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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.

A Busy and Purposeful Life

February 9, 2018 by  
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I am so very impressed by people that keep themselves involved and busy with work, social connections, play time, and, yes, no matter what their age is, investment goals.  Look at Warren Buffett—he’s 87 and worth billions but is still out their investing.

Speaking of age 87 and of someone who keeps on moving and staying involved, take a look at my January 10th post. After I wrote about my very talented tennis buddy, I asked him if I could post his full name and a photo of him in my blog. So here he is, standing to my left in the photo. Ken Greenbaum, a super, great, inspiring example for me and many others, looks a lot less than 87 years old. And you ought to see how he runs! He plays a great game of tennis.

Right after writing that January 10th blog post entitled “The Key for a Longer and Healthy Life”, I read a great article by Claudia Dreifus in Kauai’s Garden Isle newspaper, entitled “When Work Brings Joy, Why Quit?”  The author highlights 3 great examples of people that have not let aging slow them down.

“On most mornings,” Claudia writes, “Jack B. Weinstein rises at 5:30 to exercise. At 7, a car takes him from his home on Long Island to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where he is a senior Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York.” That morning routine might sound pretty ordinary until you find out that the man is 96 years old. That is very impressive and it no doubt helps keep him alive and healthy.

For Adolfo Calovini, a 82-year-old New York City high school teacher Dreifus writes about, ” the need to earn income is part of his motivation. The approximately $110,000 annual salary he earns … is a necessity.”  When asked if he’s ready to retire, Calovini shook his head, saying, “to me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”

Then there’s the 88-year-old Dr. Kandel.  He works in a research laboratory at Columbia University. “I like what I do. Keeping engaged keeps you intellectually alive.” He goes on to say, “If you are healthy and enjoy your work, continue. At the very least, it gives you additional income. Even if you don’t need it, the money can be for your kids and grandchildren.”

I don’t know how old you are but I’m getting up there in age myself. The more I think about it, however, and the more of these stories I hear, the more it motivates me to do everything I can to prolong my life and health and create my own great story of keeping busy and purposeful far into my later years.

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.

 

This New Year’s First Step

December 9, 2017 by  
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Have you started asking yourself, “What are my new year’s resolutions going to be?” Hopefully you have begun to put a list together that is detailed, clear, and measurable. If you have started, that’s fantastic. But if not, when do you start on it? Without a start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your objectives, goals and dreams for 2018 becoming real in the new year?

My first suggestion to you, and to myself, is that we make our start date … TODAY! That’s right, start now, even if the list you begin today is very short. That is at least a start. There is no reason that you can’t take that first baby step today.

If you haven’t clearly defined your goals, go ahead and write down you rough thoughts. You can refine and add to the list later. But right now, take time to write down a schedule as to when you are going to add to your list of resolutions and when you will write down your specific plan for the steps you will begin to take in the new year.

You really don’t need to know all the details of every step you’ll need to take to reach your dreams at this moment. Much of what you’ll need to do will become more obvious as you begin working on your plan. The important thing is that you keep moving forward.

I like to set goals in the main areas of my life that I feel are most important. They go like this:

No. 1. Improve all my family relationships and plan lots of family get togethers as well as some exotic vacations in order to expand and deepen my social relationships.

No. 2. work on and improve my financial position, both in income and assets.

No. 3. Reach out and help others through my writing and donations.

No. 4.  Take care of my health by eating all the right foods. I can eat salads instead of steak, take the best vitamins and supplements, go out daily walking or running, work out with weights, and playing tennis.  (This is a big focus of mine and it gets bigger every year as I age.)

Whatever objectives, goals and dreams you want to realize in 2018, don’t just talk about them. Start writing them down and then take action, even if you just take baby step at first. All those little steps add up to big dreams!

 

Avoiding Those Holidays Traps

November 18, 2017 by  
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Next week is Thanksgiving. Soon after that there’s Christmas and then New Years. It’s that dreaded holiday time when we are faced with many temptations that make it hard to stick to our goals, especially healthy diets. It doesn’t take much to regain that hard-won weight loss or bring your health down and it can be infinitely harder to get back to where you want to be.

So, for the next few weeks I thought I’d focus on healthy eating in this time of endless traps. Staying healthy is important for you to keep up your energy and motivation which you need to accomplish all the great things you have planned.

Although you don’t want to let a bit too much pumpkin pie spoil things for you, staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. In fact, you should go out there and celebrate with gusto. Just be discerning about what and how much you eat or drink. To do so, just follow a few simple rules:

  • Go ahead and enjoy a small cupcake or one sugar cookie during festivities but stop at that. It’s not the sweets that are the problem as much as eating too many of them.
  • Eat slowly and savor the occasional treat you do have. Eating slowly will delay having to fight the temptation to have seconds and, hopefully, when you are done with it, you will feel satisfied enough not to feel.
  • Keep healthy snacks close at hand. Grab some apple slices or crunchy veggies when you have the overwhelming temptation to gobble up a whole plate of cookies.
  • Don’t fall into the “I’ve already been bad so it won’t matter if I keep eating too much of the wrong stuff” mentality and overindulge. Likewise, don’t brush off unhealthy eating by telling yourself you’ll do better after the holidays. Let yourself have the occasional treat then get back to your healthy diet.
  • At parties, stay active to keep your metabolism up and your mind off the food. Dance, participate in all the games, wander the room, and mingle.
  • Keep away from the food tables at parties. Move conversations to foodless corners of the place.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture. Review your goals and what you want out of your life daily so it’s at the forefront of your mind when the cookies get passed around the office.

You can also read more about the importance of health and great things you can do to improve it in Chapter Ten of my book, How To Ignite Your Passion for Living.

I’ll be talking about more helpful ideas for this time of year so to ensure you get my posts, sign up on this page here. If you find these posts really helpful, you might share this blog with your friends and family who can also sign up on the page I linked.

A List of Positives Actions

November 4, 2017 by  
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I know I have been going on about lists the last few posts and I hope you are up for one more. I just find that lists really help me focus on the qualities I want to see in myself, helping me to move closer to achieving super success.

We all have great wants and desires. Without them we’d have virtually no motivation to do anything. But there are a lot of hidden land mines that lie in our path just waiting for us to step on them and explode our dreams, desires, and goals. We all know that frustrated desires can lead us to search out bad or negative ways to boost or otherwise change our mood—-by using drugs and/or alcohol, binge eating, or even going on a shopping spree. These all work well to increase dopamine and serotonin—those mood-altering chemicals in our brain—giving us a high and one that can be addictive.

The problem is these activities can too easily and too quickly become detrimental to our health, our finances, and our relationships. But what if you could increase these mood-altering chemicals with something positive and productive, gaining a natural high and moving towards your goals at the same time?

Listing positive activities can really help you do this. Here are mine. You can use these as a start or as examples for your own list. Then when you feel yourself turning towards those old negative and harmful options, chose something from your positive list instead. Do this diligently for at least a week and take note of how much better you feel about yourself and your life. I bet you’ll not only enjoy the activities you’ve used as positive substitutes for the old harmful ways, but you will be much happier.

Mark’s List of Positive Actions

  1. Work out: Just 6 or 12 minutes on the stair master, doing sit-ups and push-ups or using weights.
  2. Get a tennis game going.
  3. Write out my bests thoughts for the days.
  4. Read a good book.
  5. Listen to favorite music (create a custom playlist online).
  6. Arrange a get together with family and friends.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Hike or bike in the mountains or just take a walk in the neighborhood.
  9. Take 5 to 10 minutes to meditation
  10. Do 5 to 10 minutes of simple yoga

Now … what goes on your list?

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