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Celebrating Life

February 5, 2016 by  
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I just flew from Kauai into Salt Lake City. Yep from the beach and palm trees to snow and cold—brrr! We are staying in Utah for just a few days. We made this special quick trip from paradise to the snow country of Park City and Deer Valley Utah for the grand celebration of the life of the legendary world champion skier and our dear, wonderful friend, Stein Eriksen.  In my January 2nd blog I talked about my 2016 New Year’s Resolution to follow Stein and Francoise example of being a great friend; my goal is to be a much better friend and cultivate more and more friends.

When you live 88 years as Stein did, a celebration of life makes so much more sense than that thing they call a ‘funeral’.  My message this week is a simple one.  Life is so very short and no one knows when their life is going to end but we all know that it will end at some point.  So to have a fuller life, we all need to celebrate each and every day. Or as my license plate on my new Tesla reads, “CARPIDM” which is an abbreviated version of ‘carpe diem’ which, of course, means ‘seize the day’.

Let’s set a goal to make every day count and make every day a celebration of our lives and spread that celebration and up beat feeling to all those around us. And do more of that celebration with our family and friends.  Live in the now! We all know we should do that so let’s be more aware of the importance of living in the now and in today and do it every day.  Remember, even if you live to be 100 years old that’s only 36,500 days and for me that only leaves 10,160, so I certainly need to practice what I am now preaching to you!

 

 

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF NEWS YEAR RESOLUTION

January 2, 2016 by  
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In most years past I, and probably you too, have set new year’s resolutions to make more money, get in better physical shape, or to scratch off another item on your bucket list but I had a major brain change a couple of days ago because of a very sad event. A man I consider my older brother passed away on December 27th. I had wanted an older brother ever since my actual older blood brother died right in front of me when I was all of 15. Stein Eriksen was Norwegian and maybe because of me being part Norwegian we hit it off big time many, many years ago. He was no doubt the most famous skier on the planet and was considered the founder of modern skiing. He won a silver and a gold medal in the 1952 Olympics and 3 gold medals in world championships in 1954. But all that fame and the money that followed was not the best part of this man. He the nicest, gentlest and kindest guy you would ever want to meet and you couldn’t ask for a better friend.

Stein was 88 years old and still full of life until the very end. In fact, 16 days before he passed we spent the evening with him celebrating his birthday along with his wonderful and beautiful French wife, Francoise, their son Bjorn and 2 other friends. He was the life of the party. My wife Kimberly and I had also had the great privilege of traveling the world with Stein and his wife. We skied together in Park City, Utah, and played tennis everywhere from his cabin in Montana to Gstaad, Switzerland. We often played with the famous tennis champion Roy Emerson, the very man who introduced Stein to Francoise many, many years before. We even cycled around the islands of Croatia when Stein was in his early 80’s. And I will never forget the long barge trip we took on the scenic Seine river in France. Francoise, being French, made it even more special and, yes, we did tip back a few glasses of good ol’ French red wine.

This past Saturday we got a call from Francoise telling us that Stein had been in the hospital. She said they were sending him home to live his last days and we had better come to the house as soon as possible. By the time we got to the house he was semi-conscious. We tried to communicate with him but the most he could do was wiggle his toes trying to answer some yes and no questions. The next day he was totally unconscious and with his family and a few of his friends at his bedside, this great and wonderful man slipped into what lies next. My incredible friend and big brother was gone.

Stein’s death really didn’t hit me until the next day. Those last two days in his bedroom I found myself being the comforter to his wife and family to the best of my abilities, but the day after he died I fell apart and a piece of me died. I had lost another big brother.

Now as I face a new year when I usually set new year’s resolutions that revolve around money, health and travel, I have a totally new perspective. I want to follow in Stein’s footsteps and gather more friends and, most importantly, be a better friend to others. Money, success, and fame are little tiny things when compared to good friends. Yes, these resolutions are hard to quantify but that’s ok. I’m going after them with all my heart and all my energy.

Next week, I am going to talk about why so many people set resolutions but fall short virtually every year. You might be surprised at what science has found when it comes to this subject.

Accountable Goals for 2016

December 26, 2015 by  
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As pretty much everyone knows, this time of year is so super busy it can be the most stressful time of the year.  There is an automatic built in deadline for all of us and as you read this we’ve just past that automatic deadline that’s called Christmas. The 25th of December is a goal that the world has set for all of us. That date pushes all of us to get many tasks done and in a way that is a good thing.

So now as we finish this year of 2015, most of us start thinking what the next year will be like and what is it that we want to accomplish.  We start thinking about what goals we want to set for ourselves and, if we are wise, we put deadlines on our goals which pushes us to reach those goals within that self-imposed deadline.  If we tell other people what our goals are and the deadline dates, that is usually very helpful because those friends and relatives can help push us and keep us on track by asking how we are doing and if we are on track for completing our goals on time.

I couldn’t help but think of that late last night at a party, when I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written this week’s blog and I had told my editor that I would have a draft to her by last night. Ouch.  So first thing this morning I got right on the task of writing this blog that you are now reading. Outside help can really keep us on track.

Additionally, last night someone asked me what my goals were for 2016. They knew I was big on goal setting and they also set goals for themselves and push their kids to do the same. My answer was that my biggest goal for the new year was to push myself for better and better health.  Now that I’m almost 72 years old I see, more and more, how important health is. I’m already in darn good shape and came so very close to a 10 mile a day goal I had set for myself in 2015 that included running, walking and playing tennis. But in 2016 I’m going to raise the bar to an even higher level and add some tough weight lifting goals since I know that extra muscle will increase my metabolism and of course make me look and feel better and stronger.

So my challenge to you is take time to think through what you want to accomplish in this coming year and be sure, as I’ve preached over and over again, to write down what those goals are and then be sure to put a time frame or a deadline on your goals. To help yourself along, tell friends and or relatives what those goals are and ask for their help. That combination is a sure fire way to make your goals a reality.

 

Reflections in Lieu of a Christmas Card

December 18, 2015 by  
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Now, a week before Christmas I received this email from a very dear friend of 40 years.  He’s a great guy, now a retired doctor, whose life was turned upside down 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live.  After going through a 9-hour surgery and painful recovery he’s still hanging in there and has embraced life with incredible energy and enthusiasm, fully living life every single day.  He is a positive, lovable human being who is setting a wonderful example for all of us, a man I am proud to call a great friend.

Here is his “Reflections in lieu of a Christmas Card”

I stayed out of the hospital this year.

I played golf or pickle ball almost every day.

I enjoyed friendships, new and old.

I’m learning to say goodbye reluctantly to some
friendships that didn’t work.

I made a few new friends.

I love my kids and grand kids who each seem to be
on their own unique journey.

I continue to know less about more.

I own my own faults and will probably keep
most of them.

I travel less and enjoy my home and Robyn more.

I value things less and ideas more.

I totally reject trying to change anyone else.

I seek forgiveness for hurting anyone.

I reject exclusion, pettiness, manipulation, passive
aggressiveness, and revenge.

I love knowledge, insight, information.

I love competition and discussion.

I reject polarization, cliques, political and
group collectivism.

I advocate for things I believe and not for groups,
causes, or labels.

I advocate for health, fitness, and science.

I love animals more than people.

I reject political correctness and distribution of
wealth.  I advocate for self-determinism.

My identity is not in my possessions.

I resolve next year to reduce drama in my
life by avoiding those who need it.

I want to live as long as possible if there is good quality.

After pancreatic cancer, I’m not afraid of much so
I will speak to my beliefs.  You can have yours
so don’t be offended.  I can disagree with you
and love you.  Don’t react with anger.  Just
listen or not.

I can’t be offended unless I choose to be.

Life is short, don’t withhold love.

Don’t take yourself seriously.  Laugh at your
mistakes and embrace them.  Don’t worry
about what others think.  Worry more about
what you think of yourself.  I want you happy.

If this all sounds pontifical, it probably is.  It’s me at my best and worst.

Love to all.

–Craig Davis

The Difference a World View Makes

September 25, 2015 by  
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As I write this, I am flying at 32,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, that might be a pretty incredible thing for some but the incredible things on my mind are the wonderful people that we met in Ireland and the great beauty of the country side. We just spent 8 days there (my wife is part Irish but had never visited Ireland). What a wonderful country, with the greenest of  green lands  you’ll ever see and such friendly, kind people.  We flew into Dublin and rented a car then had the scary experience of driving on the wrong side of the road-at least it’s the wrong side as far as us Americans are concerned. I only screwed up twice but quickly corrected and we survived!

We drove from Dublin up to what is called the Carton House, a huge estate with a castle that is now fixed up as a hotel complete with two 18 hole golf courses and all kinds of other amenities. You see, my wife is a Carton and her family history was traced way back hundreds of years ago to the Cartons and the Fitzgeralds, both famous and very well to do families of Ireland. So we just had to visit and stay in the Carton house. We had a great time there and later drove (very carefully) to Kilkenny, the town made fun of on South Park.

Just before we left, we watched the big Gaelic Football finals. I’d never heard of the game before. It’s a combination between soccer, American football and basketball. They run with the ball, dribble it, pass it forward and backward, and kick it for a score. It’s a hugely exciting game; I loved it.

So there we were in an Irish Pub just a few blocks from the stadium packed with over 80,000 screaming fans and next to us was a beautiful couple. In short order we struck up a conversation and discovered they were from Hungary. They were such fun people. I liked them so much I insisted that I buy their lunch. It was like we were almost best friends by the time we finished lunch. That was such a great feeling and left me with such great memories. I sure hope to see them again some time, some place.

That chance meeting brought back memories of all the great people I’ve met in my life from so many different countries and cultures. I’ve had the great privilege of experiencing so much of this great world we live in and have learned so many great lessons from other cultures and peoples from my travels. The biggest life lesson I’ve learned from all these travels, at least for me is simply this:

To visit other countries and cultures and other people with different beliefs, habits and different views of the world can give us all a better and bigger mind and help you and I to be more open minded and accepting of others.

And that, my friends, is what this world needs more of. In my own personal opinion that would lead to a much more peaceful and war free world and would be a big blessing to each and every one of us. Do you see my point? I can only hope that you too will agree.

 

 

The Magic of Nature and the Human Connection

July 10, 2015 by  
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I’ve been hiking up Millcreek Canyon ever since it turned so very hot here in Salt Lake City. It’s been 100 plus degrees on many days.  And let me tell you, the Millcreek Canyon hike is something to behold and as a big plus the trail I take has a wonderful canopy of trees blocking the sun for probably 80% of the hike. There is something magical about the great outdoors and for me it’s even more magical in the mountains or on the beach.  I don’t know what it is but I’m sure scientist have an explanation for what nature does to our brains that lifts and jump starts our spirits to a much higher level.  If you don’t believe me, the next time you are a bit down in the dumps, just take a walk outside, preferably in the mountains, on the beach, or at least out in the country side, and see if you don’t find your mood changed.

For me there is an extra boost to my mind, mood and spirit when I hike trails where others are hiking.  As I’ve talked about before, I love to drop $2 dollar bills on the trail when I see a father or mother hiking with small children–ideally in that 6 to 10 age range.  If you give a 3 year old a $2 dollar bill they don’t know what it is and usually drop it in a short time. They need to be old enough to understand what they’ve found.

My normal routine is to say to the parents as they are approaching, “Hey, have you taught your kids to pick up paper or litter when they see it on the ground?” and then I drop the money and keep walking and I hear the kids shouting out in delight and almost always the kids also scream out a big “Thank you!” Wow. Does that ever warm my heart! The kids love it but I think I love it more and get more out of it than they do.

I also love to meet people when I am out on my usual 2 or 3 hour hikes and that also lifts my spirits.  I have some standard lines that I use over and over because they usually work to start a short conversation or a quick exchange of pleasantries.  For instance, as I am approaching couples, whether young or old, with the guy in front and the gal behind, I say to the guy as I pass, “Hey, don’t look now but there is a beautiful lady following you.” That always brings big smiles and an exchange of upbeat comments.  They love it and so do I.

With these few words and small gestures, spirits are lifted. Plus it sometimes leads both parties to stop and have a short upbeat chat.  Yesterday I used one of my other standard lines when I’m on a particularly steep part of the hike and passing people.  I simply ask “Hey, how much further to the 7-11?” It usually brings a big laugh but yesterday it also lead to a conversation and a big coincidence.

After saying this to two ladies who laughed at my comment, I noted the younger woman had a French accent so I asked her where she was from. After telling me she lived a couple hundred kilometers north of Paris, I told her we love Paris and France and have a very, very good friend from Normandy by the name of Franchoise and she is married to the skiing legend Stein Eriksen. When I mentioned this, the older lady said “Hey, I know who you are, Mark Haroldsen, the author. And I know Franchoise. Her son plays tennis with my son.” So again that brief encounter lifted our spirits with a nice conversation and a fun coincidence and we all walked away with smiles on our faces.

The bottom line here is that I think all of us should get out in nature more and go out of our way to meet other human beings.  It’s a win-win and as I preach this to you, believe me, I am preaching it to myself to do more of that!

 

 

 

A Profound and Particular Connection

June 12, 2015 by  
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My wife and I recently visited the home of the famous painter Rembrandt, here in Amsterdam. Rembrandt was quite an astute businessman as well as a gifted artist. Unfortunately he wasn’t home when we stopped by—ha ha–but his beautiful artwork was everywhere and it was pretty darn impressive, I must say.

I also had a very short but interesting conversation with a friendly guard at the Rembrandt home.  It all started with a favorite comment of mine that I made as we parted ways. It really seemed to get to him but in a good way.  I said “Have a nice life!” And he enthusiastically said “Wow. Thanks a lot. I think I will plan on doing just that”.  That started the short conversation. But my next comment seemed to really hit a nerve, again, in a good way as he went on to say he’d never thought of the life of human beings in the way I said it.

What I said was simply that I think that all of us humans, even though we are from different countries, cultures, religions and speak different languages, we are all so very much the same. We all share at least one thing in common that should bring us even closer together as humans, especially in today’s world with the killing of so many innocent people in the name of “belief” or different world views.  He wanted to know what that ‘one thing’ was that we all share no matter who we are, what we believe or where we live.

What I said was, “No matter who you are, whether you are rich or poor, educated or not, as powerful as king or a president or as helpless as a new born child, we all are going to die.”  I know that is obvious but it’s something we should think about more often when we are feeling high and mighty or are judging other people and what they are doing with their lives.  The fact is that not one person out of the 7 billion people on the earth right now will be here in another 120 years or so. We all are in the same boat so why not make that the best possible boat in the universe and treat others as our brothers and sisters with great love and respect?

As we walked away from this very kind and interesting Dutch man, I think both he and I thought, “I think I have a new friend”.

 

The Powers of Two

May 23, 2015 by  
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So how do you make your world bigger and really live ‘large’? Probably the very biggest key to living large is through other people. Unfortunately there is a big misconception when it comes to seeing other people that seem to be living very large and have achieved super success. When we see someone who has come up with a great new invention, a super creative piece of artwork or, for that matter, a new and very successful business, most people think it came from a single person’s mind who has been working alone and has had a mental breakthrough. I certainly used to believe and think that, but if you and I take a closer look, we’ll see that it just ain’t so.

Recently I heard Joshua Shenk on NPR radio talking about some very famous people and world changing technological breakthroughs along with great works of art all of which came not from one brilliant person working alone but from 2 or more people joining their brains and forces to come up with heretofore unheard of successes. Shenk has written a book called Powers of Two and what a great book it is! He talks about great people like Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs, George Lucas and Vincent Van Gogh along with a number of others. It turns out that the key to their super success was hooking up with another person and the power of what those 2 brains could come up with equaled genius and huge breakthroughs.

Those breakthroughs Joshua talks about may never have happened if those people had not met the right person at the right time. For Paul McCartney the breakthrough came when he met and worked with John Lennon which later spawned the Beatles. For Steve Jobs it was hooking up with Steve Wozniak when one was a teenager and the other was only 20 years old. And for filmmaker George Lucas, it was his wife Marcia Lucas who was his secret weapon. Lastly, there’s a very good chance that you and I would probably never have known the name Vincent Van Gogh if it were not for a guy named Theo, Vincent’s brother.

The author goes on to make an undeniable case that most great and important breakthroughs that we think came from one genius working alone came from the ‘Powers of Two’. Later Joshua Shenk talks about how critical it is for you and I to go out and find our “tribe” and to hook up with others that we truly connect with. Sometimes it’s people like ourselves and sometimes people that are very different from us but they hit certain of our hot buttons that lift us to a much higher level and push us to fulfill our great potential. Next week I’ll talk about ways to find our “tribe”, those people that we really connect with and where to go to hook up with those than can help us create and benefit from the ‘Powers of Two’.

 

A Passionate Book Report

March 13, 2015 by  
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Last week I had lunch at Duke’s on Kalapaki beach in Kauai.  If you have been to Kauai you probably know the place. A friend of mine in Salt Lake City, Tom Roughton, told his cousin, Jeff Rahill, that I was on the island and suggested we have lunch since we both had done extremely well by buying beat up properties and fixing them up.  At the end of our delightful lunch I gave Jeff a copy of my latest book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living and jokingly told him there was a  book report, double-spaced and graded on a curve, due in 2 weeks.  We both laughed but then would you believe, two weeks later there it was a 5 page, single-spaced, book report on my computer screen!

I was very surprised how well it was written and how it was spot on in commenting on the most important points of the book.  Reading Jeff’s comments reignited my own passion.  Of course part of it may have been the fact that he loved my book and that stroked my ego but it also motivated me to refocus on the book’s lessons—to do more, be more and stick with my big goals and even add more goals to my list.

So I thought I’d share with you some of Jeff’s comments and wisdom and see if it stirs you up as well:

“I wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your book and will at least give you my comments–even though it’s not exactly a book report.”

“I’ve believed for many years that goal setting is the key to getting what you want, so your book resonated with me in its premise and in many of the details.”

“’Return to Exuberance.’ Yes, I would like to get back the exuberance I felt at a young age, probably sixth grade, or in my twenties, for me. I agree that the dreams or goals have to be big.”

“’Short Life Needs Big Passion.’ The older we get, the more we realize how short life is.  We are here, and gone, in a speck of time.  I didn’t have a goal as a young person to have a million dollars or anything like that. It wasn’t until I was 25 that I even started to keep track of what I had, and at that point it was more ‘keeping track’ than setting a monetary goal. I kept track of my net worth every year, but didn’t hit one million until I was 50.”

“…..we all need a dream list.  I’ve often put pictures up on my bulletin board, in front of me all day, of the things I like. It keeps me dreaming, and that’s the first step toward it becoming reality.”

Next week I want to share some more of Jeff’s thinking and wisdom from his ‘book report’. Think on these initial comments in the meantime and see if it starts a spark of motivation in you. You can order the book as well right here on our website. Just click!

A Kindness in Flight

March 6, 2015 by  
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A few weeks ago I clicked on my dear friend Richard Paul Evan’s blog and read the story of a flight he was on where he observed a random act of kindness. His story brought tears to my eyes and I wanted to share it with my readers as well. So please click here to read the story. You will be so very glad that you did.

Richard Evans blog header 030315

 

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