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The Neglected Key to a Long Life

October 25, 2020 by  
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I started to re-read the book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 YEARS: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Transformation written by Ilchi Lee. I’ve written about this book in a previous blog post but I didn’t mention an incredible statistic I learned about in these pages.

It turns out, you can do this very simple thing that, on average, can lengthen your life by 7.5 years. That conclusion was reached based on data from 143 studies with a total of 300,000 participants. In that previous post, I mostly talked about how a long and healthy life is primarily about eating nutritious foods and staying physically active but there’s a bit more you can do.

So, during my second read of the book, what really jumped out at me was something that I’ve not been doing much of since I retired. I’m kind of surprised that I’ve ignored this critical part of living a long life and I have suffered because of it.

What is it that I’ve ignored that could have possibly lengthened my life by 7.5 years? It’s this thing called a social life! Having and keeping a good strong and active social life does things to the brain including sending signals to various body parts that keep it healthy and helps you live longer.

When I retired, I let my social life slide down big time! I stopped going to the office and so I stopped seeing my coworkers, clients, partners and business associates. I also moved into a big house on the mountain side with no neighbors, so that made it even worse. And this COVID-19 has certainly not helped in the least. In addition, there’s no kids here at home anymore. It’s just me and the wife in our big, empty nest.

Lee says in his book, “The isolation of the elderly doesn’t only cause loneliness, it has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health, increasing conditions like chronic disease, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, and dementia”. In addition, he notes, “Having people around us with whom we can communicate on a heart-to-heart level may also reduce the effects of stress.”

We all want to be happy but things can quickly change when we suddenly retire–Lee goes on to say “People, especially as they get older, are experiencing deeper and more frequent forms of unhappiness in many spheres of life: chronic illnesses, alienation or disruption of personal relationships, weakening of economic power. Suddenly facing their social roles greatly reduced during retirement, people are likely to find their self-esteem withering away.”

Most of that has hit me hard so I’m here to tell you that, whether you are retired yet or not, it’s a good time to start making a list of plans and actions that you are going to take on when that day arrives and be sure an active social life is on there. Personally, I’m bound and determined to catch up and do just that!

In Lee’s book he also talks about another thing that can lengthen and make your life more pleasant and happy and it’s something that I’ve talked a lot about over the years – having a good strong purpose and hopes and dreams. I will talk more about those issues in my next week’s post.

Getting On With Living

October 18, 2020 by  
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As mentioned last week, retirement has challenges that aren’t always anticipated and so I gave you some ideas to overcome that. This week, I have more ideas to help you deal with the struggles that many people have when they retire, including me. Even if you are not retiring now or anytime soon these ideas and methods can still enhance your life.

When I found that I was struggling with retirement I sought answers in a few very helpful books written on that very subject and what I learned helped me a ton. By the way, the current pandemic can have us struggling in a similar way as our routines and schedules are thrown out of whack.

Elaine St. James wrote a great little book titled, Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul. ln the book, she talks about how important it is to have a routine and follow a schedule that you set up for yourself, retired or not. Of course, before we are retired, most of us have a routine and schedule due to our job and family but most of that goes away as we enter retirement.

For St. James, “inner simplicity” means creating joy in our lives and staying connected with that joy every moment of the day. When many of us retire, along with a loss of routine, we may stop or reduce how connected we are to our joy which is due in part to our reduced connection to other people, like work associates and even friends.

St. James goes on to say, “Now that I’ve simplified my life, I find it easy to get up at the crack of dawn, or even earlier. In that quiet time, I can do you yoga and stretching, write in my journal, do some deep breathing, work on affirmations and visualizations, meditate or have some quiet time to just sit and think.” That’s some very good stuff we can learn from and follow.

Another great book is What Will I Do All Day?: Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and on with Living!, by Patrice Jenkins, PHD. She talks a lot about energy and also notes how much we get from working with other people when we are on the job.

She asks, “How do you discover your work’s energy source? Think about what parts of your work you enjoy most. Is there one part of your work that charges you with high-octane fuel? “

She continues with suggestions and probing questions. “Maybe your energy source comes from being involved in teamwork with coworkers. If you have already retired, you may have insight on what parts of your work provided you with the most energy. Was it a chance to help people, to teach, to solve problems, or be physically active? ”

Later, she makes this great point: “Once you have identified your energy source, you will know what it is that you’ll want to keep alive in retirement.”

Wow, that’s some great advice and it has helped me a ton. I hope this will help you if you are retired or planning for when that day arrives, or even through this terrible pandemic. Routines, staying in touch with people, and knowing the source of our energy can help us through unexpected struggles and back to living a full life.

 

Retirement – The Best or the Worst

October 11, 2020 by  
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I’m sure you, like most people would agree that the majority of us humans look forward to the day we get to retire. You know … no alarm clock to wake us up, no worrying about pleasing our boss, and so many other things we won’t have to do. You imagine life will be so great, that you will be able to relax, do anything you want to do, have tons of fun, and be able to travel anywhere in the world (that you can afford) on a whim.

Well, you know what? Some of that may be true. But when you find yourself without a schedule or purpose, that can get very depressing. You might even go a little crazy. And nowadays we have COVID-19 on top of that so it can be even worse. In fact, most of us are getting a preview of retirement now that our routines have been so dramatically changed.

You might find yourself asking, “Just what am I going to do today?”

The smart one’s among us begin to make lots of plans long before they hit that retirement wall. When I was preparing to retire, I made a few plans, but I didn’t create enough to-do lists or new routines.

So, what did I do when I was feeling down because of my lack of a schedule? I turned to books written about retirement. In Ernie J. Zelinski’s great book The Joy of Not Working, he makes lots of great suggestions such as, “One of the chief sources of happiness is having a special purpose or a personal mission in life … Finding and pursuing your true calling can make life a totally new experience.”

He then gives some examples of personal missions:

1. Make the world a better place to live by reducing pollution.

2. Raise money to help care for others in need.

3. Help children develop a special talent or skill, such as playing piano.

4. Write entertaining children’s book that help young boys and girls discover the wonders of the world.

5. Give foreign travelers the best possible tour of the Rocky Mountains.

6. Create a committed relationship and keep it exciting and energizing.

The author goes on to say, “Although a true calling should be closely tied to your values and interests, it can also be determined by your strengths and weaknesses. Your personal mission will intimately connect you to who you are and to the world around you. Taking the time to answer the following questions may help reveal a personal mission that you would like to pursue.”

I must say that his questions really helped me:

1. What are all your passions?

2. What are your strengths?

3. Who are your heroes?

4. What do you want to discover or learn?

Answering those great questions can put you on the right track. It has for me. So, if you are not retired yet, start making specific plans. And if you are retired and struggling, answer those questions above to help you discover your great purpose and direction for this new chapter in your life.

 

Solving the Mystery of You

October 4, 2020 by  
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As I promised in last week’s post, I’m going to discuss how we solve our own “mystery”, the mystery being what it is we really want out of life.

To help point you in the right direction and solve this mystery, I have compiled the following questions for you to ask yourself. Write or print out the questions along with your answers after contemplating them.

Then, after a bit of time, go back, and reread the questions and your answers, letting them sift through all the corners of your mind. Don’t get impatient with this. This is important “inner-self” work you are doing, laying a fertile foundation for that which is to come.

  1. What do you naturally and instinctively like to do? Forget about any financial or time constraints. Let your mind be open and flow and just write down the first things that come to your mind.
  2. What did you like to do when you were a kid? What was your passion then?
  3. What is it that you do now that really gets your juices flowing?
  4. What comes easily to you? Are these your passions?
  5. What puts you in such a mental state that you lose all sense of time to the extent that you say to yourself, “please let this moment linger” or “I wish this moment and feeling would never end”?
  6. What is it you most want to stand for?
  7. What do you want to be remembered for or leave to the world?

 

Now, take time to dig deep!

Make an appointment with yourself and sift through the questions above. Remember, it takes time – sometimes weeks or even months – to discover what’s hidden in the inner regions of your mind and heart.

Take time to seek advice from others. Especially from those you think highly of and those who have done some of the things you are considering doing with your life. Go ahead, call those gurus, those super successful people who you’ve always admired and tell them that you’d like just a few minutes of their time. Sometimes people who seem far above the masses are more available and approachable than you would believe.

I’ll never forget the desire I had when I was young to pick the brain of the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, who made a billion dollars after the age of 55. I was stunned, shocked, surprised, and pleased when I was told by Mr. Kroc’s secretary that Mr. Kroc has agreed to meet with me and talk face to face! Wow!

Read and research all items and areas you can that deal with the wants on your dream list, the areas that seem to be most relevant to you and your life and how you can reach your dreams and goals.

As you read, research, and talk to the right people, be sure to write down not only what comes from those sources about what may fit your ideal life, but also record on paper or in your computer all of your own thoughts, ideas, and feelings that come up. This, as you will see, will be helpful and insightful to you later on when you re-read your own thoughts and words that passed through your mind.

Our Unfulfilled Ambitions

September 27, 2020 by  
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Do you have, like most of us, unfulfilled passions? If so, what are those passions? Do you love music, art, ballet, sports, outdoor adventures, traveling to new places, writing, social interactions, running a small business, or any other great possibility?

Take some time to contemplate and think about that. Once you have the answers, be sure to write down what your unfulfilled passions are. Then ask yourself this:

“Am I doing that special something that I love to do, and am I doing it for my own reasons?”

And… what are those reasons?

Then ponder this:

What kind of a breakthrough would you be ecstatic to have in your life in terms of your health, wealth, personal expression, spiritual development, etc.

Additionally, ask yourself:

In what would you like to excel?

What follows are just a few general categories I would like you to run through the gray matter of your brain before we really get focused.

Look at this list to see what overall categories might jump out at you or might be in the unfulfilled category so far in your life. Which of these categories are calling out to you and why?

  1. Artistic
  2. Sports
  3. Career
  4. Education
  5. Financial
  6. Physical
  7. Health
  8. Family
  9. Social
  10. Public Service

Of course, feel free to add more categories to this list.

It’s not at all unusual for most people to struggle with identifying their inner ambitions, especially in midlife and as they get older. It can become less clear as to what we really want out of life as we become bombarded by responsibilities, daily cares, and concerns.

And, yes, many young people have these struggles, too!

However, as kids, most of us knew what we wanted or at least thought we knew what we wanted. But the older we get, the less sure of ourselves we often become.

It is a rare individual who knows exactly what he or she wanted as a young person and follows that all through life, never faltering, never getting sidetracked, and never getting discouraged.

Most of us, as we hit midlife, start questioning what we really, really want out of life. It can be such a mystery. So, in next week’s blog post, I want to talk about the possible ways to solve your own mystery!

Rediscovering Passion

September 20, 2020 by  
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Passion for life is a very important thing and as we get older, unfortunately, many of us lose our passion for life. I’m sure you have noticed that little kids seem to have the most passion for life. For a kid, most things are new to them and, as we all know, novelty is what they thrive on.

In our later years, we’ve seen so much and done so much that most things are not new to us. That makes it easy to lose our passion. You may feel that you have lost some of your passion and you ask yourself, “Why don’t I have passion for my life now?” or “Why don’t I know what I want in life?” Those two questions are particularly bothersome if you once had great passion for the things you did and then, as you got older, you lost some of that passion.

If that has not happened to you, maybe someone you know and care about has hit that wall. Far too many people give up on life. They fear striking out in aggressive, new directions. They fear risk. They fear the possibility of failure and losing what they have.

With some new insight and some very directed work, that passion for living can come screaming back for you or someone you love that you want to help. It’s all about continuing to turn what you really want, what you dream of, into specific goals and then transforming them step-by-step into reality – your reality!

A good way to start is to write it all down. First, ask yourself specific questions, like the ones I list below. Write down the thoughts that each of these questions stimulate. Don’t just think about them.

  1. Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  2. Do I want to become a better person?
  3. Do I want to be known as a person of accomplishment?
  4. Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  5. Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  6. Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, or $10 million, or even $100 million? (Think of all the good you could do with that much money!)
  7. Do I want the choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune could give me?
  8. Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  9. Do I want to help others as I help myself?
  10. Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures?

Again, be sure to write down your honest responses to the self-searching questions above. It’s a good idea for you to develop some of your own life questions and answer those too!

In fact, add two last questions for yourself:

  1. What do you have a true passion for in your life?
  2. What part of your life or past life, including your childhood, got you so excited that you totally lost track of time?

Our Short Lives Needs Big Passion

September 13, 2020 by  
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I just asked a printer to print a couple thousand copies of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, since I ran out of copies to sell or give away. I was reading a bit of what I wrote many years ago and I was surprised to realize that the words in that book were reigniting my passion, so I wanted to share some of those words with you.

Let me start with Chapter 2 which is entitled, “Short Life needs BIG Passion”.

  • Life really is too darn short to live without passion.
  • Time squandered is wasted–gone forever!
  • Don’t be like those who, later in life, realize that they missed out on so many opportunities. I believe most people, when looking back at their lives, are in more pain over the things they didn’t do than over things they failed at while trying to do them.
  • We receive long-lasting benefit, and yes, even deep satisfaction from working hard and giving something worthwhile our all.
  • There are many who think the way to achieve satisfaction in life is by going after pleasure. They think that more and more pleasure will put more contentment in their lives. So sorry. It doesn’t work that way.
  • There’s a huge difference between deep, enduring satisfaction and fleeting pleasure; between passion and a good time. At a gut level you already know this. The pursuit of pleasure for its own sake leads to misery.
  • It’s also not easy to always remain at a high level of satisfaction and contentment with an effervescent passion for life. There are plenty of setbacks. Even, at times, huge fists of adversity may pound us in the face.
  • Setbacks and adversity often reveal to us the great lessons of life if we would just learn from them.
  • I’ve certainly had my share of setbacks, even tragedies. I wouldn’t choose to be faced with these tragedies but I must say that, since they did happen, they served as huge life lessons and wake-up calls that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

Give these words some thought, set big goals, and go after them with all your energy and heart. You won’t be sorry!

 

And if you would like a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you can get it here on my website.

 

 

Appreciating Great Health

August 9, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans don’t really think a lot about good health when we are totally healthy. It’s so easy to take our good health for granted when we are feeling great. But when something bad happens and we become very sick, then we sure look back at those healthy days and want to be back there again.

This brain of mine certainly has me looking back before my fall and my big, bad concussion. It’s been about a month now and I still have dizzy spells and vertigo plus my memory has been damaged. I’ve been doing better each day although it did suddenly get worse recently. However, the trend is that I am getting better in the long run.

Man, oh, man … talk about big changes in a few seconds. My life is so different now. It’s not just that I miss playing that tennis that I love so much, but I’m also not supposed to watch movies, TV, or even look at the computer screen (which I’m doing now, of course!) but I bought some special blue light glasses that help protect me. And, until yesterday, I was not even driving my car.

I started thinking about a book I wrote in 2006 where in one chapter entitled “An Umbrella Goal for Life,” I talked about how important health was in our lives. Many people think that more exercise is the most important key to living a long life. Quoting from my own book I wrote, “If you had to choose calorie restriction versus a lot of exercise to attain a longer and healthier life, animal studies prove beyond a doubt that eating less calories, and calories that are nutrient packed, will lengthen your life and cut disease by a huge factor compared to exercise alone. So, the plan is do both but especially watch my intake of calories. When I recover from this darn concussion, I am going to watch my diet more carefully and exercise more because I want to live a very long life which is more important than so many other things to me.

Next week, I want to give you a list of items you can do that will help you stay healthy and live a very long time.

Great Opportunities in Uncertain Times

June 7, 2020 by  
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Okay, we are still in a pandemic and, I must say, with all this spare time to think and visualize the future, it may be an ideal time to look for those motivated real estate sellers. A purchase now could greatly improve your financial situation while, at the same time, you could be helping the seller who might be struggling to bring in money since they may not be receiving a regular paycheck.

In most American markets, real estate values and prices have been pretty tight and it has made it tough to find real bargains that will produce a cash flow. However, things have started to change and it may well be the ideal time to make a lot of low priced offers in order to find super motivated sellers. As some of you that know me well probably remember, when I was on my way up to the millionaire status and had tons of energy and drive, it was common for me to make many, many offers each week – like dozens.

I would just go through the listings and send the listing brokers offers that were 20% lower than the asking price and sit back and wait for their responses. I called it my “shotgun method”. I did this before I even drove past the property. I didn’t want to spend my time checking out and walking through the property until I had an acceptance or counter proposal. Of course, I made all offers with a “subject to my approval” clause. And, of course, most of my offers came back with an absolute rejection, but some would come back with a counter offer and a few even with a total acceptance of my low, low offer. Then, and only then, would I take my time to go check out the property and accept or reject their offer or even make a counter offer to their counter offer.

So now, with this terrible virus thing, we’re seeing more motivated sellers that really need the money and are much more willing to accept a lower price than just a few months ago. This could very well be a great financial opportunity for you and, for many sellers, it could be a great financial relief. Think about it and then add some ACTION!

So, hey, maybe this pandemic may have a few good things for us. Tracking down opportunities is certainly a much better thing to do with you extra time verses attending a protest with the potential of doing great harm to yourself and others. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame most of the demonstrators and, personally, I feel for people of color and I totally believe all humans are equal and should be treated the same. But I think you might agree that looking for investments is a better use of your time.

One last thought. When I told my wife about this week’s subject she said, “What you say is all true, but it does take one thing more and that’s COURAGE.” Wow, she’s so right and having written a book titled The Courage to be RICH, I certainly should have thought of that. So, add courage to making all these offers so you can be more aggressive and really take advantage of these opportunities.

Revisiting a Journey

May 24, 2020 by  
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Man oh man! Do we all have so much extra time with this crazy Covid19. I have spent a ton of time going over all my past blogs and reliving some of the stuff I talked about. In fact, I am sending you this one from Oct 14, 2008. I had such a good time back then with good ole Stein Eriksen and even though he has passed on I can still relive all those memories. Of course, that’s the great advantage to writing a blog or writing in your journal on a regular basis.

I hope you enjoy reading about our time in Paris, Switzerland, and Croatia and maybe when this virus thing is over, you will be motivated to take your own trip to Europe or some other exotic place in our beautiful world.

Passion, like life, is about journeys not arriving. Kimberly and I have been planning a trip to Europe for a year. This was a goal of ours. You see, the brain craves the new, the unfamiliar. Living in the moment also stimulates the mind. Of course, it’s easy to live in the moment when you’re in Paris.

Another way is to experience something familiar through someone else’s eyes. We took our good friends Frantoise and Stein Eriksen (who has a Wikipedia page) with us. We’d been to some of the places before, but they came alive again when we showed them. Our brain loves new experiences.

Everywhere we went I asked people what their passion level was. We visited the farm of a cheese maker in Switzerland. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad Switzerland which had unbelievable scenery and impeccable service. I got to introduce the Eriksen’s to an Australian tennis champ and we were in Germany for Oktoberfest.

The most exhilarating part of the journey though started with a train ride that had some curve balls. Getting on the train and going from Zurich to Croatia there was no one was there to greet us. We had a tough time finding a cab to make it to the ship. We finally found a cab and arrived an hour late. Luckily, they waited for us.

Once we got onto the ship, we realized it was not like the spacious hotel with great service. It was tight quarters. The bathroom was so small you could hardly change your mind, let alone change a shirt in it. The shower was a spout hooked up to the bathroom sink. You turned it on and sprayed yourself, along with the rest of the room.

The week long ship ride was full of adventure. There were people from all different nationalities speaking different languages. We stopped on islands of all sizes. We bicycled 30-40 kilometers. One island was so small that license plates weren’t necessary – everyone knew everyone else. With only a few hundred people, there were maybe 25 cars.

Then there were high winds – so high that the buses couldn’t run because they might blow over. So, we rented an expensive taxi and headed back to make our flight home – which we barely made.

While we loved the more predictable parts of the trip, our real passion was in the unexpected – the missed rides, the cramped ship, the collage of cultures, and even the storm.

Do your fears prevent you from traveling (literally or figuratively) because you’re afraid to try something new? Sometimes people are so comfortable it scares them to do something different. Yet after they go ahead, they look back and that is what stands out – that’s what they talk about.

Mixing things up, trying the new, seeing something through another’s eyes, being open to adventure …. this is how you create passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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