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The Big 5 and Brain Stimulation

October 14, 2016 by  
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Okay, I must start out this week exclaiming … WOW, WOW, DOUBLE WOW! That’s the kind of brain reaction most humans have when they experience something totally new, unexpected, and novel. I’ve had a ton of novel experiences in my 72 years of living and certainly a big part of that has been new places I’ve visited, new things I’ve seen, the people I met, and the activities I’ve been involved with in the 84 different countries I’ve visited.

In the last two weeks, however, I saw and experienced something totally different that I’ve ever seen or done before. And yes it was in a country that I’ve never even come close to before. In fact, four new countries in total. It was an African Safari! I never had it on my bucket list but some friends did it and said it was fantastic so I thought I’d give it a try even though just the thought of it made me very nervous.

We started the adventure by flying into Johannesburg, South Africa and after a few days we headed for Kruger National park. There we met out guide and his spotter man who rode on a platform on the front of the jeep, on the lookout for one of the “Big 5” (the 5 most dangerous animals for humans to hunt or to be around) and yes, he was armed with a big powerful rifle. So off we went looking for the wild ones. Less than an hour later the jeep stopped and the lookout man got off with his rifle in hand. He had spotted lion tracks. Off he went on foot into the wild using a radio to let our guide know exactly where he was and what he was seeing.

A short time later we left the beat up dirt road and dove over trees, bushes and huge rocks that I swear were about to tip us over. About 15 minutes later, there they were–a pride of 14 lions, 7 of which were cubs. My wife and I and a dear friend from Park City, Utah who joined us on the trip, were frozen in our seats as the lions slowly approached our very wide open jeep. The jeep had stopped but let me tell you my heart rate didn’t–it doubled! All I could think of was how easy it would be for the papa lion to leap into the jeep and have me for lunch. But slowly the entire pride walked by us, looking us in the eye and coming within 6 or 8 feet of the jeep! We watch as they walked away and then drove on to look for the next on the list of the big 5.

I want to talk more about what other brain pumping stuff we saw but I do want to emphasize that to introduce yourself to novel experiences and sights that really stimulate your brain you don’t actually have to travel to foreign countries, so please don’t think you have to go far and wide to pump up your brain. However, visiting other cultures and or countries or even other religions does help. There are lots of very simple things you can do that don’t cost a ton of money or take a lot of time that will pump up your brain.

My son David, for example, gets this with 2 AM phone calls for his volunteer search and rescue work which is very challenging. It takes him into the mountains, on cliffs, and into rivers and lakes. It’s very exciting, brain pumping, and life enhancing stuff for him and it’s all in areas not far from where he lives.

Next week I will talk about and suggest some other simple things each of us can do to pump up our brains and, as a result, enhance our lives.

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Make America and You Greater

March 11, 2016 by  
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I think most of us are getting pretty feed up and bored with politics lately.  I mean every time you turn around you see or hear more news about the race for the White House and, of course, the face you see most often is that of Donald Trump.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough of that big bully, loud-mouthed Trump to last a life-time.  This know-it-all thinks he’s the smartest man in the world but his campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again”. Every time I see that baseball cap with those words on it, I think, “Wow … when did America stop being great?”

I’ve traveled the world, visiting 84 different countries as well as living two years in the middle east and two years in England and I can say, without hesitation, that we have a great country and it’s constantly getting greater. I fear that might not hold true if Trump became president, however.

Ours truly is a land of great freedom and opportunity where you can start off being dirt poor and still become a millionaire. It happened in the 1930’s and in the 1970’s and it’s still happening today. So how does a person take advantage of our freedom’s and opportunities?

Continuing on last week’s post about the power of the brain and how we can program and teach our brain with enough repetition to act automatically without conscious thought, here’s the beginning key to achieving financial greatness in our great country. Step one is to start training your brain to calculate out at least 10% of every single dollar you earn and then you set it aside and never spend it and I mean NEVER. This is investment money, not spending money. So just keep doing that over and over again until it is such an automatic habit that you don’t even have to consciously think about it.

If you have followed me very long you know what comes next.  You take those savings after months or years and wisely invest them.  And that, my friends, is the beginning of a sure fire way to become wealthy in one of the greatest countries in the world, if not the greatest.

Next week I’ll lay out the best investments to make in today’s economy and the way to make those investments. You get started on the savings part and I’ll get you prepared for investing in the great USA.

 

Be the Leader of Your Brain

March 15, 2013 by  
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 Last week I talked a bit about how you think about death, how it can affect your health and how you live now. Your brain is a very powerful organ, operating beyond your conscious thoughts. You can use its vast abilities to feel better as well as live better.

In the book “Super Brain” Deepak Chopra and his co-author Rudolph Tanzi write that you need to train your brain to do what you want it to do. “The minute you say “My memory isn’t what it used to be.” or “I can’t remember a thing today.” You are programing your brain to “live up to your diminished expectations.”

The authors go on to say “The 1st rule of Super Brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts.” So the lesson here is we all need to be very aware of our thoughts. We need to monitor them and then move them to the where we want them to go so our brains operate on healthy and positive ideas.

Lately I have been saying to myself “I’m starting to feel younger and healthier by the day—frickin’ A!” and I am actually beginning to believe it! My brain is overhearing these thoughts and operating based on them.

Our wise authors also say “You are not your brain.” When you are acting as the leader of your brain you can actively reprogram your own neurochemistry and even genetic activity, no longer indentured to mood disorders. So the huge key here is:

Be aware of your thoughts and direct them the way you want!

Death is Part of Life

March 8, 2013 by  
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 I got a very shocking and sobering email from the wife of a very dear friend a few days ago, a good friend, who is a doctor and in excellent health. His urine had turned very dark and his skin was jaundiced. At the hospital he found out he had a tumor in his bile duct that leads out of the pancreas. Not good! A few days ago he had a very complicated 9 hour surgery in which they took out part of his pancreas, stomach, duodenum and the gall bladder. It was shocking to hear this since my good friend kept himself in great shape. He has, from all his friends and family, wonderful support and encouragement. We know he’s a tough guy and are hoping and praying he’ll be ok.

Quite naturally this got me thinking about my own health and that inevitable end of the road for myself and yes, every one of you who are reading this blog. “Ouch,” you may say. “I don’t want to think about that.” But we all do—and we should—only there is a good way and a bad way to think about death. One way helps you and the other hurts you.

In the book “Super Brain” Deepak Chopra and his co-author Rudolph Tanzi write “If you are afraid of death, it is bad for your body– not because death looms so darkly but because the fear of anything is toxic.” They go on to say “Some cultures, such as Tibetan Buddhism, offer extensive preparation for death and a highly detailed theology of various heavens and hells.” Which they use to help people face and accept their own death.  The authors say the path to making peace with death might look something like this:

1. “I don’t think about death. It’s pointless.”
2. “The main thing is to live your life right this minute.”
3. “Anyway, I secretly don’t believe I will grow old and die.”
4. “To be honest, I don’t think about dying because it’s too scary.”
5. “I’ve seen death of a friend, family member, or pet. I know I have to face it someday.”
6. “I am beginning to feel calmer about the whole issue. I can look at death without running away.”
7. “Dying happens to everyone. It’s better to approach it calmly with eyes open.”
8. “I’ve felt the first serious twinges of mortality. It’s time to face it.”
9. “I find I am actually interested in what death is all about.”
10. “It’s possible to embrace dying as a natural stage of life–and I have.”

As you the read through these stages of thinking about death, try to think back to when you were young (assuming that you are no longer in that category) and notice how close these 10 stages may come to your own thinking back then and now. Have your thoughts changed dramatically?

The bottom line is you don’t need to fear death. It will come so fearing it is rather pointless. Instead, focus on the now, on what you are doing every moment of your life, filling it with purposeful, gratifying thoughts and activities. Living a good life makes fearing death unnecessary.

Next week, we’ll talk a little more about what Deepak and Rudolph have to say about keeping your mind young so you can get the most out of every moment of your life.