Not too long ago I was in Costco buying an elliptical machine. (These machines are a great way to stay in shape without hard impact on your knees, hips and back.) This 26 year old guy helped us load the machine into the back of our car. I couldn’t help but notice he had a certain sparkle in his eyes and was full of energy. He was so very helpful and friendly I just had to give him a little extra reward so I gave him my financial book The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You.
A couple days later he’d tracked me down via the internet thanking me profusely in an email. He wanted to tell me what a huge impact the book had already made even though he’d only read a few chapters. The very day I gave him the book he went to his bank and took care of some financial things he’d been putting off and he said because of the book he had reignited his life goals and was super inspired to really accomplish what he’d set out to do before but had let things slip.
Well, I couldn’t let his enthusiastic response end there, so I wrote back and invited him up to the house to talk. That day, before he got to the house, I couldn’t help but think of how a couple books I’d read had also hit me like a ton of bricks and changed my life forever. Now my book was making a difference in this young man’s life! Not that this was the only email and success story I’ve heard from those who’ve read my books but I don’t often get to meet them.
We had a great chat. This young man talked about how he has set news goals and renewed old goals and was already acting on them. Not just financial goals either but some very wonderful life and living goals. I could tell that he really got the message that money should be a means to a greater end not the end itself. As I have said many times “with the right formula, combined with drive and determination most anyone can make millions of dollars, especially if you are motivated by a higher and greater cause.”
As he left I just had to give him a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. The “passion book” gives you specifics about the best way to set goals with a specific formula that helps you stick to those goals until they are fulfilled.
My great reward–and it truly is a great reward–is seeing people light up and take the necessary action to go out and do what they need to reach their dreams! Whether it’s the huge success story of guys like Dell Loy Hansen–who read my book in college and made a half a billion dollar fortune (his story is in the beginning of the Financial Genius book) or if it’s the beginning success of a young struggling couple that were able to buy their first home along with two small rental duplexes, all these stories warm my heart and help me feel fulfilled, motivating me to keep on “paying if forward”.
I think most of us know that busy lives are usually happy lives. But I think we’ve also been sold a bill of goods with our thinking that if we could only make lots of money then we could quit or retire and sit by the pool drinking Mai Tai’s the rest of our lives and be happy as pigs in slop. I am here to tell you that it just ain’t true!
We think this because when we are working hard and staying busy and then we take a break –going on vacation or a quick getaway–it makes us feel so good and refreshed that we mistakenly believe that if we could just do that all the time we’d have a permanent refreshed and a super great feeling. But it doesn’t work like that. The fact is, if we don’t do the hard work then it’s really not a break and it doesn’t give us any reward or, at most, very little reward. We must all burn into our brains that the pause or the break should always remain as just that and never become a permanent thing.
Look at the recent London Olympics. Think of the four years of work that lead up to the moment we watched those young people step up on the award platform. Those award ceremonies were their break and their reward and you could see how immensely they enjoyed it. But what would become of those athletes lives if they sat back, doing nothing, trying to make that super reward moment last the rest of their lives without doing any more hard work? We can all imagine it, their lives going quickly downhill because each day there would be nothing to look forward to.
We all need to take a much harder look at our own lives and make sure we don’t ever turn the pause into a permanent state of living. Passionate, fulfilled lives come from action and staying busy. Push yourself hard then, and only then, take a break and celebrate your hard work and accomplishments.
I was getting myself better organized the other day and came across a list of 20 questions that I used in the past to help me focus on qualities I wanted to see in myself in order to have my own “Super Success”. I wrote the list back in December 2003 but reading it over, I found it just as relevant now as I did back then, so I wanted to share it with you all. I believe these, or your own personal variation, can help just about anyone.
Here are the first 10 and next week I will post the second group of 10. Read the list and ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I being pro-active?
2. Do I believe in myself (How’s my self-esteem doing?)
3. Am I being “time conscious? (Life is very short so I want to live every day to the fullest. Even if I live to be 80 years old, that’s only a little over 700,000 hours!)
4. Do I spend time, planning, calculating, and running the numbers on various projects that I want to see succeed?
5. Do I make decisions that need to be made? Am I decisive enough and realize that it’s better to make more decisions and be wrong than to not be decisive?
6. Am I staying organized and do I keep working on being better at it?
(I test myself by observing my desk, my files, and even the backseat of my car.)
7. Do I do what I say I am going to do, both to myself and to others?
(My word needs to be my bond—my reputation will follow. My honor is my greatest power)
8. Do I have high ambitions and enough energy to follow through?
(I remind myself often of how I can create extra energy–like having great ideas and dreams along with focus for extra energy.)
9. How do I stick with a project?
10. How is my discipline factor? (I must remember that if I want to rule the world or any part of my own world I must rule myself first.)
If you find this list helpful–please feel free to pass it on to others that may benefit from it. And I would love it if you would drop me an email at email@example.com and tell me how you liked this blog. —MOH.
We all have great wants and desires. Without them we’d have virtually no motivation to do anything. But there are a lot of hidden land mines that lie in our path just waiting for us to step on them and explode our dreams, desires, and goals. Our very wants and desires that are so important to our lives of passion can make us absolutely miserable if we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
As McGonigal states in her wonderful book The Willpower Instinct, “… desire is neither good nor bad–what matters is where we let it point us.”
We all know that frustrated desires can lead us to search out bad or negative ways to boost or otherwise change our mood—-by using drugs and/or alcohol, binge eating, or even going on a shopping spree. These all work well to increase dopamine and serotonin—those mood altering chemicals in our brain—giving us a high and one that can be addictive. These activities can too easily and too quickly become detrimental to our health, our finances, and our relationships. But what if you were able to increase these mood altering chemicals with something positive and productive, gaining a natural high and moving towards your goals at the same time?
I am sure anyone of us can come up with a few examples of positive activities and actions that will improve rather than harm our lives but let me give you some of my list. You can use these as a start or as examples for your own list. Use your positive experiences and what you want out of life to help create the ideas for your list.
Then when you feel yourself turning towards those old tried and true (and negative and harmful) options, chose something from this positive list instead. Do this diligently for at least a week and take note of how much better you feel about yourself and your life. I bet you’ll not only enjoy the activities you’ve used as substitutes but you will be much happier overall, looking back at all the positive and productive things you did.
Here is my list:
1. Work out: Just 6 or 12 minutes on the stair master, doing sit-ups and push-ups or using weights
2. Get a tennis game going
3. Write out my bests thoughts for the days
4. Read a good book
5. Listen to favorite music (create a custom playlist online)
6. Arrange a get together with family and friends
7. Get a massage
8. Hike or bike in mountains or just take a walk in the neighborhood
9. 5 to 10 minutes of meditation
10. 5 or 10 minutes of simple yoga
Now … what goes on your list?
**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?
2011 is being called the Year of the Protestor. From the uprising in Tunisia in January that ignited the courage of others in nearby countries for months afterwards to the Moscow rallies in the last weeks of the year, the common people rose up to protest injustice and oppression and forced people to hear them and to change. It was inspiring to see what people could accomplish when they stood up and rallied against the powers that be but it was also sad to hear of the violence and pain that had to be endured to enact the changes the protestors were after. But change did come in many countries simply because so many people persisted even when it was terribly difficult and even when it was life threatening. They were unshakably dedicated to their purpose and that made all the difference.
I wish the protests did not have to include the violence and pain and I hope that things will soon settle down with peace and freedom for these people that have suffered for so long. But pain or discomfort or just frustrating moments usually accompany change and is the reason why people commonly shy from fighting for it.
We are very lucky here that what we have to fight for are not basic freedoms or a life without constant fear of pain or death. We have our hard times, but the choices we have are, for the most part, within our grasp and what we have to work through is not so hard compared with what people in so many countries we watched this past year went through.
How about making 2012 a year of real change here, in our own lives? Let’s choose to take on the challenges that will make a better life for ourselves, our family, our friends and everyone we work with. All we need to do is keep focused on our goals, those end results, that will make our lives so much richer. And if it gets tough, just think of those people who rose up against their oppressive governments and what must have stuck in their mind to keep them so determined. You can be so determined too. Just keep your eye on the prize and keep in mind what the change will mean for your life.
As we come upon the end of another year, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done this past year and what I want to do this next year. And in the process my thoughts turn to what I’m going to be writing to you all. And I find myself hoping that many, if not most of you will go out in 2012 and take big risks, chase your dreams, and really put your all into getting what you want out of life.
You are probably many times more capable, talented, and resourceful than you give yourself credit for. These last few years have been hard with the economy repressed as it is and we’ve seen so many people– friends, family … even ourselves—feeling it in our businesses, the loss of jobs, the difficulty in finding work. But you know, you can make the present and your future what you want it to be regardless of all that. The route to your goals may not always be so fast and direct, but there is always a way.
This year, promise yourself you will take chances, push yourself, and find a way to make significant progress towards, if not attain, the goals you have. You’ll be amazed by what you can do and will feel energized and more alive just for making that great effort and even more so when you see what you can accomplish!
I hope you and yours have the most wonderful and bright New Year.
One last note on this positive/negative inner chatter issue–well, maybe not my last note ever but at least for a while. As I’ve said before knowing something is not useful until you actually do something with the knowledge. We’ve talked quite a bit about this subject here and there the last few months, but have you done anything to actually improve your inner voice’s attitude?
Years ago I really got into programming my brain with lots of positive thoughts and positive affirmations but I’ve been slipping on that the last 10 or maybe even 20 years because I thought that I was beyond that kind of stuff. The thing is, I didn’t lose the knowledge but I did fall out of practice with it, and that was key. You can’t say you’re a great tennis player no matter how well you know the sport, unless you’re actually out there practicing and playing! With my loss in the final round of the Huntsman World Senior Games tennis match in which I had sabotaged myself with all my negative self-talk, I really started to think seriously about how much I let my thoughts turn pessimistic with worry and self-induced stress. I knew it was not helpful. I even knew how to combat it. I had just stopped putting this knowledge into practice.
The great thing about this is that once you get the hang of it and practice enough you can use this positive reinforcement to change and improve just about any part of your life. From losing weight to overcoming addictions to making more money, you can stop worrying about so many things that add unnecessary stress to your life and actually live! Try it and I promise you that it works, especially if you keep practicing. So here’s what you and I must do … No. 1– start observing what that inner chatter is saying and, No. 2–feed yourself positive thoughts and affirmations, every single time you observe the self-talk going the wrong way. It’s not hard, it just takes practice!
I wanted to mention this book that Craig Horton, who I shared a letter from in my post last week, recommended. It’s a powerful book about mentorship titled “A Game Plan for Life-The Power of Mentoring” by John Wooden and Don Yaeger. Craig considers this one of the most powerful books he’s ever read. He’s not the only one.
The retired basketball player and coach mentored and inspired unknown numbers of people through his work as a coach and through his publications and lectures. In this, his last book, he first focuses on the people who helped foster his values then, through interviews excerpts, he turns the reader’s attention to number of his most successful mentorees, giving us an inside view of the affect good mentoring can have on an individual, not just as athletes but as human beings. Wooden is particularly focused on being successful without having to sacrifice principles. That is a focus I am behind 200%.
I really like Wooden’s philosophies and know you’d get something out of reading this book if you take what he says to heart. You see, how well you live is not purely about the success you have, even though in your mind and actions, it sure seems like it. The real measure of a successful life is how much you improve the lives of others. You can do this by sharing your success—be it monetary, career, personal, emotional, relationship, etc.–with others in ways that help them achieve and fulfill their lives as well.
I received a very kind note about last week’s blog and I wanted to share it with you some of what he said:
What I have always appreciated over the years in our association with each other is that you are always willing to help people grow and be productive in the real estate business even the little guy. Your efforts have never really been about making a lot of money but helping others which is precisely why you made a lot of money in the seminar business and book business because you lived by that philosophy. I have always found that people who are the most successful are very willing to help others. You are one of these people which I deeply appreciate.”
Craig sums up quite well my philosophy about why I do what I do. It’s not about money although I do spend a fair amount of time advising people about how to make money. It really comes down to helping empower people to do what they desire to do with their lives. It could as easily be making great art, getting in shape, or building your own home. I just want people to do with their lives that which fulfills them so they can be proud of what they accomplish and happy with the live they live.
One of the things I also like to encourage is people helping people. This is what I do to help people because it is that one very valuable thing I have that I know can touch lives and make a difference. That is also very fulfilling. Especially on those days when you receive such nice comments and know that what you are doing is truly helping others. Thanks Craig!
If you’re reading this blog you probably have some drive to keep learning but have you considered making it not just something you do when you have a free moment—learning that is–but a deliberate, regular thing you do?
Learning is essential to keeping your passions burning. You already know how energizing it is when you learn something new, something that makes you think and gets you moving. Not only that, learning keeps the mind sharp and may contribute to a longer, healthier life. Why would you let something so impactful be so incidental?
Instead, make a conscious effort to learn every day. Read a book before you go to bed. Read an article with your breakfast each morning. Take a class or workshop at least once a month. Go with your family or friends to a museum, a library event, a historic place–any place that gets you thinking–every few times you get together. Get audio books to listen to as you drive or tune into NPR or talk radio shows that interest you. Gather your colleagues and your network of like-minded people and have a regularly scheduled round robin conversation over wine or coffee.
These are all excellent learning opportunities that will keep your mind sharp and your passions burning. And you’ll be enjoying yourself while cultivating a lifelong goal that will help you live a long, happy life!