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Failures at First Are Triumphs at Last

May 18, 2018 by  
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I believe everyone has the power and potential to accomplish the impossible if they are willing and wanting to take the proper steps forward. One of those steps, which Mark mentions all the time in his books, is to have a clear and concise plan with written goals.

Once you plan your work; then work your plan.

Those were closing words from Jeff Griffin on last week’s post. This amazing man has accomplished so much since a 40 foot fall parlayed him from the waist down and put him in a wheelchair. That accident certainly didn’t paralyze his brain or his motivation to help himself and to help other people. Read below some more of his story and some of his words of wisdom.

My teaching style, humor, and personality have made me one of the most liked and sought-after teachers during my 16-year career. I would consistently teach my students to give themselves permission to fail so they can succeed. I’ve left a consistent and comfortable paycheck and career to pursue my new dream of public speaking. I may fail but I also know I may succeed.

Because failures at first are triumphs at last, as long as we just don’t quit!

I earned my master’s degree in education and curriculum and created a worldwide peer-to-peer leadership program for third-world countries that was recognized at the United Nations in New York City. I’ve started two successful businesses, one before my teaching career and this one! I’ve created a nonprofit organization called the “Road to Recovery”, which impacts thousands of injured vets and physically disabled persons in my community and around the world. I enjoy mentoring people, distributing wheelchairs to those in need, and giving hope through my humanitarian efforts.

Every great man and woman of history is a person of service.

My greatest accomplishment so far is being married to my best friend for over 20 years. Together, Emily and I have four beautiful children; even after the doctors told me it would be impossible to have one with my condition. I am passionate about progress. I enjoy eating pizza and peanut butter M&Ms. I love playing games and exercising. I understand the frustrations of living a full life while trying to bridge the gap between what is real and what is ideal. Not only do I tell people how to cross this impossible bridge I show them how it’s possible by getting up and out of my wheelchair and take a few steps forward. “I’m going to run again someday!”

I hope this message will spark the eternal tinder inside your minds and give you the resilience to accelerate your own results. I hope it will ignite the seeds of success you’ve already sown. Combined with your vision and help from another, your desires will cultivate into something other people only dream about!

The Hardest Challenges

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under blog, Chapter 9

 

Life sure has its challenges. This past week there has been a lot of doctors’ visits and tests as we try to figure out what is going on with me. It would be easy to let this get me down, and I can’t say that it hasn’t gotten to me at moments, but it is important to stay positive and focus on meeting – and beating – this challenge.

So, while I’m focused on finding answers to my health questions, I thought I’d share with you another story of how I was able to overcome a challenge with the power of positive and what that means for you and for me. This post was written in October 2010:

The Biggest Rush Comes from the Hardest Challenges

Alright, first, I need to warn you that I am on a super unbelievable mental high right now and have been all week. It’s all because I won the Gold at the Huntsman Tennis Tournament. Well, that’s not quite right. It’s because I played the hardest match I’d played in years against a really tough player and even though I’d trained so very hard this year, I got to a point in the last game when I just wasn’t sure I could go on, but I pushed myself just a little harder and finally eked out that last point I needed and won the gold! Yes, I won the gold last year too but the competition was nothing like it was this year. It was because I had to work so hard and it was such a difficult game this year, that the win was many, many times more exhilarating and satisfying.

This whole experience reminds me of what I was trying to get across in Chapter 9 of my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” where I talk about the guy who goes out and shoots a perfect golf score the very first time he played. And then he does it again and again and realizes that there is very little, if any, satisfaction from doing so well at something he didn’t have to work at. Well that story is very much the opposite of what I did and how I felt.

This year I trained so much more than I had last year, taking lessons from a couple of great pros, Clark Barton and Jason Newell, as well as putting in more time on the ball machine and playing more matches. And yet my opponent, Michael Murphy, still hit back every ball and he could run as well as I could. I even began thinking that I couldn’t beat this guy but I pushed those negative thoughts out of my mind and tried to take the match one point at a time even as my body was screaming out for some rest and relief. And it worked. Positive thinking, taking it one small step at a time, and all that hard, even painful work, paid off leaving me with an immense feeling of true accomplishment.

Of course, while I was in the game, it was hard to feel that what I was going through was worth it, but I’ve done this enough to know that it usually is. And it so was. I know, too, that I wouldn’t still be riding this high if it hadn’t been so tough to win and if I hadn’t worked so hard at it. That’s the lesson here–The hardest work reaps the most satisfying rewards.

Just remember that next time you feel like giving up, bowing out, or taking the easy road. Just keep going, doing the best you possibly can. You’ll accomplish what you’re after and not only will it feel more than worth it when you do, it will make give you the energy and optimism to reach for that next great thing and get it.

 

Making the Most of Every Minute

March 23, 2018 by  
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Wow, does time ever move fast and, as we all know, it moves faster every year.  And now, it seems that I can no longer lie about my age since my oldest son, Mark E., just turned 50 years old. I’m guessing you are like me in that you can easily remember when you turned 21 and 30 and all those other birthday milestones that seem like they happened not long ago at all. My 50th birthday is so fresh in my mind and easy to remember in great detail. I’ll never forget the huge billboard on I-15 with my picture on it wishing me a happy 50th birthday.

I think it’s so helpful to constantly remind ourselves that, because time moves so very quickly, we should all pay very close attention to what we want to make of our lives. What do we want to accomplish? Who do we want to help? Who do we want to love? And, as I’ve preached for many years, we absolutely must take the time to write down what we want to do and accomplish as well as put a timeline on those goals.

Yes, life is very short, but it can be very productive, helpful to others, and extremely fun and fulfilling even though it passes tremendously fast.  So, what we all may want to do is repeat that in our minds every day. We’ll call it our “Fun & Fulfilling Philosophy. “

So, yes, we do all need to make our time count since life really is very short. Writing those life goals down helps you become much more efficient but also, all us humans never want to forget that, as we go after our goals, we must push ourselves to live life in the great right now, as in “living in the moment”.  I certainly have to regularly remind myself of both those very important habits as I can easily get carried away with worry and fretting over the future and what I haven’t accomplished.  Those reminders really do help me as I’m sure they would for you too. So, give it try and make the most out of every minute of your life.

Courage for Living the Life You Want

March 9, 2018 by  
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Back on Feb 7, 2014, I wrote about how important “Courage” is in so many parts of our lives and gave my definition of it, which is, “Courage is going against the odds, against popular opinion. It’s doing what most people are unwilling to do because of the criticism and flak they know they will receive from family, friends or even strangers. Courage is living your life for you. It’s setting your own rules and policies and taking full responsibility when you fail or stumble. It’s resisting other people’s attempted manipulations of you. Courageous people do not accept all traditions, conventional wisdom, or pat answers without close scrutiny and severe questioning.”

I certainly know how very critical courage is and as the title of Susan Jeffers great book states, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This is a mantra to live your life by. It can bring huge success, not only in financial matters but in most every aspect of your life.

Today I picked up a book I wrote in 1983 titled, The Courage to Be Rich. In it, I read what I wrote about courage and “The Keys to Success” that, for the most part, are still relevant today 25 years later. Here is a section from what I read about my financial success.

A reporter once asked me to give him a list of what I considered to be the keys to success. Here’s the list I gave him.

  1. Everyone is going to die someday, so you might as well really go for it. Don’t be afraid of making a fool of yourself.
  2. Guts are not for sale; only you can supply that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if you think they sound dumb–that’s how you learn.
  4. Use other people’s money; always, always, always ask the seller to carry the financing on whatever assets you’re buying.
  5. Seek out and find motivated sellers–people who want to sell something so badly they are desperate.
  6. Earn big bucks by purchasing the “yucks”—the property that nobody else wants. That’s where the money is.
  7. Use the tax laws to cut your taxes to zero.
  8. Success in anything is a numbers game. Do it enough times and you will become good at it; do it a bunch more times and you will become famous.

All these years later, I must say, that, for the most part, what I wrote back then still applies today for living a life with courage and making a good financial living.

By the way, I think my old book, The Courage to Be Rich, can be bought for around $8 on Amazon if you have any interest in reading it.

P.S. If you know someone who needs to lift their courage factor, you might pass this post on to them. Except maybe not to a teenager. It may give him, or her, too much courage and they might try to set their own rules and push back at you and the family. But when they are ready, these may be the words they need to conquer their fears and the world.

Wise Words and the 5 Steps to Using Them

February 23, 2018 by  
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The 20th century philosopher Williams James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.” And James Allen, in his book As a Man Thinketh, said, “The vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart—this you will build your life by, this you will become.”

Mahatma Gandhi pretty much said the same thing, when he said, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end up really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity even if I may not have it all at the beginning.”

These are all great ideas of what the mind can do for you, but just what is the best way to go about directing your mind and your thoughts that will bring big changes in your life? Again, great wisdom, and the 5 steps that can make this wisdom work for all of us, comes from my good friend, Paul J. Meyer. Here are those 5 steps that he gives in his booklet, “Self-Talk, Self-Affirmation, & Self-Suggestion”, on how to get what you want and be what you want to be.

  1. Decide what you want to change. Before you write an affirmation ask yourself, “What do I really want?”
  2. Create the affirmations that you need and, remember, they must be a positive, specific, declaration or statement about yourself, in the first person (I), in the present tense (I am), and about what you want to be, to do, to have, etc.
  3. Write you affirmations down on paper. This one is a big one for me inasmuch as when I write it down, it begins to control me and push me to do it.
  4. Visualize your affirmations as your current reality. When you can mentally see yourself already doing or being whatever you affirm, you are already on the road to success.
  5. Repeat your affirmations over and over.

If you begin following these 5 steps, I think you will be very pleased with the results! And after seeing how effective they can be, it won’t be hard to keep it up either.

Direct Your Mind

February 16, 2018 by  
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To make yourself $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 or $10,000,000 takes a lot of planning and work. You must learn and follow the right formulas, techniques and methods but it can be done. We’ve all seen it. So why do some people make it and others fall short? I think most wealthy people would agree it all comes down to how motivated a person is and to make a fortune, you need big time motivation. The good news is that self-determination and motivation is something you can create, control and direct towards any goal that you choose.

One of my favorite mentors, and a very dear friend, Paul J. Meyer, taught me how to motivate myself as well as being an example to prove his point. Paul grew up without money or connections to rich people but by the time he passed away he was worth about half a billion dollars. His writings and motivational recordings alone sold more than $2-billion’s worth. Probably the greatest lesson he taught me was the great power of “self-talk, self-affirmation, and self-suggestions.” That is, by the way, also the name of the great little booklet he wrote.

He states—and I totally agree with this—that, “regardless of all the similarities –and even differences—every successful person is self-motivated.” He also wisely notes that “the most effective motivation is that which is self-generated.”

The great Plato said “take charge of your life. You can do what you will with it.” Buddha taught that, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor certainly agreed saying, “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”

But can you control and direct your brain and make it think and guide you, to get out of life, anything you want, lifting you to the level of millions in net worth? Could that control greatly improve any part of your life? The answer is an unqualified “yes”. Mahatma Gandhi, William James and James Allen all agree on that point as well.

Next week I will share with you what they had to say about controlling and directing your brain to give you anything you want as well as going into detail about what Paul J. Meyer taught me in order to show you what any person can do to program their minds for whatever kind of life and success they want to have.

Getting Into Good Debt

January 26, 2018 by  
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Last June, I shared 9 key items, found in Paul J. Meyer’s great booklet “Being Smart with Your Money”, that will help you attain a healthy financial life. Number 6 was “Get out of debt”.  This is, of course, great advice but the real key is knowing what kind of debt to get out of and what kind to go after.

One of the biggest keys to making a fortune–and this was a huge key for myself—is to take on the right kind of debt, the kind that has others paying that debt down. Paul’s advice was about credit card debt. Back then, in 2004, the average person in the U.S.A. had between $5,000 and $6,000 in credit card debt with the average for couples seeking a divorce having $37,000 in debt. As most people know (or should know) the interest rates on credit card debt is huge—as high as 29.99%.

Paul goes on to note that debt does more than ruin marriages. It also:

  • Saps your creative thinking.
  • Drains you physically and mentally.
  • Burdens you with pressure.
  • Limits your investing opportunities.

The good kind of debt, however, that helps make you big money is mortgage debt on income producing properties. That debt could be on a small rental house or, as it was in my case when I was in the first few years of my investing career, many, many rental houses and later, apartment buildings. I loved it. Every month, when my tenants would pay their rent, I paid down my debt and the more of this kind of debt I took on, the more the debt was paid down.

Just look at the numbers. I’m using small numbers for this example but if you double the number or add a zero, the rate of return will still be the same. If you bought a rental property for say $110,000 with $20,000 down, in the first year alone the pay down of a 4.5% loan would total $2,841 or a 14.2% rate of return to you.

So, a person’s net worth can grow at a good rate even without that other factor called inflation. But if you have, let’s say, only 2% inflation a year, ten years later that property would be worth over 10% more and your debt would be substantially paid down.  If you put in some fix up money on a property that needs it, you can often push your rate of return much, much higher, even to 100% as I’ve done many times.

Bottom line here is, yes, Paul Meyer is right to get out of the “wrong kind” of debt but you will greatly profit if you get into the “right kind” of debt—mortgage debt on rental properties.

There can be a big double bonus when taking on the right kind of debt too. You can greatly increase your rate of return by using that thing called leverage. If you were able to buy property with only a 10% down payment and had that same 2% inflation, that would push your return to 20% in the first year alone. But then if you had bought what I call a “dirt bag” property that needed an inexpensive cleaning and fix up, using mainly elbow grease and just a small investment of money, you might be able to push that rate of return to over 100%. I’ve done this many, many times. For example, a $100,000 property with a $10,000 down payment plus say $5000 in fix up costs could push up the value to $130,000–your return would now be a whopping 100% of your initial investment of the down payment and the fix up costs!

So, I encourage you to pass this advice onto your friends, kids, and anyone you want to help, especially those that you see getting into the wrong kind of debt, and then push yourself to get out of the bad debt and into the good debt and watch your fortune grow.

 

Commitment to Movement

January 19, 2018 by  
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Let me begin this week’s blog by quoting Harvard Medical School’s conclusion as to the 5 ways that exercise helps people live longer and better.

1. Exercise helps the heart raise up the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL.

2. It keeps your brain sharp. There are even studies that suggest exercise my help ward off Alzheimer and other forms of dementia.

3. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels.

4. It possibly lowers the risk of getting cancer.

5. As a person ages, bones begin thinning, but walking, running, and lifting weights stimulates the growth of new bone. It may even reverse knee problems!

Since, as you see here, movement is so important to our mental and physical health, we all should keep moving as much as we are able for as long as we can. One thing that totally encourages me is knowing that we don’t have to go running for great exercise. Just slow jogging or even just walking a lot is very beneficial.  And of course, getting outdoors to do those walks is great for the mind and mood.

I’ve recently began jumping on a mini trampoline and that has really helped my physical conditioning as well as helping my bone growth. I bought this mini trampoline on Amazon for just a little over $30. Things like this are a great investment and fun as well.

I think it is very important, not just to start doing these easy physical activities, but to set goals for them and break those goals down into bit size chunks. For example, with my walking and counting steps, after I set my goals for the week, I not only break it down by the day but I set my walking goal by the hour. Usually I set the goal to walk 2,000 steps by 9 am which only takes about 20 minutes and then I aim for another 2,000 steps each hour until I reach my daily goal of 20,000 steps. By breaking it down this way it is much easier to reach the goal. It’s the old “baby steps to reach giant achievements” deal.

So, if you want to live longer, stronger and feel better as you age I strongly suggest that you set goals for daily or weekly walking, jogging, lifting weights, stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, and maybe even bouncing on a mini trampoline.

Uh-oh … I just looked at my Fitbit and I’m only at 18,714 steps today and it’s almost 6pm. So I will say aloha for now.  On next week’s post I’ll be coming back around to that good ol’ money making and fortune keeping theme so keep up the exercise and we’ll work on financial health next week.

The Key for a Longer, Healthy Life

January 12, 2018 by  
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I thought I was in great shape and looked pretty darn good now at almost 74 years old. Then I went to my favorite Kauai tennis club last week and played tennis with this old friend, Ken, who looks like he is 55 or 60 years old and plays a great game of tennis. But would you believe this guy, who is in super great shape, out on the court with me, is 87 years old? You’d be shocked if you saw him and he is not slowing down at all.

Ken inspires me to keep moving and, yes, I set some more new year’s exercise resolutions including playing more tennis with Ken and many other friends. I think most people know that exercise–even moderate exercise–is good for your health. According to a one large study, 75 minutes of vigorous, or 150 minutes of moderate, exercise per week extends life by 3.4 years. That might not seem like a lot of extra years, but that’s just the average and you and I might be able to push that to 10 or 15 years like Ken has. Plus remember that most likely those extra years are going to be so much more enjoyable because your physical and mental health will be much better.

And hey, 150 minutes a week is only about 22 minutes a day and if you are anything like me, you can easily push yourself to do a little more than that each day if you have the proper motivation. As I mentioned in another post a while back, one of the best gifts my wife ever gave to me was a little simple “Fitbit” that counts all my steps among other things. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps a day. However, that little device has had me competing with myself to continuously increase my daily steps to the point that I now shoot for 20,000 steps a day. That is more than 3 hours of walking, but it is not hard to spread it out over my day and, I have to say, I love it.

By the way, if you want to increase the chances of reaching your exercise goals, it’s a very wise move to tell your spouse or a good friend about your goal and then encourage them to remind you and ask you how you are doing with those goals. They can basically act as your coach and prod you along but mostly, you know they know and so you will feel accountable to them.

There is another big health related benefit that comes with working out when you do it via a game such as tennis or golf. That benefit is the social interaction you get during and after the game. Keeping up an active social life is another proven life extending way to keep you healthy.

So, I do sincerely hope you will be motivated to set exercise goals and never forget the many benefits you’ll be receiving. Write those goals down and get someone to remind you and push you. Next week I’ll want to expand on this subject because we could all use a little extra push, even me!

 

 

A Passion for Your Goals

December 16, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly coming to the end of this year, and with the New Year just a couple weeks away, most of us are thinking not only about the holidays but all the shopping that we must do. I know most guys really don’t enjoy that part of the holidays but thank heaven for women! They do generally have a passion for shopping. But why are they so passionate about it while men aren’t? It really comes down to how we go about it. The people who like shopping aren’t just buying gifts, they are out to find the greatest stuff and to get the best bargains on them. It’s a challenge and an adventure. The rest of us just want to find something that will fill the bill and be done with it. So that’s the thing—when you have a passion for your particular goal and for how you reach it, it makes it much easier, and much more fun, to accomplish.

This is true for any goal, but not only do you need passion, you need the goal to be attainable or you may lose that passion. The thing is, if you set goals and objectives that are so big as to make it impossible to achieve, even by taking lots of baby steps, it can lead to a huge disappointment which can kill your passion. At that point, it can become very easy to beat yourself up and may eventually make you want to give up on goal setting itself. In other words, setting goals that are challenging but that you can achieve can help keep up your passion. Setting unattainable goals, on the other hand, can do major damage to your passion factor.

Passion is a very interesting feeling that is so very important in life and living but it can be an elusive pursuit. As people age, they have flashes of passion here and there and then they lose it and they don’t know why.  Unfortunately, there are physical reasons that passion starts to decline that make it hard to keep those fires going. From about age 25 or 30 your brain begins to produce less and less dopamine and serotonin–the hormones that make you feel good. A child’s body is awash in these hormones. There are things that stimulate and produce these hormones in young people that our aging bodies are missing.

The good news is, setting and reaching realistic goals can help the brain increase those important brain chemicals. Another helpful factor is eating the right foods and exercising, both of which will help restore those dopamine and serotonin levels. In the next week or two, I will talk more about what foods are best to eat that restore those 2 brain chemicals.

So, if you are like me, you will be thinking more and more about what next year will bring and what you want to accomplish in 2018.  Go big but with a touch of caution as you set your goals for the new year so that you’ll still have plenty of passion for each new dream you come up with.

 

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