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The Inspiration of Children

May 19, 2017 by  
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Kids, Kids, Kids! What would the world be without them? The older I get the more I’m impressed with and love kids. We can all learn so much from them, whether it’s observing the super-fast learning ability of a baby or watching teenagers and their progression in this world. The month of May is so very significant for me in terms of kids, both in a good way and a very, very bad way.

Many years ago, my precious, wonderful, and beautiful daughter, Kristin, died from an eating disorder and, hopefully, passed peacefully on into another existence. I can’t put in words how that tragic event hit me, I’ve said many times since that you never get over losing your child, you just learn to deal with it! That horrific event happened on May 2nd.

But then 5 years ago, also on May 2nd, our family was blessed with the birth of another grandson, Oliver Haroldsen. To add to my May blessings, his mother is expected to deliver twin girls later this month.

A few nights ago, on May 17th, so much of the events of this significant month was brought back to my mind as I presented the Kristin Haroldsen memorial scholarships to 5 incredible Cottonwood High School senior girls. I was so very impressed, not only by their high GPA’s of 3.7 and above, but by how many other activities and achievements they were involved with. They also gave so much of their time and efforts to so many charitable causes. Their hard work and generosity is something we can all learn from and aim to duplicate.

Giving to others, whether it’s money, time, or physical help, not only is a great benefit and aid to these people, but improves and lifts the world including giving so much satisfaction, pleasure and happiness to the person who does the giving. Even a small gift, such as my practice of randomly giving kids a $2-dollar bill gives me a real mental boost. I usually say to the parent “Hey, this is a lucky $2-dollar bill; you see I’m an investor and that $1,000 dollar smile on your kid’s face is my reward.” And then I add, “Don’t you agree with me that that’s a darn good return on my investment?”

Bottom line … I think we all should remember to give, give, and give to others because, hey, if you do that everybody is a winner and gets a great big, fat return.

The Paths of Should and Must

April 9, 2017 by  
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I ended my blog last week by saying, “Give more so others can live more,” which, of course, not only helps your life but also lifts the life of others. My dear and wonderful giving wife, Kimberly, is always giving of her time and talents as well as gifts to my kids, to my grandkids, to my ex-wife, and to strangers. Recently she gave me a great gift. It was a simple book but, wow, what a great life giving and life changing book it can be if you follow the advice of the author.

The book she gave me is entitled The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, written by Elle Luna. The author is convinced that those people who do what they ‘must’ usually discover who they really are and what they really can do with their lives as opposed to those people who do what other people say they should do and should become.

Elle goes on to make a very good case for following what we feel we ‘must’ do versus what we feel we ‘should’ do. “Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires–unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike the should, must doesn’t accept compromises.”

The author goes on to explain how to get rid of all the ‘shoulds’ of your life and then how to discover what the ‘must’ of your life and existence really is. On the ‘should’ side, she suggests you make a list of what others have told you that you should do and should become then with that list you can start to figure ways to eliminate the ‘shoulds’.

Finishing these sentences is a good way to start, Elle suggests.

YOU SHOULD NEVER ________________.

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS___________________.

YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO ___________________.

YOU SHOULD NOT____________.

From the time we were born, or as very young kids, all of us, no doubt, have been told what we should do or should not do or should become and most people seem to blindly follow that advice even when we are mature adults. So, we are not really living our own life or following what we truly love and are good at so we don’t become the best of ourselves.

I want to close out this week’s blog by quoting a famous person:

“It’s your life, but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Next week I will discuss ways and methods that the brilliant Elle Luna suggests to move from living a life of ‘should’ and moving to discover your real self and live an enhanced and happier more fulfilling life of ‘must’!

Being a Giver

March 31, 2017 by  
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There are a lot of various reasons and motivators that push people to go after wealth, even great wealth. But the real bottom line basic motivator to make even a little money is simply survival because we all need money for food, clothing and shelter. Thankfully, here in the good ole US of A, most of us are beyond that stage. Certainly, a large part of the reason for this is because of our great freedom and our wonderful free enterprise system that allows even a person born into poverty the real chance–albeit with a ton of work and effort–to rise above it all and make lots of money and even a fortune starting from scratch.

One of the more unique motivators for achieving wealth is sometimes, “I want to make a lot so I can give a lot.”  Some people would question that saying, “Why would that push or motivate people to achieve great financial success?” and my answer to that would be “Because it can make the giver feel on top of the world with wonderful inner feelings that last and last.” Plus, it’s a great legacy that can and will linger on long after the giver has passed on.  That feeling of giving back is so very good for the body, mind, and soul and I’m sure most of my readers have experienced that at many different levels.

That wonderful feeling can be had from giving both money and non-money stuff. Think of how you feel when you give someone a gift, or do a big favor for someone, or give a great compliment and you receive sincere, enthusiastic, and emotional thanks. There are not many feelings that are a greater reward than what you get when you are a giver.

So, if you and I really take the time to think it through, we may well see what a great motivator it can be for us to push ourselves to make more money so we can give more money to others. Also, never forget all those other things we can give–everything from sincere compliments and praise, our time, our service, and our sincere love and attention to others. The return on these kinds of investments are many times much more satisfying than the return we get on our money investments. My motto is becoming, more and more, “Give more to live more.” Or better yet, “Give more so others can live more.”

 

Living Well and Healthy on the Way to 100

January 20, 2017 by  
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I would like to share with you some more thoughts about life and living and, yes, a few more things that you and I can do to increase our chances of living to be 100.

First, let me tell you about my super crazy few days this past week. The day after I wrote about how important it is to have great health I suddenly got very sick. It started with a severe case of acid reflux but then I could not eat or drink anything without huge chest pains and throwing it all up. I began to feel better after 3 days and so got some time in on beautiful Poipu beach. However, there I witnessed a guy being pulled from the ocean by a lifeguard just 20 or 30 feet from where we were relaxing and just having a good time.

Five paramedics went to work on this guy. They pounded his chest, did CPR on him, and shocked him many times–they worked on him for 20 minutes. Everyone on the beach just froze and watched as they tried to save this guy’s life. Many people were in tears, but even with all that effort and skilled professional work done by the paramedics, the guy did not make it.

The mood of all of us beach goers changed dramatically. We went from fun, games and joy to quiet and very somber. It is amazing how so many people care deeply about a person they do not even know. The young lady next to us broke down in tears. I was fighting back my own tears. The loss of life is a sad thing and, yes, we will all get to that point eventually. But this was a reminder that it is so critically important to live life to the fullest every single day, to do virtually everything we can to stay healthy and extend our lives —yes, to like 100 years old–in good health.

With that said here are a few more of the 100 Wonderful Ways to Live to Be 100:

  • Find reasons to laugh.
  • Do unto others but do not forget about yourself.
  • Do not dread getting older.
  • Get busy and stay busy.
  • (This one alone can add an average 7 years to your life.)
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Eat less.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
  • Use your brain–engage in games and intellectual stimulation.

Let’s not wait until illness or some unexpected tragedy makes us realize how valuable our life is. We can honor this gift we have, every day, by doing everything we can to not just live, but live well and healthy. And to live, yes, to be at least 100.

The Giving and Sharing Season

December 23, 2016 by  
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Before we get to talking about financial goals and money as I promised you last week, let’s talk about giving first. We can all give more and next week’s blog will help you finance all that you give.

Christmas is upon us and it’s the very best of seasons if we all get into the giving and sharing. There is something about giving to others that makes you feel so good and warms the soul. Most of us start by giving to our loved ones–our kids, grandkids, and spouse or significant other. The gifts don’t have to be gigantic but giving big gifts and a lot of them certainly doesn’t hurt the receiver or the giver. But don’t stop giving at just the family level. Think about your friends, even ones that you haven’t seen or heard from in years. It’s also great to give to strangers that are in need.

I’ve loved giving lots and lots of small gift to kids, not just at Christmas time but all the year round. As many of you know I love to order up $2 bills from the bank and give them at random to kids (although only when they are with a parent. I don’t want anyone to think I’m a creep.) It’s quite funny that the parent many times says, “Oh, those are so rare,” and yet anyone can get them from a bank. The kid and the parent are usually very surprised and delighted and thank me up and down with huge smiles on their faces.

I order 100 of the $2 bills at a time and have given away thousands. But the amazing thing is that as happy and delighted as the parents and kids are, I am even more stoked and happy than them. I usually tell the parent, “I think I’m being kinda of selfish because I get more pleasure, satisfaction, and joy from giving than the kids get in receiving.” I usually add the comment, “Plus, look, I invest $2 and I get back a $1000 dollar smile. I think that is a fantastic return on my investment!” So, I guess that giving can be a bit selfish but then again everyone seems to benefit from this kind of giving. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, giving for the benefit of everyone?

So be more driven this year and give more and more for everyone’s benefit. And don’t forget that giving can be more than gifts and money–give love, give warmth, give complements … just give more of yourself.

 

Counting Blessings Amidst Our Tragedies

November 4, 2016 by  
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In last week’s blog, I talked about how all people have difficulties and tragedies. I’m fully aware that my problems mentioned didn’t sound that huge. Some readers might have even been saying to themselves, “Oh the unfortunate rich guy has major problems, huh? What a tragedy he’s had with that terrible common cold. I feel so sorry for him … not!”

My main point of the blog really wasn’t about my very small and temporary health issue but rather was about how we all need to rejoice more often and count our blessings. We need to do it every day and do it before we face a truly huge loss such as a severe health decline or the loss of family or friends.

There is an old Mormon hymn called “Count Your Many Blessings”. One of the lines goes “name them one by one.” I find this to be very profound in that it defines a great way to live each day. If we stop to recognize each of our blessings, it actually can improve our lives and make us feel better, just like what I learned some time ago about how smiling releases good chemicals into your brain, even doing  the same thing when we force a smile.

Like many people if not most, I’ve had some major tragedies in my life that I will never forget—there was my 17-year-old brother who died right in front of me on the basketball court when I was 15 and, the biggest and most terrible shock of my life, when my 16-year-old daughter died. Even though I’ll never really get over those tragedies, I’ve learned to live with the reality of what happened and it has made me more aware of living in the great ‘right now’. It has made me take notice and count the blessings in my life every day.

I remember vividly after my daughter died being totally depressed and laying around doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself for many, many months. Then suddenly I realized that I was completely neglecting my other children. I saw how important they were and how blessed I was to have such good productive, active, loving and lovable kids. I lifted myself out of the dumps and started to notice and pay attention to them and appreciate all the goodness around me.

As I mentioned last week, traveling through parts of Africa was a real eye opener. Our train traveled though many villages filled with garbage, spotted with homes that were just ten by ten foot shacks topped with flimsy roofs held down with rocks. As all too skinny kids ran along the side of the tracks waving at the train, I couldn’t help but see how good we have it. If we are paying attention, we’ll know we need to appreciate all our blessings every day.

So, let’s all take time to notice, take time to appreciate, and take time to love what we have and not just family and friends but even strangers. We need to start giving more back to those who need help. None of us know how long our loved ones and friends will be with us; tragedy can strike any of our lives at any time. So even if you have disagreements and arguments or find yourself angry at those around you, try to step back and look at the bigger picture and be grateful and appreciative of those people. Remember just how important they are to you and just how small the differences are that get in the way.

 

 

Appreciating Human Beings

August 5, 2016 by  
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My weekly blog started out showing people how to make tons of money–I do know how to do it having made millions of dollars myself. I have also shown thousands of others how to do it and many have gone right out and used that knowledge to make their own fortunes. However, life is about so much more than making money. Having lots of money certainly does give a person a lot more choices and can enhance one’s life and those around them greatly. But the older I get the more clearly I can see the huge and lasting value we get from other human beings.

Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if you found yourself all alone in your city wondering if you were the only human on the planet earth. How would you function? I mean other than gathering food and finding shelter, what would you do day to day? I think, like most people, I would spend all the rest of my time trying to find other human beings.

I don’t know about you but I think I would go absolutely crazy after a while if I didn’t find anyone else! Yet, I think it’s so very easy for most of us to take other human beings for granted and not fully realize how very important other people are to our lives. Other people give our lives so much meaning and happiness and push us to do great things. And let’s not forget about the love that we receive and have the chance to give to so many others. Can you imagine doing something utterly fantastic with an invention or an accomplishment and wanting to tell or show someone what you’ve done but there is nobody around for you to share it with?

I couldn’t help but think of Tom Hanks in the wonderful movie Castaway where he ended up on a deserted island and his only so-called friend is a Wilson ball that floats ashore that he constantly has conversations with just like it was another person. It just shows how desperately we need other people.

I think we all need to take time and observe and appreciate the fact that we need other people. And I’m, not talking about just people we know and love but also total strangers and even people we don’t like. If you thought you were the only person left on the earth and you came across another person, I think you would be absolutely thrilled even if that person wasn’t very likeable. Being all alone really can be miserable. The prison system knows that and uses solitary confinement as a huge punishment.

Ever since I began thinking about being the only person on earth and all the implications of living that way, I’ve really started appreciating other people–even people I really don’t care for. When I’m around those people I sometimes find miserable and ornery I quickly choose to think that if I had their upbringing and past life I’d probably be an ol’ grouch just like they are, but they still are human beings and they are important to all of us and the world.

So yes, I will continue to blog and try to share what I know about making millions but I want you to know that I greatly appreciate other human beings and I am going to work harder to go out of my way to show and demonstrate that appreciation.

 

Our Indebtedness to the Past

June 17, 2016 by  
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I just watch a wonderful documentary narrated by Robert Redford called The Barnstormers which told and showed some great pictures of the history of how the game of tennis was changed from an amateur to a professional sport and how after that changed its popularity grew at an enormous rate.  I was particularly impressed at the end of this wonderful production when the great world champion Roger Federer said how much he and all the other pro tennis players of today owe a huge debt of gratitude to the players and key figures who brought about the big changes in tennis.

It got me to thinking about how all of us today owe a humongous debt of gratitude to so very may people of the past that did so many things to make the world a much better place and made our lives so much easier today.

Think about it … how would our lives be without those many people who over time collaborated with many others to bring us the automobile, the airplane, advanced medicine and medical procedures? We can cut open and fix a human brain and cure terrible diseases. And just look at the advances in technology.  From computers to cell phones, rockets to space probes, and on and on and on.  I couldn’t begin to build even a basic radio or TV, let alone figure out how to do open heart surgery.  And so much of these incredible advances have come in just the last 100 to 150 years!  Going back 150 years we didn’t have even a simple telephone or an internal combustion engine or even a simple light bulb.

We are so very indebted to so many people that have lived before us. We all could do with being a bit more grateful as well as taking a look at our own lives and seeing how and where we can put our efforts and talents to work to help others and make this wonderful world even better than we found it. Let’s not only do it for those around us now but for future generations.

There is also an extra benefit for you. I’ve seen studies that show that the more a person shows and has gratitude for others, the more it lifts that person’s level of satisfaction and happiness.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will attempt to acknowledge and give thanks to the people that have contributed to my life, both in my financial life, my personal life and in my self-development. Who do you have to thank for the wonderful advantages you have?

 

Truly Smart Money

April 15, 2016 by  
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One of the smartest people in the entire world said this about money: “The most powerful principle I ever discovered was compound interest”.  Who said that? Can you believe it was none other than Albert Einstein?

I had forgotten that wonderful quote until the other day when I came across a booklet titled “Being Smart with your Money” written by my very dear friend and my money mentor of years ago, Paul J. Meyer.  Paul was a man who truly went from rags to riches.  As a young man, he was making a few bucks by picking fruit in California, but by using his brain and wisely using his little bit of money with leverage and compounding, he eventually amassed close to a half a billion-dollar fortune.  He was considered the pioneer of the self-improvement industry and also made tens of millions in real estate. I must give him credit for much of my own fortune.

My other mentor was Larry Rosenberg from Denver, Colorado. Both Paul and Larry basically gave me the same advice when it came to making millions with Einstein’s powerful discovery figuring into the equation as well, big time!  I was taught that, to begin with, a person who wants great wealth needs to pay himself first.  That is, no matter how much or how little money you make, set 5%, 10% or more aside and then (and this is critically important!) never, never, never spend it!  This money is not for buying nice things, it is for investing!

When you’ve built up enough from those savings, go out and invest it wisely.  Most of the time that wise investment is going to be in good ol’ real estate.  The big-time, huge key to this investment, however, is to keep at it, reinvesting the money you make on the first deal in another deal and then another deal after that and so on and so on. That is what compounding is all about.

Paul says this about what a $1,000 investment can grow into: “If that $1,000 were in an investment that brought 10% interest per year, in 73 years, I would have over a million dollars from my original $1,000 investment!  If you put another $1,000 dollars into the pot each year, it would take only 47 years to hit the million-dollar mark.” Keep in mind, that’s compounding at only 10%. As my previous blogs have demonstrated, you can do much better than that. I, and many others, have compounded money at 25%, 50%, and even 100% which turns $1,000 into many multi-millions.

Paul Meyer also gives this excellent advice in his “Being Smart with your Money” booklet: “Only when you develop confidence in a principle will you exert the effort required to change your behavior and put this principle into practice.” That means, you won’t be able to put these ideas to work for you until you take the time to look carefully at them and come to understand just how well you can do with this plan. That understanding should motivate you into acting on these principles. Paul has these great bits of super money advice to get you going as well:  “Set goals, live within your means, get on a budget and stay there, pay yourself first, put your money to work …” and, I would add, use lots of leverage and reinvest for that wonderful compounding effect.

Although Paul’s booklet is no longer in print, I do have a number of copies that I would be so happy to share. Simply write me here with your mailing address and I will send it to you. Paul’s wise words are too good to keep to myself! (Free offer for booklet is limited and will be given to those that respond first while supplies last)

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.

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