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Forgiving Ourselves

June 8, 2018 by  
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How do you and I feel when we set our sights and goals very high only to fall short of those objectives?  If you are like me, it’s very easy to get down on yourself and beat yourself up and that can set you back a few miles mentally, making you feel terrible or pretty much worthless.  This can happen to anyone, even the very rich and very famous, as we have sadly seen with a number of super-rich and famous people that have taken their own lives.

I grew up in a culture that pounded into my head the bible scripture of Matthew 5:48 which says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Quite frankly, I think that did me more harm than good, because as a young boy, I tried and tried but couldn’t seem to be “perfect” in anything at all. I would look around at other people and saw many that seemed to have a perfect life.  Little did I know then that pretty much no one on the planet has had a perfect life. If a person spends too much time and effort trying to become perfect, it can absolutely ruin them. Quite frankly, I think that scripture passage has been the cause of more than a few suicides.

We certainly don’t want to stop trying to reach our lofty goals and become better and better at whatever we choose to do, but we also must learn and practice forgiving ourselves.  It’s kind of strange to me that sometimes it seems easier to forgive someone else when they screw up but much harder to forgive ourselves. I totally agree with John M. Grohol Psy.D. when he wrote his “5 Ways of Letting Go of the Past”

  1. Make a decision to let it go.
  2. Express your pain and your responsibility.
  3. Stop being a victim and blaming others.
  4. Focus on the present, the here and now, and joy.
  5. Forgive them and forgive yourself.

Then there is some super wise advice from a great writer by the name of a Noah St. John. It’s from his book called The Book of AFFORMATIONS®, regarding a program he calls “Permission to Succeed”:

  1. Admit your past mistakes.
  2. Realize you did the best you could do at the time.
  3. Take actions to make sure you don’t repeat those mistakes.

Our brains also play a big a part in our success and failure, as Noah notes in another book of his, Get Rid of Your Head Trash: How to Avoid 3 Big Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make.  I love this title because it really says it all.

In Noah’s book The Secret Code of Success, he maintains that we all need to let up on ourselves and give ourselves breaks and take time to enjoy and celebrate the self. You need to let go of the past when it’s hurting you and accept the present. He states that the key to letting go of the past – and I’d say even if it’s the past of 5 minutes – is to forgive yourself and others that may have mistreated you. That’s great advice that works to make our lives so much better, more successful, and more productive. Perhaps we don’t have not perfect lives, but they can be pretty darn good ones with so much less stress!

 

Failures at First Are Triumphs at Last

May 18, 2018 by  
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I believe everyone has the power and potential to accomplish the impossible if they are willing and wanting to take the proper steps forward. One of those steps, which Mark mentions all the time in his books, is to have a clear and concise plan with written goals.

Once you plan your work; then work your plan.

Those were closing words from Jeff Griffin on last week’s post. This amazing man has accomplished so much since a 40 foot fall parlayed him from the waist down and put him in a wheelchair. That accident certainly didn’t paralyze his brain or his motivation to help himself and to help other people. Read below some more of his story and some of his words of wisdom.

My teaching style, humor, and personality have made me one of the most liked and sought-after teachers during my 16-year career. I would consistently teach my students to give themselves permission to fail so they can succeed. I’ve left a consistent and comfortable paycheck and career to pursue my new dream of public speaking. I may fail but I also know I may succeed.

Because failures at first are triumphs at last, as long as we just don’t quit!

I earned my master’s degree in education and curriculum and created a worldwide peer-to-peer leadership program for third-world countries that was recognized at the United Nations in New York City. I’ve started two successful businesses, one before my teaching career and this one! I’ve created a nonprofit organization called the “Road to Recovery”, which impacts thousands of injured vets and physically disabled persons in my community and around the world. I enjoy mentoring people, distributing wheelchairs to those in need, and giving hope through my humanitarian efforts.

Every great man and woman of history is a person of service.

My greatest accomplishment so far is being married to my best friend for over 20 years. Together, Emily and I have four beautiful children; even after the doctors told me it would be impossible to have one with my condition. I am passionate about progress. I enjoy eating pizza and peanut butter M&Ms. I love playing games and exercising. I understand the frustrations of living a full life while trying to bridge the gap between what is real and what is ideal. Not only do I tell people how to cross this impossible bridge I show them how it’s possible by getting up and out of my wheelchair and take a few steps forward. “I’m going to run again someday!”

I hope this message will spark the eternal tinder inside your minds and give you the resilience to accelerate your own results. I hope it will ignite the seeds of success you’ve already sown. Combined with your vision and help from another, your desires will cultivate into something other people only dream about!

Make Your Birthdays Count

April 14, 2018 by  
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Wow!   I just turned 888!  Okay, that’s in months not years but one can only imagine how different the world would be if you really could live 800 plus years.  Just think of all we could accomplish!

Why do we make a big deal out of a birthday?  For the most part I think it’s a good thing since it usually pushes us to not only review the past year or years but also it can motivate us to think about how short life really is. It makes us question what we’ve accomplished and what we have fallen short on. That thought should push us to live life big! It should push fear out of your mind so that you just go do what you really what to do.

As I plod along, working on writing my auto-biography and making a time line of my life, two big things have struck me. First, life is really, really short. Second, I’m totally blown away by how much I have done over the past years. It’s absolutely amazing to me how much a single human being can do in their lifetime, even though on a day to day basis it doesn’t seem like all that much.

When I look back at my life, I’m truly amazed that I’ve written 9 books, especially when I stop and think that those books were written a single word at a time. But then, I think of my good friend Richard Paul Evans, who has written more than 2 dozen books!  Where does he get the time? But again, it’s all done with baby steps.

We can all do so much with our life. Just always remember that the big things, even monumental accomplishments, are done one step at a time.  So, go after your huge goals and ambitions with at least a few minutes here and a few minutes later. Whether it’s writing books, making millions of dollars or running a marathon, it’s all step by tiny step.

Yes, I’m 888 months old or 27,010 days old, plus I spend probably 222 months just sleeping but when I look back I’m amazed that I’ve gotten so much stuff done.  Looking back, it seems like there is no way that little ol’ me could have earned tens of millions of dollars in income and investments as well as having written all those books all the while raising a bunch of kids and grandkids.

The big lesson in life, I think, is realizing that there are big things we can do if we put our minds to it. We do need to fully realize and understand two simple things—that life is short, so we need to push ourselves to use that short amount of time wisely, and that it can, and will, all add up to some very big accomplishments for your life. You just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

 

 

Stop the Worry Habit

April 6, 2018 by  
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As I mentioned in the last post, I have been concerned that I might have stomach cancer, but the bloating of my stomach continued to improve when I eliminated a few of my supplements so I canceled my doctor’s appointment. However, that experience was a big time scare and has got me thinking more and more about worry and how much harm it can do. As most of us know, our biggest worries almost never come to pass. Knowing that, shouldn’t we all stop worrying so much? And yet, who in this world doesn’t worry? I’d say pretty much no one.

Yes, there are a few times–a very few–when worry can be beneficial because it can push us to take needed action. But most worries are a waste of time. They drain our brains and there is even research that shows that excessive worry taxes your immune system. So, what can we do to reduce or eliminate most, or all, of our worries?

I don’t think we can totally eliminate all our worries but here are some ways to reduce some of them and eliminate others.

  1. Use positive self-talk when you find yourself with a big worry, reminding yourself that most worries never materialize. Push those negative thoughts out of your mind by replacing them with positive thoughts.
  2. Write your worries down because, many times, writing them out pushes them out of your mind.
  3. Try setting a half hour a week or so to visit your list of worries and ask yourself if those worries are really a big deal. If they are, ask yourself how you can handle, resolve, or eliminate that worry.
  4. Take a walk or work out. Just walking outside can do wonders for your mind and it helps reduce worry. There is such a great feeling that the great outdoors brings the human mind. (I just love my 20,000 steps a day and almost never miss taking my walks.)  I have noticed that most of my big worries are early in the morning as I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead. So, I find I just need to push myself out of bed and get myself moving. It almost always reduces or eliminates many of my big worries.
  5. Push your mind to live in the moment, that “great right now”, rather than thinking too much about the future.
  6. Play a competitive game like tennis. (And try not to worry that you might lose the game.)
  7. Take a long hot shower or, even better, get in a hot tub.
  8. Get a stress relieving massage.

On top of those suggestions, put this great thought into your mind. It’s a quote from Corrie ten Boom. She and her father helped about 800 Jews escape the Nazi’s in the Netherlands and resisted the Nazi Holocaust. She said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”.

I must admit that some of my worries are pretty silly. For example, I worry about being even 2 or 3 minutes late for an appointment.  My wife worries about her clothes not matching perfectly.  What are your worries?  Yes, think about even your silly little worries. All these worries do add up. Then, with those in mind, apply the suggestions above to reduce your stress level and better enable you to live in the moment.

 

 

Making the Most of Every Minute

March 23, 2018 by  
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Wow, does time ever move fast and, as we all know, it moves faster every year.  And now, it seems that I can no longer lie about my age since my oldest son, Mark E., just turned 50 years old. I’m guessing you are like me in that you can easily remember when you turned 21 and 30 and all those other birthday milestones that seem like they happened not long ago at all. My 50th birthday is so fresh in my mind and easy to remember in great detail. I’ll never forget the huge billboard on I-15 with my picture on it wishing me a happy 50th birthday.

I think it’s so helpful to constantly remind ourselves that, because time moves so very quickly, we should all pay very close attention to what we want to make of our lives. What do we want to accomplish? Who do we want to help? Who do we want to love? And, as I’ve preached for many years, we absolutely must take the time to write down what we want to do and accomplish as well as put a timeline on those goals.

Yes, life is very short, but it can be very productive, helpful to others, and extremely fun and fulfilling even though it passes tremendously fast.  So, what we all may want to do is repeat that in our minds every day. We’ll call it our “Fun & Fulfilling Philosophy. “

So, yes, we do all need to make our time count since life really is very short. Writing those life goals down helps you become much more efficient but also, all us humans never want to forget that, as we go after our goals, we must push ourselves to live life in the great right now, as in “living in the moment”.  I certainly have to regularly remind myself of both those very important habits as I can easily get carried away with worry and fretting over the future and what I haven’t accomplished.  Those reminders really do help me as I’m sure they would for you too. So, give it try and make the most out of every minute of your life.

Courage for Living the Life You Want

March 9, 2018 by  
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Back on Feb 7, 2014, I wrote about how important “Courage” is in so many parts of our lives and gave my definition of it, which is, “Courage is going against the odds, against popular opinion. It’s doing what most people are unwilling to do because of the criticism and flak they know they will receive from family, friends or even strangers. Courage is living your life for you. It’s setting your own rules and policies and taking full responsibility when you fail or stumble. It’s resisting other people’s attempted manipulations of you. Courageous people do not accept all traditions, conventional wisdom, or pat answers without close scrutiny and severe questioning.”

I certainly know how very critical courage is and as the title of Susan Jeffers great book states, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This is a mantra to live your life by. It can bring huge success, not only in financial matters but in most every aspect of your life.

Today I picked up a book I wrote in 1983 titled, The Courage to Be Rich. In it, I read what I wrote about courage and “The Keys to Success” that, for the most part, are still relevant today 25 years later. Here is a section from what I read about my financial success.

A reporter once asked me to give him a list of what I considered to be the keys to success. Here’s the list I gave him.

  1. Everyone is going to die someday, so you might as well really go for it. Don’t be afraid of making a fool of yourself.
  2. Guts are not for sale; only you can supply that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if you think they sound dumb–that’s how you learn.
  4. Use other people’s money; always, always, always ask the seller to carry the financing on whatever assets you’re buying.
  5. Seek out and find motivated sellers–people who want to sell something so badly they are desperate.
  6. Earn big bucks by purchasing the “yucks”—the property that nobody else wants. That’s where the money is.
  7. Use the tax laws to cut your taxes to zero.
  8. Success in anything is a numbers game. Do it enough times and you will become good at it; do it a bunch more times and you will become famous.

All these years later, I must say, that, for the most part, what I wrote back then still applies today for living a life with courage and making a good financial living.

By the way, I think my old book, The Courage to Be Rich, can be bought for around $8 on Amazon if you have any interest in reading it.

P.S. If you know someone who needs to lift their courage factor, you might pass this post on to them. Except maybe not to a teenager. It may give him, or her, too much courage and they might try to set their own rules and push back at you and the family. But when they are ready, these may be the words they need to conquer their fears and the world.

Magnify Your Getaway Experiences

March 2, 2018 by  
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I just got back from a wonderful, extended getaway on the beautiful island of Kauai. As my wife and I were checking into Delta Airlines to come home, we began chatting with 3 young people with their huge surfboards. They were from Australia, New Zealand and the island of Oahu. They were talking about where they were heading now and of all their travels.

They said they had visited 49 of the states in the US as well as many foreign countries and spoke of how their travels had greatly enhanced their lives. Of course, I had to tell them of my travels to 90 different countries and what those travels had done for my life. Then I went on to tell them about the one little thing I do that greatly magnifies and extends those trips and experiences many fold.

As I am sure you know, getaways are absolutely wonderful and we all need them, but they can be expensive and all too short. The good news is that there really is a simple, easy way to keep enjoying those novel and fun getaways with minimal cost. This simple little trick will allow those trips to continue to enhance your life for a long time to come.

My single little trick, that I highly recommend to all, is to be sure you take a digital camera and take a ton of pictures and videos. But don’t stop there. The real key is to buy a few digital frames, the ones that change the picture on a regular basis. We’ve bought more than a few over the years and have them placed around the house and office. Doing just that simple little extra thing automatically helps you relive and remember all those great trips and places you visited with no additional effort after you set them up. And if you are anything like my wife and I, every time you walk by and see those images of yourself, your friends, and your family in a faraway place, at a party or family gathering, or on a simple hike or walkabout, it will bring a smile to your face and a warm feeling in your heart.

Yes, you will have just relived and experienced those great unique moments and places you’ve been to again and again and your life will be enhanced by this. It sure has worked for me and my family.  Try it and see if you experience those same feelings and thoughts that we have. Plus, for my age group, it does help with the memory in the old brain.

 

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.

The Social Happiness Factor

February 2, 2018 by  
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I will get back to a more strictly financial theme in a week or two, but today I want to talk a bit more about health and longevity. Without those two things in your life, making a ton of money does not end up being very important. Making money, growing it, and keeping it are very important in anyone’s life but it is not the most important thing we work towards.

Years ago, someone asked, after the death of the richest man in the world at that time, Howard Hughes, “How much money did Howard Hughes leave when he died?” And that question was answered in three simple words: “All of it.” You can’t take it with you and it’s doesn’t help you much if you aren’t here to enjoy it.

Although I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to eat right and exercise for good health and longevity, there is one more critical element that has been proven to boost your health and add years to your life, something that I think we all need to pay more attention to. It is the “social” aspect of your life. Having an active social life also lifts your “happiness factor”, as Seth Godin points out in his book, Tribes.

There are some very good studies that shows how having a strong and active social life helps extend your longevity. I read an article by Holly Richardson last year where she told of a study on 3,000 women who had breast cancer. The article says, they “found that those who went through cancer alone were four times more likely to die from their disease than those with 10 or more supportive people.” The article goes on to note that a “six-year study in Sweden found that men with heart disease were much less likely to have heart attacks if they had good friends around them than those without that social support.”

From my casual observation, I’ve notice that the older many people get, especially men, the less social they are, whereas women tend to stay more social. Maybe that is one reason that women tend to outlive men.

I’ve noticed in my own life that the older I get the less I tend to expand my social life. I used to have a number of “tribes” that I belonged to but now basically I have only my “tennis tribe” and the other is a social club my wife and I belong to. But like I’ve said in many past blogs, “When I start preaching for my readers to challenge themselves in different parts of their life, I am also preaching to myself.”  And now by writing this blog I find I am pushing myself to create or join another tribe or two, knowing that I will most likely expand my social life and lift my happiness and contentment levels in the process.

Norway is said to have the happiest people in the world and it’s because they have broader and better social relationships. Norway was ranked the happiest nation by the 2017 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It has been found that in addition to a good social life, happiness also comes from helping others such as taking part in volunteer work.

So now we know two more thing that will help us live fuller and longer lives, and it’s something besides making money. It’s getting out and being social and helping others. Now those are some great goals you can look forward to creating and fulfilling!

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.

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