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Keys to Happiness

June 21, 2019 by  
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I have one more bit from the Dalai Lama’s books for you.  This post will be a simple and short listing of thoughts and comments from him, thoughts that can be uplifting and supportive of your happiness and that you can easily and quickly review and share with your spouse, children, grandchildren and friends.

  1. Empathy and altruism raises you up.
  2. Science backs up claims about the physical and emotional benefits of a compassionate state of mind.
  3. Reaching out and helping others lifts your happiness level.
  4. Freedom from suffering starts with accepting suffering as a natural fact of human existence.
  5. Studies show that reaching out to help others induces feeling of a calmer mind and less depression.
  6. For a better life, confront your problems, fears, and bad habits. Don’t avoid them…then put your brain to work to change them.
  7. Ingredients that cement relationships: Affection, compassion, and mutual respect.
  8. The cause of suffering which one should seek to remove: ignorance, craving, and hatred.
  9. Unhappiness comes to each of us when we think ourselves at the center of the world.
  10. Remember, it takes time to train your mind.
  11. Necessary ingredients to happiness:
    1. Affection
    2. Warmth
    3. Friendship
    4. Compassion
    5. State of mind
    6. Calmness of mind
    7. Peace of mind
  1. Remember this … if you have real peace of mind you can be happy even with poor health.
  2. If you believe the purpose of life is happiness, then work on discarding the things that lead to unhappiness.
  3. If you want to have a deeper connection to others then reach out and help others.
  4. Empathy is critical to build compassion.
  5. Understand people by knowing and appreciating their background.

And I will add one of my own … if you want to raise you happiness level quickly, just walk outside. There is something magical about the great outdoors and what it does to the human mind

Positivity and Compassion

June 14, 2019 by  
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A very critical part of happiness and contentment is training the mind and, yes, that does take time, but is it ever worth the time you take! The authors of the book, The Art of Happiness, which I talked about last week, have this advice: “Everyday, as soon as you get up, you can develop sincere positive motivation, thinking, ‘I will utilize this day in a more positive way. I should not waste this very day.’ And then, at night before bed, check what you’ve done, asking yourself, ‘Did I utilize this day as I planned?’ If it went wrong, then regret what you did and critique the day and decide what you are going to do to correct the negative stuff of the day. So, through methods such as this, you can gradually strengthen the positive aspects of the mind.”

I think this is why the self-talk that the great Paul J. Meyer of Waco, Texas introduced me to is so very helpful. I have about 10 different mantras that I run through my mind almost every day and many times I say them out loud. Here are a few of those

  1. I am strong and worthy.
  2. I am upbeat and positive.
  3. I am happy and healthy.
  4. I live in the present moment.
  5. I love people and I am becoming more and more social.
  6. I try to live big and give big. I make “to do” lists and carry them out.

It’s amazing how I can feel down and out and how running that self-talk through my mind many times can lift my mood and make me feel so much better. The mind has a lot of plasticity in it according to scientists. The book goes on to say something that I know is true and will work for me and you: “Neuroscientist have documented the fact that the brain can design new patterns, net combinations of nerve cells and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells) in response to new input. In fact, our brains are malleable, ever changing, re-configuring their wiring according to new thoughts and experiences. And as a result of learning, the function of individual neurons themselves change, allowing electrical signals to travel along them more readily.” Scientist call the brains inherent capacity to change “plasticity”.

The Dalai Lama and Mr. Cutler have so many great and powerful things to say about how to achieve happiness and they are so very effective. So here is one more quote from Mr. Cutler talking about the Dalai Lama: “He can see that if someone treats him with compassion and affection, then it makes him feel happy. So, on the basis of that experience, it would help him to realize that other people also feel good when they are shown warmth and compassion Therefore, recognizing this fact might make him more inclined to give them compassion and warmth. At the same time, he would discover that the more you give warmth, the more warmth you receive”.

And that, my friends, will almost for sure raise both the giver’s and the receiver’s level of happiness!

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!

Refilling Your Social Life in a Fulfilling Retirement

February 8, 2019 by  
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The great thing about regular work or a job is that it gives you a good reason to get out of bed each morning and get going, and it is very important when you retire is to set something up that replaces that for you. One way to do that, as I mentioned in last week’s post, is put yourself to work in a way that can better the world.

As you push yourself to get involved with a charity, or whatever it is that you choose, you will find that you can replace what your work gave you in terms of structure and routine with the activities of your new mission. This will give you something to get you out of bed but, just as important, that structure and routine will also give you a new social aspect to your life.

Most of us develop a significant social life that revolves around work, but then, when we retire, this is often lost. So, getting involved in a charity or other organization can replace what you are missing when you leave your job or no longer work. It will do all that while you do a little something to make the world a better place.

Most of us humans really don’t realize how very important our social contacts are until they disappear or are greatly diminished when we retire. It’s not that you won’t know those same people or continue to have great friendships with some of them, but when you’re no longer working together, you are suddenly not nearly as involved in each other’s lives and you don’t see each other nearly so often. Most people will greatly miss the regular social contact if they do not replace it with another purposeful and regular activity that also involves time connecting and interacting with other people.

Each of us will have our own plan but here is what I plan on doing to push myself to create a new routine, structure, and source of social connections in my life that will make me get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day: I would like to teach grade school, high school, and university students in classes on writing, marketing, public speaking, financial methods and strategies, and maybe even tennis, on a regular scheduled time and day. I know quite a bit about all those subjects, and I do love to teach others how to do these things and show them how they can have great success and a huge sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from learning these new skills.

So, my challenge to you is to start thinking about your own retirement and start making plans on what you will do to create routine, structure, and social connections. Make a list now, even if you are many years away from retirement. You can change up that list as things come to you but just being aware of the necessity will help you create a fulfilling plan. You won’t be sorry if you do that now!

The Eve of a New Year List

December 21, 2018 by  
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As you may have noticed, especially if you followed my advice from my blog post about the subject matter a couple months ago, it can be very helpful and profitable to set your daily goals the night before. Sometimes this list making even influences your dreams in a very positive way. You see, by setting your next day’s goals the night before, you will notice that, most of the time, you wake up thinking about those goals and are so much more likely to act on them and make them happen. Of course, I’m talking primarily about your small daily goals or tasks. These are usually the kind of things you expect to, or hope to, accomplish that day. However, this can be applied to bigger goals as well.

Being that we are so very close to the end of the year, it can be, and usually is, the best time to begin to set your big yearly goals for what you are going to do, achieve, accomplish, or earn, in the new year. It is certainly a good time to set your mind on the direction of your new year, and so why not write them down? You would be writing them down at the end of the year rather than at the end of the night but it’s the same kind of list – preparing you to get going on your goals once the new day – or new year – starts.

As you know, when you set those goals and write them down, your brain can, and usually does, take over and persuade, coax, cajole, and even force you to get to work to accomplish those objectives that you have set for yourself. So, take time in the next few days to thoroughly think through what you want 2019 to be for you and what you are going to get done. Include both financial and nonfinancial objectives like helping others, spending more time with family, world travel, etc. Do it! You won’t be sorry!

So, what are my personal goals for my 2019 year? Yes, I have some financial goals, but for me I would like to do more writing and get my autobiography done. Also, on my list is the giving of time and assistance as well as money. I have already started in on this list. Just in the last few weeks I’ve given my time at an elementary school, assisting a 3rd grade teacher and, oh wow, what a great feeling that gives me!

Physically, for my 75th year on this planet, I want to get in, and stay in, super physical shape. I want to look like, act like, and have the energy of a 35-year-old. I know that is not going to be easy, but I do believe it to be possible and, besides, the rewards that I have heard about through other people are fantastic. Those who do aim for super physical fitness, and stick with it, are shown to have a much longer life. And I have to tell you, I do love beating those much younger people on the tennis court, something which happened a lot in 2018 and I plan to repeat in the coming years!

More Production Yields a Better Life

August 4, 2018 by  
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In this post, I wanted to expand on Hyrum Smith’s great book, Purposeful Retirement (and yes you should go buy a copy!) He points out that studies show that the earlier you retire, the sooner you die. Having projects that are meaningful when you retire can not only raise your self-esteem and well-being but will also help you to live longer and stronger. So, if you are retired and, like me, have found that you don’t have enough to do and it’s driving you bonkers, or if retirement is in the not-too-distant future, it’s very wise and life enhancing to make a plan for your retirement years.

The key to this plan is to map out and write down the specifics of what you are going to do to truly make a difference in the world. From another great book, The Miracle Morning, the author Hal Elrod says, “you’re not supposed to ‘figure out’ what your purpose is.” Instead, he says, “you get to make it up.” So, it really is up to each of us to decide what we are going to do with the rest of our lives.

After reading this and giving it a lot of thought, I woke up the other morning with a very strong feeling of, “I know what I want my purpose to be.” My words to myself were, “I want to live, live, live, to give, give, give!” and I decided right then that from now on I would try to ask someone every day, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Perhaps, in doing this, I’m being a little selfish because I read in Smith’s book that, “through MRI technology we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain–and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier, but also healthier, wealthier, and more productive and meaningful.” Plus, it helps you live longer. And, hey, I want all of those things!

So, my new resolution is to “produce” a lifestyle of giving that makes the world a better place! And I just figured out a way to make that easier and faster. I would like to volunteer to give free speeches, seminars, and mentoring to anyone who wants it–whether it’s on financial strategies and methods or other self-improvement habits. So, if I can be of service to you individually or to your group, club or organization, please let me know. I do think that “Great Giving produces Great Living.” Hmm. I like that saying even though I am just quoting myself. But who knows, maybe it will go viral and I’ll be famous … ho ho ho!

To contact me, you can leave a comment on this post (look for the “leave a comment” link at the top of the blog. If you don’t see the link click the header of the blog post to get to the blog post specific page and it should be there.) Or, if you get this by email, just respond to the email. I’m looking forward to hearing, and helping, you.

 

A Million Dollar Feeling

November 12, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly approaching the holiday season of celebration and of giving I couldn’t help but remember when, several years ago, just before Christmas, I was at Walmart and a single mom, who looked down on her luck, was in line just in front of me.  She was holding a few items as the clerk added up the bill. She kept asking what the total was as she anxiously clutched onto other items saying she only had $40.  As she paid for her purchases, I reached over and pushed the items she was leaving behind over to my pile and said to the clerk, “I want to buy these items for my new friend.”

I bought them and handed them to her and, wow, … she, very emotionally, thanked me over and over again.  And so did the clerk! I walked out of the store feeling on top of the world. You’d think I had given her a thousand dollars but in reality, it was only a $7.49 gift. On the other hand, it felt like I’d gotten a million dollars in satisfaction and warm feelings.

Another one of my favorite things to do is to give kids a $2-dollar bill and tell them it’s for good luck. Usually when the parent of the kid thanks me, I say, “Hey, I’m an investor and the $2 investment just gave me a thousand-dollar smile, and I think that is a super return on my investment!” And it is absolutely true!

That day at Walmart, that woman I helped wished me a “Merry Christmas” multiple times as she took her 7-year-old daughter by the hand who, of course, had a $2 bill in her other hand. From time to time, I’ve done the same thing I did at Walmart in grocery stores and at gas stations. Like the lady at Walmart, the look in these people’s eyes let me know that this small thing truly made a difference for them, not because of the dollar amount but because a complete stranger cared enough to help.

What I did was certainly not unique, as I know of many people that help strangers and know the great feeling both parties receive. But I thought, as we approach the giving season, that I would suggest to my readers, whether you’ve done this kind of thing or not, to give it a try this season. If you haven’t done this before, you might be very surprised at the great feeling that it gives you and as well as the stranger that received your gift. Try it and I promise you will love it!

 

I’ve been getting such great comments and feedback on my blogs since I began emailing it in addition to posting it at www.ignitemylifenow.com

 

Reflecting on Gratitude

September 9, 2017 by  
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I received some great feedback on last week’s blog on the subject of “Attitude of Gratitude”. Some of my readers were particularly pleased and impressed with the great feeling they got when they went out of their way, as I suggested, to express their gratitude to several people in one day—to random friends, relatives and even strangers.

This morning as I was thinking about what I wanted to write about for this week’s blog and that ” Attitude of Gratitude ” kind of hit me in the face with the thought of a very simple thing that happened a few minutes before. It was just me, turning on the faucet to brush my teeth and, strangely, nothing came out.  It turned out that our water had been cut off by the city, without announcement, to work on some pipe problems. Oh, poor, picked-on me … there was no water so I couldn’t brush my teeth.  Then later, when I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t help but think how many things we take totally for granted, especially us Americans and others who live in highly developed and wealthy countries. That stopped me in my tracks and pushed my thinking to all the wonderful things in my life that I am, and should be, very grateful for. I began immediately to strengthen my resolve to improve my “Attitude of Gratitude”.

Then I found myself thinking about all those people affected by the devastation of hurricane Harvey. That was bad enough but now we are all concerned about what the effect of hurricane Irma, on its way to Florida, will have on the people and places in its path when it hits the US.  It has already devastated a number of Atlantic islands. That’s not good stuff, but these kinds of natural disasters can, and should, push our minds to be grateful for what we do have right now, who we are, what we can do, and what we can become in this great country and world of ours.

We all need to pause and think about our “Attitude of Gratitude” and, like I challenged my readers to do last week, go out of your way in the next few days to express your appreciation and gratitude to those around you. Then be sure to take time to observe and reflect on how expressing your gratitude made those people feel as well as how it made you feel. If you really want to have a great day do it five or ten times and feel that great feeling over and over!

 

 

Raise Your AOG and Everyone Benefits

September 2, 2017 by  
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Last week I briefly mentioned the great importance of the “Attitude of Gratitude” or AOG. I’ve noticed how my own life gets better and better as I become more and more grateful to, and for, other human beings.

When I look back at my life I see so many people that helped me. Some were mentors while others were very helpful friends and relatives and I gained so much and am so very, very grateful to them and to so many books that lifted my life. And now as I get older I am even more grateful and want to give back or pay it forward to the max.

I’ve tried to give back for a number of years through my speeches and books, but I must admit, a lot of that was selfish and I did profit greatly, both from the great ‘feel good’ reward but also financially. Now I am more interested in just purely giving back and helping people improve all parts of their lives–from health to wealth to that great feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness.

I try to do that through this blog and am determined to do a better job and reach out and help more and more people and the only pay I want is the huge payment of finding out and knowing that I’ve touched and helped improved other people’s lives. With this blog, I am going to reach out to many others from my list of friends and relatives and I’d like to ask you to help me, if you kindly would, by forwarding this post to people that you think it would help.

I have two very good friends that have been immensely successful–one is a huge worldwide, bestselling author and the other is one of the best comedian’s in the USA. Both these great guys write blogs and I mentioned to each that I love what they write but many times I forget to log on to their blog sites. Both of them began emailing me their new blogs each week, which makes it so easy to keep up on their posts and I never forget to read them. You can do that with my blog as well just by clicking here or going to the links in the upper right of this post’s page.

So, to your friends and relatives who may receive this email, here’s what my blog’s mostly cover. How a person can make big bucks–as in millions and multi-millions of dollars–in today’s world, hints on living a more healthy and longer life, ways to get be more fulfilled, content and happy, keys and hints for more loving relationships of family and friends, how to get and stay motivated, methods to improved mental and physical energy, more info on the great power that writing goals down and, of course, me always pushing my readers to set great, big goals but being satisfied taking baby steps to reach those goals.

I sure hope you will help me out and forward this post on to others and maybe they will also want to help other people and pass it on! And I do sincerely hope you and others will share my great AOG. You just give this a try and see how it makes you feel as well as the other person. Tell 5 people in the next few days how much you appreciate them and that you have a huge amount of gratitude for all that they do and all that they are as a human being. It sure makes you, plus a lot of other people, feel so very good!

 

Living the Rich Life … Well Below Your Means

August 12, 2017 by  
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In last week’s blog, I said that multi-millionaires are risk takers and, sure, sometimes those risks don’t work out but with enough time, determination, and a good game plan, taking risks do pay off.

Viewing multi-millionaires from a distance you might not realize that most of these people also have a “lack of attachment to spending”, especially on their way up the financial ladder. But even after arriving at the multi-million dollar status, they still tend to live below their means. This is because they still pay close attention to their spending; it’s a habit they formed when they were poor and working on climbing that money ladder.

This trait jumped out at me just a few days ago while planning a trip to Europe.  I got on line to buy two first class tickets to Paris and, on my first search, saw that prices ranged from $8,000 to $11,000 for each round-trip ticket. Even though I could easily afford those kind of prices, I just couldn’t stop there.  I spent another 20 or 30 minutes looking at different route’s, dates and airlines and those minutes paid off big time.  I found a $2500 ticket for a nonstop flight to London, knowing that we could catch a ride on the great Euro star train which only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Paris. The only minor problem was that we prefer to fly on Delta airlines since we get a lot of free miles and our million-mile status gives us all kinds of benefits and privileges.

I told my wife and she told me to wait a few minutes because she was checking a few different dates for Delta and sure enough within 5 or 10 minutes she found a round trip, first class flight on Delta into London for $2600 dollars—for another $100 it was well worth it to us and we quickly booked our 2 tickets.

Like I said, I could easily afford the higher price but I would much rather use the savings to buy more properties or even make more donations to my favorite charities.  Maybe if I were a multi billionaire I would just not bother shopping around and would pay the much higher price.  But then I look at someone like Warren Buffet and even with his $75 billion, he lives far below his means, still residing in a very modest house that he’s been in since 1958.  He very much has that great “lack of attachment to spending” trait and knows how to live below his means!  We all need to learn a lesson from him and yes, pass it on to your kids and friends and anyone who wants to make it big and stay there.

A little P.S. here … that Euro star train ride is fantastic! It’s smooth, quiet, and travels at 200 miles an hour, straight from downtown London to downtown Paris. I love that wonderful and very scenic ride! You should make your own plans to take Euro Star and visit Europe in the not so distant future.

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