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Persistent Genius

March 29, 2020 by  
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Let’s look at another famous and super successful person this week, someone who had some very tough times and setbacks that, for many if not most people, would have forced them to give up and say goodbye to their big dreams and great hopes. I think you may have heard of him – his name is Albert Einstein.

Einstein didn’t even start talking until he was 3 years old and didn’t read at all until he was 7. That by itself wouldn’t be classified as tough times or a big setback but later, when he was in school, he poorly. He wouldn’t respond to the teacher when asked a question or he would take forever and then would whisper a response. He was also known for being incredibly forgetful and absent- minded. He would often forget to put on his socks and many other basic things. Many people believed that Albert Einstein was mentally retarded although he did excel at mathematics from a young age and even taught himself algebra and geometry one summer when he was 12 years old.

At the age of 16, he applied to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zürich but was turned down after he failed the entrance exam. He was advised to finish his secondary schooling, which he did, successfully enrolling in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zürich Polytechnic school at the age of 17.

Quoting from Darcy Andries great book, The Secret of Success, Is Not a Secret, “It was not until after the first of Einstein’s theories, the ‘Special Theory of Relativity’, was published that the scientific community truly recognized his talent. However, even then many scientists attacked his theories, calling them ‘worthless and misleading’ and asserted that Einstein ‘has not a logical mind.’ None of these kinds of comments and failures stopped him. He became professor extraordinary at Zurich, and later a professor of theoretical physics at Prague. The highlight of his scientific career came in 1921, when Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics.”

So, here’s a guy who had many reasons to pack it up and not chase any big dream or goal but, wow, look at what he did and who he turned out to be. Even though I am pretty sure that good ole Albert didn’t have a clue that 100 years after winning the Nobel Prize he would still be famous and known worldwide. Alex Johnson, a reporter for MSNBC, said this about Einstein: “Albert Einstein’s impact on the world was so immense that any assessment must range beyond science to take in the multifarious ways he changed culture.”

These stories and many others certainly inspire and motivate me to never give up on my hopes, dreams and goals. I hope you feel the same way.

Keep Your Brain Busy

March 22, 2020 by  
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Now may be the best time in your life to focus on your brain in a way that it won’t get trampled by the news and all that’s going on in the world. Yes, I’m talking about the coronavirus and the huge damage that it’s doing. It really is a game changer and can be so horrible for many people mostly because of how they use their brain in a time like this.

The human brain can be the most incredible part of your body, but it also can be a huge downer for your happiness and mental stability if you do nothing but worry.  Yes, the virus is a very bad thing and, wow, just look at what it is doing to our economy, not to mention that huge fear factor around whether one might get the virus. That’s bad stuff, but if you use your brain in the right way and keep it busy you can avoid some of the really bad stuff that’s happening.

Just don’t forget that you will most likely not get the virus, even though worldwide many people have, but the percentages are on your side, especially if you are careful and do all the things that reduce your odds of catching it. It’s true that you and I can’t stop the spread of the virus or the fear gripping so many people, but we can take steps to make this huge event less traumatic so that when it’s all over, we can look back at and give ourselves a pat on the back and congratulate ourselves for what we, and our brain, just did.

I can see a lot of good as well as some very bad things coming from this dangerous situation.  Since most everything is closed, I can easily see how many people can become almost bored to death and might be going crazy since they think they don’t have anything to do. They’ve lost their routine, are not going to work and being productive, and are not having their usual social interactions with others. However, with some thought and effort you can come up with projects and things to do that are helpful to yourself and others.

I mean, in the lockdown situation many of us are experiencing, you could read a bunch of books, do some writing of your own, and, hey, how about some at home exercise. No, you don’t need a gym to run when you can run around the neighborhood. Push-ups, sit-ups, and at least some weightlifting can be done at home. You could come out of this disaster looking like Rocky Balboa if you really want to. You could also have a book written and ready to sell and could even set yourself up to give your own seminars since you would have plenty of time to prepare a great presentation.

Think about the many positive things that you can do to help yourself, your friends, and your relatives, things that will also keep you and your mind busy and productive.

P.S. We here in Salt Lake City got a double dose of bad stuff. My wife and I were suddenly shaken from our sleep by a powerful earthquake that shook our house so bad I thought it might fall down on us. It was 5.7 on the Richter scale, but we did survive and mentally and physically we plan to thrive.

 

Never Giving Up

March 8, 2020 by  
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Last week I talked about the fact that there is really no big secret to big success. In the beginning of the great book by Darcy Andries, The Secret to Success, she quotes a very smart and very successful man, Colin Powell. He said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Then Darcy made the wise comment that “You can learn a lot from failure, but that requires you to continue moving forward despite having failed.”

As promised, I want to share with you some of the setbacks and failures of a few famous people who never would give up and who eventually were very, very successful. I want to start with the great basketball player Bob Cousy, who was my hero when I was a young man playing in a great basketball tournament in the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy.  I wanted so badly to be like Bob Cousy and play professional basketball. We won the Rome tournament and I got a basketball scholarship to Utah State University but that’s as far as I got. No pro basketball for me.

I wish I had known back then Cousy’s story of all his setbacks, turndowns, and losses.  I really think that if I had read that story back when I was struggling as a University player, I would have doubled down and not given up. I think I would have done more and practiced more and pushed myself to the limits, maybe even seeking out a personal coach. Here is a summary of Cousy’s story.

Bob Cousy didn’t pick up a single basketball until he was 12 years old and although he tried, he was cut from the school team twice back then. He kept practicing and practicing though. Then he slipped and fell and broke his right arm but he still didn’t give up. He just switched to using his left hand to shoot ball. Wow. He was now ambidextrous and became the star player of the team. After high school, he went on to play college and earned an All-American statue 3 times, helping his team win 26 straight games. He turned pro in 1950 and went on to be voted MVP in 1957 and then received many other great honors including induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

Think about that and what huge determination and perseverance it must have taken for him to stick with his dream. We all have setbacks and losses so the real key or secret to success for almost any goal or venture is to NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! It’s a very wise person who seeks help from others through books and seminars, or pushing super successful people to be your coach, your teacher, and your inspiration.  So, bottom line here is, if you have set big goals and dreams and you haven’t yet been successful yet, rededicate yourself to those dreams and never give up.

Writing Down the Urgent Stuff

February 16, 2020 by  
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Last week I wrote about how important it was to write down your goals, your intentions, your dreams, and your to do lists. Why do that? Because if you do, the odds that you will follow through and complete those tasks and dreams increases big time.

There are many other benefits to writing. If you commit your dreams to paper, or on a document in your computer, for some strange reason, the act of writing your fears and negative thoughts down helps you  deal with those bad thoughts and then you can more easily  overcome them.

So, getting into the habit of not only writing your good dreams and goals down but also those fears and negative feelings we all have, can become a huge asset in your life.

Here’s 17 questions from a list in Ilchi Lee’s wonderful book I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers.

  1. What things have I achieved in my life?
  2. When was I most joyful?
  3. When were things most trying?
  4. How did I overcome hardship in those trying moments, and what did I learn through them?
  5. What moments in my life do I regret?
  6. When did I do things that made me feel proud and that I found rewarding?
  7. What momentary choices became opportunities that changed my life?
  8. What values did I try to remain true to throughout my life?
  9. What goals have I had so far?
  10. What motivated me to establish those goals?
  11. Which of my goals have I had so far?
  12. Which of my goals have I achieved?
  13. Which goals have I failed to achieve?
  14. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
  15. With whom have I shared my gratitude?
  16. With whom do I have emotional issues that I need to resolve?
  17. Which of my habits do I want to keep and develop?

Lee goes on to say, “If possible, write down your thoughts about these questions. Organizing them in writing and not just thinking about them will help you unravel the tangle of thoughts rolling around in your head.”

Like Mr. Lee’s book, Henriette Klauser’s book, Write It down, Make It Happen, makes some of the same points. Klauser likewise emphasizes how absolutely critical it is to get into the habit of writing your goals and dreams down, explaining how, “putting it on paper alerts the part of the brain known as the reticular activating system to join in the play.”

She goes on to explain this mechanism. “At the base of the brain, about the size of a little finger, is a group of cells whose job it is to sort and evaluate incoming data. This control center is known as the reticular activating system (RAS}. The RAS sends the urgent stuff to the active part of your brain and sends the nonurgent to the subconscious. The RAS awakens the brain to consciousness and keeps it alert.”  So, if you write something down, then it becomes the urgent stuff and your brain will keep it accessible to the active part of your mind.

Hope I’m not getting too scientific but knowing all about the RAS and what good it does all of us should be good motivation to keep writing our goals and dreams down. So now we know, when it comes to bad feelings, ideas, or worries, paper is a good place to park those negative mind games.

The Power of Your Written Word

February 9, 2020 by  
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I talk quite a bit about success, but as they say, talk is cheap. Writing, however, can be gold. If you want to be successful, you need to have your intentions in writing, even if you are the only one to see it or read it. Writing down what you are going to do and when you’re going to accomplish it can be, and usually is, a major motivator. It’s as if all the thoughts in your head have become real and concrete. That makes it very hard for you to ignore.

When I write down my goals, plans, and to-do lists, it’s like they take over my brain automatically. Putting your goals in writing forces you to really consider what it is you want because now you have put it in black and white, where it is more concise and easily grasped.

When you do write out your goals, answer all the basics: Who, What, Where, Why, How, and most importantly, WHEN. Include the following details:

-Who’s involved in this project?

-What is the end goal?

-When will you work on this goal?

-Where do you need to go to move it a long?

-Why do you want this?

-What are the details and steps you need to take?

-How will you achieve it?

-When will you achieve it?

The actual questions you need might be a little different but put the answers to those questions down on paper or your computer or cell phone and visit that list often. It’s an even better idea to post it where you will see it every day. When you read those words over and over, they become like a contract, and that’s exactly how you should treat it! Write it all down and then sign it.

Be sure to put your deadline, or deadlines if it’s going to be done in stages, on your written goals. These written goals will really be key to your success. It will be the starting point for your actions, determining the direction you will take.

So, remember this. Never forget the power of the written word and how it can push you to succeed in whatever you are trying to get done. Take one step at a time and keep writing it down. Those written words can, and will, take over.

Finding Direction in Your Retirement

February 2, 2020 by  
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I was reviewing a few of my past blogs and came across one from 9 years ago about retirement that hit me hard inasmuch as I’m feeling the same now as I did way back then. In the post, I started out by saying, “It’s so easy to get overly relaxed when you are in Hawaii as I have been the last few weeks …”,  and now, as I write this, I’ve been in Hawaii for 5 weeks and I feel the same way. I go on to say that my relaxing days do allow me to reach some major mental breakthroughs and I really think through the ideas that come to me but at the same time, I can feel so lost. That’s true today as it was then.

It got me thinking about how common this feeling can be for people in the mid and later years of their life. You’ve worked so hard for years, looking forward to retirement and then, once you get there, you start having these days where you simply have no direction. You start to realize that the carefree retirement life isn’t quite what you expected.

I am sure you have seen people around you that seem lost in retirement. When you retire or semi-retire every day can feel like Sunday. For most people in America, Sunday is a lazy day, the day when you don’t have any specific plans, a day to unwind and not answer to the clock or to any business or work demands. But when you do this every day, it actually can get very depressing.

As it turns out, Sunday morning has been found to be the most depressing time of the week for most people. Seems very odd that this can be true, but the reason is pretty simple. It’s because we don’t usually have any particular goals, plans, routine, or structure for that day of the week. Okay, maybe you go to church for a little while but otherwise, it is unlike the days in your work week or even the often busy, errand running and playing day that Saturdays often become. When a person retires, the constant structure of their life is gone so, without goals, routines, and deadlines, most people begin to feel lost.

Even if you are not close to retirement age, it is very smart and, in the long run, rewarding to start making plans and developing goals for retirement now. Retirement is not a bad thing. I can certainly attest to its advantages. But even in retirement you should set goals, establish a routine, and make plans with a timetable.

It’s just that during retirement, you don’t have an employer to please or to tell you what is expected from you, and you probably no longer have a family that you have to provide for, so you are left to make up your own schedule and decide what you want to accomplish. The key is to make up your own challenges, structure, and hopes that make you want to get up, excited and purposeful, every morning.

To put it simply, the real key is to not stop having dreams when you get older and/or retire. There is no reason to stop making plans and there are huge benefits for making plans for the remaining years of your life. There is also another big bonus for having plans in those later years–studies have shown that you are likely to live longer and with much better health. That should be reason enough to have plans and set goals through your entire life!

Bad Habits into Good

January 26, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans have at least a few bad habits. I certainly have a few. In last week’s blog, I listed 30 fairly common bad habits, but now I want to list a few proven ways to change or drop those bad ones.

  1. It is wise to first take some time, maybe a week or two, thinking about your habits, which ones you want to change and why, before you begin trying to drop or alter the bad ones.
  2. Try to figure out what triggers a particular bad habit.
  3. See yourself as a coach and direct yourself like you think, or know, a coach would.
  4. Make small changes at first.
  5. Identify good reasons you want to stop that bad habit.
  6. Identify the cause of the bad habit, like stress or boredom.
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  8. Think about what good habits you can use to replace the bad habit.
  9. Focus on how much good changing that bad habit will do for your life.
  10. Get a friend or relative to help coach you.
  11. Try not to hang out with people that have the same bad habit. Seek out new or other friends that don’t have the same bad habit.
  12. Form a new routine that keeps you away from the triggers that moves you into the bad habit.
  13. Develop substitute routines, plans, and actions.
  14. Reward yourself each time you resist the bad habit.
  15. Visualize and see yourself succeeding.

A very dear and very smart friend of mine said this about habits:

“Habits are driven by a 3 part loop. 1. TRIGGER–the stimulus that starts the habit. 2. ROUTINE–the doing of the habit and behavior itself. 3. REWARD–the benefits associated with the behavior.

By the way, one of my rather good habits was aggressively pursuing very successful people and picking their brain about how they made their millions. One of the best, who turned out to be a very good friend, was this guy who I just quoted. His name was Zig Ziglar. He was a super successful guy in many, many ways. He motivated me and many thousands or others big time. Sadly, he is no longer with us but his legend and what he taught me, and so many others, lives on forever.

 

Habits That Hinder

January 19, 2020 by  
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Wow, how stupid am I or, I guess I should say, what a habit driven man am I?  A few days ago, my wife and I drove our SUV to do a little shopping.  We spent maybe a half an hour at Walmart, walked back to the car, and were surprised to see, when I turned the key, that the car was already running! The SUV is the vehicle that my wife drives, while I have become totally used to driving my Tesla that doesn’t use a key and starts by putting your foot on the brake pedal. When you leave the car, you just walk away, with the electric engine stopping on its own and the car doors locking when you are a few yards away. So, my habit from driving the Tesla was so strong that when I drove our SUV, that habit took over and I didn’t even know it.

Most of the time, when we talk or read about habits, we are usually referring to bad habits.  One interesting and good thing to know, which sadly many people don’t, is that there are methods that can help you change your bad habits and develop good habits. It takes time and you need to consistently stick with the plan or method to make those changes but it can be done.

The most common bad habits make up quite a list. The following is not even close to a complete list of bad habits, but take a look and ask yourself if you suffer from any of these:

  1. Smoking
  2. Heavy alcohol drinking
  3. Watching too much TV
  4. Being on the computer or smart phone too much
  5. Spending too much time playing video games
  6. Eating unhealthy junk food
  7. Eating way too much food
  8. Consuming too much sugar
  9. Eating late night snacks
  10. Not allowing enough time for a full night sleep
  11. Complaining about almost everything
  12. Behavior that leaves you angry, worried or stressed
  13. Overspending your way into debt
  14. Being consistently late
  15. Being rude to others
  16. Road rage
  17. Driving too fast
  18. Losing your temper
  19. Lying
  20. Procrastinating
  21. Always bragging
  22. Being a know it all
  23. Letting fear stop you from doing something new
  24. Spending time with negative friends to bring you down
  25. Being pessimistic
  26. Always interrupting other people
  27. Swearing constantly
  28. Nail biting
  29. Picking your nose
  30. Slouching and poor posture

And, yes, that is just a very short list compared to some of the lists I have seen. So how many, if any, of these bad habits do you have and would like to get rid of? What causes bad habits in the first place and what can you do to drop a bad habit and take on good habits? I will address the answers to those questions in next week’s blog.

Keep Moving!

January 12, 2020 by  
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So, we are already nearly 2 weeks into the new year. Have you finished writing your New Year’s resolutions?  If not, it’s still not too late to begin. Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals by now. If you’ve got that, then fantastic! But, now, when do you start on your list? Without an actual start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your dreams, goals, and resolutions becoming real. So, if you haven’t finished your list or have yet to start acting on it, I would say do it now!

As we begin this new year, I have a few bits of advice that I think are so very critical. For one, to live longer you must have a big picture of what you want to achieve and not just have a routine you work away at. Secondly, never stop working on your health!  Keep moving!

From Ilchi Lee’s great book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years, there are a couple great bits of advice that really stand out in my mind. He states that people who have a positive perspective on aging live, on average, 7.5 years longer than the average person. He also makes the point that to live longer you need to have a goal and a design for the time you have left.

He shares lots of statistics and information on a very critical part of living a long, long life which is to keep moving. No, you don’t have to run a ton. Long walks every day give the same great health benefits and longevity to your life. Even just 150 minutes a week of walking can add 2.4 years to your life and 3.4 years if you double those minutes.

Six years ago, on my 69th birthday, I really started to think much more seriously about my age and how much longer I might have to live. It was on that birthday that I decided to start moving more and came up with my plan for walking, walking, and more walking. A huge part of my decision to do lots of walking was the small but great birthday gift my wife Kimberly gave me – a Fitbit. You put it on your wrist or put it in your pocket and it counts every step you take.

I began by setting a goal of 5,000 steps a day and soon was going more than that, so I move the goal to 10,000 steps and later to 20,000 steps every day. I’ve stuck with it since that birthday and, wow, I feel so much better, plus my tennis game improved a ton and I’m am convinced that those steps are increasing my life span. It is such a simple and easy exercise routine that gives such great rewards.

In his book, Mr. Lee lists 7 common statements that he has heard over the years from people who walked a bunch.

  1. I didn’t realize the way you walk is so important.
  2. Walking is so fun and exciting.
  3. The heavy pain that was in my legs and feet has vanished and they are lighter now.
  4. I used to suffer from insomnia, but now I can get deep sleep.
  5. My complexion has improved and my body feels lighter.

6, I usually become anxious and tense, but I have much more peace of mind now.

  1. My body has more energy, my head is clearer, and my focus on work has increased.

Hippocrates agrees. He is quoted as saying, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” I love that quote.

So, let’s all keep moving and moving. Get a Fitbit and start keeping track of your progress. If you do, and if you are anything like me, you will find yourself competing more and more with yourself. As a result, you will feel better and your health will most likely be lifted up a notch, if not two!

 

 

The CRON Diet: The Fountain of Youth

January 5, 2020 by  
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Alright, last week I promised to write a bit about the diet that I truly believe will greatly extend your life as well as help you live better. Would you believe that you can get those huge benefits from just what you put in your mouth? It’s true. There is a diet that really improves your health and extends your life.

The diet I’m talking about is known as the CRON diet (Calorie Restriction, Optimum Nutrition). The idea is that you will keep your calorie intake down enough to keep lean while still giving your body all the supportive energizing nutrition to stay healthy.

Studies of this particular diet showed significant increases in longevity and health in laboratory mice. I certainly noticed it in myself when I changed my eating habits to follow a CRON diet. I’ve had more energy, lost weight, seen much better ease of movement, and I feel so much better. I really believe that this diet will extend my life by quite a few years. Who wouldn’t want all that?

This diet is not as difficult as it may sound at first. You don’t have to go hungry. You just need to make better food choices and watch your portions. Here are the basic guidelines.

  1. Focus on eating low calorie, high nutrition foods, such as fruits and veggies.
  2. Eat just a couple small servings of protein in the form of fish, lean meats, nuts, beans, soy, and egg white.
  3. Greatly reduce eating processed foods and sugary drinks.
  4. Cut back on high calorie, minimally nutritious fats except omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed.
  5. Cut back on starches although it is okay to eat small portions of whole grains.
  6. Eat 4 or 5 small balanced meals throughout the day rather than 2 or 3 big meals.

Follow these guidelines and learn to eat well before you try to lose weight. Once you start eating more nutritious, lower calorie foods, you can start cutting back on total calories to reach your optimum weight. Lose weight slowly, at a rate of 1%-2% of your present weight per month. This gives your body time to adjust which is easier on you and makes it more likely that the weight will stay off.

Now, that’s not a very scary or difficult diet to follow, is it? There are no special foods or special preparations. There’s just your determination to be good to yourself. Go ahead and discuss this with your doctor and find out what a good target weight is for you and then go for it!

You might want to look over the calorie restriction website, www.crsociety.com to find a good book or two on this subject. I think if this gives you much better health and extends your life by quite a bit it’s certainly worth the effort!

Next week, I want to talk more about health and how critical it is to keep moving, especially as you get older. Keep running or jogging as long as you can and, if you really can’t run, at least walk. Walking can extend your life and raise your health to very high levels. Believe it or not, I walked approximately 3600 miles in the great year of 2019 and, wow, did it ever feel good. Now in 2020 I’ve set more walking goals along with those low-calorie goals. It’s going to be a good year!

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