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The Hardest Challenges

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under blog, Chapter 9

 

Life sure has its challenges. This past week there has been a lot of doctors’ visits and tests as we try to figure out what is going on with me. It would be easy to let this get me down, and I can’t say that it hasn’t gotten to me at moments, but it is important to stay positive and focus on meeting – and beating – this challenge.

So, while I’m focused on finding answers to my health questions, I thought I’d share with you another story of how I was able to overcome a challenge with the power of positive and what that means for you and for me. This post was written in October 2010:

The Biggest Rush Comes from the Hardest Challenges

Alright, first, I need to warn you that I am on a super unbelievable mental high right now and have been all week. It’s all because I won the Gold at the Huntsman Tennis Tournament. Well, that’s not quite right. It’s because I played the hardest match I’d played in years against a really tough player and even though I’d trained so very hard this year, I got to a point in the last game when I just wasn’t sure I could go on, but I pushed myself just a little harder and finally eked out that last point I needed and won the gold! Yes, I won the gold last year too but the competition was nothing like it was this year. It was because I had to work so hard and it was such a difficult game this year, that the win was many, many times more exhilarating and satisfying.

This whole experience reminds me of what I was trying to get across in Chapter 9 of my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” where I talk about the guy who goes out and shoots a perfect golf score the very first time he played. And then he does it again and again and realizes that there is very little, if any, satisfaction from doing so well at something he didn’t have to work at. Well that story is very much the opposite of what I did and how I felt.

This year I trained so much more than I had last year, taking lessons from a couple of great pros, Clark Barton and Jason Newell, as well as putting in more time on the ball machine and playing more matches. And yet my opponent, Michael Murphy, still hit back every ball and he could run as well as I could. I even began thinking that I couldn’t beat this guy but I pushed those negative thoughts out of my mind and tried to take the match one point at a time even as my body was screaming out for some rest and relief. And it worked. Positive thinking, taking it one small step at a time, and all that hard, even painful work, paid off leaving me with an immense feeling of true accomplishment.

Of course, while I was in the game, it was hard to feel that what I was going through was worth it, but I’ve done this enough to know that it usually is. And it so was. I know, too, that I wouldn’t still be riding this high if it hadn’t been so tough to win and if I hadn’t worked so hard at it. That’s the lesson here–The hardest work reaps the most satisfying rewards.

Just remember that next time you feel like giving up, bowing out, or taking the easy road. Just keep going, doing the best you possibly can. You’ll accomplish what you’re after and not only will it feel more than worth it when you do, it will make give you the energy and optimism to reach for that next great thing and get it.

 

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.

The Big 5 and Brain Stimulation

October 14, 2016 by  
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Okay, I must start out this week exclaiming … WOW, WOW, DOUBLE WOW! That’s the kind of brain reaction most humans have when they experience something totally new, unexpected, and novel. I’ve had a ton of novel experiences in my 72 years of living and certainly a big part of that has been new places I’ve visited, new things I’ve seen, the people I met, and the activities I’ve been involved with in the 84 different countries I’ve visited.

In the last two weeks, however, I saw and experienced something totally different that I’ve ever seen or done before. And yes it was in a country that I’ve never even come close to before. In fact, four new countries in total. It was an African Safari! I never had it on my bucket list but some friends did it and said it was fantastic so I thought I’d give it a try even though just the thought of it made me very nervous.

We started the adventure by flying into Johannesburg, South Africa and after a few days we headed for Kruger National park. There we met out guide and his spotter man who rode on a platform on the front of the jeep, on the lookout for one of the “Big 5” (the 5 most dangerous animals for humans to hunt or to be around) and yes, he was armed with a big powerful rifle. So off we went looking for the wild ones. Less than an hour later the jeep stopped and the lookout man got off with his rifle in hand. He had spotted lion tracks. Off he went on foot into the wild using a radio to let our guide know exactly where he was and what he was seeing.

A short time later we left the beat up dirt road and dove over trees, bushes and huge rocks that I swear were about to tip us over. About 15 minutes later, there they were–a pride of 14 lions, 7 of which were cubs. My wife and I and a dear friend from Park City, Utah who joined us on the trip, were frozen in our seats as the lions slowly approached our very wide open jeep. The jeep had stopped but let me tell you my heart rate didn’t–it doubled! All I could think of was how easy it would be for the papa lion to leap into the jeep and have me for lunch. But slowly the entire pride walked by us, looking us in the eye and coming within 6 or 8 feet of the jeep! We watch as they walked away and then drove on to look for the next on the list of the big 5.

I want to talk more about what other brain pumping stuff we saw but I do want to emphasize that to introduce yourself to novel experiences and sights that really stimulate your brain you don’t actually have to travel to foreign countries, so please don’t think you have to go far and wide to pump up your brain. However, visiting other cultures and or countries or even other religions does help. There are lots of very simple things you can do that don’t cost a ton of money or take a lot of time that will pump up your brain.

My son David, for example, gets this with 2 AM phone calls for his volunteer search and rescue work which is very challenging. It takes him into the mountains, on cliffs, and into rivers and lakes. It’s very exciting, brain pumping, and life enhancing stuff for him and it’s all in areas not far from where he lives.

Next week I will talk about and suggest some other simple things each of us can do to pump up our brains and, as a result, enhance our lives.

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It’s About Controllable Assets

April 3, 2015 by  
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I have a few more insights to share with you, hatched from Jeff’s “book report” on my book. On Addendum B–“When a Billionaire Speaks, I Listen” he commented on Curt Carlson’s advice. Jeff said, “Interesting that Fortune Magazine would say over 30 years ago that we’ve seen the last of the billionaires. But, that may be the typical thought of someone with limited thinking or a small world view.  While the oft-quoted statement by the commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899 said ‘everything that can be invented has been invented’ may not be correctly attributed to him, it tells the same story. Carlson’s advice to get good people, then delegate is certainly right. The big wealth comes from spreading yourself around or at least by using ‘Other People’s Money’.  I always remember Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate who married Jackie Kennedy, saying ‘borrow as much money as you can and always pay it back on time.’”

Hey Jeff, that’s some good stuff from your book report!  I think I will have to give you an A+.  I would add to Onassis’s comment about borrowing money with a very critical qualifier.  Yes, borrow as much money as you can but borrow it to purchase the “right kind of stuff” and by the right stuff I mean use it to purchase assets that appreciate in value and ideally assets that also provide you with cash flow returns as you watch and wait for their value to increase.

Yes, many stocks fit those parameters but for my money the assets that have worked by far the best for me have been income producing real estate (and that’s coming from a former successful stock broker.)  Why real estate rather than stocks?  The biggest reason is because with stocks you cannot control the company or the ups and downs and whims of the stock market. With the right kind of real estate you can at least have some degree of control over the property plus all that money you borrowed will, in the long run, be paid back by your tenants and if you have done it right, you will be collecting cash flow along the way.

So the take away here is that Onassis was partially right when he said borrow all the bucks that you can and always pay it back. But I say borrow all the money you can to buy appreciating assets that you have at least some control over, collect cash flow along the way and let your tenants pay off the money that you borrowed! I bet you can see just how smart that is!

 

 

The Principles of Stick-To-It

March 27, 2015 by  
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As mentioned in the last two posts, the comments made by Jeff Rahill in this little “book report” he sent me has really had me thinking about what I wrote in How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Even the author can use a little reminder here and there! Here are two more sections he pulled out and comments he made about them that highlight two areas particularly important to keep you on task:

In regards to the chapter “Clone Yourself with the Amazing “L” Factor”, Jeff noted that he uses lists himself and has for a while. He wrote, “Yes, I’ve been a prodigious list maker for decades. I switched from the little scraps of paper to my Day-Timer in 1972. ‘The strongest memory is weaker than the palest ink.’ (Write it down!) I update my to-do list every morning (if not the night before).”

And that is the way to do it. Keep creating lists and you will stay on task and succeed.

In regards to the chapter “The Greatest Lesson in Life. Get Going”, Jeff said, “The journey begins with the first step. Nothing happens until you take action. You mentioned the story of Alive, the plane crash survivors in the Andes. What an incredible story. I have seen that movie and still think about it. Nando Parrado took action and his incredible journey saved his friends. ‘When the morning light comes streamin’ in, I’ll get up and do it again.’ (Jackson Brown) Amen.”

This “get going” advice is something that we need to remember and do at every age and stage of our lives. No matter what you want to do, whether it’s goals you have set for your business, family, or personal health, the bottom line is, you just have to GET GOING!

If you’ve follow my blogs for very long you know that I am also a big time fan of counter acting aging by “keeping moving”.  I am 71 in less than two weeks and my “keeping moving” philosophy—as in work outs, tennis and walking—make me feel like I’m 50. (My Fit Bit measured me taking 22,707 steps yesterday–btw that’s 10.54 miles). Bottom line here is we all need to “get going” and keep going which will improve every part of our lives without question! That attitude and well-kept lists will help you Stick-To-It until those goals and dreams are yours.

Small Bites of Motivation

March 21, 2015 by  
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I want to continue with some of the comments made by Jeff Rahill of Kauai that I shared in last week’s post. These were from a letter to me that we jokingly called a “book report” dealing with specific parts of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, that he thought were particularly helpful.

Here’s some of what he wrote from different sections of the book:

On the subject of “The Bite-Size Miracle” Jeff said, “I definitely believe in achieving your goals, be it long range or the immediate task at hand, by taking it one bite at a time. I remember in the last half of the marathon at Ironman, telling myself that I just had to make it to the next aid station, which were one mile apart. Then I saw the handmade signs on the side of the road: ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’ Like you said, ‘Action is the key … keep moving.’”

That section of the book dealt with how to accomplish a goal by breaking it down into small goals so that, step by step, you would get accomplish that end goal. This can be used in almost any circumstances where the accomplishment seems too huge to tackle. In the book I used an example of a man who survived and literally dragged himself back from certain death by seeing each few feet he needed to cover to get to his base camp as one small goal. If you can just block out that overwhelming, seemingly impossible picture of the big goal by putting all your focus on the small goal, you can, one tiny goal after another, get yourself to that finish line.

I also really enjoyed Jeff’s comments on ‘The Surefire Way to Stick with Every Goal’ The secret is to know your benefits, reasons and motivations, and write them down.  Jeff adds a bit about his experience in how this relates to keeping fit. He wrote “I’m with you on the subject of fasting.  I’ve been fasting one day a week for over 40 years. It’s part of my health plan. Another part is being a vegetarian for that same period.”  By the way, Jeff looked to be in terrific physical shape and certainly seemed well aware of the benefits and reasons for his fasting choice.

Jeff had a few more choice comments I want to share and reflect on with you but we’ll save them for next time. These two lessons are big ideas that can make all the difference in reaching your goals. If you can just take and apply these to the things you are working towards right now, I bet you’ll see a big difference in just the one week between this post and the next one. Let’s see if that’s true!

A Passionate Book Report

March 13, 2015 by  
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Last week I had lunch at Duke’s on Kalapaki beach in Kauai.  If you have been to Kauai you probably know the place. A friend of mine in Salt Lake City, Tom Roughton, told his cousin, Jeff Rahill, that I was on the island and suggested we have lunch since we both had done extremely well by buying beat up properties and fixing them up.  At the end of our delightful lunch I gave Jeff a copy of my latest book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living and jokingly told him there was a  book report, double-spaced and graded on a curve, due in 2 weeks.  We both laughed but then would you believe, two weeks later there it was a 5 page, single-spaced, book report on my computer screen!

I was very surprised how well it was written and how it was spot on in commenting on the most important points of the book.  Reading Jeff’s comments reignited my own passion.  Of course part of it may have been the fact that he loved my book and that stroked my ego but it also motivated me to refocus on the book’s lessons—to do more, be more and stick with my big goals and even add more goals to my list.

So I thought I’d share with you some of Jeff’s comments and wisdom and see if it stirs you up as well:

“I wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your book and will at least give you my comments–even though it’s not exactly a book report.”

“I’ve believed for many years that goal setting is the key to getting what you want, so your book resonated with me in its premise and in many of the details.”

“’Return to Exuberance.’ Yes, I would like to get back the exuberance I felt at a young age, probably sixth grade, or in my twenties, for me. I agree that the dreams or goals have to be big.”

“’Short Life Needs Big Passion.’ The older we get, the more we realize how short life is.  We are here, and gone, in a speck of time.  I didn’t have a goal as a young person to have a million dollars or anything like that. It wasn’t until I was 25 that I even started to keep track of what I had, and at that point it was more ‘keeping track’ than setting a monetary goal. I kept track of my net worth every year, but didn’t hit one million until I was 50.”

“…..we all need a dream list.  I’ve often put pictures up on my bulletin board, in front of me all day, of the things I like. It keeps me dreaming, and that’s the first step toward it becoming reality.”

Next week I want to share some more of Jeff’s thinking and wisdom from his ‘book report’. Think on these initial comments in the meantime and see if it starts a spark of motivation in you. You can order the book as well right here on our website. Just click!

Using a little Jaw Jaw

December 5, 2014 by  
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I am in the process of updating 4 of the 8 books I’ve written, which has been a fascinating and mind opening task.  First of all, it’s quite a stunning experience to read your own words that were written many years ago and then to come across something that you find to be very profound. I found myself saying “Wow, this is a pretty good money making method and is quite inspiring stuff. Did I write this?” then I’m thinking,   “I can’t believe I wrote this. Where did this come from?” However, I must admit some of what I wrote also brings on thoughts like “Ugh! This is kind of simple minded and even stupid. I’ve got to change this!”

While updating and re-writing some of my book The Courage to be Rich, I was struck particularly hard by what I wrote about the huge power of negotiating and the incredible financial rewards that come just from smart and calculated discussions.  Yes, just by using your head and your words you can make huge financial returns on your money! Winston Churchill said “Jaw Jaw is better than war war” and I will add that, Jaw Jaw alone can make you 100% in returns on an investment too!

With good negotiations you can take a mere 5% discount combined with another 5% in earnings and come up with a 100% return on your money. Sound impossible? Not at all. I have done it myself a few times and others I know have done it. It’s in the numbers.

For example let’s say you found a very attractive piece of real estate and the seller was very motivated to sell it. With good negotiating skills you could convince him to sell the property for just 5% lower than its fair market value and maybe even a little beyond that and then you buy it with just 10% down. Now, using another round of skilled negotiations, you convince a buyer to pay 5% more than the property’s fair market value by making the property sound better than it may appear to be. Of course, fixing it nicely helps too. Then, guess what? You’ve just scored a 100% return on your money; you invested 10% then saved 5% on the buy and made 5% on the sale of it for a 10% profit, or 100% of what you put down on it!

If you get tripped up at the point where I say you are only investing 10% on the property, that’s not hard to do either. Further negotiations can convince the seller to carry the mortgage or you can use a bank for the mortgage and a signature loan so in total you have 90% financing.

Go ahead and run your own numbers on any size property with those percentages and you’ll always come out with that huge fat return of 100% on your money by just using your brain and your words to convince people of what great deal you make them. These are just some of the gems you can find in my books which are available online on places like Amazon and on my website.

The Determination Factor

November 28, 2014 by  
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Last week I examined the word determination and talked about how critically important and life changing determination can be in anyone’s life. It really is a huge key in the lives of successful people in virtually every human endeavor. The definition of determination is “the quality of being resolute; a fixed purpose or intention.”  If you want to hear about having a fixed purpose beyond, or at least equal to, anything I’ve ever heard about, then you need to hear the story of Joe Simpson. If you and I can muster just a fraction of his determination as we set any goal for our lives then I am confident that we could each reach our goals.

You may have read the story about Joe Simpson in his book Touching the Void or saw the movie documentary by the same name. But even if you already know the story it is so very worth hearing it again, because there is so much we can learn and profit from his story of determination.  I will have to say that it would be tough to really have as much determination as Joe had because his life was on the line, but I do believe that it’s possible to push one’s thinking to the point that we see that our life, at least part of it, really is on the line.

Joe Simpson was hiking and climbing with his buddy Simon Yates in the frozen mountains of Peru when disaster struck. Joe slipped and fell and slid down the icy glacier. Simon dug into the ice and snow as deep as he could and held onto the rope that tethered them together. But eventually he began to be pulled toward the edge and at the last minute he was forced to cut the rope that held his friend. Joe fell a very long way and ended up in deep crevasse. Simon was certain that Joe was dead and made his way back to camp feeling absolutely devastated.

But Joe didn’t die. With a compound fracture in his leg, his shin bone shoved up into his kneecap, and knowing his life was all but over he still became determined not to die. He stumbled, hopped, and crawled for days to get himself down off a 3000 foot glacier covering more than 8 miles in freezing conditions without water or food. His true stroke of genius was the numerous 20 minute goals he set to help his brain deal with the huge distance he knew he had to travel. He would spot a rock or block of ice a hundred meters or so in the distance and crawled or hopped toward it while keeping track of the time.  Joe Simpson’s great, or I should say HUGE, determination factor and his simple plan saved his life.

You and I need to remember this story and try to implement that kind of determination when we set goals for ourselves. Even though our lives might not literally depend on those goals, how our lives are and what they will be do depend on reaching our goals. There is so much more to Joe’s story and how to use determination to reach even the most impossible seeming goal in Chapter 6 of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living.

 

Active Reading

February 14, 2014 by  
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Great books can do great things for you in your life. They certainly have for me and I use a simple method to make sure I don’t forget what I’ve learned from the best books I’ve read. It’s really simple and I highly recommend you give it a try.

First, as I read, I underline the best points made by the author, the ones that jump out at me and instruct, inspire and motivate. Next I make a note in the front or back of the book, with the page number and a short summary of what struck me as a real gem. After I have finished the book I take an 8” X 11” piece of card stock paper and transfer all the page numbers and quotes onto that paper. Then, anytime I need a mental, emotional or motivational push I quickly and easily review my notes of a particular book. It’s easy and simple.

As I have said in the past, and as it was preached to me by my mentor Paul J. Meyer, “It’s better to re-read or re-view over and over, 20 or 30 or 100 great books than to read 1,000 average books”. I have never forgotten that and it have served my life and dreams very well.

In looking through my stack of 8 X 11 cards I see my notes on books like “Satisfaction”, “Outliers”, “Flow”, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, “Tipping Point”, “Fat Chance”, The Power of Now”, “The Willpower Instinct”, The Four Doors”, and of course a couple of my books “The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You”, “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. That is to name just a few. Next week I will give you a few of what I think are the best short summary statements from a few of those books to show you exactly what I mean, what jumps out at me and what helps me like I am pretty sure it can help you.

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