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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!

 

 

January 15, 2016 by  
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For many years, science has proven that there is a definite mind/body connection. That is, our thoughts and self-talk can stimulate changes in our bodies. We’ve all experienced changes in our bodies when, for example a sudden fearful thought pops into our mind. Our bodies can quickly begin to perspire, produce adrenaline, or make our faces flush.

Likewise, a very pleasant thought or positive self-talk can relax our muscles, slow our heart rate and even lower our blood pressure. If we use that mind/body connection in the right way, we can make big and positive changes in our lives. I have certainly experienced that on the tennis court by doing a lot of specific positive self-talk before I play a match. I repeat over and over again statements like, “I have great stamina and energy,” I have a very powerful serve,” or “I stay positive and upbeat.” On the negative side, I learned a long time ago not to say, at critical times in a match, things like, “Oh, I just can’t double fault now!” as apparently the brain locks onto the “double fault” words and misses the word “can’t”. And yep, that’s when a double fault happens.

But now comes some new discoveries about this connection. It’s kind of the reverse—it’s a body/mind connection. Several recent studies have shown that certain things we do with our bodies send a message to our brain. Those messages can be very helpful or very hurtful.

This body to mind connection was introduced to me just last month when I heard Amy Cuddy, an American social psychologist, talk about it. I was so surprised and impressed that I bought her book, Presence, the first day it was released. What a great return I am getting as I see and understand more about how the body can change your brain.

Last week I quoted Amy on the subject of better ways to set new years’ resolutions by using baby steps and nudging yourself. I thought her advice on goals setting was good but Chapter 8 entitled “The Body Shapes the Mind” uncovers, what I think, are brilliant ideas. Amy Cuddy, along with some very bright collaborators, began experimenting to see if the human body holds certain poses for about two minutes would that affect or change the human mind. They chose 5 positive poses and 5 weak poses. Probably the most powerful pose was standing up very straight, shoulders back with hands on your hips–what she called the superman pose. Not only did that pose make the person feel much more powerful, happy and confident it also improved their body chemistry. By using blood samples and saliva samples they found that the men and women who participated in the study showed a 19 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol–which is a stress hormone.

On the other those people that held a 2 minutes low-power pose like slumped down in a chair, head down and tucked in arms, had a 10 percent decrease in testosterone and a 17 increase in cortisol. Amy goes on to say “the way you carry yourself is a source of person power–the kind of power that is the key to presence. It’s the key that allows you to unlock yourself, your abilities, your creativity, your courage and even your generosity. Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. It’s also about the fact that we pose in powerless way much more often than we think and we need to change that.”

So when you want to feel better about yourself and feel more powerful in your life, remember that how you hold your body can change things in your brain. I’m going to start power posing before my tennis games like Amy does just before she gives a speech. In the quiet of her hotel room she stands in the superman power pose for 2 minutes which gives her the right attitude and confidence to go out there and give a terrific speech!

The ‘Refrain but Don’t Repress’ Approach to Destroying Bad Habits

September 18, 2015 by  
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As human beings, we have many good habits that we’ve formed and held onto in our lives and then there are some bad habits that we’d really like to dump. Like most of us, you have probably observed and experienced how very difficult it is to change bad habits, whether the bad habit is overeating, overworking, sleeping too much or too little, watching too much TV, checking our email or text compulsively or some even worse habit or addiction.

In the last few weeks I’ve been reading an incredible book that I believe sheds tremendous light on habits including how to form good ones and how to break bad ones. The book by Pema Chodron is entitled Living Beautifully. I must admit that even though I’ve formed lots of good habits that have led to some very wonderful and rewarding successes in parts of my life, I’ve also had some bad habits that have hurt me, and it’s been so very frustrating for me to try to break or change the bad ones only to fail and fall back into them. But Pema’s book has some real answers and directions that, so far, seem to be a quite a breakthrough.

First of all, she outlines that part of the reason we have trouble breaking bad habits is because we are too hard on ourselves.  What most of us do when we end up doing something that we’ve tried to stop doing, is to get mad at ourselves, beating ourselves up mentally, then we try to repress our thinking and whatever we did that broke our promise to ourselves. She strongly suggests that instead, we come to recognize that we are fundamentally good rather than fundamentally flawed.

Probably Pema’s biggest lesson for us is a bit surprising. She suggests that if we are trying to break a bad habit, we need to think hard on refraining from doing what we promised ourselves but DON’T repress it. She goes on to say that many bad habits come from us trying to escape from uncertainty and fear in our lives in particular situations.  So when we are faced with the desire to fall into that bad habit, we need to examine our thinking to see what led us to that point and then just try to refrain from that action but not repress those thoughts.

Pema has science backing her up on this issue.  She says “Science is demonstrating that every time we refrain but don’t repress, new neural pathways open up in the brain. In not taking the old escape routes, we’re predisposing ourselves to a new way of seeing ourselves, a new way of relating to the mysteriously unpredictable world in which we live.” And in the process we are hard wiring our brain to do the right thing automatically.

What I learned from Pema is already working well on a couple bad habits that I’ve been trying to break for years and I am so pleased!! Try it yourself and you may well see what I mean and find success.

You Are What You Believe

June 26, 2015 by  
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***

I watched an older movie last night–a real chick flick called The Princess Diaries with Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.  In it, the soon to officially be made a princess, Anne Hathaway, was being mercilessly teased and insulted by her high school sophomore classmates.  However, she got help in facing it when one of her mentors told her that she would need to give someone that is trying to insult permission for it to work. In other words, you determine whether you are being insulted or not. If you don’t allow what is thrown at you to be an insult, you’ll be okay.

I thought that was some brilliant advice and it works. It made me think of the story of Bunker Bean.  I wrote the story of Bunker Bean in my book Goals, Guts and Greatness, in Chapter 4 which is entitled “You are What You Think You Are”.  The story tells of this very young man, Bunker Bean who had a lot of potential locked up inside him but it was locked so deep he didn’t know about it, which unfortunately is the story of so many people all over of the world.  You see, when Bunker was very young, both his parents died, leaving him alone and friendless and as he roamed through his years he began to develop fears of all kinds.

Eventually he moved into a cheap, rundown boarding house where he met a man who claimed to be a spiritual medium.  This new friend told Bunker that we cast off old bodies when we die, we and are reincarnated as a new person.  Bunker Bean was not well educated and he had never heard of reincarnation.  He was happy to hear that he had been someone else in another life before.  So when his new friend suggested that for a few dollars he would be able to tell Bunker who he’d been in a former life, Bunker jumped at the chance.

The result?  He was told that in his former life he had been none other than the great Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France. Bunker was totally astounded. But he wasn’t sure that he believed it. “How could this be that I, lowly Bunker Bean who fears almost everything, could have been such a great person years ago?”  The medium explained how everyone’s sequence of lives turns in vast Karmic cycles.  For each of us there is a period of ascension and a period of descension and right now Bunker was living in a period of descension. “But there is good news,” the medium said. “Things are now changing, and your life is entering a period of ascension.”

It was at that point that Bunker Bean’s life began to change. He really began to believe he had been the great Napoleon and his brain went through some major changes. So what did he do? He began to learn everything he could about his former self.

Think about your own brain and how, if you really truly believed that you had been a super famous person in a previous life, you could dramatically change your current thinking. We really are what we think we are. Run that thought through your brain for the next week and I’ll finish the Bunker Bean story in next week’s post and tell you what happened to Bunker because of his changed brain.

Great Lessons in Good Times and Bad

June 5, 2015 by  
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This week I was privileged to award 3 scholarships to graduating seniors from Cottonwood High School in Utah. I do it every year in the name of my daughter Kristin, who suddenly died of an eating disorder called bulimia when she was a sophomore at that school. It happened many years ago and anyone who has ever lost a child knows that you never get over it but, given enough time and thought, you learn to deal with it. And with more thought and the passage of time you may even learn a lesson or two.

So in my presentation to the 3 scholarship winners and to 100 plus other graduation seniors that were being honored for various achievements I gave what I think is crucial advice for a teenager and quite frankly I think good advice for all of us including myself. I said, first of all, “Let me tell you that if anyone ever tells you that they have a “perfect life”, I’m here to tell you that they are big fat lairs, or they just haven’t lived long enough yet”. Yes, I got a good laugh out of that line but it’s more than a funny line–it’s pretty darn true.

My second bit of advice that followed my first comment, was that the key to a successful and productive life is not what happens to you , especially if it’s bad stuff, but how you react to the things that happen to you and what you learn from it and then what you do from that point on.

Some people would say to me, “So what the hell did you learn from the tragedy of losing your 16 year old daughter?” Well, first I learned to accept what had happened, even though it took me a couple of years, by telling myself that although I can give up on life and give up on being a father to my other children, that I could just sit around and feel sorry for my daughter and myself for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t bring my Kristin back. I realized how stupid and selfish that would be and I wouldn’t be helping anyone. In fact, I’d be hurting a lot of people, especially my kids.

The second lesson I learned was about caring. I became so much more considerate of other people, even strangers, when I learned of their losses. Prior to my loss I was pretty callous and mainly only thought about myself. For too many of us it takes tragedy to bring us around to understanding the pain other people go through.

From the many comments I got from those graduating seniors, I think at least some of my advice sunk in and I sincerely hope they will still remember that advice when life kicks them in the face and they want to give up and feel sorry for themselves. We all need to burn into our brains that life is not easy, not for anyone (except maybe it seems that way for the big fat liars!) We need to keep getting up when life kicks us in the face and forge on. We also need to look for the lessons that are there for us, from both the good times and the bad times too!

 

Great Insights from the Best Teacher

January 9, 2015 by  
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Have you started writing in your own journal yet? If you haven’t, I’m going to try to persuade you to start doing it. Why? Because of the many, many benefits you’ll get not just at the time you write them out, but also down the road. This will be especially true if you write more about how you are feeling and what is quietly running through your brain from day to day.

In addition to writing your thoughts down, you will also want to record what you are doing including those steps you are taking to reach your goals. By writing out your thoughts and feelings as well as your goal items, you will no doubt find, as I have, that the biggest benefits come later when you re-read and revisit those thoughts that were running through your brain at different points of your life. You really can experience some major breakthroughs and some life changing and life enhancing discoveries just by looking back and seeing where you were and what you were doing at various times in your past.

I’ve been keeping my “thought journals” since I was 19 years old. I will admit that as I go back and read some of my thoughts and reasoning it’s down-right hilarious, but I’ve been shocked more than once that some of my recorded thoughts as a young 19 year old are rather profound. It’s so interesting to me to actually learn from myself, from my own words, concepts and thoughts that I had long ago forgotten. Many of us try to learn more about ourselves and want more insights into our minds and our lives. With more insights into our minds we can make big improvements to our lives. And who doesn’t want to be happier, healthier and wealthier? Well, that is what journaling can help you with.

Now as we begin a new year I think it would be the perfect time to start your own “thought journal”. If you are already journaling your journey and recording your thoughts and feelings, keep it up. And maybe now it would be good to take some time and re-read some old entries and see what you can learn from yourself. You may even come across some old goals that you logged but forgot about and it will make you realize that it’s time to hit the reset button on those goals.

I just re-read some of my thoughts and thinking from early 2012 and they certainly got me jump started for this new year. Maybe the best teacher you will ever have is actually you! But you do need to pay close attention to yourself and to you inner thinking and be sure to capture and record those thoughts and feelings. Then you will be able to revisit in order to learn and discover great insights from you, one of your greatest teachers, at a later time.

The Final Step to Wealth

June 14, 2014 by  
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We’ve spent the last few weeks building up to this last step in building your wealth—getting on the fast track using leverage.  Yes, I’m talking about leveraging properties including using bank loans but to really supercharge and speed up the process even faster, you will want to use financial partners.

To do this, you just need a few people looking to invest in a safe, reliable project that will give them a regular and consistent return. Get them to collectively fund a down payment of 20% or more on the property you want to purchase and promise a reasonable return–say a 10% APR, an amount that is definitely higher than the best CD can offer. You should also put in some of your own money to makes the investors feel more secure seeing your confidence in the investment’s potential by also putting your money at risk.

Then when you sell or rent those properties, get the best return possible and get the money back to your investors with a higher than expected rate of return. When they see that you not only lived up to but exceeded their return expectations, you will have created an enthusiastic group of investors for future projects as well as getting wonderful word of mouth that could bring even more money flocking to you.

If you have read the revised edition of my first book, now named The Next Step in Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You, then you probably read Dell Loy Hansen’s letter in the Pre-Foreword thanking me for writing the book which he read when he was flat broke and in college. Dell gives me and my book great credit for giving him the financial formula and path to his great fortune. He followed pretty much everything I suggested in the book and his success was supercharged and sped up big time. He simply brought on some very well healed partners and took really great care of them with good, consistent returns on their money.

He now owns more than a billion dollars’ worth of properties and recently paid around 85 million cash for the Salt Lake professional soccer team “Real Salt Lake” RSL.  I love his P.S. of his letter where he says “Thank you a million, or more appropriately “Thanks a Billion”.  So if you or if my young man seeking advice and a formula want to jump on the super-fast track, go find some wealthy partners and be sure to take good care of them–under promise their rate of return on their investment and then over deliver.

 

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