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Appreciating Great Health

August 9, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans don’t really think a lot about good health when we are totally healthy. It’s so easy to take our good health for granted when we are feeling great. But when something bad happens and we become very sick, then we sure look back at those healthy days and want to be back there again.

This brain of mine certainly has me looking back before my fall and my big, bad concussion. It’s been about a month now and I still have dizzy spells and vertigo plus my memory has been damaged. I’ve been doing better each day although it did suddenly get worse recently. However, the trend is that I am getting better in the long run.

Man, oh, man … talk about big changes in a few seconds. My life is so different now. It’s not just that I miss playing that tennis that I love so much, but I’m also not supposed to watch movies, TV, or even look at the computer screen (which I’m doing now, of course!) but I bought some special blue light glasses that help protect me. And, until yesterday, I was not even driving my car.

I started thinking about a book I wrote in 2006 where in one chapter entitled “An Umbrella Goal for Life,” I talked about how important health was in our lives. Many people think that more exercise is the most important key to living a long life. Quoting from my own book I wrote, “If you had to choose calorie restriction versus a lot of exercise to attain a longer and healthier life, animal studies prove beyond a doubt that eating less calories, and calories that are nutrient packed, will lengthen your life and cut disease by a huge factor compared to exercise alone. So, the plan is do both but especially watch my intake of calories. When I recover from this darn concussion, I am going to watch my diet more carefully and exercise more because I want to live a very long life which is more important than so many other things to me.

Next week, I want to give you a list of items you can do that will help you stay healthy and live a very long time.

Powerful Positive Self-Talk

August 2, 2020 by  
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Covid-19 and a concussion are both terrible, but there are certainly things that can be done to survive them. With my concussion, I was thinking all the wrong, negative thoughts, then I realized how stupid that was, especially since I’ve written and preached for a long time about how powerful your mind can be. The mind can cure you and help you heal very fast. The key to this is what you are thinking and what you are saying to yourself – your self-talk. When I realized that all my self-talk was negative and changed it to positive self-talk, it made a big difference. My dizziness and vertigo have been getting better every day since.

I’m not saying that if you have the virus that you can totally cure it by positive thinking, but I do believe that if you have the right positive self-talk, your brain can help lessen the chance of you dying from it.  There’s been many studies that prove that point by the placebo effect. There are even studies and evidence that having the right mindset and self-talk can help cure cancer and heart disease.

In a great little book by Elaine St. James called, Inner Simplicity100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul, the author says “Hand in hand with affirmations go visualizations. In addition to verbalizing to yourself, both silently and out loud, the inner qualities you want to develop, creating a powerful mental image that projects how you want your life to be, focuses your attention on that outcome and helps bring it into your life.”

St. James goes on to say, “Numerous studies in recent years have shown how effective visualization can be for healing, personal growth, and empowerment. Life affirmations and visualizations are just as potent for our spiritual journey.”

I know these things work because they have worked for me in the past and are working now, helping my brain get back to normal. That’s rather incredible and funny at the same time, knowing that the brain can help heal the brain. Self-talk is so powerful and wonderful we all need to use it every day for better health, better relationships, our business, and many, many other parts of our lives that we want to improve.

So, if you want to make 10 million dollars, your self-talk should not just be, “That’s my plan.” It would be much better to say, “I’m in the process of making 10 million dollars.” And then keep saying that!

 

Small Goals Add up to Big Success

July 19, 2020 by  
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I had a huge setback since I wrote my last post. I got knocked unconscious for about 20 minutes and ended up with a concussion. I was hauling 2 big garbage cans down our driveway and fell to the hard pavement, cutting me up pretty bad. The strange thing is I don’t remember any of that or even walking back to the house.

I woke up the next morning and saw all the bandages on. My wife asked me how I felt and I still couldn’t remember a thing. And, wow, does a concussion give you a spinning head, loss of balance, shaky eyesight and, if that’s not enough, it plays with your brain and messes up your thinking.

So, now I have a new goal which is to get better as quickly as possible. I’m preaching to myself about goal setting and how to reach that goal. What I write now about goal setting can apply to almost any goal.

I will never forget the incredible Joe Simpson and the goals that he set to save his life. Joe fell high in the frozen mountains of Peru resulting in a compound fracture in his leg that left his shin bone shoved up into his kneecap. He set his mind on a huge goal which was simply not to die. He broke that big goal into small, 20-minute steps. He would pick a spot maybe a hundred meters ahead, look at his watch and say to himself, “I am going to reach that spot in 20 minutes.” And, yes, that big goal of survival broken down into small goals eventually got him to safety and saved the life of Joe Simpson.

The huge lesson I learned from his story, and one that we all should take note of, is to first set the big goals that we want to achieve and, then, break it down into small doable steps. This is so very important!

That is exactly what I began doing after my accident. With a concussion, your symptoms can last anywhere from a couple weeks to months and even years. We all need to remember that with almost every goal you will experience starts and stops and, sometimes, there is even some backtracking. Know that it helps not to get overly discouraged and having small goals and small successes really helps with that.

So, that is my plan and I will stick with it till I am totally better. One small step at a time.

The Influence of Self-Talk

July 12, 2020 by  
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We all do it – some of it is very good and some is very negative. I’m talking about all of our self-talk. The good news, as you already know, is that you can somewhat control whether your self-talk is helping or hurting you. And that, my dear followers, is all about your brain and what you choose to let dominate and rule. Sadly, most often, self-talk is negative. It’s hurting you and keeping you from reaching your full potential.

Self -talk should say:

  1. This is something I can do.
  2. I’m so looking forward to this.
  3. I can do this very well.
  4. This is going to make me what I want to be and get me where I want to be.

But self-talk can say:

  1. I can’t do this.
  2. I’m not good enough.
  3. I’m not going to be able to pull this off.
  4. Why do things always happen like this?
  5. I’m afraid I will fail.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way, you’re right!”

Think about this when playing golf. If you think you will hit the ball into the water, you probably will. The body follows the mind. It listens to the self-talk. It believes you. The body says, “Your wish is my command.”

I’ll never forget my self-talk as I was playing in this one tennis tournament. I got to a crucial point where I knew that I could not afford to double-fault. As I hit the net on my first serve, my self-chatter was very negative and said, “Wow, I just can’t double fault here.” Ouch!

What a negative thought and message I sent to my muscles. My mind probably only heard the word “double fault” and that’s exactly what I did. My second serve went long—I pretty much did exactly what I programmed my mind to do. My wish was the body’s command.

The point I’m trying to make is that life is lived mainly inside your head, so you’ve got to know what’s in your mind and how your mind works and the great influence of self-talk!

We all need to understand how the mind works and that you can control the self-talk and the self-chatter. You need to know how to direct the self-talk that’s hurting you and your life and keeping you from your full potential.

I learned a great lesson from that tennis double fault. From the terrible loss that day, I went on to win 4 gold medals at the Huntsman Senior games held each year in southern Utah. Before every match I would have some very positive self-talk with myself, saying things like, “Mark, you have a great serve and a super topspin forehand and a great underspin backhand and you will win this match today!” And yes, I did.

The bottom line is, we all need to practice controlling our self-talk and make it very positive. It’s pretty much all between your ears and mind. Sure, sometimes we will lose but if you are using a ton of positive self-talk, you will find yourself a winner in many, many situations – in sports, business, and relationships. Try it and you will see.

Pushing Out the Negative

June 28, 2020 by  
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This darn pandemic is certainly creating a lot of problems, challenges, and tons of stress. For me, it’s not just the boredom, although I do miss my social life, but rather it’s the stress that has been getting to me. It has done some strange things to my sleep.

Of course, some of it is due to my age, as most of us have more trouble sleeping as we get older. On some nights, I am only able to sleep for 2 or 3 hours. Ugh! But other nights are normal. So, a couple days ago I spotted a book by Sasha Stephens titled The Effortless Sleep Method. The book is beginning to be of great help, mostly because of my change in thinking.

One section of the book jumped out at me – “The Two Negative Principles of the Mind”. Stephens said, “It is strange but true that most human beings tend to focus chronically on what they do not want. It can be difficult to spot this tendency in yourself, especially if you do not consider yourself to be a particularly negative person. But just try observing yourself for a few days. See how much of your thinking time is spent focused on what is wrong with your life. Then notice how little time you spend even noticing the good things, let alone celebrating them.” Sasha goes on to say, “If, for example, they had one bad night’s sleep along with three or four good ones, most insomniacs would focus on the one bad night. Not only does this give an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of the problem, it can actually worsen it.”

As I write this, I have just realized that by my talking to my wife about my terrible sleep and now writing about it, what I am doing could make my sleep problems worse because I am emphasizing the negative. So, I guess I will take that risk and maybe what I am writing can help others, not just with sleep problems but addressing other challenges and changing your thinking so you spend more time on the positive stuff.

I find that to spend more time on the positive things of my life and to ignore the negative, it helps to write down specific goals that I want to reach. It makes is much easier to keep my brain thinking on the positive side.  Let me give you a list of questions that I have asked myself over the years. They help me come up with specifics which helps me be more positive.

  • Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  • Do I want to become a better person?
  • Do I want to be known as a person of great accomplishment?
  • Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  • Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  • Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, $10 million, or even 100 million dollars? (Just think of the great good you could do with that money.)
  • Do I want the greater choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune would give me?
  • Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  • Do I want to be a big help to others as I help myself?
  • Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures? (I will continue this one when the pandemic has let up–I’ve already visited 92 different countries!)

May I strongly suggest that you make up your own list. I think if you do you will be pleased with how it helps your life.

Gratitude Amidst Tragedy

June 21, 2020 by  
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Such sad, sad days for our family, especially my younger brother Scott, his kids, and his grand kids. Scott’s wonderful wife, Pat, died a few days ago. No, it wasn’t the Covid-19 virus. She has been struggling with health issues for quite some time. Wow, I feel so bad for my brother. For me, it brought back some very sad times and memories.

When I was 15 years old, my older brother Bruce, who was 17, died right in front of me on an outdoor basketball court in Ankara, Turkey where our family lived from 1959-1961. My brother’s death was devastating for me and I felt so guilty for many years thinking I should have saved him.

Unfortunately, there was a more devastating and tragic event for me that almost did me in. Many years after the tragedy of my brother’s death, my 16-year-old daughter Kristin died. That was, and still is, the biggest and most tragic event of my life. Scott’s wife’s death brought these two terrible events in my life forcefully back to my brain.

When I think of other cultures that are in the mist of war, poverty, and starvation, I realize I really don’t have it so bad. Another thought that helps my brain a bit – something that should help all of us get through the pain of losing a family member, loved one, or a dear friend – is the absolute fact that nobody gets out of this life alive. All of us pass away eventually. It is simply part of life.

One powerful lesson we should take to heart is that life is quite short, so we need to train and push ourselves to live life to the fullest. Live more fully in the great “right now” moment.

Love more.

Live more.

Give more.

And push yourself to fully understand how important those 3 things are in our lives.

For me, it is very helpful to make a list of all the good people and things in my life, reminding myself how grateful I should be to live in today’s world. I call it my gratitude list and when I feel a little down, I re-read that list. I highly recommend that everyone make their own GRATITUDE LIST and add to it every time you think of another thing in your life that makes you feel grateful!

 

Be Your Own Champion

May 31, 2020 by  
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These pandemic times have pushed me to go back and read some of my journal entries starting in February 1975 all the way to right now. My writing and the goals I logged has excited me to do more goal setting and more writing in my journals.

I have also been re-reading my blogs. I just re-read a post I wrote back in 2009 where I talked about my good friend and Olympic champion Jimmy Shea. He set goals for himself and then, with a ton of perseverance and very hard work, he won, not one, but two gold medals–one in the World Championships in 1999 and another in the winter Olympics in 2002.

I hope you will take the time to read the attached blog about Jimmy Shea and hopefully it will motivate you to make lists and set goals for yourself.

From the post “Meeting a Champion …” April 29, 2009:

This is a picture with me and Jimmy Shea Jr. He came to one of my book signings at Costco. Jimmy is an Olympic champion with quite a story. Jimmy describes his life and reaching his goals, overcoming blocks to becoming a champion:

As a youth growing up in Lake Placid, NY, Jim’s involvement in sports helped him overcome the doubt he experienced due to his battle with dyslexia. Having a severe learning disorder taught Jim the importance of perseverance and hard work, a lesson emphasized by his father and grandfather, both Winter Olympic athletes.

When Jim competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics (in the Men’s Skeleton), he became the only American to have the distinction of being a third generation Olympian. In 1932 his Grandfather, speed skater Jack Shea, became the first American to win two Winter Olympic Gold medals. In 1964 Jim’s father, Jim Shea, Sr. competed in the Nordic Combined at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics.

Jimmy also believes in giving back. He founded the Shea Family Foundation to help young Olympians in the sports he and his family have competed in for generations.

It’s great meeting people like Jimmy at book signings – thanks for coming!

 

So, while we all have tons of time, we should be putting our minds towards great goals we want to set for ourselves. We have the time to make those lists. And, as you know from reading my blog, making lists is critical to future success as is the act of writing them down. Those are great first steps to being your own champion!

Revisiting a Journey

May 24, 2020 by  
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Man oh man! Do we all have so much extra time with this crazy Covid19. I have spent a ton of time going over all my past blogs and reliving some of the stuff I talked about. In fact, I am sending you this one from Oct 14, 2008. I had such a good time back then with good ole Stein Eriksen and even though he has passed on I can still relive all those memories. Of course, that’s the great advantage to writing a blog or writing in your journal on a regular basis.

I hope you enjoy reading about our time in Paris, Switzerland, and Croatia and maybe when this virus thing is over, you will be motivated to take your own trip to Europe or some other exotic place in our beautiful world.

Passion, like life, is about journeys not arriving. Kimberly and I have been planning a trip to Europe for a year. This was a goal of ours. You see, the brain craves the new, the unfamiliar. Living in the moment also stimulates the mind. Of course, it’s easy to live in the moment when you’re in Paris.

Another way is to experience something familiar through someone else’s eyes. We took our good friends Frantoise and Stein Eriksen (who has a Wikipedia page) with us. We’d been to some of the places before, but they came alive again when we showed them. Our brain loves new experiences.

Everywhere we went I asked people what their passion level was. We visited the farm of a cheese maker in Switzerland. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad Switzerland which had unbelievable scenery and impeccable service. I got to introduce the Eriksen’s to an Australian tennis champ and we were in Germany for Oktoberfest.

The most exhilarating part of the journey though started with a train ride that had some curve balls. Getting on the train and going from Zurich to Croatia there was no one was there to greet us. We had a tough time finding a cab to make it to the ship. We finally found a cab and arrived an hour late. Luckily, they waited for us.

Once we got onto the ship, we realized it was not like the spacious hotel with great service. It was tight quarters. The bathroom was so small you could hardly change your mind, let alone change a shirt in it. The shower was a spout hooked up to the bathroom sink. You turned it on and sprayed yourself, along with the rest of the room.

The week long ship ride was full of adventure. There were people from all different nationalities speaking different languages. We stopped on islands of all sizes. We bicycled 30-40 kilometers. One island was so small that license plates weren’t necessary – everyone knew everyone else. With only a few hundred people, there were maybe 25 cars.

Then there were high winds – so high that the buses couldn’t run because they might blow over. So, we rented an expensive taxi and headed back to make our flight home – which we barely made.

While we loved the more predictable parts of the trip, our real passion was in the unexpected – the missed rides, the cramped ship, the collage of cultures, and even the storm.

Do your fears prevent you from traveling (literally or figuratively) because you’re afraid to try something new? Sometimes people are so comfortable it scares them to do something different. Yet after they go ahead, they look back and that is what stands out – that’s what they talk about.

Mixing things up, trying the new, seeing something through another’s eyes, being open to adventure …. this is how you create passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Through Thought

May 17, 2020 by  
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For many years I’ve complained about my lack of flexibility. It’s very hard for me to reach down and pick something off the floor.  I’ve said to myself and my wife “I really don’t have good flexibility.”

I’m reading a book now called The Secret. It has been very interesting and potentially very helpful. The author, Rhonda Byrne, states, “Think thoughts of perfection. Illness cannot exist in the body that has harmonious thoughts.” Then she goes on to say, “I think perfect thoughts. I see only perfection. I am perfection. I banished every bit of stiffness and lack of agility right out of my body. I focused on seeing my body as flexible and as perfect as a child’s and every stiff and aching joint vanished. I literally did that overnight.”

She quotes Dr. John Hagelin, a quantum physicist and public policy expert as saying, “Our body is really the product of our thoughts. We’re beginning to understand in medical science the degree to which the nature of thoughts and emotions actually determines the physical substance and structure and function of our bodies.”

So, we can really see that our brains and our self-talk are very powerful and can help us heal ourselves and can help our lives in so many ways.  Dr. John Demartini, a human behavior specialist, speaker, and author adds that, “We’ve known in the healing arts of a placebo effect. A placebo is something that supposedly has no impact and no effect on the body, like a sugar pill. You tell the patient that this is just as effective, and what happens is the placebo sometimes has the same effect, if not greater effect, than the medication that is supposed to be designed for that effect. The have found out that the human mind is the biggest factor in the healing arts, sometimes more so than the medication.” He goes on to say, “that love and gratitude will dissolve all negativity in our lives, no matter what form it has taken.”

Reading all this has helped me change my self-talk about my flexibility and I’ve started making a gratitude list. In my thoughts I’m saying, “I am so thankful for my slow heart rate, thankful for my great health, thankful for my great energy, both physical and mental, that has really improved my life. I am grateful that I am becoming more flexible.” 

I think back over my life and I’ve said for years that I am really quite good with numbers and with words. I realize now that the more I said that the better I became with numbers and words and those two attributes ended up being the key for me to make a fortune. So, I would encourage you to take a close look at yourself and get your brain busy strengthening your mindset about those things in your life that will enhance your life and everything you do. 

You Can Always Be Ambitious

May 3, 2020 by  
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I was going a little stir crazy with all this time on my hands and missing my social life, but then my thinking was quickly interrupted when I was contacted by an old friend who suggested we get together and play tennis. I said, “Absolutely, but we must be careful and safe.” So, we got together but didn’t touch the tennis ball until we had applied extra layers of disinfectant on our hands.

This friend, who I hadn’t talked to for a long time, is a great guy who had what most people would call a HUGE setback. Regardless of that, he’s a nationwide motivational speaker who plays tennis, golf, and basketball and has won some great national titles. But what was his huge setback, you may ask. Well, many years ago, when he was 22 years old, he told me that he fell off a 40-foot barn roof landing straight up. It paralyzed him from the waist down, but that terrible accident didn’t stop him and his athletic ambitions even though he’s been in a wheelchair ever since.

So I told Jeff Griffin I would love to play some tennis. We played on my home court and, man oh man, was he ever good. The rules are that when you play a person in a wheelchair the ball can bounce twice before your wheelchair opponent hits it. I only get one bounce. However, he didn’t even need that small advantage. He hit the ball very hard, his placement of shots was near perfect, and the way he changes direction in his wheelchair with such speed and quickness was amazing. So, I find myself, a 4 times gold medal winner at the Huntsman Senior games, getting kicked by my friend in a wheelchair.  He beat me 6-3. (We only played one set since he totally wore me out.)

Jeff is an amazing person and has won so many awards that the list is too long for me to write out, but you can look him up on Google and read with amazement what he has done in his life so far. Sadly, most people, or at least many people, would look at such a huge setback like Jeff suffered and pretty much give up. Jeff didn’t let that terrible accident stop him though and, wow, has he ever gone to work on so many parts of his life to make himself better and, sometimes, even the very best!

When I get a little frustrated or disappointed I try to push my mind to think about people like Jeff and say to myself, “Hey, I am not going to let my little setbacks or failures stop me from whatever project or goal I’ve set out to do.” And neither should you!

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