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Big Challenges on the Brain

November 3, 2018 by  
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Have you ever met someone who has made it to the 29,020-foot summit of Mt. Everest? Yes, I know, most of us think they’re crazy, but maybe they’re not as crazy as we think because their high satisfaction level seems to last for a lifetime! Years ago, I wrote the following.

Again, the tough challenges and hard work over a period of time, equals long-lasting satisfaction and contentment.  One of the big and growing problems in today’s world is that too few people believe or know this simple principle

Or maybe they used to know it and they’ve forgotten it.

We all should never forget the great zen saying, “To know and not to do is not yet to know.” Many people, for example, think they want a ton of money—and fast—so they can sit back and relax and really live. They think they want to sit around the pool and drinking a Mai Tai or watch movies all day. They think that will bring them satisfaction and contentment.

Our very retirement system even promotes that idea. That’s one reason we have so many mid-lifers and beyond who are downright miserable, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether they have a huge net worth or not. With too much of a slowdown, there’s an inevitable letdown, and as you’ve probably noticed, good old Fred or Mary retire at age 65 and pass away at age 67 or 70.

The bottom line is, if you stop challenging yourself, you’ll start dying. It’s almost a one-to-one correlation and all of that usually starts inside your mind. But if you “take a trip inside your mind,” you’ll find there are plenty of ways to program your brain so you’ll avoid the trap that snares so many people.

Next week I want to tell you the great story of Erik Weihenmayer who push himself to climb Mt. Everest. He did it even though he was totally blind – he was the first blind man ever to accomplish that super human feat!  Talk about giving oneself a huge challenge! Wow.  How long did his satisfaction and contentment last?

So, are you and I pushing ourselves and putting big enough challenges in our minds and then going after them to enhance and make our life more exciting and fulfilling? I can’t speak for you but I know now, at age 74, I need to challenge myself much more than I’ve been doing lately. But I really do have to ask you—-do you need to challenge yourself a bit more or maybe even a lot more?  Only you can answer that question.

Invest in a Basic Need

October 26, 2018 by  
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Just yesterday, I was on a conference call discussing options for doing a 1031 exchange as a big property that I’m a part owner of was recently sold for many, many millions of dollars. We did make a huge profit on this property and it had a great cash flow during the time we owned it, just like most of the income properties I’ve invested in, but it was time to sell. So, we were looking at our options to buy into other properties which would allow us to avoid paying a huge capital gains tax. We discussed several properties that looked quite promising when one of the partners—a guy much smarter than me—talked about the possible softening of the real estate market due to rising interest rates. Whereas he and others agreed that we are probably due for a pull-back of property values, the new acquisitions looked so promising that a pull-back in prices in the area would not likely have much effect on our possible purchase but it was still a risk.

I was faced with a similar dilemma many years ago and just recently happened to come across something I wrote back then when everyone was worried about a down turn in the economy and a pull-back of real estate prices. My headline was “A Basic Need”. In this piece I wrote, “Why is real estate such a good investment? Why do experts predict that the real estate market may slow down but will probably never fail?”

My answer to those questions is the reason why real estate is such a super great investment – real estate is an answer to a basic need. People always need a place to live, a place to work, a place to shop, a place to stay when on a vacation, and even a place to farm. Improved real estate is especially in demand and it is in demand most of the time. These include apartment units, single family houses, duplexes, etc. And, of course, one of the huge benefits of this kind of real estate is that even if the market softens and price come down, you still have someone else increasing your net worth since their rent payments are paying down your mortgage. Is that a great deal or what?

Even when the market softens a bit, eventually, these properties regain their value as the supply of units shrink and rents begin to climb again. I’ve seen this happen many, many times but investing in small rental houses, duplexes and apartment buildings, through all kinds of market conditions, was how I made my first million. I would keep buying as the market softened and prices and rents began to drop, but I was pretty darn sure the drop would eventually be over and, sure enough, the slump would end and put more millions in my pocket.

Bottom line here is yes, the economy will probably pull back a bit in the next year or so, but this can open up many opportunities for you and can bring you big profits in the long run. So, keep an eye out for good income properties and make offers to buy, whether the economy softens or it keeps on growing.

 

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.

 

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!

Life Changing Mornings

August 24, 2018 by  
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I just finished reading a great little book that my wife gave me titled, The Miracle Morning: The Not-so-Obvious Secret to Transform Your Life Before 8 A.M. In this very uplifting and motivating book, the author, Hal Elrod tells of how his life was dramatically lifted by setting an early morning schedule and routine. This was very difficult for him at first since he was defiantly not an early morning person, but as he says, “committing to my personal development in the morning … would give me a positive motivation to kick start my day.”

On that first morning he pulled out a list of what he considered life changing development activities that he had learned over the years but had not put into practice. “One by one, I implemented each one,” he writes. He had decided to use one hour each morning and spend 10 minutes for each item on his list.

Here are the 6 items that Hal thought were the most impactful for his life:

  • Silence – as in meditation where he would concentrate on his breathing for 10 minutes.
  • Reading – he grabbed the book Think and Grow Rich. (He had started reading it many times but never finished the book.)
  • Affirmations – he wrote down his list of self-affirmations including the things he wanted to become and what he was going to do to change his life.
  • Visualization – he created this after watching the movie The Secret (I have to watch that movie myself.)
  • Journaling – he had a journal but had not written in it for a long time, yet he found after writing a few things he was grateful for the way exercises her that motion creates emotion so drop down and did push-ups and insist for those 2 minutes of stopping by getting up one hour earlier as you normally do than you normally do and going through a routine it lifted his spirits.
  • Exercise – he had heard that “motion creates emotion” so he dropped down and did push-ups then sit-ups for those 10 minutes without stopping.

By getting up one hour earlier than you normally do and going through a routine, spending just 10 minutes on each item you set for yourself, you can change and enhance your life the way Hal Elrod has done. And Hal had some pretty huge setbacks when he was a young man. At age 20 he was hit head on by a drunk driver and was dead for 6 minutes. He suffered brain damage, 11 broken bones and was told that he would never walk again. He didn’t believe what he was being told and went on to defy the doctors, eventually running ultra-marathons, becoming a Hall of Fame Business achiever, and even recording as a hip-hop artist.

If someone like that created and is using the “Miracle Morning” technique, you know that the method is certain to create success. It did work for him and I think it can work for anyone who is willing to set up the schedule and go after what is important to them.

Ok, here’s a good way to start that will give you a little more direction and additional motivation to get out there and improve your life – go by Hal’s book! You won’t be sorry. https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Morning-Not-So-Obvious-Guaranteed-Transform/dp/0979019710

Self-Interest That Helps the World

August 10, 2018 by  
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Last week I wrote about how giving to others can and does lift your life and brings more happiness, contentment, and even better health and a longer life. It must have motivated me to practice what I was preaching because later I found myself in my car driving to the high school that all my kids attended and going straight to the office where I made a pretty sizable donation. As I walked out of the building, I felt so good and happy in the center of my heart and brain that I headed for another school. I made a couple more donations that day and felt like I was on top of the world.

It’s very interesting that when I make donations, including all those $2 bills that I often give to kids, I always feel that I get much more out of it than the recipient. What a great feeling it gives me! As science has proved, there is a great connection between the brain and the body. This allows us humans to help and improve our entire physical being by what we run through our heads. Giving is one of those things that can set off a lot of good positive feelings in our bodies.

Most of us, when we talk about giving, tend to think primarily in terms of giving money. But there are so many other ways and things to give. With very little effort, I came up with this list of things we can give to others that can be a huge help to those people and, at the same time, can give a lift to our brains, souls, and bodies.

After you read through my list, see what other things you can think of that can be given to others. These gifts can be given to your kids, grand kids, other relatives, and friends as well as strangers. Then let’s all of us push ourselves to give more. Choose as many items on the list as you feel so inclined to give. Yes, we do need to push ourselves to do this especially on days we might be feeling a bit down. But on those down days it can be a great help to lift us up as we lift others.

Okay, let’s work on giving more of some or all of these:

  1. Money $$$
  2. Good Advice
  3. Direction/Coaching
  4. Mentoring
  5. Appreciation
  6. Encouragement
  7. Praise
  8. Complements
  9. Attention
  10. Friendship
  11. Wisdom
  12. Our time
  13. Help
  14. Service
  15. Love

I’m sure I left off many things that we can give to others but at least this is a start. This list has been motivating me to give more of these gifts to others and now my mind pops up with sayings like: “Give, Give, Give and Live, Live, Live. Give a little, live a little, give a lot, and live a lot. Give big and live big”. I know all this may sound kind of selfish, but maybe it’s a good thing that our brains are designed that way, because doesn’t that type of self-interest help the world?

 

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!

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