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Keep Your Brain Busy

March 22, 2020 by  
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Now may be the best time in your life to focus on your brain in a way that it won’t get trampled by the news and all that’s going on in the world. Yes, I’m talking about the coronavirus and the huge damage that it’s doing. It really is a game changer and can be so horrible for many people mostly because of how they use their brain in a time like this.

The human brain can be the most incredible part of your body, but it also can be a huge downer for your happiness and mental stability if you do nothing but worry.  Yes, the virus is a very bad thing and, wow, just look at what it is doing to our economy, not to mention that huge fear factor around whether one might get the virus. That’s bad stuff, but if you use your brain in the right way and keep it busy you can avoid some of the really bad stuff that’s happening.

Just don’t forget that you will most likely not get the virus, even though worldwide many people have, but the percentages are on your side, especially if you are careful and do all the things that reduce your odds of catching it. It’s true that you and I can’t stop the spread of the virus or the fear gripping so many people, but we can take steps to make this huge event less traumatic so that when it’s all over, we can look back at and give ourselves a pat on the back and congratulate ourselves for what we, and our brain, just did.

I can see a lot of good as well as some very bad things coming from this dangerous situation.  Since most everything is closed, I can easily see how many people can become almost bored to death and might be going crazy since they think they don’t have anything to do. They’ve lost their routine, are not going to work and being productive, and are not having their usual social interactions with others. However, with some thought and effort you can come up with projects and things to do that are helpful to yourself and others.

I mean, in the lockdown situation many of us are experiencing, you could read a bunch of books, do some writing of your own, and, hey, how about some at home exercise. No, you don’t need a gym to run when you can run around the neighborhood. Push-ups, sit-ups, and at least some weightlifting can be done at home. You could come out of this disaster looking like Rocky Balboa if you really want to. You could also have a book written and ready to sell and could even set yourself up to give your own seminars since you would have plenty of time to prepare a great presentation.

Think about the many positive things that you can do to help yourself, your friends, and your relatives, things that will also keep you and your mind busy and productive.

P.S. We here in Salt Lake City got a double dose of bad stuff. My wife and I were suddenly shaken from our sleep by a powerful earthquake that shook our house so bad I thought it might fall down on us. It was 5.7 on the Richter scale, but we did survive and mentally and physically we plan to thrive.

 

Success is Measured by Obstacles

March 15, 2020 by  
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The famous Booker T. Washington once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”  Darcy Andries, author of The Secret of Success is Not a Secret, certainly underscores that comment in terms of the obstacles that have often proceeded the rise of so very many famous and successful people. Her book lists more than 250 super successful people who persevered through huge setbacks and failures to become big-time successes.

Take Rowland Hussey Macy, who tried and failed many times before he found success. He tried to start and operate a needle and thread store in Boston, and later a store that sold European-made dry goods. He failed both times. Then, after an unsuccessful store in Marysville, California, opened with his brother during the 1849 goldrush, he returned to the East Coast to open another dry goods store in a town north of Boston, an endeavor that eventually forced him into bankruptcy. He then moved to New York City and opened yet another store which ended disastrously when it was robbed and then burned down. Ugh.

Most people, I think, would have given up at that point but not Rowland Macy. He rebuilt, opening a little fancy dry goods store at 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City, north of the city’s other dry goods stores, called R. H. Macy & Co. After initial encouraging sales, he expanded, eventually occupying 11 adjacent buildings, each selling different categories of merchandise and effectively launching what we now call a department store.

By the 1870’s Macy’s store was averaging more than $1 million in annual sales and it has grown ever since. Now known simply as Macy’s, would you believe that little shop has grown into more than 850 stores and has gross sales in the double-digit billions?

I don’t know about you or your significant other, but my wife certainly helps Macy’s stay in business and thrive. I don’t know whether to thank Rowland Macy or complain! Unfortunately, I can’t do either since he checked out of life in 1877 at the young age of 55. But I’ve got to hand it to him – with all those setbacks spanning a period of nearly 14 years, he kept at it anyways and, I think most people would admit, he did okay for himself in the end.

 

Never Giving Up

March 8, 2020 by  
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Last week I talked about the fact that there is really no big secret to big success. In the beginning of the great book by Darcy Andries, The Secret to Success, she quotes a very smart and very successful man, Colin Powell. He said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Then Darcy made the wise comment that “You can learn a lot from failure, but that requires you to continue moving forward despite having failed.”

As promised, I want to share with you some of the setbacks and failures of a few famous people who never would give up and who eventually were very, very successful. I want to start with the great basketball player Bob Cousy, who was my hero when I was a young man playing in a great basketball tournament in the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy.  I wanted so badly to be like Bob Cousy and play professional basketball. We won the Rome tournament and I got a basketball scholarship to Utah State University but that’s as far as I got. No pro basketball for me.

I wish I had known back then Cousy’s story of all his setbacks, turndowns, and losses.  I really think that if I had read that story back when I was struggling as a University player, I would have doubled down and not given up. I think I would have done more and practiced more and pushed myself to the limits, maybe even seeking out a personal coach. Here is a summary of Cousy’s story.

Bob Cousy didn’t pick up a single basketball until he was 12 years old and although he tried, he was cut from the school team twice back then. He kept practicing and practicing though. Then he slipped and fell and broke his right arm but he still didn’t give up. He just switched to using his left hand to shoot ball. Wow. He was now ambidextrous and became the star player of the team. After high school, he went on to play college and earned an All-American statue 3 times, helping his team win 26 straight games. He turned pro in 1950 and went on to be voted MVP in 1957 and then received many other great honors including induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

Think about that and what huge determination and perseverance it must have taken for him to stick with his dream. We all have setbacks and losses so the real key or secret to success for almost any goal or venture is to NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! It’s a very wise person who seeks help from others through books and seminars, or pushing super successful people to be your coach, your teacher, and your inspiration.  So, bottom line here is, if you have set big goals and dreams and you haven’t yet been successful yet, rededicate yourself to those dreams and never give up.

Try, Try Again

March 1, 2020 by  
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My beautiful wife, Kimberly, gave me a great book not too long ago. I read it and set it aside but then couldn’t find it, until last week. Yay! The book, by Darcy Andries, is entitled The Secret of Success…It’s Not a Secret.  The book gives the details of the struggles, the setbacks, the failures, and the great losses that many eventually successful and now famous people had. Elvis Presley, Billy Crystal, Michael J. Fox, John Grisham, Tennessee Williams, Colonel Sanders, Andrew Carnegie, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bob Cousy, Sylvester Stallone, and Robin Williams are just a few of the names from the list Andries gives of over 200 people who were initially rejected and pushed aside, only to come back strong and become super successful.

One name from that big list of super successful people is a guy I know by the name of Richard Paul Evans. He wrote the immensely successful book, The Christmas Box, which sold over 7 million copies. What is so fascinating about Richard’s beginning as an author is that it’s so similar to mine. We both got rejected and turned down by many, many book publishers. Nobody seemed to care or be interested in our books at all.

Both Richard and I did the same thing after all those rejections. We both went to print shops and paid to have our book printed. I printed 1,000 copies of my book and began selling and giving them away. Richard, however, really out did me on that one. He eventually printed 700,000 books – although not all at once – and sold them over time.

The big news was that after we had our own publishing successes, we each had big time New York publishers contact us, eventually getting contracts with them to print and distribute our books to bookstores. Richard’s publisher actually paid $4.2 million for the rights to his book. No, my book deals were not that profitable, but I must say, selling all those books myself did lead me to doing seminars and publishing a newsletter which itself became a huge part of the fortune that I’ve been so blessed to have amassed.

It is so amazing that so very many big time famous names and people had huge struggles when they started but they stuck to the old proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I would add that if you keep trying, and never give up, you will most likely end up with your big dreams coming true.

I think, in the next few weeks, I will share with you some of the stories of these famous people who had big time failures but went on to have super successful lives, people who dug themselves out of a deep hole because they never gave up.

 

The Power of Your Written Word

February 9, 2020 by  
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I talk quite a bit about success, but as they say, talk is cheap. Writing, however, can be gold. If you want to be successful, you need to have your intentions in writing, even if you are the only one to see it or read it. Writing down what you are going to do and when you’re going to accomplish it can be, and usually is, a major motivator. It’s as if all the thoughts in your head have become real and concrete. That makes it very hard for you to ignore.

When I write down my goals, plans, and to-do lists, it’s like they take over my brain automatically. Putting your goals in writing forces you to really consider what it is you want because now you have put it in black and white, where it is more concise and easily grasped.

When you do write out your goals, answer all the basics: Who, What, Where, Why, How, and most importantly, WHEN. Include the following details:

-Who’s involved in this project?

-What is the end goal?

-When will you work on this goal?

-Where do you need to go to move it a long?

-Why do you want this?

-What are the details and steps you need to take?

-How will you achieve it?

-When will you achieve it?

The actual questions you need might be a little different but put the answers to those questions down on paper or your computer or cell phone and visit that list often. It’s an even better idea to post it where you will see it every day. When you read those words over and over, they become like a contract, and that’s exactly how you should treat it! Write it all down and then sign it.

Be sure to put your deadline, or deadlines if it’s going to be done in stages, on your written goals. These written goals will really be key to your success. It will be the starting point for your actions, determining the direction you will take.

So, remember this. Never forget the power of the written word and how it can push you to succeed in whatever you are trying to get done. Take one step at a time and keep writing it down. Those written words can, and will, take over.

Finding Direction in Your Retirement

February 2, 2020 by  
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I was reviewing a few of my past blogs and came across one from 9 years ago about retirement that hit me hard inasmuch as I’m feeling the same now as I did way back then. In the post, I started out by saying, “It’s so easy to get overly relaxed when you are in Hawaii as I have been the last few weeks …”,  and now, as I write this, I’ve been in Hawaii for 5 weeks and I feel the same way. I go on to say that my relaxing days do allow me to reach some major mental breakthroughs and I really think through the ideas that come to me but at the same time, I can feel so lost. That’s true today as it was then.

It got me thinking about how common this feeling can be for people in the mid and later years of their life. You’ve worked so hard for years, looking forward to retirement and then, once you get there, you start having these days where you simply have no direction. You start to realize that the carefree retirement life isn’t quite what you expected.

I am sure you have seen people around you that seem lost in retirement. When you retire or semi-retire every day can feel like Sunday. For most people in America, Sunday is a lazy day, the day when you don’t have any specific plans, a day to unwind and not answer to the clock or to any business or work demands. But when you do this every day, it actually can get very depressing.

As it turns out, Sunday morning has been found to be the most depressing time of the week for most people. Seems very odd that this can be true, but the reason is pretty simple. It’s because we don’t usually have any particular goals, plans, routine, or structure for that day of the week. Okay, maybe you go to church for a little while but otherwise, it is unlike the days in your work week or even the often busy, errand running and playing day that Saturdays often become. When a person retires, the constant structure of their life is gone so, without goals, routines, and deadlines, most people begin to feel lost.

Even if you are not close to retirement age, it is very smart and, in the long run, rewarding to start making plans and developing goals for retirement now. Retirement is not a bad thing. I can certainly attest to its advantages. But even in retirement you should set goals, establish a routine, and make plans with a timetable.

It’s just that during retirement, you don’t have an employer to please or to tell you what is expected from you, and you probably no longer have a family that you have to provide for, so you are left to make up your own schedule and decide what you want to accomplish. The key is to make up your own challenges, structure, and hopes that make you want to get up, excited and purposeful, every morning.

To put it simply, the real key is to not stop having dreams when you get older and/or retire. There is no reason to stop making plans and there are huge benefits for making plans for the remaining years of your life. There is also another big bonus for having plans in those later years–studies have shown that you are likely to live longer and with much better health. That should be reason enough to have plans and set goals through your entire life!

Habits That Hinder

January 19, 2020 by  
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Wow, how stupid am I or, I guess I should say, what a habit driven man am I?  A few days ago, my wife and I drove our SUV to do a little shopping.  We spent maybe a half an hour at Walmart, walked back to the car, and were surprised to see, when I turned the key, that the car was already running! The SUV is the vehicle that my wife drives, while I have become totally used to driving my Tesla that doesn’t use a key and starts by putting your foot on the brake pedal. When you leave the car, you just walk away, with the electric engine stopping on its own and the car doors locking when you are a few yards away. So, my habit from driving the Tesla was so strong that when I drove our SUV, that habit took over and I didn’t even know it.

Most of the time, when we talk or read about habits, we are usually referring to bad habits.  One interesting and good thing to know, which sadly many people don’t, is that there are methods that can help you change your bad habits and develop good habits. It takes time and you need to consistently stick with the plan or method to make those changes but it can be done.

The most common bad habits make up quite a list. The following is not even close to a complete list of bad habits, but take a look and ask yourself if you suffer from any of these:

  1. Smoking
  2. Heavy alcohol drinking
  3. Watching too much TV
  4. Being on the computer or smart phone too much
  5. Spending too much time playing video games
  6. Eating unhealthy junk food
  7. Eating way too much food
  8. Consuming too much sugar
  9. Eating late night snacks
  10. Not allowing enough time for a full night sleep
  11. Complaining about almost everything
  12. Behavior that leaves you angry, worried or stressed
  13. Overspending your way into debt
  14. Being consistently late
  15. Being rude to others
  16. Road rage
  17. Driving too fast
  18. Losing your temper
  19. Lying
  20. Procrastinating
  21. Always bragging
  22. Being a know it all
  23. Letting fear stop you from doing something new
  24. Spending time with negative friends to bring you down
  25. Being pessimistic
  26. Always interrupting other people
  27. Swearing constantly
  28. Nail biting
  29. Picking your nose
  30. Slouching and poor posture

And, yes, that is just a very short list compared to some of the lists I have seen. So how many, if any, of these bad habits do you have and would like to get rid of? What causes bad habits in the first place and what can you do to drop a bad habit and take on good habits? I will address the answers to those questions in next week’s blog.

Keep Moving!

January 12, 2020 by  
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So, we are already nearly 2 weeks into the new year. Have you finished writing your New Year’s resolutions?  If not, it’s still not too late to begin. Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals by now. If you’ve got that, then fantastic! But, now, when do you start on your list? Without an actual start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your dreams, goals, and resolutions becoming real. So, if you haven’t finished your list or have yet to start acting on it, I would say do it now!

As we begin this new year, I have a few bits of advice that I think are so very critical. For one, to live longer you must have a big picture of what you want to achieve and not just have a routine you work away at. Secondly, never stop working on your health!  Keep moving!

From Ilchi Lee’s great book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years, there are a couple great bits of advice that really stand out in my mind. He states that people who have a positive perspective on aging live, on average, 7.5 years longer than the average person. He also makes the point that to live longer you need to have a goal and a design for the time you have left.

He shares lots of statistics and information on a very critical part of living a long, long life which is to keep moving. No, you don’t have to run a ton. Long walks every day give the same great health benefits and longevity to your life. Even just 150 minutes a week of walking can add 2.4 years to your life and 3.4 years if you double those minutes.

Six years ago, on my 69th birthday, I really started to think much more seriously about my age and how much longer I might have to live. It was on that birthday that I decided to start moving more and came up with my plan for walking, walking, and more walking. A huge part of my decision to do lots of walking was the small but great birthday gift my wife Kimberly gave me – a Fitbit. You put it on your wrist or put it in your pocket and it counts every step you take.

I began by setting a goal of 5,000 steps a day and soon was going more than that, so I move the goal to 10,000 steps and later to 20,000 steps every day. I’ve stuck with it since that birthday and, wow, I feel so much better, plus my tennis game improved a ton and I’m am convinced that those steps are increasing my life span. It is such a simple and easy exercise routine that gives such great rewards.

In his book, Mr. Lee lists 7 common statements that he has heard over the years from people who walked a bunch.

  1. I didn’t realize the way you walk is so important.
  2. Walking is so fun and exciting.
  3. The heavy pain that was in my legs and feet has vanished and they are lighter now.
  4. I used to suffer from insomnia, but now I can get deep sleep.
  5. My complexion has improved and my body feels lighter.

6, I usually become anxious and tense, but I have much more peace of mind now.

  1. My body has more energy, my head is clearer, and my focus on work has increased.

Hippocrates agrees. He is quoted as saying, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” I love that quote.

So, let’s all keep moving and moving. Get a Fitbit and start keeping track of your progress. If you do, and if you are anything like me, you will find yourself competing more and more with yourself. As a result, you will feel better and your health will most likely be lifted up a notch, if not two!

 

 

The 120 Year Goal

December 29, 2019 by  
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It’s not too late to make some New Year’s resolutions, a.k.a. goals for 2020!  What are your New Year’s resolutions? Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals with timelines attached and, of course, written down.

With those in hand, my first suggestion is that you make your start date TODAY. That’s right – start right now. There is no good reason you can’t take those first, maybe very small but necessary steps, toward your goals for the new year. I think that the goal of great health is, or should be, on the top of most people’s list. It’s been proven that if you set a reasonable goal for great health, the odds are very high that you will achieve those health goals.

My son gave me a book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years by Ilchi Lee. The author makes a big point of how a decision or goal to live a very long life can push you toward looking and finding what you want to live for. The problem for most people, when they get to around the age of 75 or 80, is that they don’t have a specific purpose.

Mr. Lee says his choice to live to be 120 was not based on his family history or his current health. “My choice stemmed from my desire to be of service to the world and to take responsibility for the great dream that I’ve set for my life.” Lee has a big project in New Zealand called “Earth Village,” which is a “residential school and community where hundreds of people can experience a self-reliant, earth-friendly lifestyle in a place where humans and nature live in harmony”.

It’s so important, especially as we age, to have a project and an agenda that we can totally throw ourselves into. Without a goal, a plan, and a timeline agenda you really won’t be driven to do much at all, especially if you are 70 or 80 years old and retired. Before retirement you would likely have a work routine that pushes you out the door and off to work. But after you retire, you really don’t have much pushing you, so you have to set that up yourself if you want a life full of joy, happiness, and a great feeling of accomplishment.

So, what do you want to accomplish and how you can help others lift their dreams and goals for a better and longer life?

At this time of year, I certainly ask myself that as well as taking a hard look at what I had set out to do in the year that is just wrapping up. I take note of where I fell short and where I exceeded my dreams and goals.

One of the items at the top of my list last year that I’m, again, putting on this year’s list to is the goal of “Top Notch Health”.  If you decide to live to be 120, which is not common but certainly physically possible, you will most likely take a hard look at what the key to good health might be. You, no doubt, will discover that what you eat as well as keeping active and moving are at the top of the list to increase your chances of reaching your big goal.

In all my years of reading about health and longevity I have found and am convinced that the diet called “The CRON Diet”, is a huge key to success and has studies to show that it can extend your life and your health.  I will talk more about next week though!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!

 

Be A Big Time List Maker and Lift Your Life

December 22, 2019 by  
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At this time of year, it’s good to make lists, not only shopping lists for Christmas, but to-do lists for items you will get done in the new year.

I’m pretty sure that you, like me, wonder and marvel at how very famous and successful people seem to get so much done in their lives and never seem to stop making more and bigger progress. In just 3 words, they are simply “super productive people”.  How in the world can they accomplish so much? After all, we have just 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week.

Well, I’ll tell you. One of the biggest factors to getting so much done is in the magic power of making, keeping and working off lists.

Take Richard Branson, the British billionaire, for example. He credits his lists of the things he wants to accomplish as the key to his getting so much done. He takes time to go down his list, checking each item as it completed. And, wow, today, his virgin Group of businesses owns about 200 plus different companies. Among these companies are business that specialize in air travel, retail, music, finance, cell phones, internet, hotels, and even a railroad. As you may remember, back in 1999, Branson attempted, and broke, world records in hot air balloon travel and in a transatlantic crossing in a small boat. There are many other celebs that give huge credit to list making – everybody from pop singer Madonna to Barack Obama to Bill Gates!

Why are lists so very powerful? There are many reasons. They allow you to prioritize what you really want to get done, keep you organized, and help you stay focused. For many people, and especially for me, actually writing my lists on paper helps me more clearly remember what are on my lists and pushes me to get stuff done. There is also great mental satisfaction in crossing off those items that I have accomplished. It’s an additional motivator.

There was a study done at the Dominica University in California which found that writing a list down increases the chances of completion of items on that list by 33%. I sure think that extra percentage is worth paying attention and making less a part of your life.

So, if you are not a list maker, I would encourage you to become one. It is a good idea to have big, overall, long-term lists and it’s also very important to break those lists into smaller daily and weekly lists. It is especially helpful for most people to write a daily list out the night before you hit the hay, because as soon as you wake up, you know what that to-do list is telling you to get done and you’ll stay focused and accomplish so much!

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