciate enough…but I think this is a good start for me to work on.  And I did go out of my way to begin by telling my wonderful wife how much I do sincerely appreciate her. I do hope my little list idea will push you a bit to start your own list and feel the same increased satisfaction for life and living as it has for me.

 

Future Thinking

July 6, 2018 by  
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Continuing from my last blog on “visualization of the future”, someone pointed out that a man becomes what he thinks about all day, or as it says in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart so is he.” If you, for example are aiming at someday owning a hundred apartment or rental units, or a few small shopping centers, or want to achieve a certain net worth within a given time frame, you make that vision definite and well-focused, running it through your mind every day. You then work backwards from that ultimate big vision to the present time, locking in what must be done to end up in that future position and, if you do, then you will almost certainly succeed.

A great example of clear, concise visualization was portrayed in the old classic 1977 movie, Rocky, which was a story inspired by the boxer, Chuck Wepner. As you probably remember, Rocky was a boxer who, after much preparation, finished a fifteen-round fight with a world heavyweight champion. Once he had that goal locked in his mind, nothing could stop him, and nothing did. I’m sure if he’d set the goal of winning that fight he probably would have ended up doing so.

It is totally possible for anyone to meet their objective if that same mindset of determination and dedication that Rocky used was to be applied. He looked into his own future, saw what was possible then made it reality with a huge, unbendable mindset and, of course, a huge amount of hard, hard work!

Visualizing our own future can, and does, serve us well if we set our minds on things that are good for us. Looking into the future can even keep us alive. I’ll never forget the near tragic story of the plane crash in the Andes and that hero of a guy by the name Nando Parado. He not only saved himself, he also saved many others by keeping his mind focused on the future.

The book Survive details how, after the crash in the snow-covered Andes, with practically no provisions, these surviving athletes were able to stay alive for 2 months. This was accomplished largely through the efforts of Nando who had the ability to visualize the future, and even finally walked and crawled for many, many miles over the frozen ground and steep hills and mountains to finally reach civilization and save his team mates. He was able to do this almost impossible task because he didn’t stop visualizing the future, even when the future was only a few yards away such as his next rock, snowbank or hunk of ice that he had made his next goal on the way to save himself and the others.

Future thinking and visualization really can save your life as well as totally enhance every part of the life that you choose.

See into Your Own Financial Future

June 29, 2018 by  
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First of all, is it really possible to see your financial future, or even into the future, in any part of your life? I do strongly think the answer is a big fat YES! “Future looking” certainly has seemed to work for me. When I was young, I visualized myself making tons of money. I wanted to make my first million by age 30 and it all worked out, even bigger and better than I visualized.  Here’s how I went about it.

First, I began visualizing the end–my final goal and objective. With a very clear precise vision there is hardly a person, organization, or circumstance that can stop you from achieving what you have clearly set in your mind’s vision.

The real trick to making this work is in your ability to clearly visualize that future outcome. This takes deep insight and discernment. Unfortunately, most of us are not encouraged to use our imagination adequately. Consequently, the art of visualizing with imagination is not as developed as it should be or could be. With effort, however, we can start the subconscious motors and keep them running for our own huge financial benefit. Also, that thing that I wrote about in my last two blogs called “brain blinks” will likely kick in more often and lead you to great things.

Many so-called sophisticated people scoff at the value of this little exercise. But if used in the proper context and with intelligent control, the result can be powerful and very rewarding. My experience is that when a person uses their imagination to visualize the final results in sufficient detail, they can actually see into their future and, so, with a step by step plan, those final results can be reached.

So, here is what you need to do. Focusing on your ultimate objective, lock it into your memory, then work backward from that future goal to your present circumstance. In other words, you mentally think through each step necessary to achieve that particular objective.

Additionally, it is imperative to write down each step and all the plans that are necessary for you to accomplish your goal. Put this down on paper, in your phone, or in a computer as a permanent document, and be sure to put down a time line for each step. Then work hard to stay on task and on time. However, if your miss some of your time deadlines, don’t beat yourself up – forgive yourself. Nobody is perfect. Just move on and move forward with your plans.

Spending time to look very hard into your future can pay huge financial dividends but remember, this brain exercise is certainly not limited to money. It can just as easily and effectively be used with sports, public speaking, acting, performing, writing etc. Just about any part of your life can be greatly enhanced by using that wonderful, powerful, and almost magical thing we call the human brain. Let’s all remember that and cement it deep into our heads and go do it.

P.S. You might want to share this with a few younger people inasmuch as they have so much life in front of them and this financial advice could make them many, many millions of dollars since they have so much time!

Blink Moments

June 22, 2018 by  
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To continue last week’s subject on what we can do in the blink of an eye, I’d like to tell you a story about what the great Getty Museum learned from the “blink” that unconsciously happens in our brains.

An art dealer approached the J. Paul Getty Museum in California years ago to sell a rare 7 foot, a statue that was claimed to be thousands of years old. They were asking for $10 million. It was certainly worth that much money, if indeed it was a genuine piece. Getty took the statue on loan and began a thorough investigation. After 14 months of study by experts, Getty was satisfied so they agreed to buy it.

But then, before they closed the deal, two people had their own “blink” moment, feeling something was very wrong. As Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book, Blink, an Italian art historian, who served on the Getty board of trustees, “found himself staring at the sculpture’s fingernails. In a way, he couldn’t immediately articulate why they seemed wrong to him.”

Next to look at it was Evelyn Harrison who was one of the world’s foremost experts on Greek sculpture. In the very first moment when the cloth was taken off the sculpture, what did Harrison see? Gladwell writes, “She didn’t know, but she had a hunch, an instinctive sense that something was amiss. Several others that saw the kouros felt an ‘intuitive repulsion’, and they were absolutely right. In the first two seconds of looking at the work –in a single glance or blink of the eye–they were able to understand more about the essence of the statue than the team at the Getty was to understand after fourteen months.” The statue was proved to be a fake and those people who paid attention to the blink of their “adaptive unconscious” were proved to be totally correct.

We all need to give more credibility and pay attention to those “blinks of our brains” because it can lead us to great success and do it much faster than we can understand. Gladwell writes, “I think we are innately suspicious of this kind of rapid cognition. We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it … We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impression can offer a much better means of making sense of the worth. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”

This is not to say that we shouldn’t do our due diligence or research on an investment or in other parts of our lives, but if your gut reaction is telling you something different, you should pay a lot of attention to that “blink” in your brain.

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