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Stress as Good And Bad

March 18, 2017 by  
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This week I want to talk about stress. I am even a bit stressed about getting this written in time to post it! There is a lot to stress about. Because of that people have come up with all sorts of ways and methods to reduce stress. However, stress can be good because it can push you to get more done and try harder to reach your goals. And, get this, you can actually learn how to make it so that even a ton of stress doesn’t hurt or ruin your health! I think you will be surprised and delighted to learn how to do this, as I was. But let’s examine how we think about stress for a minute.

As most people know, stress seems to be caused, for the most part, by our thinking and worrying about some future event–near or far. There is, however, two bits of really good news about stress. We all know that if we wanted to be a better or even a great tennis player, golfer, singer, writer, public speaker, etcetera, there are ways to become just that. One of the best methods is the “10,000-hour rule” as explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s a must.) It says you need to put in 10,000 hours at something to become world-class in that field.

From my experience and from what I read, we as humans can do “work outs” and do lots of “practice sessions” with and for our brains, just like we can invest those 10,000 hours to become the best at something. Part of the good news is that, when it’s needed, it doesn’t take 10,000 practice hours to reduce stress.

So, before I get to the good news about how stress isn’t always bad for you and your health, let me just list a few simple techniques that are easy to do to reduce or eliminate stress when you know it isn’t doing you any good:

  1. Take a walk outside.
  2. Take a run in a new neighborhood.
  3. Take a Hike.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Go to a yoga class.
  6. Share your problems or stress with others.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Take a hot bath or jump in a hot tub.
  9. Do a good deed for someone else.
  10. Give or get hugs and kisses from friends and relatives.

These simple things are easy to do and are well known to work.

Okay, that is all well and good but what about the big shocker I’ve been hinting at? This is something that hit me hard. It has to do with changing a person’s thinking and how what they believe changes their health and life span. It is pretty amazing and I will cover it next week. But in the meantime, de-stress as needed and start getting used to the idea that it’s not always bad to be stressed. Then tune in next week to see what I mean!

Living Well and Healthy on the Way to 100

January 20, 2017 by  
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I would like to share with you some more thoughts about life and living and, yes, a few more things that you and I can do to increase our chances of living to be 100.

First, let me tell you about my super crazy few days this past week. The day after I wrote about how important it is to have great health I suddenly got very sick. It started with a severe case of acid reflux but then I could not eat or drink anything without huge chest pains and throwing it all up. I began to feel better after 3 days and so got some time in on beautiful Poipu beach. However, there I witnessed a guy being pulled from the ocean by a lifeguard just 20 or 30 feet from where we were relaxing and just having a good time.

Five paramedics went to work on this guy. They pounded his chest, did CPR on him, and shocked him many times–they worked on him for 20 minutes. Everyone on the beach just froze and watched as they tried to save this guy’s life. Many people were in tears, but even with all that effort and skilled professional work done by the paramedics, the guy did not make it.

The mood of all of us beach goers changed dramatically. We went from fun, games and joy to quiet and very somber. It is amazing how so many people care deeply about a person they do not even know. The young lady next to us broke down in tears. I was fighting back my own tears. The loss of life is a sad thing and, yes, we will all get to that point eventually. But this was a reminder that it is so critically important to live life to the fullest every single day, to do virtually everything we can to stay healthy and extend our lives —yes, to like 100 years old–in good health.

With that said here are a few more of the 100 Wonderful Ways to Live to Be 100:

  • Find reasons to laugh.
  • Do unto others but do not forget about yourself.
  • Do not dread getting older.
  • Get busy and stay busy.
  • (This one alone can add an average 7 years to your life.)
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Eat less.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
  • Use your brain–engage in games and intellectual stimulation.

Let’s not wait until illness or some unexpected tragedy makes us realize how valuable our life is. We can honor this gift we have, every day, by doing everything we can to not just live, but live well and healthy. And to live, yes, to be at least 100.

The Giving and Sharing Season

December 23, 2016 by  
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Before we get to talking about financial goals and money as I promised you last week, let’s talk about giving first. We can all give more and next week’s blog will help you finance all that you give.

Christmas is upon us and it’s the very best of seasons if we all get into the giving and sharing. There is something about giving to others that makes you feel so good and warms the soul. Most of us start by giving to our loved ones–our kids, grandkids, and spouse or significant other. The gifts don’t have to be gigantic but giving big gifts and a lot of them certainly doesn’t hurt the receiver or the giver. But don’t stop giving at just the family level. Think about your friends, even ones that you haven’t seen or heard from in years. It’s also great to give to strangers that are in need.

I’ve loved giving lots and lots of small gift to kids, not just at Christmas time but all the year round. As many of you know I love to order up $2 bills from the bank and give them at random to kids (although only when they are with a parent. I don’t want anyone to think I’m a creep.) It’s quite funny that the parent many times says, “Oh, those are so rare,” and yet anyone can get them from a bank. The kid and the parent are usually very surprised and delighted and thank me up and down with huge smiles on their faces.

I order 100 of the $2 bills at a time and have given away thousands. But the amazing thing is that as happy and delighted as the parents and kids are, I am even more stoked and happy than them. I usually tell the parent, “I think I’m being kinda of selfish because I get more pleasure, satisfaction, and joy from giving than the kids get in receiving.” I usually add the comment, “Plus, look, I invest $2 and I get back a $1000 dollar smile. I think that is a fantastic return on my investment!” So, I guess that giving can be a bit selfish but then again everyone seems to benefit from this kind of giving. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, giving for the benefit of everyone?

So be more driven this year and give more and more for everyone’s benefit. And don’t forget that giving can be more than gifts and money–give love, give warmth, give complements … just give more of yourself.

 

Enhance Your Life with Old and New Friends

November 25, 2016 by  
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basketball-teamI think you would agree with me that there are not a lot of things in this world much better than good, close friends. I can’t even imagine my world without my friends–both the old friends from my school days and my new friends. Great friends will do just about anything for you.

When we were young men, most of our get togethers were for some kind of competition–for sports, games or whatever. And many of those competitors morphed into “best friends”. Then as we aged it was more often business that brought us together.

In my November 4th blog post, I talked about the two major tragedies of my life–the death of my brother and my daughter. This got me to thinking of my friends who quickly gathered around me and gave me tons of love and support and comfort during those times.

The attached picture was taken 2 years after my brother died on a basketball court and shows our team just after we won the big American High School tournament in Rome, Italy, a tournament that included all American High schools throughout Europe and the Middle East. These great friends in the picture were some of the best friends a person could have. They not only helped me through those tough times but also shared in my dream of winning the big tournament for my deceased brother, Bruce. It’s hard to believe that was 55 years ago and still, to this day, two of those guys in the pic are among my best friends. Richard Harvey of Cleveland, Ohio (2nd row on the right) and our big Texas center, Ed Beckcom (the guy at the top with both arms spread).

My message this week, to you and myself, is to try to reach out to old friends and go out of your way to make new friends. Believe me, it’s well worth the effort. Go ahead and sit down with your old high school or college year book and make a list of those friends that you were close to back in those days. If you’ve lost touch with them, get on the internet and try to track them down and renew those great ol’ friendships. Your life will be enhanced by these reconnections and new connections and theirs will be too!

 

Counting Blessings Amidst Our Tragedies

November 4, 2016 by  
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In last week’s blog, I talked about how all people have difficulties and tragedies. I’m fully aware that my problems mentioned didn’t sound that huge. Some readers might have even been saying to themselves, “Oh the unfortunate rich guy has major problems, huh? What a tragedy he’s had with that terrible common cold. I feel so sorry for him … not!”

My main point of the blog really wasn’t about my very small and temporary health issue but rather was about how we all need to rejoice more often and count our blessings. We need to do it every day and do it before we face a truly huge loss such as a severe health decline or the loss of family or friends.

There is an old Mormon hymn called “Count Your Many Blessings”. One of the lines goes “name them one by one.” I find this to be very profound in that it defines a great way to live each day. If we stop to recognize each of our blessings, it actually can improve our lives and make us feel better, just like what I learned some time ago about how smiling releases good chemicals into your brain, even doing  the same thing when we force a smile.

Like many people if not most, I’ve had some major tragedies in my life that I will never forget—there was my 17-year-old brother who died right in front of me on the basketball court when I was 15 and, the biggest and most terrible shock of my life, when my 16-year-old daughter died. Even though I’ll never really get over those tragedies, I’ve learned to live with the reality of what happened and it has made me more aware of living in the great ‘right now’. It has made me take notice and count the blessings in my life every day.

I remember vividly after my daughter died being totally depressed and laying around doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself for many, many months. Then suddenly I realized that I was completely neglecting my other children. I saw how important they were and how blessed I was to have such good productive, active, loving and lovable kids. I lifted myself out of the dumps and started to notice and pay attention to them and appreciate all the goodness around me.

As I mentioned last week, traveling through parts of Africa was a real eye opener. Our train traveled though many villages filled with garbage, spotted with homes that were just ten by ten foot shacks topped with flimsy roofs held down with rocks. As all too skinny kids ran along the side of the tracks waving at the train, I couldn’t help but see how good we have it. If we are paying attention, we’ll know we need to appreciate all our blessings every day.

So, let’s all take time to notice, take time to appreciate, and take time to love what we have and not just family and friends but even strangers. We need to start giving more back to those who need help. None of us know how long our loved ones and friends will be with us; tragedy can strike any of our lives at any time. So even if you have disagreements and arguments or find yourself angry at those around you, try to step back and look at the bigger picture and be grateful and appreciative of those people. Remember just how important they are to you and just how small the differences are that get in the way.

 

 

I Have the Perfect Life—-Not

October 28, 2016 by  
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My last 2 blogs told of the super wonderful and exciting African Safari that my wife and I took along with our dear friend Francoise Eriksen. It was a perfect trip–all went well without any hiccups or unpleasant surprises! I’m guessing that some of my readers are thinking “Oh, what a perfect life that guy Mark has. He’s wealthy, had his 15 minutes of fame, probably lives in a mansion, and travels the world first class.”

I remember so vividly thinking exactly that as I read about the rich and famous people of the world. I really thought they must have had a perfect life—but, oh, how wrong I was.

p1020832Right after we returned from the African Safari two things happened. I watched and listened to a super famous and wealthy man on T.V. (worth hundreds of millions) talk about the tragedies in his life. He was miserable but how people all around him didn’t believe him. They really thought he had a smooth and perfect life without any bad stuff but that was so far from the truth and the reality of his life.

The second thing that happened was me coming down with the worst common cold that I’ve had in many years. Wow. Talk about major mucus and a constant hacking cough that left me breathless and with very little sleep. Ugh and super ugh! Then a thought struck me and I said to myself, “Wait a minute … why didn’t I appreciate and give great thanks for my super great health while on the Safari and, for that matter, the last 3 or 4 years that I’ve have without any sickness whatsoever?”

Isn’t it quite amazing that most of us human beings don’t appreciate or give thanks for what we have until we lose it–whether it’s our health, good relationships, money, our jobs, or–how about this one–living in a great and free country. I will say this … traveling through South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe I couldn’t help but think about how good we have it in this great country, even the poorest among us are better off than some of the people I observed as our train passed through African villages where they lived with terrible conditions.

So my message this week is, let’s all take time to pause and think about and take notice and appreciate our health, wealth (however large or small), relationships, and this great country that we live in. And let’s do that right now and not wait till we’ve lost some of it.

Next week I want to talk about some other challenges in my life. Everybody’s life, no matter how rich or famous, has its troubles and its tragedies as well as much to be grateful for.

Rewards Beyond Fortune and Fame

August 26, 2016 by  
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When I was young I was so very much into myself.  I craved success, financial and non-financial.  Oh man, how I wanted to be rich and famous! I went after both with great passion and energy. I worked hard and long to reach my goals. They consumed me!  And after many years, it paid off. I made millions and even got my 15 minutes of fame with a segment on Tom Brokaw’s nation wide NBC news show and a front page story in the Wall Street Journal. And yes, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. It was all very satisfying and rewarding.

However, over the years my idea about what is truly rewarding changed. Just 2 weeks ago I received the richest reward I could hope for, one that far exceeds the rewards that I had from fame and fortune. It happened on a little island called Whidbey, just west of Seattle Washington.  I had taken some of my kids and grandkids for a summer vacation and we stayed at an absolutely beautiful multi-acre estate called Quintessa owned by 2 lovely ladies, Tessa and Carrie.

My wonderful and huge reward came when Tessa, after learning my name, told me about how my books, tapes, and periodical, The Financial Freedom Report, was the key that motivated her to buy a number of income properties, including the heavily wooded Quintessa Estate with its ocean view and accommodations for up to 32 people.

Tessa stood there and thanked me so many times it was almost embarrassing. In the last 10 to 15 years, I have received many, many letters, emails, and phone calls with thanks and appreciation from people whose lives have been financially improved, but Tessa’s story and her enthusiasm given to me in person was like getting hit in the face with a brick–a good brick of course!  It brought to my mind, very forcefully, just how much more value and reward there is in helping people, so much more than fortune and fame.

The irony is that back in my younger days I was being very selfish, seeking my own fame and fortune but over time it led to helping many other people which was an unexpected bonus and a wonderful reward. It certainly made me want to work harder to help more people. I found I wanted more of that wonderful feeling, a feeling that surpasses anything I get from fortune and fame.  It took a bit of time to learn that lesson but I don’t think I will ever forget it.

So let’s all try to reach out and help those around us, whether it be family, friends or complete strangers. You may not even know what you have to offer but the rewards for finding out are amazing.

P.S. If you want to stay at the Quintessa estate, it is located at 3493 French Road, Clinton, WA, 98236, or contact them by email at thequintessa@gmail.com. Quintessa is set up in such a way as to help our kids and grandkids do some major bonding which is exactly what happened!

 

Appreciating Human Beings

August 5, 2016 by  
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My weekly blog started out showing people how to make tons of money–I do know how to do it having made millions of dollars myself. I have also shown thousands of others how to do it and many have gone right out and used that knowledge to make their own fortunes. However, life is about so much more than making money. Having lots of money certainly does give a person a lot more choices and can enhance one’s life and those around them greatly. But the older I get the more clearly I can see the huge and lasting value we get from other human beings.

Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if you found yourself all alone in your city wondering if you were the only human on the planet earth. How would you function? I mean other than gathering food and finding shelter, what would you do day to day? I think, like most people, I would spend all the rest of my time trying to find other human beings.

I don’t know about you but I think I would go absolutely crazy after a while if I didn’t find anyone else! Yet, I think it’s so very easy for most of us to take other human beings for granted and not fully realize how very important other people are to our lives. Other people give our lives so much meaning and happiness and push us to do great things. And let’s not forget about the love that we receive and have the chance to give to so many others. Can you imagine doing something utterly fantastic with an invention or an accomplishment and wanting to tell or show someone what you’ve done but there is nobody around for you to share it with?

I couldn’t help but think of Tom Hanks in the wonderful movie Castaway where he ended up on a deserted island and his only so-called friend is a Wilson ball that floats ashore that he constantly has conversations with just like it was another person. It just shows how desperately we need other people.

I think we all need to take time and observe and appreciate the fact that we need other people. And I’m, not talking about just people we know and love but also total strangers and even people we don’t like. If you thought you were the only person left on the earth and you came across another person, I think you would be absolutely thrilled even if that person wasn’t very likeable. Being all alone really can be miserable. The prison system knows that and uses solitary confinement as a huge punishment.

Ever since I began thinking about being the only person on earth and all the implications of living that way, I’ve really started appreciating other people–even people I really don’t care for. When I’m around those people I sometimes find miserable and ornery I quickly choose to think that if I had their upbringing and past life I’d probably be an ol’ grouch just like they are, but they still are human beings and they are important to all of us and the world.

So yes, I will continue to blog and try to share what I know about making millions but I want you to know that I greatly appreciate other human beings and I am going to work harder to go out of my way to show and demonstrate that appreciation.

 

Powerful Daily Questions

July 29, 2016 by  
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In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about Marshall Goldsmith’s great advice that you can read about in his book Mojo. He reveals ways to greatly improve your odds of lifting your Mojo (your personal happiness and fulfillment in life) and increasing your chances of making greater progress toward your goals and what you want your life to be.

One of Goldsmith’s very effective methods was to ask his friend, Jim Moore, to pose a daily list of questions that Marshall had put together. These questions included want Marshall wanted to get done and how he wanted his life to be. Both men were amazed at how well that daily questioning worked. Even though they lived miles apart and Marshall does a lot of traveling, their commitment to this has them connecting on the phone and going through the process of asking those same questions about 85% of the time. The process has kept Marshall focused and moving forward.

So if you want to greatly increase your Mojo and reach your goals, write a list of what you want to get done and how you want your life to be and then find a good friend or a close relative to ask you those questions on a regular basis. Remember that it’s important to keep track of your progress as well so you can be inspired by your success and work on the areas that might need a boost.

Although you will want to come up with your own questions, I thought Marshall’s basic 6 questions might be helpful:

“Did I do my best today to …

  1. Be Happy?
  2. Find meaning?
  3. Build positive relationships?
  4. Be fully engaged?
  5. Set clear goals?
  6. Make progress toward goal achievement?

After this list, Marshall goes on to list questions he specifically needs for himself such as, “How many minutes did you spend writing?

Then there are some health questions such as,” How many sit-ups did you do?” To which he gets to answer with statements like “Today I did 200 sit-ups at once. Not bad for a 64-year-old guy.” You know that has to be encouraging!

As for work, it might be “With how many clients are you current on your follow-ups?”

Then there’s family and relationships. “Did you say or do something nice for your wife? How about your son or daughter?”

In the book he also asks himself, “Why does this process work so well?”  The answer is that it forced him and his friend Jim to “confront how we actually live our values every day. We either believe that something matters or we don’t.  If we believe it, we can put it on the list and do it! If we really don’t want to do it, we can face reality and quit kidding ourselves.”

The above is just a brief sample. Your list should be much longer but how long depends on what you want to get done in your life.

Marshall asked his wife, Lyda, a psychologist, if she thought this process would work as well with a computer-generated list of questions instead of sharing with another person.  She said, “No, it is a lot easier to blow-off a computer than another person.”

So the bottom line for you and me is to start making our list and then find a friend to help, the kind of friend that you trust and one that won’t criticize you when you fall short of your goals and ambitions. You can do likewise for your friend and together you can really build up your Mojo!

 

 

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.

 

 

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