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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.

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!

 

Break-Through Journaling

February 10, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about writing in a journal and I shared that I had written some of my very negative thoughts in mine. These are words and inner feelings that I had never shared with anyone. But what the journaling did for me and these thoughts was amazing.

A few days after writing these thoughts down, I re-read what I had written. Man, oh man … what a powerful reaction I have had in the days since.  It has lifted me up and has enhanced and improved my life almost like magic. I was so very surprised that just those few words that I wrote down on paper could have such a powerful effect on me and my life. Here is what I wrote:

“I didn’t have total follow through yesterday on my writing list of my intentions or goals and in fact I am finding that for a long time now I’ve not lived up to my self-promises and I see that I’ve been so very self-critical and have been berating and beating up myself cause I’m just not perfect like I want to be. I’ve been seeing that I’m very hard on myself and I really don’t forgive myself much although I forgive other people. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been feeling very good for going on two years. Maybe I ought to start forgiving myself and take more baby steps that really can turn into giant progress toward my goals like I’ve preached to my readers of my blog. Hmmm … I need to think about that.”

I was very surprised that, within a few days of re-reading those words, I began to feel so much better and noticed that I was not being so hard on myself. I kept thinking about taking baby steps and so now I am not inclined to berate and beat myself up. I think that this change of mind set must be due to my writing down my inner thoughts and that the act of writing it down changed something in my brain. What a breakthrough!

So, I would suggest you give journaling a chance if you haven’t already. Write down your inner most thoughts, especially the ones that you are struggling with or are getting you down. Then put them away and read them a little while later and see what your brain does with it. I’m sure it will get you to think about it and find a way to help yourself feel better along with being a great way just to get it out of your head and safely down on paper where you can, literally put it away for a while. At least until you are ready for your own journal break-through.10

The Super Power of Writing to Yourself

February 3, 2017 by  
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I’ve written about the huge value of keeping a journal of your life before. Writing about what you do, where you go, people you meet, and, probably most important of all, your inner most thoughts as you go through your life. I’ve kept a journal going on 55 years now. Yes, sometimes I go months without making any entries but still, I must say, I’ve made some major discoveries about myself and life in general from the entries I have made and they have helped me beyond what I ever would have expected.

Sometimes re-reading what I wrote years before brings me unexpected break-throughs. You know one of those ah-ha moments that really hit you hard and sometimes changes your life for the better. The latest breakthrough started when I began reading the “Life Story of Kathryn Baird Haroldsen” which are the writings of my mother, all gathered up and put together into a book by my father, Dr. Edwin O. Haroldsen, in 1995. Both of them have long since passed away but their writings still speak to me with great power.

Reading my parents’ words about their travels all over the world and their many great and exciting experiences was so very insightful for me. But when my mother shared on paper some of her inner most thoughts and feelings, it motivated me to get out my journal and put on paper some self-defeating and disturbing thoughts that I have had these last 2 years. These are thoughts that I haven’t shared with a single soul.

For some reason that maybe only our brains know about, when I later re-read my very negative inner thoughts it changed me and, surprisingly, did so in a very good and positive way. I now want to share that experience and the lessons I learned with others so they may have a positive breakthrough like I did that will help their lives. Next week I will share exactly what I wrote and how it began to change me and my life. In the meantime, if you don’t already, start journaling about whatever comes to mind. You never know what you might write down that will bring you your own break-through in the future.

The Easier Way to Reach Your Goals

November 12, 2016 by  
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Okay, first of all, there is no particularly ‘easy’ way to reach your goals but there are certainly easier ways and harder ways. Whether your goal is to make a million dollars, write a bestselling book or visit 100 different countries, the easier way to reach those goals includes a very simple thing … making lists. And I don’t mean in your head. I mean writing that list down. Why does writing out a list make reaching a goal easier? Because if you write it down it does some very good stuff inside your brain.

Chapter 7 in Henriette Klauser’s wonderful little book entitled Write It Down, MAKE IT HAPPEN tells the great story of her friend Sydne who turned her life around mainly from the single action of writing down her list of goals. Klauser says, “Writing a list gets it out of your head. Heads can be dark swamps, the conversations, the constant chatter, whatever you want to call it, keeps interfering. Writing a list gets it out of the swamp, onto paper. You can see a list in black and white and it’s real. When you reduce your goals to a list, it helps keep your focus.”

So, if you write your goals it basically changes things in your brain. She goes on to say that if your lists are very specific your brain will more likely help you reach those goals. “When you are vague and general, you are safe. Get to the essence of it; that’s when things happen. Nothing can happen when you’re generalized and safe–nothing changes.” When the writing of those lists put Sydne on the path of reaching virtually all her goals, her motto then became simply “Do it easy.”

The author’s advice is to “use listing as an opportunity to crystallize your intent–to learn what matters most to you.” She goes on to say, “Keep that list handy, and look at it regularly, especially if you lose heart or feel scared. Emblazon it in your mind. Repeat to yourself ‘This is what I want and it is waiting for me.’” Remember, keep your list very specific even for things such as buying a car. As the author says, “Don’t simply write ‘car’, write the type of car with make, model, and mileage.”

I must say that goal setting and writing down the specifics has changed my brain and improved my life in many and huge ways. When I was 27 years old I set the very specific goal to make a million dollars by the time I was 30 and yes I wrote it down and looked at that written goal on a regular basis. I went to work to find ways and means, along with great help from a couple of fantastic mentors, to hit my target. Oops I missed the goal, that is I missed the date by one year but reached it at age 31. Pretty much the same thing happened when I set the written goal to write a bestselling book. That book was How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You which eventually sold over one million copies.

I am absolutely convinced that writing it down did in fact change my brain and made it all happen.  I know that it works and if you are not already writing your specific lists of goals down, I hope you start doing so right now.

 

 

Mojo Insights

July 8, 2016 by  
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Last week my wife and I hopped on a non-stop flight to London spending a few great days there in a hotel right by the Thames river and the London Eye.  We were also only 2 blocks away from all that Parliament action and the Brexit vote for Great Britain leaving the EU so it was a fairly historical moment to be there. Then we were off to Paris on the wonderful 200 mile-per-hour Eurostar train under the English Channel. It is such a smooth ride and we had such superb views of the English and French countryside and villages. The whole trip was wonderful but the beautiful ride and great times in London and Paris would not have been nearly as wonderful and fulfilling without the incredible book that my son gave me for Father’s day.

The book he gave me is called Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith. It re-opened my eyes to things I already knew but, like so many people, I had not been paying attention to or acting on. The mojo that Marshall is talking about is that positive spirit that speaks to what we are doing now, the spirit that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. Mojo is at its peak when we are experiencing both happiness and meaning in what we are doing and when we communicate these experiences to the world around us.

Let me give you a few “factors”, as the author calls them, that jumped out at me and motivated me to again look at myself.  He asks 4 questions and, of course, in the book he addresses each one of them with some very good answers. They are listed categorically:

“Our professional and personal Mojo is impacted by …”

  1. Identity (Who do you think you are?)
  2. Achievement (What have you done lately?)
  3. Reputation (Who do other people think you are–and what have you done lately?)
  4. Acceptance (What can you change–and when do you need to just “let it go?)

Those questions really got me thinking and I took a much deeper look at myself because I really have lost some of my Mojo. So much of my identity is based on what I was years ago and what I did then.  But the good news is that whoever we are now we can change if we really want to as long as we are willing to look at ourselves deeply and fairly.

Here are 2 other great points he makes that are very powerful and helpful. Marshal says, “…worrying about the past and being anxious about the future can easily destroy our Mojo. This sort of thinking afflicts the high and low, the rich and the poor, the achievers and the struggling.”  The other point has to do with a way to regain your lost Mojo, encompassed by the simple statement “Forgive yourself for being who you are.” In other words, we all need to work on our acceptance of others and of ourselves. He goes on to say, “I am in no way suggesting that you should not try to create change and try to make the world a better place. I am suggesting that you change what you can and let go of what you cannot change.”

Next week, I will to continue to give you some other wonderful insights into our Mojo from Marshall’s book and talk about what we can do to make it that much better. In the meantime, answer the questions you see here and see what insights come to you from this simple exercise.

 

 

Our Indebtedness to the Past

June 17, 2016 by  
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I just watch a wonderful documentary narrated by Robert Redford called The Barnstormers which told and showed some great pictures of the history of how the game of tennis was changed from an amateur to a professional sport and how after that changed its popularity grew at an enormous rate.  I was particularly impressed at the end of this wonderful production when the great world champion Roger Federer said how much he and all the other pro tennis players of today owe a huge debt of gratitude to the players and key figures who brought about the big changes in tennis.

It got me to thinking about how all of us today owe a humongous debt of gratitude to so very may people of the past that did so many things to make the world a much better place and made our lives so much easier today.

Think about it … how would our lives be without those many people who over time collaborated with many others to bring us the automobile, the airplane, advanced medicine and medical procedures? We can cut open and fix a human brain and cure terrible diseases. And just look at the advances in technology.  From computers to cell phones, rockets to space probes, and on and on and on.  I couldn’t begin to build even a basic radio or TV, let alone figure out how to do open heart surgery.  And so much of these incredible advances have come in just the last 100 to 150 years!  Going back 150 years we didn’t have even a simple telephone or an internal combustion engine or even a simple light bulb.

We are so very indebted to so many people that have lived before us. We all could do with being a bit more grateful as well as taking a look at our own lives and seeing how and where we can put our efforts and talents to work to help others and make this wonderful world even better than we found it. Let’s not only do it for those around us now but for future generations.

There is also an extra benefit for you. I’ve seen studies that show that the more a person shows and has gratitude for others, the more it lifts that person’s level of satisfaction and happiness.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will attempt to acknowledge and give thanks to the people that have contributed to my life, both in my financial life, my personal life and in my self-development. Who do you have to thank for the wonderful advantages you have?

 

Create Big Progress with Small Decisions

April 29, 2016 by  
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Did you ever wonder where self-motivation came from? It’s interesting to see the various levels of it in different people—some have huge amounts of self-motivation and get so much done and are super successful, while others don’t do much of anything except watch TV anytime they can. Many people think that you are either born with great self-determination and motivation or that you’re not but some very interesting studies have shown that this not the case.

Author Charles Duhigg in his wonderful book Smarter, Faster, Better, says motivation is a skill that one can learn and practice and become better and better at it just like reading and writing. But we need to practice the right way.

Duhigg makes the point that “to motivate self we must first feel like we are in control.” But how does that help? Duhigg says that “when people believe they are in control they tend to work harder and push themselves more. They are, on average, more confident and overcome setbacks faster. People who believe they have authority over themselves often live longer than their peers.”

Even very small decisions can give you very large rewards towards building your self-confidence and self-motivation. Duhigg later adds, “When we start a new task, or confront an unpleasant chore, we should take a moment to ask ourselves, “why”. Why are we forcing ourselves to climb up this hill? Why are we pushing ourselves to walk away from the television? Why is it so important to return that email or deal with a coworker whose requests seem so unimportant? Once we start asking why, those small tasks become pieces of a larger constellation of meaningful projects, goals and values”.

So remember, if you really want to build your self-confidence and ramp up your motivation, those small decisions do make big a difference. Get back to taking those baby steps as they add up, turning into miles and miles of progress. Do it enough and you’ve got yourself a marathon of self-confidence and self-motivation!

 

 

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