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Crossing Out Our Fears

April 28, 2017 by  
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Last week I promised to give you some directions on how to get rid of your fears and, yes, I think we all have some fears that should be dealt with. Elle Luna in her great book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, gives such excellent advice and direction on how to eliminate fears.

The first thing you need to do is be totally honest with yourself and write down your fears, some of which you’ve probably not told anyone about. Those of you who follow my books and blog know that I am a huge believer in the power of writing things down.  When I write down a goal, for example, especially if I include a time line and date for reaching that goal, those written words have huge power over me and push me to deliver on the promise and the goals that I set for myself.  Those written words on the page drive me and won’t let me go until I achieve the goal.

Elle’s advice on writing things down begins with a list. “Grab a piece of paper and write the numbers one through ten on the left side of the page. At the top, title it “What are you so afraid of?” This is your worst-case scenario list. This is your list of fears, ultimate doomsday concerns, and everyone-is-going-to laugh-at-me-and-run-the-other-way scenarios. These are your largest, scariest fears, and you’ve got ten minutes to write them down.”

I really loved the following advice she says right after that–“Now let’s get realistic about these fears. Because often, fears in our mind can be like say–sticky and way difficult to remove. But fears on paper? Tangible, visible.”  This is followed up by a new term for me and one I really love. She asks us to identify and go to work on the fears that are “cross out-able.”

“After you’ve gone through all of your fears,” Elle says, “write a short note or tip next to each line listing one thing–just one–that you can do to loosen that fear’s grip on your life. Get to know these fears intimately because they are the invisible walls that surround you daily. Decide which ones stay and which ones gotta go.  If you are going to live that better, more satisfying life you must follow your ‘musts’ not those ‘shoulds’.”

You see, as you make even a little bit of progress in eliminating a fear you will gain a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and power and writing it down will help you push yourself to eliminate that fear. And never forget that it’s totally ok to approach this by taking baby steps, as Lao-Tzu was quoted as saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

 

 

The Life We Want

April 21, 2017 by  
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How do we discover who we really are and what we really want our lives to be? First, listen to what the brilliant Mark Twain said many years ago: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Most of us know what day we were born but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s pretty darn important to figure out why you were born and what you want your life to be although in that regard, many of us feel uncertain. One of my favorite authors, Joseph Campbell, said in his book, The Power of Myth, “I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

In the book by Elle Luna that we have been examining, The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle explains that if you want to really discover who you are and what your life should be, you have to “find and follow your passion.” I couldn’t agree more, but how do we find it?

A great starting point would be to look at our childhood. Luna says, “Nowhere is the essence of Must (or in other words what you must do and be with your life) more purely exhibited than in childhood. What were you like as a child? What did you enjoy doing? Were you solitary or did you prefer a crowd? Independent or collaborative? Day optimizer or day dreamer?” She goes on to say, “If you don’t remember, call your mom, or someone who knew you well in your early childhood, and ask for stories about what you were like as a kid.” She adds that you should take good notes because this can lead you to who you really want to be and must be.

When I followed her advice and revisited my childhood, I wrote down what I was like and what turned me on back then and I easily remembered that I loved sports and loved talking to people, especially new people. I loved to visit new places and I loved to tell stories. I began in my early teens to write down stories of my thoughts and dreams and I was thrilled to note that I’ve continued to write and have made a career out of it. So now, when my mind starts wandering and wondering what I should be doing differently with my life, I take a pause and more fully realize I’m already following my passion and that makes me feel so much more satisfied.

“Don’t ask what the world needs,” Elle says. “Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Luna does throw in a big caution flag saying, “While money, time and space are the reasons given most often for not choosing Must, there is another fear that’s far scarier and spoken about much less.” She is referring to the feeling of being vulnerable which is caused by our personal fears. She then gives suggestions on how to rid yourself of those fears, which just might be the thing to cover in next week’s blog.

Eliminating the Shoulds

April 14, 2017 by  
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If each of us is to live a much better and more fulfilling life, it’s very important that we move from living a life of things we ‘should’ do and move to a life of things we ‘must’ do. The ‘shoulds’ are the things that other people and institutions have told us we should and should not do while the ‘musts’ are those things we think and decide for ourselves.

So, the big question is, how does a person dump those ‘shoulds’ that were put on us by others? Many, if not most of the ‘shoulds’ of our lives were put on us when we were young and easily persuaded to do or not do certain things. Of course, as kids, we did need to be told what to do, what not to do, and how to act.  But if we want to live a total and satisfying life, one that is our life by our own design, then we need to move from the ‘should’ mindset that came from others to our own life of what we feel we ‘must’ do.  If we do that, then we can really follow our own dreams, ambitions, passions, and natural talents.

But how do we really get there?  How do we discover what we really want, who we really are, and what we want our lives to be?  First of all, according to the book we looked at last week, Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must, it’s not easy to get rid of our ‘shoulds’ and move to our own designed ‘must’ list and life.

Elle says that “we need to know each ‘should’s’ origins, how it got there, and when we first began to integrate it into our decision-making … look for recurring patterns and choices both little and big that are affected.”

Luna further suggest that you “grab a piece of paper, and make a list of the ‘shoulds’ you hold on to by completing the sentences that I listed in last week’s blog. She adds that you should “listen to what comes up first and write it down … where did you come from? Are you true for me? Do I want to keep holding on to you?”

Think about how many ‘shoulds’ that have been put on you in so many parts of your life–religious beliefs, education and what you specifically studied, the job or occupation that your ended up in, your political leanings, and what you think you want to do for fun and for pleasure.  The list of these affected areas could go on and on. Of course, some of your list would be things that you personally chose for yourself and were not pushed on you but those that were not your choice need to be examined and eliminated if it’s not what you really want and not who you really are at your core.

Next week I will give Elle Luna’s suggested ways of how one goes about discovering who they really are and what you really want your life to be like. It’s not an easy process but it is so very worth the effort and the results that will make your life so very much better and more fulfilled.

 

 

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.”

 

Rethinking Stress

March 24, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about the good and bad sides of stress and what you can do to reduce the bad stuff. But I also mentioned that I had just found out something that came as a big shock to me. I had just learned about an 8 year study which discovered that how you think about stress can shorten or lengthen your life. Yes, just by believing or thinking in a certain way about stress can affect your health and lifespan. The good news is that you can change your thinking and gain benefits from the stress in your life.

Kelly McGonigal gave a Ted Talk back in June of 2013 and told of the results of the 8 year study. In that study, 30,000 adults were asked if they believed that stress was very bad for their health. There were many that said “yes” to that question and many that said “no”, then 8 years later the death records were examined and it was found that those who believed that stress caused health problems had a 43% higher death rate than those that didn’t think stress caused health problems.

In other words, just by the mind believing the stress was not bad for them protected those people’s health. The mind really does have a lot more power than we usually give it credit for. The healthy group even had a longer life span than the average person.

There is even one more pretty big positive benefit of stress when you have the right mind set—under stress, the body produces a lot of oxytocin which is a neuron hormone that actually increases your energy level. The difficulty is that if you believe stress is harmful for your health, your blood vessels become constricted which increases your chance of a heart attack. However, if you don’t believe stress is harmful then your blood vessels don’t constrict and you have the extra energy caused by that stress stimulating the production of oxytocin.

So, that is the good and the bad of being stressed and now we know that this good ole brain of ours can make it be one way or the other. To stay on the good side of stress, we all need to do mental work outs and practice controlling our thoughts and directing our beliefs to see, and benefit from, the healthy, energized aspect of the stresses we live with every day.

Stress as Good And Bad

March 18, 2017 by  
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This week I want to talk about stress. I am even a bit stressed about getting this written in time to post it! There is a lot to stress about. Because of that people have come up with all sorts of ways and methods to reduce stress. However, stress can be good because it can push you to get more done and try harder to reach your goals. And, get this, you can actually learn how to make it so that even a ton of stress doesn’t hurt or ruin your health! I think you will be surprised and delighted to learn how to do this, as I was. But let’s examine how we think about stress for a minute.

As most people know, stress seems to be caused, for the most part, by our thinking and worrying about some future event–near or far. There is, however, two bits of really good news about stress. We all know that if we wanted to be a better or even a great tennis player, golfer, singer, writer, public speaker, etcetera, there are ways to become just that. One of the best methods is the “10,000-hour rule” as explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s a must.) It says you need to put in 10,000 hours at something to become world-class in that field.

From my experience and from what I read, we as humans can do “work outs” and do lots of “practice sessions” with and for our brains, just like we can invest those 10,000 hours to become the best at something. Part of the good news is that, when it’s needed, it doesn’t take 10,000 practice hours to reduce stress.

So, before I get to the good news about how stress isn’t always bad for you and your health, let me just list a few simple techniques that are easy to do to reduce or eliminate stress when you know it isn’t doing you any good:

  1. Take a walk outside.
  2. Take a run in a new neighborhood.
  3. Take a Hike.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Go to a yoga class.
  6. Share your problems or stress with others.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Take a hot bath or jump in a hot tub.
  9. Do a good deed for someone else.
  10. Give or get hugs and kisses from friends and relatives.

These simple things are easy to do and are well known to work.

Okay, that is all well and good but what about the big shocker I’ve been hinting at? This is something that hit me hard. It has to do with changing a person’s thinking and how what they believe changes their health and life span. It is pretty amazing and I will cover it next week. But in the meantime, de-stress as needed and start getting used to the idea that it’s not always bad to be stressed. Then tune in next week to see what I mean!

Great Health Can Help You to Great Wealth 

March 3, 2017 by  
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Let me throw out a big challenge to all my readers for this great year of 2017:

LET’S ALL MAKE 2017 THE HEALTHIEST AND MOST FULFILLING YEAR OF OUR LIVES AND BUILD SOME MORE WEALTH ALONG THE WAY!

Ok, just how are we going to do that? Is there an easy way or at least is there a simple way? There are some simple ways but, of course, it does take work. Last week I wrote and preached about the importance of staying busy, which keeps boredom at bay. However, keeping busy can also greatly improve your health and great health can, and does, make it easier to create more wealth.

So now if you and I want much better health, what are some of these simple ways we can get that job done?

As I’ve said many times before, one simple key is to keep moving! And, of course, the other obvious key is eating a very healthy diet. Of course, that sounds simple but we all know the temptations of good tasting food that is very bad for us. I find it very interesting to look and study the numbers of calories that we burn because to burn a lot of calories naturally helps keep our weight where it should be for good health. Movement obviously is better for the body and burns more calories than sitting or lying still, but even just standing burns more calories than sitting.

My very thin wife Kimberly figured this out long ago and I swear I rarely see her sitting–she always stands to work on her computer or to write a letter. Whatever she is doing, she is always vertical and on the move. More and more business people, including my sons, use stand up desks for all their office work every day. And, of course, walking versus sitting is even better for your calorie burning and overall health. Yes, jogging and running is even better but running has been shown to be better if you do it in moderation–so don’t run a marathon every day or every other day. That’s not good.

As I’ve said before, these are the reason that I love my Fitbit. It pushes me to compete with myself and walk and move more and more every day. Last week I did 155,000 steps! Ok, sorry … I’m bragging now. Here are some of the numbers for a 175-pound man. Calories burned totals listed are for 5 days at 8 hours a day.·

  • Sitting 5250 or 131 per hour·
  • Standing 7000 or 175 per hour (So you see why at work it’s a great idea to stand while working.)·
  • Walking 507 per hour·
  • Fast Walking 630 per hour·
  • Jogging 1225 per hour

The above numbers convinced me long ago to walk 3 to 4 hours a day which gives me around 20,000 steps a day. This has given me more energy and great health which in turn has helped me build more wealth along with keeping off the weight!

Although I’ve talked mostly about burning calories by moving and how that can help your health, never forget, when it comes to weight control, activity for calorie burning is important but it is not near as powerful as controlling how many calories go in the mouth.

Now how can great health lead to great wealth?

I think it is obvious, or at least for me it has been. Bottom line is that if you are not healthy and not feeling well, you most likely will not have the mental or physical energy and drive to work on building wealth for yourself. Virtually all my wealthy friends are very healthy, gaining energy and drive from their health, and have been that way most of their lives.

So, let’s all work hard and consistently build better health for ourselves. From that, we can gain more energy and drive to build our wealth to help ourselves and those around us.

Crushing Boredom

February 25, 2017 by  
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As I promised in my last post, I am bringing you my ideas and a list of different and exciting ways to overcome that nasty thing called boredom. Before I get into that list, however, I must share with you some thoughts about boredom and the effect it can have on a marriage.

As I’ve been thinking and writing about boredom I was struck by the thought that boredom may well be a common cause and a big reason why seemingly happy couples get a divorce and why a husband or a wife ends up having an affair when all seemed to be going so smoothly.

My wife and I had a very interesting discussion on this subject just the other morning. Recently we’ve realized that we need to push ourselves to make lists and plan for new and exciting things we should be doing because we have kind of settled into a very routine and ‘same-ole-thing’ pattern. I can’t speak for her but I have been getting quite bored. So, we began to talk about doing new things like going to new restaurants, trying new foods, going to new cities and countries, and trying all kinds of new and different stuff including making new friends.

As we were planning it struck me that it is so very natural for a couple that have been happily married for many years to move into a pattern of living that could easily become very boring. In that state, if a new person with a totally diverse lifestyle and background came along, a bored person could be enticed into thinking this new person was very special, not realizing that the real problem is boredom and that new person is not the answer.

So, okay, maybe a new person would take you out of your boredom for a while but eventually the same boredom will creep right back in. I can see how it can happen to a happy and compatible couple so I think that is an extra reason to spend time putting together a list and planning for new and exciting goals, projects, and fun adventures so as to push boredom away and make sure it stays away.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to work on your list now. With the internet, it’s really a breeze to come up with a list of stuff that will get you away from boredom and keep you excited and involved with life and all the great things that life can bring. To start, just do a web search for “list of ideas to overcome boredom” or anything similar to that search and you’ll come up with list after list of activities and projects that almost certainly will lift anyone out of boredom.

Here is just a small sample of items gathered from several of those lists that grabbed me. And after that list I’ve complied a short list of items that did nothing at all for me but would no doubt work for some of you. To each his own and we are all certainly different.

So here are the items that grabbed my attention:

  • Take new trips to new cities, countries and places
  • Play tennis (Or, in my case, play more tennis.)
  • Go cycling
  • Take long walks to different places
  • Volunteer
  • Write an autobiography
  • Start a blog (Oops, I already did this one!)
  • Become a tour guide
  • Become a mentor
  • Teach a class
  • Research your family genealogy

And the things that didn’t grab me but might be just the thing for you:

  • Knit
  • Create crafts
  • Take cooking class
  • Go hunting
  • Go fishing
  • Restore old furniture
  • Be a pet sitter
  • Plant a garden
  • Go bird watching

Believe me, you will find dozens and dozens more ideas on the internet plus you can always ask for suggestions from family and friends. Ask them what they think would really appeal to you and would excite and enhance your life. They may see what you need better than you do. So, go ahead and get started on your boredom crushing list right now!

 

Fighting Off Boredom Today and Tomorrow

February 20, 2017 by  
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I’ve been writing about having a personal breakthrough and how keeping a record of one’s thoughts through a journal can be very helpful. I’ve also recently found a few thoughts in those journals about how bored I had become since I retired and, again, my own, previously written down words, have motivated me to do something about it.

If you are retired you probably know what I’m talking about and if you are totally busy, working hard, long hours plus taking care of your home and family responsibilities, you might not hit that boredom thing very often. It’s funny how so many of us have thought of work as a bad thing but it really is a blessing, as many retired people would probably tell you.

So here is the question—what do you do if retirement has you bored out of your mind or, if you are not even close to retirement, you find yourself bored way too much regardless? Retired or not, what I’ve found, and continue to find, is that there are many different ways to cope with the boredom that can hit our lives.

The short answer to boredom is to get busy and stay busy! Other simple answers include pushing yourself to do more, challenging yourself, and setting goals with detailed plans. Specifically, it’s a really good idea to set goals that are well thought out and goals that fit with what you like to do, what you are good at, and what brings you joy and fulfillment. This might be a big goal, maybe something you’ve always dreamed of doing but didn’t go for out of fear. (If you haven’t already read the book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, it’s a great book and I recommend that you get a hold of a copy.)

Big projects can give you a real mental boost even if they take months or years. I remember how fulfilled and not at all bored I was when I decided to have a new house built for me in Kauai! No, I wasn’t the guy who poured the cement or swung the hammer but I decided on the floor plan that fit my personality and what things I wanted so that it fit my lifestyle–like good indoor-outdoor living spaces. Then just about every day there were decisions to be made and stuff that kept me busy and during that time I was rarely, if ever, bored.

Keeping busy is a great antidote for boredom, and it’s certainly a better way to go than something like alcohol. Yes, alcohol will entertain you but it only works for a short time and it has some pretty big negative consequences for a person’s life and health, as most people know.

So, if you’re a bit (or a lot) bored, may I suggest you look for something to keep you busy, like a big project that really turns you on? If you don’t have anything in mind and can’t think of something, well, next week I’m going to make some very specific suggestions that I think will help most readers. And if you are just totally busy and never bored then don’t change anything and be thankful. But also know that circumstances can change so you might want to take note of some of my suggestions.

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