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Motivation in Words

April 19, 2019 by  
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It happened at the airport. I was in big hurry-I had to get a 13-year-old German boy on his plane back to Berlin. As I ran down the concourse, a handsome, 40ish stranger said as I hurried by, “Hey Mark, good to see you.”  I had no clue who he was, but I waved and kept running. Five minutes later, after they boy was on the plane, the stranger approached me again. This time he put out his hand and introduced himself.

He told me how he bought my first book How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You and gave me credit for making him tons of money and dramatically improving his life. The chance meeting was a catalyst and a huge motivator for me to keep writing so that I might help more people with their financial lives. There are not many things that make me feel more content and satisfied as being told that I helped a person make a fortune which lifted their lives to a new level.

I’ve had so many people thank me for writing my books, my blogs, for sharing my methods, formulas, and experience, that I am sometimes overwhelmed. But it also motivates me to write more. I’m a total believer in the power of setting goals, but there is a critical part of goal setting that many people don’t use and that critical part is a pretty simple process that almost guarantees that you will reach the goals that you set: it’s the simple act of writing your objectives and goals down on paper or on your iPad or computer. By doing that, you more permanently plant the goal in your mind and the likelihood of reaching that goal increases exponentially.

Anne Klauser, in her great little book, Right It Down… Make It Happen, talks about the huge power of writing your goals down and what it does that pushes you to follow through and reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself. Quoting her, she said, “Writing it down feeds the inner mind… the other than conscious mind.”  There is something in that inner mind that drives a person to go after and reach the goal that was set.

She goes on to say, “Create your own list of what is meaningful to you. List your intentions and begin your day by writing them down.” Do that enough and it will become a habit that you don’t even have to think about.

Personally, I’ve noticed that when I write down my goals—long term or even just a to do list for today—it’s like my brain won’t leave me alone and it coaxes me to follow through and do what my list tells me to do.  It’s almost like magic, the way it works in my head. It doesn’t seem to matter whether my goals are putting aside time to work out, taking my 20,000 steps a day, a list of people I need to talk to, or even taking time to write this blog, my brain works overtime to make sure I get it done.

If you haven’t been writing down your goals and to do lists, try it and I think you will be impressed and pleasantly surprised how much more you’ll get done and how much progress you’ll make towards your big goals not to mention finishing your daily list of goals, which always feels great.

 

The Healthy Second Half

April 5, 2019 by  
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As most people know, good health is vitally important to all of us. I’ve learned over the years that there are at least 20 things you and I can do to add 20 years to our life and enjoy those years in good, or even great, health. But as you know, if you read my blog 2 weeks ago, I gave you only the first 10 of those 20 items so far. Now, here are the other 10 ways to possibly add 20 years to your life.

  1. Take control of you own life – take the lead and start a physical program and stick with it.
  2. Get red in your diet. Eat tomatoes and red veggies as these are known to reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer.
  3. Shake off the salt. No more than 2000 milligrams a day.
  4. Meditate – it’s the ultimate relaxant and takes just 20 minutes a day. It can reduce your stress level and better your life.
  5.  Don’t ever eat hydrogenated oils.
  6. Stay out of the smog and bad air.
  7. Get a pet.
  8. Get a life partner. People with a companion live longer.
  9. Have a lot of sex. Large studies show more sex equals longer life.
  10. Drink lots of water – at least eight 8 oz. glasses every day.

And here is a bonus one to make it 21. Give to others. Give love, time, laughter, money, compliments, and appreciation. That will make you and the one you are giving to feel better and that feeling of well-being will help you both to live a longer and happier life.

But wait… there’s more! Here is another bonus list:

A Dozen More Signs and Habits for Longevity

  1. Drink 2 or 3 cups of green or white tea daily.
  2. Spend 30 minutes a day walking, biking, working out, etc.
  3. Don’t drink soda.
  4. Build your lower body strength. In other words, legs.
  5. Eat lots of blueberries, red grapes, red fruits, and drink small amounts of red wine.
  6. Control your weight. Slim is in and can keep you in the game of life longer.
  7. Eat no beef or very, very little.
  8. Stay mentally active – get a college education or equivalent.
  9. Relieve stress with better and more interpersonal relationships. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and ages cells faster.
  10. Hang out with healthy people.
  11. Have, and maintain, a positive outlook and a sense of purpose.
  12. Do good things for others and have a good strong sense of community.

That’s it! I hope these items are motivating and helpful and, if you use them, that they extend a long, healthy life for you. I also hope you share this with the ones that you love, to help them achieve a long and healthy life as well!

The Umbrella Goal of Health

March 30, 2019 by  
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I know I said I was going to give you the other half of that 20 life list but there’s been a lot going on this week so we’re going to revisit a post, revised and updated, from 10 years ago, basically about the same subject.

I do regularly talk about health and the benefits of a good diet and hopefully it’s often inspired you to eat better and take care of yourself. The question is, are you, or will you be committed to it, not just for the near future but for life?

Getting down to an ideal weight and getting off junk food are great goals, but your hard efforts will be wasted if you don’t make it a modification to your lifestyle rather not just a temporary change.

These healthier eating habits can lengthen your life as they are and actual fountain of youth! But if you can’t keep it up, it probably won’t get you very far.

Because, here’s the thing … if you lose 30 pounds then gain back 20 a few months later, lose another 10, gain another 15, and keep this yo-yo dieting going, you aren’t helping your health at all. In fact, you’re stressing your system. Same goes for the ‘occasional’ junk food meal. Can a coke addict get high just once in a while?

The bottom line is, you have to decide that you want to live healthy–determine the specific weight you want to reach and stay at it while committing to eating healthy, minimally processed, whole foods, and keeping active. Look at this commitment as a commitment for life, an umbrella goal that will support every other goal you make by giving you the health and energy to pursue all your dreams.

So, be good to yourself these next few weeks and aim to eat and live healthy for the rest of your life. You can start by reading Chapter 10: An Umbrella Goal for Life in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. As I explain, 42 days is all it takes to form a new eating habit. After that it’s just a little bit of vigilance.

Use the goal planning tips in my book and you’ll certainly get there. Do this for yourself, your family, and, of course, for the success of all your dreams.

When You’re Not Brave

March 1, 2019 by  
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This week I want to continue on this big thing we all know and have experienced called fear. Let me start by asking, what do we know about these fears?

Well, first remember that fear is a natural emotion, one that must be understood, confronted, and controlled. So maybe when you have great fears for whatever reasons, this would be an appropriate time and place to “fake it till you make it”. Some people who know me are surprised to learn that I have been very fearful many times but have gone ahead and done the “fake it” thing.  Maybe we ought to whistle a happy tune and no one will suspect you and I are afraid. If we pretend to be brave, acting the way a brave person would act, the results can be amazing.

Consider the many times you have lain in bed thinking about some tough assignment, something that you are slightly or very fearful of doing. If you’ve never done it before, quite naturally you are reluctant and anxious. For example, if you are giving a speech for the first time to some very important people, or asking a banker for a huge loan, or presenting an offer to buy a particular property for a ridiculously low price. Or it may be visiting a new state, city, or country, or being a master of ceremonies. If you are normal you become very fearful with these new situations.

Whatever you have to do on that particular day as you lie in bed, if you have a few fears of doing it, they will only intensify the longer you lie there and think about it. What will overcome those frightening thoughts and imaginings is action. Even if it is incorrect action, get up, get going, and get the blood running and the brain thinking. Take a shower, get on the phone, write a few text messages and emails, go see people, or set up a lunch appointment. Make things happen!

Action overcomes fear because most fears are in your mind and action lets the physical part of you dominate for a while. The physical side of you needs to dominate because the mental side of you, in many cases, has become too introspective and too analytical. We tend to analyze so many things to death. We have all heard of “analysis paralysis,” which is more than two cute rhyming words.

Sometimes we think too much. In today’s educated, deep thinking and analyzing world, it sure seems that we have a lot more planners and thinkers and analyzers than we do action people. Obviously, we do need some kind of plan, but the greatest plan in the world is worthless without action. I would much rather have a mediocre plan and some real action people to carry it out than the most phenomenal plan in the world with a bunch of inactive and do-nothing people.

Action really is the critical key to huge success and accomplishment. I have never met a person in my life who has total confidence in themselves and doesn’t experience fear from time to time. There is not one of us human beings on this planet who won’t have some serious questions about their own ability to succeed in every new venture they start. We all need to remember that and as the great title of Susan Jeffers book says, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”!

The Freedom of Structure

January 25, 2019 by  
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I’m reading a great book that my son gave to me, titled What Will I DO All Day, by Patrice Jenkins PHD.  It’s all about retirement and how it can be either a really good thing or something that drives you crazy. And it can all start long before you retire. It may even start from the moment you just begin thinking about what the heck you are going to do when you retire.

Most people think, “Oh, it’s going to be great when I retire. I’ll have all that time to do all those things that I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time to do.” But when people actually retire, many of us can become very frustrated because, all of a sudden, we don’t have a routine or the structure that a regular job gave us. Now we must set a routine and a structure of our own and that takes some thinking and some work.

So much of what this author talks about that needs to be done also applies to all of us in our daily living long before we even think about retirement, such as setting goals, writing them down, and writing daily “to do” lists. We all know, or should by now, that when we write down a list of things to do the night before, the likelihood of us following through and actually adding action to that list and doing it, increases big time. I’m sure you have seen that happen in your own life.

Patrice has a chapter called “Structure is Freedom”. When we are working full time, structure doesn’t seem like freedom. She tells the story of this one guy by the name of Jim. Jim said, “You have to know what you’re getting up to each day.” Here is what she wrote about Jim and what Jim’s thoughts were:

“When Jim first retired he was looking forward to having his days free to do anything he wanted to do. But, after a few months of this, he told me that he, ‘found it to be more work not to work. My energy level was lower than when I used to work 10 hours a day. The truth is I was puttering around the house most of the day.’

“It was at this point that Jim acknowledged that having more structure in his days would improve life in retirement. He started scheduling appointments, making commitments, and setting deadlines. He decided to set his alarm for 7 a.m. and start each day with exercise. He made a rule to turn the television off by 9 a.m. so that he could start doing something more productive. Jim also volunteered for a couple of organizations which required weekly commitments of his time and talents. He told me these changes gave his life a more focused direction. ‘Now I know what I’m getting up to each morning,’ he said. ‘I really needed the structure to give me the freedom to enjoy retirement.’”

What Jim learned is something we should all focus on and be sure we do it whether we are retired, close to retirement, or many years away from that status. Yes, our full-time jobs give us structure and a routine, but our lives can be, and will be, so much more fulfilled and productive if we set up our own routines and structure totally independent of our jobs. Now that I’m semi-retired I am going to work much harder on my own routines and structure too.

The 100% Return Goal

January 18, 2019 by  
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As we begin a new year it’s a very good time to remember the basics, specifically the basics of financial independence through which you make and keep your own fortune.  It’s so easy to forget the basics, especially when we are all caught up in the details of our daily lives, even those details that are involved with building our wealth. For example, if you have a big problem with the plumbing at a rental property or the property taxes just got bumped up, it’s easy to focus on just that, but that can get you frustrated or make you kind of space out on your overall plan.

What you should not forget is that you have to continue to look at the big picture, looking for ways to take advantage of leverage whereby you could earn as much as 100% of your money due to compounding. I’ve certainly been there and done that. Even on the very property that is giving me fits, I many times have failed to step back and realize that my equity on that very property has already exceeded a 100% return on my money and I should be motivated and reminded to keep doing that.

There is a simple example that I used in my fist book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, where I showed how 1 single penny a day compounded at 100% a day turns into just over $339 million on the 35th day alone. Now I know there is no way you can compound your money at 100% per day, but it is possible to compound your money at 100% per year, especially in the first few years. The key to those huge numbers is using other people’s money (your leverage). So, maybe only 10, 20 or 30% of the price you pay is with your own money and then the rest is in a loan from the bank or the seller for the balance. It’s not only possible but many people are doing just that, every day, including myself and many people that I know and have helped.

I do know that finding beat up properties these days can be a bit more difficult, depending on where your market is, but things change and prices go up and down and you and I need to always be looking for those bargains, especially those properties that need fixing up, the ones I like to call “dirt bag properties”. Then, always remember that good ole leverage formula:
If your down payment is only 10%, and you improve the property enough to increase the value by 10% you have made a 100% return on your money. That formula is a little simplistic since it doesn’t take into account your expenses, but you can keep those pretty darn low if you do most of the work yourself. Just don’t let the goal of a 100% return on your investment scare you away because it seems too difficult. If you can get even part way there, say just a 30% return on your money per year on only $10,000, that fraction of the big goal will still add up to over $1,124,000 in just 18 years.

My big point here is that we must keep the big picture in mind and remember that those potential returns are there. If you do, it becomes easier to not be deterred or discouraged by those plumbing issues, property tax increases, or other relatively minor problems.  Keep your eye and your dreams focused on the big prize, because it is all together very possible to achieve that big goal.

My Words Out Loud

January 11, 2019 by  
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I have something very special for you today. Please take a listen to this pod cast I was on recently. There are a few things I share on it that I think can be very helpful to most people. I hope you like it and, if so, please share with others. Thank you so much for taking time to listen. This kind of thing is part of what I am doing to really try to be of help to others. Maybe it’s my age but I am all about sharing and helping these days!

 

The interviewer is Michelle Brown, a fellow Salt Lake City resident who teaches Life Story writing workshops. Get a nice warm beverage and sit back for a really interesting conversation. I hope you find it helpful and motivating!

 

Reviewing and Improving on the Past Year

January 5, 2019 by  
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Wow, where did the 2018 year go?  It seemed to go faster than any other year of my life. How about you?

But what really got to me was what I wrote in my journal back on February 27, 2018:  “Now in Lihue, Kauai house … Kimbo [my nickname for my wife Kimberly] is working so hard to get the house in perfect condition as to justify the $4.5 million price we have it listed for… Now at 46 days away from age 74, I hope I’ve learned a little more about life and living.  I still need to focus on living in the great now moments of life and need to practice more of what I preach and write about … living in the present, self-talk and self-affirmations … and write them down.”

In that journal entry I made this list:

1. I am living in the now

2. I love my life now

3. I love my wife now

4. I love being semi-retired

5. I gain much of life from my writing and helping other people

In that same entry I finally came to this conclusion:

“In 6 days, we head back to Utah – in my head I keep thinking about that future event and have been counting down the days. I need to stop doing that and enjoy the great right now! I mean heavens, it’s pretty darn nice, right here and right now. Beautiful, warm, wonderful view of the great blue ocean and green mountains of Kauai … so I will now take all of that in and live in the ‘now moment’.  Ok I am doing that right now and it feels great!”

It was great to have realized what I needed then, but the realization didn’t quite turn into action. Recently, on Dec. 31, 2018, I made another, related journal entry: “I re-read some of my comments from last year and it hit me kind of hard how I said I must, and want, to live more in the present moment or the great wonderful ‘right now” and I realized I just didn’t do that very much. So, that’s now back on my new year’s resolution list for 2019. I’m going to do much better in 2019!”

I know that I’ve written and preached about keeping a journal of your life and reading my own past comments really shows me how important it is to do just that. You can coach yourself and remind yourself over and over again about what you need to work on and that, at least to me, is very important to improve and expand and make your life better and better. Yes, I know that we all have to think of the future and make plans and set goals and review our past, but after we’ve done that, we need to spend more time in the “great right now moment”.

I hope you agree and maybe what I’ve learned here will help you. I’m pretty darn sure it’s already helped me and will make me more aware of living in the now moments and how to love and enjoy 2019 more than last year, even though I fell short of my stated resolution. So, let’s all double down and make 2019 the best year EVER!

The Time to Start is Now, Again

December 28, 2018 by  
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I hope you are all enjoying your holiday time with family and friends. I sure am! It has kept me very busy. So this week, let’s look back at some wise words that are always good to hear again. This is my post from way back in December of 2009, updated a touch for today:

This coming week is when you start getting asked, “What are you New Year’s resolutions?” Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of resolutions to answer that question with. If you’ve got that–fantastic. But now, when do you start on it? Without a start date and the first few actionable steps planned out, what chance do your dreams have of becoming real?

My first suggestion is that you make your start date TODAY. That’s right – start now. There is no reason in the world that you can’t take those first, maybe very small but necessary steps, towards your goals. If you haven’t clearly defined your goal, then that is your first step. If you know what your goal is but you haven’t written out the first steps, then your first actionable step is to make that list. And the first thing on that list should be the next step you’ll take, scheduled, if not for the same day, the very next day. You should always know what the next step is and exactly when you will take action on it. A lack of specific planning is the death knell for most dreams.

Now as I mention in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you don’t need to know every details of every step you will need to take to reach your dreams. Much of what you’ll need to do will only become obvious as you progress. The important thing is to keep moving forward. There will be times that you will have to take two steps back and head in another direction but the fact that you are continuously working towards your goal guarantees you will reach it! The only way you’ll fail is if you stop working towards it.

So, whatever your New Year’s resolutions are, whatever goals and dreams you want to realize in 2019, don’t just talk about them, get them done. Start now, keep it going, and look forward to an amazing year.

Secrets to Authentic Happiness

November 30, 2018 by  
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I think I came across the best reason for keeping a journal of your life or, as my good friend Rich Harvey used to call it, a reason for people to “Journal Their Journey”.

Just the other day I picked up one of my journals dated 10-26-2003 to 6-12-2004. My comments about what was going on in my life at that time quoted a great book that I had totally forgotten about entitled Authentic Happiness, by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.

In his book, Dr. Seligman talks about what real authentic happiness is and how we can capture it and keep it. Finding and enjoying real happiness is not done through seeking and finding pleasure and the same goes for seeking happiness through just staying busy – it just doesn’t work. Great and authentic happiness is experienced from gratification. So how do we become gratified?

Much of gratification comes from “production”.  When we produce something of great value to others and/or ourselves, we end up with a great feeling of satisfaction. Here are Dr. Seligman’s 8 common ingredients and psychological components of gratification:

  1. The task is challenging and requires skill.
  2. We have to concentrate.
  3. There are clear goals.
  4. We get immediate feedback.
  5. We have deep effortless involvement.
  6. There is a sense of control.
  7. Sense of self vanishes.
  8. Time seem to stop.

Dr. Seligman goes on to talk about depression in today’s world and how widespread it is. It has increased by a huge amount in the last 40 years and the average age of depressed people is much younger today. That certainly gives more credence to the importance of setting big, tough goals. If your mind is firmly set on your goals, it’s more likely that your mind will not be spending time reflecting how you feel in the moment. Plus, there is the big extra benefit that setting big goals does energize us both physically and mentally because of the chemicals released by our brains, as I talked about in last week’s blog.

But why is depression so high in wealthy and healthy countries? The author’ s theory is “that an ethos that builds unwarranted self-esteem, espouses victimology, and encourages rampant individualism has contributed to that epidemic.” Another reason is our huge reliance on shortcuts to happiness. Every nation builds more and more shortcuts to pleasure … TV, drugs, shopping, spectator sports and high sugar food and drink. Gaining these and many other things take very little effort on our part these days.

A major symptom of depression is self-absorption. The depressed person thinks about how he feels a great deal of the time – excessively so. When a depressed person detects sadness, he ruminates about it, projecting it into the future, this in turn increases his sadness in his life and across all his activities. In contrast, gratification is the absence of feeling sorry for yourself.

What we all need to do more of is realize that there are no shortcuts to the kind of fulfilling gratification we all crave, and realize we need to focus more and more on our goals, big tasks, and our production as well as giving up the constant self-worry and self-absorption. You may have noticed that really happy people, for the most part, spend the least amount of time home alone – they tend to have a rich and fulfilling social life, which really is the opposite of being self-absorbed.

Next week I’m going to talk more about this great thing called “Authentic Happiness” that Martin’s book gives us such super insight into as well as talking about how understanding where it comes from can bump up our happiness factor and enhance our lives.

 

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