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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!

 

Of Family, Friendship, and Love

December 23, 2017 by  
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I want to give you a HUGE Merry Christmas wish and thank you so very much for being you. I do sincerely appreciate the great opportunity you have given me to share my thoughts with you, my reader, and do honestly wish and hope that my ideas and advice helps your life and those around you. What would this world be if it wasn’t for great friends and family? At this time of year those people can, and should be, even more important to all of us.

What would your world and your life be like if you had a billion dollars but not a single friend or any family? I’m not saying money is not at all important but it’s almost completely worthless without people around you that you dearly love and that love you just as much.

So, at this very special time of year, let’s all go out of our way to give tons of love and appreciation to our family and loved ones and while we are at it, why not seek out more friends and push for deeper relationships with our current friends. Don’t you agree that it would be so worthwhile to do so? Okay … so, let’s all go out and do it!

P.S. In last week’s blog I said I’d write about how the right foods, vitamins, and exercise can boost your feel-good brain chemicals. And I will but I thought that could wait until after Christmas. So, we’ll see you next week.

A Million Dollar Feeling

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Your Own Affirmation List

October 21, 2017 by  
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In last week’s post, I challenged you to come up with some affirmations and positive self-talk. What did you come up with?

Never forget that the human brain can be programmed and you can teach it just about anything you want to–repeat those affirmations to yourself over and over again and your brain will believe it. It can and will improve your life and move you toward any goal you have set for yourself. It’s just like what science has discovered about forcing a smile on your face to make you feel better—the brain doesn’t realize it’s a fake smile and so releases the same feel good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, as if it were a genuine smile.

If you are still working on coming up with more affirmations and positive self-talk, here are a few of mine that I try to repeat each one ten times every day, many times when I’m taking a shower, bath or sitting in my hot tub.

  1. I am feeling more upbeat and positive.
  2. I am happy and healthy.
  3. I live in the great right now moment.
  4. I set big goals but am satisfied with baby steps.
  5. I forgive myself for mistakes I make.
  6. I love my wife, I love my life.
  7. I feel calm and collected even in stressful situations.
  8. I am making a difference in the world for the better.
  9. I love people and I listen to others.
  10. I am strong and worthy.
  11. I eat a healthy diet.
  12. I love to exercise.
  13. I appreciate other people.

By the way, before I play a tennis game I do some self-talk as well. For example, I repeat over and over in my head, “I have a very power forehand. I have a very accurate backhand. I am fast and flexible. I have a very accurate and fast serve.” It always seems to help my game. I am convinced this self-talk was a key to helping me win 4 gold medals in singles tennis at the Huntsman World Senior games.

So, go ahead and give it a try in whatever aspect of your life you’d like to improve. I am convinced that if you take time to make up your own list of daily self-talk comments that you will be so glad and satisfied that you did and it will improve your life and those around you.

Do you find this information inspiring? You can get these every week in your email so you don’t miss one, by going to the top of my website page here: http://ignitemylifenow.com Search through the recent posts and archives sections on the blog page to find more super helpful thoughts and ideas.

 

Traveling for Ideas

October 7, 2017 by  
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Traveling can be so great for the body and the mind.  We are overseas right now. A couple days ago we took the Eurostar from London to Paris. The 200 mile an hour ride was wonderful–smooth, quiet and, when we weren’t in the tunnel that goes under the English Channel, very scenic. I really enjoy that train. But I think the most interesting thing about travel, especially to foreign countries, is seeing and experiencing different cultures and all the fascinating people.  It’s so mind expanding and invigorating!

I’ve certainly learned that no matter what the sex, skin color, or nationality a person is, most humans are wonderful, honest, and kind people. We are all much more alike than different. Another huge plus you get with travel is learning about new ideas, new products and new types of services. If you have even a little bit of entrepreneurship in your bones maybe you can introduce one of those ideas, products or services to your home city or state and maybe end up making a small or even large fortune.

Many years ago, my wife Kimberly noticed those wire spikes they were using in Europe to keep birds away from buildings and places that were being inundated by a lot of bird droppings.  Those wire spikes were a simple little invention that was unheard of in the USA at that time.  If we had been the first ones to copy that simple invention in the US, as someone did not long after that, it no doubt would have added a few extra millions to our net worth.  Oh well. At that point in my life, I was much more interested in playing tennis.

So, if you are looking for good ideas to duplicate, do some more traveling and have a ton of fun meeting kind and interesting people. Take some time to really observe and look for new ideas and products, items that maybe you could be the first to introduce to your hometown and country. With such ideas, you just might cash in big time!

Reflecting on Gratitude

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Inspiration of Children

May 19, 2017 by  
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Kids, Kids, Kids! What would the world be without them? The older I get the more I’m impressed with and love kids. We can all learn so much from them, whether it’s observing the super-fast learning ability of a baby or watching teenagers and their progression in this world. The month of May is so very significant for me in terms of kids, both in a good way and a very, very bad way.

Many years ago, my precious, wonderful, and beautiful daughter, Kristin, died from an eating disorder and, hopefully, passed peacefully on into another existence. I can’t put in words how that tragic event hit me, I’ve said many times since that you never get over losing your child, you just learn to deal with it! That horrific event happened on May 2nd.

But then 5 years ago, also on May 2nd, our family was blessed with the birth of another grandson, Oliver Haroldsen. To add to my May blessings, his mother is expected to deliver twin girls later this month.

A few nights ago, on May 17th, so much of the events of this significant month was brought back to my mind as I presented the Kristin Haroldsen memorial scholarships to 5 incredible Cottonwood High School senior girls. I was so very impressed, not only by their high GPA’s of 3.7 and above, but by how many other activities and achievements they were involved with. They also gave so much of their time and efforts to so many charitable causes. Their hard work and generosity is something we can all learn from and aim to duplicate.

Giving to others, whether it’s money, time, or physical help, not only is a great benefit and aid to these people, but improves and lifts the world including giving so much satisfaction, pleasure and happiness to the person who does the giving. Even a small gift, such as my practice of randomly giving kids a $2-dollar bill gives me a real mental boost. I usually say to the parent “Hey, this is a lucky $2-dollar bill; you see I’m an investor and that $1,000 dollar smile on your kid’s face is my reward.” And then I add, “Don’t you agree with me that that’s a darn good return on my investment?”

Bottom line … I think we all should remember to give, give, and give to others because, hey, if you do that everybody is a winner and gets a great big, fat return.

The Giving and Sharing Season

December 23, 2016 by  
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Before we get to talking about financial goals and money as I promised you last week, let’s talk about giving first. We can all give more and next week’s blog will help you finance all that you give.

Christmas is upon us and it’s the very best of seasons if we all get into the giving and sharing. There is something about giving to others that makes you feel so good and warms the soul. Most of us start by giving to our loved ones–our kids, grandkids, and spouse or significant other. The gifts don’t have to be gigantic but giving big gifts and a lot of them certainly doesn’t hurt the receiver or the giver. But don’t stop giving at just the family level. Think about your friends, even ones that you haven’t seen or heard from in years. It’s also great to give to strangers that are in need.

I’ve loved giving lots and lots of small gift to kids, not just at Christmas time but all the year round. As many of you know I love to order up $2 bills from the bank and give them at random to kids (although only when they are with a parent. I don’t want anyone to think I’m a creep.) It’s quite funny that the parent many times says, “Oh, those are so rare,” and yet anyone can get them from a bank. The kid and the parent are usually very surprised and delighted and thank me up and down with huge smiles on their faces.

I order 100 of the $2 bills at a time and have given away thousands. But the amazing thing is that as happy and delighted as the parents and kids are, I am even more stoked and happy than them. I usually tell the parent, “I think I’m being kinda of selfish because I get more pleasure, satisfaction, and joy from giving than the kids get in receiving.” I usually add the comment, “Plus, look, I invest $2 and I get back a $1000 dollar smile. I think that is a fantastic return on my investment!” So, I guess that giving can be a bit selfish but then again everyone seems to benefit from this kind of giving. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, giving for the benefit of everyone?

So be more driven this year and give more and more for everyone’s benefit. And don’t forget that giving can be more than gifts and money–give love, give warmth, give complements … just give more of yourself.

 

Enhance Your Life with Old and New Friends

November 25, 2016 by  
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basketball-teamI think you would agree with me that there are not a lot of things in this world much better than good, close friends. I can’t even imagine my world without my friends–both the old friends from my school days and my new friends. Great friends will do just about anything for you.

When we were young men, most of our get togethers were for some kind of competition–for sports, games or whatever. And many of those competitors morphed into “best friends”. Then as we aged it was more often business that brought us together.

In my November 4th blog post, I talked about the two major tragedies of my life–the death of my brother and my daughter. This got me to thinking of my friends who quickly gathered around me and gave me tons of love and support and comfort during those times.

The attached picture was taken 2 years after my brother died on a basketball court and shows our team just after we won the big American High School tournament in Rome, Italy, a tournament that included all American High schools throughout Europe and the Middle East. These great friends in the picture were some of the best friends a person could have. They not only helped me through those tough times but also shared in my dream of winning the big tournament for my deceased brother, Bruce. It’s hard to believe that was 55 years ago and still, to this day, two of those guys in the pic are among my best friends. Richard Harvey of Cleveland, Ohio (2nd row on the right) and our big Texas center, Ed Beckcom (the guy at the top with both arms spread).

My message this week, to you and myself, is to try to reach out to old friends and go out of your way to make new friends. Believe me, it’s well worth the effort. Go ahead and sit down with your old high school or college year book and make a list of those friends that you were close to back in those days. If you’ve lost touch with them, get on the internet and try to track them down and renew those great ol’ friendships. Your life will be enhanced by these reconnections and new connections and theirs will be too!

 

Counting Blessings Amidst Our Tragedies

November 4, 2016 by  
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In last week’s blog, I talked about how all people have difficulties and tragedies. I’m fully aware that my problems mentioned didn’t sound that huge. Some readers might have even been saying to themselves, “Oh the unfortunate rich guy has major problems, huh? What a tragedy he’s had with that terrible common cold. I feel so sorry for him … not!”

My main point of the blog really wasn’t about my very small and temporary health issue but rather was about how we all need to rejoice more often and count our blessings. We need to do it every day and do it before we face a truly huge loss such as a severe health decline or the loss of family or friends.

There is an old Mormon hymn called “Count Your Many Blessings”. One of the lines goes “name them one by one.” I find this to be very profound in that it defines a great way to live each day. If we stop to recognize each of our blessings, it actually can improve our lives and make us feel better, just like what I learned some time ago about how smiling releases good chemicals into your brain, even doing  the same thing when we force a smile.

Like many people if not most, I’ve had some major tragedies in my life that I will never forget—there was my 17-year-old brother who died right in front of me on the basketball court when I was 15 and, the biggest and most terrible shock of my life, when my 16-year-old daughter died. Even though I’ll never really get over those tragedies, I’ve learned to live with the reality of what happened and it has made me more aware of living in the great ‘right now’. It has made me take notice and count the blessings in my life every day.

I remember vividly after my daughter died being totally depressed and laying around doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself for many, many months. Then suddenly I realized that I was completely neglecting my other children. I saw how important they were and how blessed I was to have such good productive, active, loving and lovable kids. I lifted myself out of the dumps and started to notice and pay attention to them and appreciate all the goodness around me.

As I mentioned last week, traveling through parts of Africa was a real eye opener. Our train traveled though many villages filled with garbage, spotted with homes that were just ten by ten foot shacks topped with flimsy roofs held down with rocks. As all too skinny kids ran along the side of the tracks waving at the train, I couldn’t help but see how good we have it. If we are paying attention, we’ll know we need to appreciate all our blessings every day.

So, let’s all take time to notice, take time to appreciate, and take time to love what we have and not just family and friends but even strangers. We need to start giving more back to those who need help. None of us know how long our loved ones and friends will be with us; tragedy can strike any of our lives at any time. So even if you have disagreements and arguments or find yourself angry at those around you, try to step back and look at the bigger picture and be grateful and appreciative of those people. Remember just how important they are to you and just how small the differences are that get in the way.

 

 

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